My Simple Approach to Photography. And Lots More on Bold Colors, Topaz Buz Sim, and 200-400 Versatility … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

My Simple Approach to Photography. And Lots More on Bold Colors, Topaz Buz Sim, and 200-400 Versatility ...


On Tuesday I set up to LensAlign/FocusTune/micro-adjust my 400 DO II with both 5D Mark IV bodies and both sets of TCs. As usual, I had time to do some re-hab work on my right hip and my right shoulder along with my walk and my core exercises. No swim as the pool was down to 71 degrees on Tuesday morning!

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak: 446

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 446 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

Selling Your Used Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.

Recent Successful Used Gear Sales

Activity in the last week has been hot!

Note: I missed adding several items below while I was in South America for ten weeks with limited internet access. If your item has sold but is still listed on the Used gear page please let me know via e-mail.

  • Wayne Roth sold his Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/2.8G EDII VR lens in like-new condition for $3,500.00 in Late January, 2017, two weeks after it was listed.
  • Teresa Mabry Reed sold both her Canon EOS-1D X in excellent plus condition for $2399 and her EOS Canon 5D Mark III also in excellent plus condition for $1429 within two days of listing them with BAA.
  • Gene Scarborough sold a Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM super telephoto lens in excellent condition for $4049 one day after it was listed.
  • Multiple IPT-veteran Mike Goldhamer sold his Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO lens in excellent condition for the record low price of $2100 a while back.
  • Dear friend and multiple IPT veteran Patrick Sparkman sold his Canon EOS 5DS R with the Canon battery grip in like-new condition for $2899 back in early November.
  • IPT veteran Gerold Hanck sold his Canon 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom lens, the “old 1-4,” in excellent condition for $549.
  • Henry Raymundo sold both his Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM lens (the “old five”) in excellent condition for $3999 and a Canon EOS 7D camera body in excellent condition for $399 back in November, 2016.
  • New Listing

    Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens plus Extras!

    Steve Traudt is offering a Canon 500mm f4L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens in excellent condition for $3950. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk with keys, the original font lens cover, and insured ground shipping via FedEx to US addresses only. Extras include a green camo Lens Coat green, the Really Right Stuff LCF-50 foot (the original foot is also included) a Don Zeck Lens Cap and a Think Tank Glass Taxi bag (a $169 value). Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. A cashier’s check is preferred.

    Please contact Steve via e-mail or by phone at 970.260.7723 (Mountain time).

    The old five is a fairly lightweight super-telephoto lens that work well with both TCs. It is fast and sharp. I used mine as my workhorse lens (along with the old 600mm f/4) for almost ten years to photograph birds and wildlife all over the world. Both have been replaced for me by their far more costly version II counterparts. The 500 f/4s have long been the world’s most popular super-telephoto lenses for wildlife and sports. With all the extras, Steve’s package is priced to sell quickly. artie

    This in-camera Art Vivid HDR image was created on one of the 2016 Palouse IPTs with the with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (with the internal TC engaged at 388mm) and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +/-3 stops) around a base exposure of +1 stop: 1/25 sec. at f/13 in Av mode. WB set to Color Temperature = 4000K. Live View with 2-second timer.

    I used Rear Focus/Live View Flexi-Zone AF to focus.

    Door of old truck,

    My Approach to Photography

    When I head into the field, it is rare that I have something specific in mind. I grab the appropriate gear and set out on a walk. When I see something that catches my eye, I try to envision what I want to do. Once that is done, I select the best tool (i.e., lens) for the job and get to work. While at the Round Barn last June, the bright colors on this old truck caught my eye. In post I worked to make the bright colors even brighter using Topaz Buz Sim.

    Why K4000?

    As regular readers know, when I am creating in-camera Art Vivid JPEGs, I almost always set the WB to color temperature 4000K to tone down the colors a bit as they tend to be over the top saturated with Art Vivid (but too boring using Natural). Art Vivid + K4000 produces a nice balance.

    Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender Palouse Versatility

    I will again be brining my EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender as my “big” lens to the Palouse (this June). Though I thought about going light with “only” my beloved 100-400 II, I will bring both mainly because the 200-400 offers me 784mm of full frame reach at f/8 with all AF points active. I will use both a lot.

    Image Processing

    Post processing here was quite simple. I brought the Art Vivid JPEG into Photoshop, leveled it, and then finished it off with the Topaz Bus Sim III filter to really juice up the colors.

    Why f/13?

    Why did I need to stop down from f/5.6 to f/13 for more depth of field?

    Your Thoughts?

    Love it? Hate it? Like it? Could care less? Be sure to let us know why you made your choice.

