Taking One for the Team: I Picked the Wrong Time to Take a Scouting Walk … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Taking One for the Team: I Picked the Wrong Time to Take a Scouting Walk ...

What’s Up?

I spent most of Wednesday and Thursday micro-adjusting my Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS lens with Internal Teleconverter with both of my 5D Mark IV bodies in preparation for my upcoming Finland trip. (I fly on Monday arriving on Tuesday.) In addition, I continued work on the LensAlign/Focus Tune tutorial. Why so long? Zoom lenses need to be micro-adjusted at both the long (T for tight) and W (for wide) at both 200 and 400mm, and then again at 280 and 560mm, W and T, with the Internal 1.4X TC in place. And finally, W and T with an external 1.4X TC (both with the internal TC engaged and not engaged). In other words, it is a ton of work.

I am enjoying my continued participation in the Aftercare sessions that followed my attendance at The School for the Work. Byron Katie has been keeping the boys and girls very busy; they don’t call it the Work for nothing 🙂


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.

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Important Notice

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 5). All who register will be required to join the (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on. See below for details.

I will likely need to close registration for the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT/Bass Rock Add-on ($1499) on May 1 as I need to finalize the cottage reservations.

Great-Blue-Heron-with-sea-robin-CROP-AD3I1459Fort-deSoto

This is a healthy crop of an image created by DeSoto Spring IPT participant Anita North with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 390mm), and the blazingly fast and rugged Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR Camera Premium Kit with 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop as originally framed: 1/250 sec. at f/8.

Young Great Blue Heron with Sea Robin
Image courtesy of and copyright 2017: Anita North

Taking One for the Team: I Picked the Wrong Time to Take a Scouting Walk …

Anita created this image on the last morning of the 2017 DeSoto Spring IPT. Two days prior to that we ran into a woman who told us of “nesting Royal Terns” around the corner of the inlet. So, on that Saturday morning I took my 100-400 II/1.4X II/5D IV combo and set out on a scouting walk. How’d that work out? No terns. And when I “re-terned,” many in the group were excited about the opportunity that they had just enjoyed. There was a couple fishing, catching mostly small Southern Whiting, a great eating fish. When they caught the Sea Robin that you see here today, they tossed it to a nearby Great Blue who grabbed the fish and posed with it for several minutes while standing in the shallow Gulf surf …

Sea Robin

When I was a kid in Brooklyn and later on when fishing as a young adult, I caught lots of Sea Robins. Though normally looked upon as trash fish they were not bad eating. My research also showed that there is a small but developing market for Sea Robin as a commercial fish, surely due to humankind’s ongoing destruction of fish stocks around the world. I had always thought that Sea Robins were in the sculpin family but a bit of research proved me wrong. From the Fishes of the Gulf of Maine website here

The large head, tapering body, and fanlike pectoral fins of the Sea Robin somewhat suggest a sculpin. But the robin is distinguished from all the sculpins by the incasement of its entire head in bony plates; by its smaller mouth; by the flat depressed dorsal profile of its snout; by its large ventral fins; and by the fact that the three lower rays of each of its pectoral fins are separate from the rest of the fin and modified into three independent feelers with slightly dilated tips, a very noticeable and distinctive feature.

From Wikipedia, here:

The Triglidae, commonly known as Sea Robins or Gurnards, are a family of bottom-feeding scorpaeniform fish. They get their name (Sea Robin) from the orange ventral surface of the species in the Western Atlantic (Prionotus carolinus) and from large pectoral fins, which, when swimming, open and close like a bird’s wings in flight. The large surface area of the fins also permits the fish to glide short distances above the water surface, much like a flying fish.

They are bottom-dwelling fish, living down to 200 m (660 ft), although they can be found in much shallower water. Most species are around 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16 in) in length. They have an unusually solid skull, and many species also possess armored plates on their bodies. Another distinctive feature is the presence of a “drumming muscle” that makes sounds by beating against the swim bladder. When caught, they make a croaking noise similar to a frog, which has given them the onomatopoeic name gurnard.

Sea Robins have six spiny “legs”, three on each side. These legs are actually flexible spines that were once part of the pectoral fin. During development, the spines separate from the rest of the fin, developing into feeler-like “forelegs”. The pectoral fins have been thought to let the fish “walk” on the bottom, but are really used to explore the bottom in search of food. The first three rays of the pectoral fins are membrane-free and used for chemoreception being highly sensitive to amino acids prevalent in marine invertebrates.

Anything to add Dr. Fish?

Great-Blue-Heron-with-sea-robin-AD3I1459Fort-deSoto

This is a small crop of the original image with a bit ofcanvas added below and behind the bird. Anita used the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 390mm), and the blazingly fast and rugged Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR Camera Premium Kit with 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop as originally framed: 1/250 sec. at f/8.

