A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Re-visiting Sun Angle … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Re-visiting Sun Angle ...

What’s Up?

Monday, February 13, was get-away day for the Japan group. We slept in, had a late breakfast, and then took a photo walk up the hill to the Onsen-ji Temple. Then it was back into our chartered van for the 3 1/2 hour ride to Haneda. We fly to Hokkaido in the very late afternoon. I will likely have good internet access every day. I get home late on 28 FEB.

Induro GIT 304L

The Induro GIT 304L is finally back in stock. But only two left right now. Click here to order. In addition, for shorter folks, there is a great buy on the Induro GIT 304, a demo model for only $479. Just one. My Induro GIT 304L performed perfectly in the cold of South Georgia, in saltwater on The Falklands, and in the heat and humidity of the Peruvian jungles. Gitzo tripods are now pretty much obsolete.

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: 459!

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, 459 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.

This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 104mm) with my very favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1600 sec.at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +3.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/rear focus AF and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Two Brown Pelicans on the cliffs

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Re-visiting Sun Angle …

Via e-mail from Ken/mirdock@gmail.com

Hi Arthur, I’ve learned so much the last couple month with wildlife photography. So first thanks for all the free content. Question: what does “working on sun angle” mean? Ken

I sent him today’s featured image and wrote: Working on sun angle means to have your shadow pointed at the subject. Above, I am photographing the bird on our right.

I added:

Best advice for improving:

1-Subscribe to the blog and read and study it here.

2-Purchase and study the information in the two-book bundle here.

3-Sign up for an Instructional Photo Tour; learn more about IPTs and see the complete schedule here.

Thanks for getting in touch.

Later and love, artie

More on Working on Sun Angle …

Working on sun angle means working with the sun coming right over the top of your head. Note in today’s featured image that I am actually working a fraction off sun angle –the sun is coming from just a shade to the left of being directly over my head. Until folks attend an IPT they have no idea how meticulous I am with sun angle. I will often move as little as a foot or even a few inches or even a single inch. Doing so assures that only rarely (depending on the time of day) will a part of the bird will cast a shadow on the bird itself. And when combined with the proper head angle, it will assure that the bird’s face is perfectly lit. As I have written here ad infinitum, a good photographer might move 100-200 times in a single 2-3 hour session while a less experienced photographer might move as little as two to ten times. No exaggeration there BTW.

Note also that with the proper head angle I would not hesitate to photograph the left hand pelican that is about 15-20 degrees off sun angle …

2017 in San Diego was a very good year ….

2018 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT: Monday, JAN 15 thru and including the morning session on Friday, JAN 19, 2018: 4 1/2 days: $2099.

Limit: 8: Openings: 4

Meet and Greet at 6:30pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Sunday, Jan 14, 2018.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (usually nesting and displaying) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Wood Duck and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seal (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lion; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Please note: formerly dependable, both Wood Duck and Marbled Godwit have been declining at their usual locations for the past two years …


San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You can do most of your photography with an 80- or 100-400 lens …

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?


Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, four lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. Dinners are on your own so that we can get some sleep.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 9/11//2016. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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 :).

1 comment to A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Re-visiting Sun Angle …

  • avatar David Policansky

    You know, Artie, it isn’t always possible to shoot perfectly or even nearly on sun angle, but you surely have me well trained. I NEVER shoot off sun angle unknowingly! So many thanks for that, and so many other things.