    Topaz Simplify

    I’ve been thrilled with the results whenever I’ve used Topaz Simplify. You can help support my efforts here on the BAA Blog by clicking on the logo link above if you would like to join in the fun. After you click, be sure to watch the great instructional video. You can see my favorite Buz Sim pelican here.

    Topaz Simplify: Turn your photos into works of art. Create paintings, sketches, watercolors, cartoons, and more. Make your art uniquely personal instead of using cookie-cutter filters. Get better results faster with specialized digital art technology


    Palouse 2016 Horizontals Card

    Why Different?

    Announcing the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour

    In what ways will the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour be different from the most other Palouse workshops?

    There are so many great locations that a seven-day IPT (as opposed to the typical three- or five-day workshops) will give the group time to visit (and revisit) many of the best spots while allowing you to maximize your air travel dollars. In addition, it will allow us to enjoy a slightly more relaxed pace.

    You will be assured of being in the right location for the given weather and sky conditions.

    You will learn and hone both basic and advanced compositional and image design skills.

    You will learn to design powerful, graphic images.

    You will visit all of the iconic locations and a few spectacular ones that are much less frequently visited.

    You will learn long lens landscape techniques.

    You will learn to master any exposure situation in one minute or less.

    You will learn the fine points of Canon in-camera (5D Mark III, 5DS R, and 7D II) HDR techniques.

    You will be able to share a variety of my exotic Canon lenses including the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens and the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens, aka the “circle lens.”

    You will learn to use your longest focal lengths to create rolling field and Urbex abstracts.

    You will learn when and how to use a variety of neutral density filters to create pleasing blurs of the Palouse’s gorgeous rolling farmlands.

    As always, you will learn to see like a pro. You will learn what makes one situation prime and another seemingly similar one a waste of your time. You will learn to see the situation and to create a variety of top-notch images.

    You will learn to use super-wide lenses both for big skies and building interiors.

    You will learn when, why, and how to use infrared capture; if you do not own an infrared body, you will get to borrow mine.

    You will learn to use both backlight and side-light to create powerful and dramatic landscape images.


    Palouse 2016 Verticals Card

    The 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour
    June 8-14, 2017. Seven full days of photography. Meet and greet at 7:30pm on Wednesday, June 7: $2,499. Limit 10/Openings: 7.

    Rolling farmlands provide a magical patchwork of textures and colors, especially when viewed from the top of Steptoe Butte where we will enjoy spectacular sunrises and at least one nice sunset. We will photograph grand landscapes and mini-scenics of the rolling hills and farm fields. I will bring you to more than a few really neat old abandoned barns and farmhouses in idyllic settings. There is no better way to improve your compositional and image design skills and to develop your creativity than to join me for this trip. Photoshop and image sharing sessions when we have the time and energy…. We get up early and stay out late and the days are long.

    Over the past three years, with the help of a friend, we found all the iconic locations and, in addition, lots of spectacular new old barns and breath-taking landforms and vistas. What’s included: In-the-field instruction, guidance, lessons, and inspiration, my extensive knowledge of the area, all lunches, motel lobby grab and go breakfasts, and Photoshop and image sharing sessions. As above, there will be a meet and greet at 7:30pm on the evening before the workshop begins.

    To Sign Up

    Your non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold your spot. Please let me know via e-mail that you will be joining this IPT. Then you can either call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 during business hours to arrange for the payment of your deposit; if by check, please make out to “BIRDS AS ART” and mail it to: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail: artie.

    Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options. You can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

    Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

    To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

    As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

    I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


    Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.


    In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

7 comments to My Simple Approach to Photography. And Lots More on Bold Colors, Topaz Buz Sim, and 200-400 Versatility …

  • avatar Cheri

    I frequently shoot HDR images on art vivid as I too agree Natural is just blah … but thought the art vivid was way to saturated. Thanks for the ahh-haa moment. Never thought of changing the WB setting .. so simple and basic ! Thanks Artie!

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    f13 because you were so close with a long lens at 388mm with very narrow DOF. With the door handle protruding you needed more DOF than f5.6?

  • Hi Artie,

    I’m considering moving from a pc laptop to a MacBook pro. Can you share with us, again, your hardware workflow? Do you use your MacBook exclusively? or do you have an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor for home use? Or a separate Imac?



    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Mike,

      I do all of my image processing on the Macbook Pro with Retina Display. No external keyboard, no mouse, no monitor, no Imac. Once a file is ready to come off the laptop it goes to the Windows machine in the office with a huge Drobo.

      If you go for a Macbook Pro, please start your search with the generic B&H logo link on the top right of each blog post.

      thanks, a