A single AF point one to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the base of the bird’s bill in front of and well below the eye.

Young Great Blue Heron with Sea Robin

Anita North and Sally Sue South …

I first met Anita North on a Southern Ocean cruise in 2014/15. Some may remember the story (Beginner with 0.0000014% Keeper Rate in the Southern Ocean; What Can BAA Do for You?) that was published in the blog post here along with some of her early images under the pseudonym Sally Sue South. Rather than being “Canada’s third ever female rocket scientist (now retired)” Anita was actually Canada’s third ever female brain surgeon (now retired). After attending many IPTs and traveling with me throughout South America for 10 1/2 weeks at the end of 2016, her skills have improved immensely. Though she still creates too many images in bad situations, her best images are outstanding. I’d say that in one of every three shooting sessions that her best image is better than my best image … I will be sharing some more of Anita’s images with y’all here in a future blog post.

ORIGanitaGBH

This is a small crop of the original image with a bit ofcanvas added below and behind the bird. Anita used the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 390mm), and the blazingly fast and rugged Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR Camera Premium Kit with 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop as originally framed: 1/250 sec. at f/8.

A single AF point one to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the base of the bird’s bill in front of and well below the eye.

Young Great Blue Heron with Sea Robin

Today’s Featured Image

Today’s featured image is sharp and at +1 stop, the exposure –as you can see by the histogram — was perfect. Anita’s single misstep was not choosing the best possible AF point. She needed to pick an AF point that was two or three rows higher to avoid cutting off the virtual feet, the feet that we know are below the surface of the water. But heck, when I see a heron with a really neat prey item I just about have a cow. Thanks to Anita for permitting me to share this image with you here today. One final note: Anita will be continuing her photographic education on the upcoming Finland, UK Puffins & Gannets, Bear Boat, and Galapagos IPTs this spring and summer.


uk-puffins-card-ii-layers

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 Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 4).
All who register will be required to join the (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on. See below for details. See below for details.

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.


uk-puffins-card-iii-layers

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.

Great News on the UK Puffins and Gannets/Bass Rock Extension

On the morning of Jul 10, 2017, we will sleep late and head up to Dunbar Harbor for lunch and an afternoon Gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. One gannet boat trip is included in the IPT but everyone always wants more.

Then, as a possible mega bonus — we are scheduled to make a Bass Rock landing on the morning of Tuesday July 12, 2017. I am hoping to go two for two! If not, we do another chumming trip for flying gannets.

Included will be two nights lodging at the wonderful Dunsmuir hotel, two fine dining meals there, any additional meals, all boat, guide, and landing fees, and all transportation including the early morning transfer to the Edinburg Airport on the morning of WED July 12.

So far all five sign-ups are maximizing their travel dollars by signing up for the extension in part because I priced it so cheaply at $1499 despite my greatly increased costs.


uk-puffins-card-i

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.



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Typos

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8 comments to Taking One for the Team: I Picked the Wrong Time to Take a Scouting Walk …

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    Looking forward to meeting Anita on the Galapagos trip. She definitely has the right STUFF. Laurie is off her sabbatical as of last week. She played golf Friday, Sat and Sun last week and Thursday. Playing in a tournament on Sat. She is definitely fit and no worries as we previously expressed re her hip for the Galapagos.

    RE the fine tune on the 200/400. Sounds like a pain with I sure will be worth it. Looking forward the the Focus Tune tutorial.

    Having a great time with a male Eared Grebe on our lakes, amazingly, with water in them. He’s all dressed up, but no females, yet. Pretty bird.

    Thanks for everything,

    Later and best wishes,

    Frank

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Great news. The 200-400 with two TCs requires +20 so definitely worth it for me 🙂

      with love, and shoot me your best male grebe 🙂

      artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    I’m going to have to call YOU Dr. Fish now. 🙂 absolutely nothing to add except that the species you caught as a kid and young adult in NY probably was a different species from the one Anita photographed so well in FL. Enjoy Finland.

  • Hi Artie, I read your statement in the blog “Zoom lenses need to be micro-adjusted at both the long (T for tight) and W (for wide)”.

    Is this a Cannon only feature or for Nikon Cameras as well we have the option on of micro- adjusting at 2 focal lengths ?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I do not know but I would assume so. Put your camera body on a zoom lens and go to the Focus Fine Tune screen. If it shows two settings then yes 🙂

      With love, artie

  • avatar Gary

    Hi Artie, Anita is what you might call a good photographer and a good customer, thats one long run of IPT’s to attend!! Gary

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Agree, and she has been on a zillion already. She still has a long way to go to catch Lou Newman at 26 IPTs …

      with love, artie