When Unexpected Action Occurs, Grab What You Can and Hope for the Best … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

When Unexpected Action Occurs, Grab What You Can and Hope for the Best ...

What’s Up?

I am in my room at the lodge in Hokkaido as this was published at 5:22pm on 22 FEB here in Japan. I am getting ready to enjoy a nice mineral bath and spa at the local onsen. We had a great day again today: Whooper Swans and Long-tailed Tits — the latter drinking in midair from a melting icicle in the morning. Red-crowned Cranes in the afternoon. I will have good internet access every day. I get home late on 28 FEB.

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: 467!

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, 467 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.

These image was created on the 2016 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) with the rugged, blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering probably about -2/3 stop: 1/1600 sec at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -1.

Three AF points down from the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Shutter Button AF as originally framed as is always best when hand holding. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Black-legged Kittiwake screaming

When Unexpected Action Occurs, Grab What You Can and Hope for the Best …

Can wrong plus wrong equal right???

As far back as The Art of Bird Photography II (ABP II: 916 pages, 900+ images on CD only) I wrote, “When unexpected action occurs, push the shutter button. Do not worry that the settings are wrong for the situation. If you try to change one or more settings, you will miss the action.”

When I created what turned out to be today’s featured image, the exposure was wrong and my chosen AF point could not have been worse. For proof of that, see the DPP 4 screen capture below. Yet, with a good RAW conversion and a creative crop, everything turned out A-OK, at least to my mind.

Black-legged Kittiwake DPP 4 Screen Capture

The DPP 4 RAW Conversion Saves the Day

First off, note that I moved the Brightness slider to +.83. That shows the almost one stop underexposure. After the Brightness increase you can see that the RGB values for the WHITEs were an almost perfect R

See that the illuminated red AF point was way down in the bottom of the frame making it impossible for me to design a pleasing image. But the bird screamed so I followed my own advice and pressed the shutter button. After considering eliminating the second bird (lower right) I decided that it could actually be a plus with the right crop. So that is what I did.

Your Thoughts?

Would you have kept or deleted today’s featured image?

Do you like my crop? If not, how would you have cropped it differently?

Would you have tried to eliminate the extra bird?

If yes, why would that have been difficult?


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT
Monday July 3 through Monday July 10, 2017: $5999: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 6). Two great leaders: Arthur Morris and BPN co-owner, BPN Photography Gear Forum Moderator, and long-time BAA Webmaster Peter Kes.

Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on July 2 and arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday July 3 no later than 10am (or simply meet us then at the Edinburgh Airport–EDI, or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe). Stay 7 nights in one of three gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are five days of planned puffin/seabird trips and one morning of gannet photography, all weather permitting of course. In three years we have yet to miss an entire day because of weather… In addition, we will enjoy several sessions of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will get to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet; Arctic, Sandwich, and Common Terns, the former with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks. We will be staying in upscale country-side lodging that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the limited single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared by you in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day.

If you wish to fly home on the morning of Monday July 10 we will get you to the airport. Please, however, consider the following tentative plans: enjoy a second Gannet boat trip on the afternoon of Monday July 10 and book your hotel room in Dunbar. If all goes as planned, those who stay on for the two extra days will make a morning landing at Bass Rock, one of the world’s largest gannetries. We will get everyone to the airport on the morning of Wednesday July 12. (We may opt to stay in Edinburgh on the night of July 11.) Price and details should be finalized at least six months before the trip but you will need to be a bit patient. It would be ideal if I can get all the work done by the end of September so that folks can arrange their flights then.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2016.

Deposit Info

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on March 29, 2017. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. 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. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Deposit Info

Single supplement rooms are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. 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. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. 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 of running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print careful 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 :).

4 comments to When Unexpected Action Occurs, Grab What You Can and Hope for the Best …

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Great image. Seems the active AF point was a good one, not the worst possible; it was near the gape of the bird’s mouth, almost in the same plane as the bird’s left eye, which is beautifully sharp. Answers to your questions.

    Would you have kept or deleted today’s featured image? // Kept.

    Do you like my crop? If not, how would you have cropped it differently? // I would have tried to crop tighter on the screaming bird and would have tried to eliminate the extra bird. Without actually trying different crops, though, I can’t say what I’d have ended up with.

    Would you have tried to eliminate the extra bird? // Yes, see above.

    If yes, why would that have been difficult? // The screaming bird would have been screaming toward the edge of the frame, which might have made for a poorer image. As you’ve cropped it, it seems to be screaming at the extra bird. Was it really doing that? I suspect not, but it works.

  • avatar Mike Cristina

    Hi Artie,

    I think if you cropped the left in close to the gray feathers and the top down close to the gray feathers it would make a great desktop background, without caring if the bird is screaming into the photo or into the edge of the photo.


  • To the hardest working guy I’ve ever met. Thanks for sharing Artie. On this one, I would remove the other bird and although the rocky shadow may have presented some extra work, I don’t think it would be difficult to make the background in that corner look natural. I like the crop and dynamic nature of the image. It really is crying right out at you and the color is fantastic. I would add a bit more highlight to the prominent eye.

    Shoot first, ask questions later!

    Take care, Mike

  • avatar Kevin Hice

    Hi Artie great capture and action . I always take you’r advice what do you have to lose. If you do try and change the settings may have lost that magical moment. The way I look at it nothing gained if you don’t push the shutter. The crop is fine takes you right into the moment of action. That is where the eye is drawn too.