Same Bird. Same Place. Same Lens. Same Photographer. Same Image? Amazing when you think about it … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Same Bird. Same Place. Same Lens. Same Photographer. Same Image? Amazing when you think about it ...

What’s Up

I am feeling better still though I have a lingering, nagging, scratchy cough at times. I had a great time this weekend at DeSoto. Multiple IPT veteran Mike Hankes from Ormond Beach and newcomer Steve Olive from North Fort Myers joined me for the full program and Ray Jusseaume from Ellenton joined the three of us on Saturday morning. We had a load of fun. Much of it involved trying to do the impossible: make a killer image of one of the breeding plumage Sanderlings scurrying along the shore of the Gulf. Ray sat in one spot and waited for the birds to come to him with his tripod-mounted Nikon 600mm with the 1.4X TCE in place. Mike chased them down with his hand held 400 DO II with the 1.4X TC III and his 1D X II. I went with the 5D IV/1.4X III/5D IV combo on Saturday morning (after trying and failing with the 500 II/2X III/5D IV combo). I intended to work with the hand held 400 DO II/2X III TC/1DX II on Sunday morning but uncharacteristically left the DO in my motel room so I went with the 100-400 II/1.4X III/1DX II combo.

We had lots of chances with Reddish Egret and breeding plumage Dunlins as well. I had not seen a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in the park in about a year but we did well with a single bird on Saturday morning. After the nice sunrise on Sunday morning we were sucking dirty pond water for a while but I never give up. After trying and failing with several of my back-up locations we were facing strike three when we hit a home run with Sandwich Terns fishing in flight, tame Snowy and Great Egrets, and pelicans diving into huge schools of baitfish.

Over the weekend, Dr. Gil Moe sold his 500 II, a 2X III TC, and his X-trahand Vest the first day it was listed. You can see all the current Used Gear listings by clicking on the Used Gear Page tab on the orange/yellow Tool Bar at the top of each blog post page.

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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great job for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major and minor 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 just after sunrise at Fort DeSoto on Sunday 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 560mm) and the blazingly fast, rugged Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR Camera Premium Kit with 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/9. K8000.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

One AF point below and four to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo AF/Expand/Shutter Button AF was not active at the moment of exposure. See below for the AF details …

Image #1: Reddish Egret at Sunrise

Advanced AF Technique

With the strong backlight the system would not hold focus when I put the AF point on the bird. In situations like this I advise acquiring focus by putting the AF point on the bird’s legs as they offer more contrast. As I wanted to tuck the bird into the lower right corner I pressed and held the AF-On button and then re-composed. It is sort of like rear button in reverse. My standard set-up has assigned AF lock to the AF-On button. When hand holding, the trick is to stay as still as possible once you have locked focus. This is never easy for me as I move a lot when I am standing still. To add to the difficulty, I was standing in mid-thigh deep water on a soft, muddy bottom. (Two of us had waded more than 150 yards to get into position …) I created about 40 very similar images. Only two were tack sharp due to the my inability to stay completely still. Folks will not encounter similar problems with static subjects when they are on a tripod.

When the bird finally flew we waded back to the spit with as much care as we had on the way out 🙂

This image was created on Saturday morning at Fort DeSoto 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 560mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/9. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +7.

Center Large Zone/Shutter Button/AI Servo AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system selected two AF points that fell on the bend of the wing. Though this would seem to be just ahead of the plane of the bird’s eye the image was sharp enough.

Image #2: Reddish Egret — crest raised head portrait

Point Your Shadow at the Subject …

This handsome breeding plumage bird landed right in front of us on Saturday morning. It danced, it posed, and then, as Reddish Egrets often do, it flew. We made our way around the marsh about 200 yards with all our gear. There were several photographers photographing the bird about 110 degrees off sun angle. We waded across a knee deep creek and looked for an opening. When we found one, the bird was right there, right on sun angle. We got as close as 10 feet without disturbing it in the least. It raised its crest when it spotted a baitfish. Then, as Reddish Egrets often do, it flew. High fives all around.

This image was created on Saturday afternoon at Fort DeSoto with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 371mm) and the blazingly fast, rugged Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR Camera Premium Kit with 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the water: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

Strangely, even though Center Large Zone AF/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure, no AF points were illuminated when viewing the RAW file with AF points (Command J) checked under Preview … Strange indeed. Has anyone else run into this?

Image #3: Reddish Egret, soft light flight

What Happened to the 1.4X III TC?

Why, in this situation, do you think that I remove the 1.4X III teleconverter?

100-400 II Versatility …

Here again, with today’s three images, we see the incredible versatility of the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. I often find myself using it for entire photo sessions even when I have the 500mm II or the 600mm II n the field with me. That happened often on the DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Weekend.

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s three featured images do you like best? Be sure to let us know why you made your choice. Remember, the more folks who participate the more everyone learns, including me.


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 learn to create this look in Photoshop from a single image while winding up with a higher quality image file.

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.

You will learn to create the very popular detailed, slightly grungy, slightly over-saturated look in Photoshop.


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: 5.

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 my friend Denise Ippolito, 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.

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.


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 Same Bird. Same Place. Same Lens. Same Photographer. Same Image? Amazing when you think about it …

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: # 2 is by far my favorite. That is my own opinion. But I’ll use Elinor Osborn’s and Frank Sheets’s reasons.

  • avatar Rob Stambaugh

    Number 2 hands down, with the softly lit palette of pastel colors, the grey background perfectly complimenting the “reddish” feathers, and even a few pinkish grass shoots lower left to echo the bill coloring. Of course, the subject is captured beautifully too.

  • avatar Anthony

    Definitely my favorite is #2. Close and tight-what you are know for!

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    RE no AF points showing up, yes, although in many cases, the image seems to be in focus. It seemed to happen the most when I was using a single AF point on relatively distant subjects. If I took multiple exposures in series, sometimes the point showed, others not. I’m not sure, but the issue seems to have diminished using single pt with 4 assists. If you have a explanation I would love to hear it.

    I have never tried the AF Lock option. Recently had some Western Blue birds tending young ones a nest and had difficulty getting focus on the exiting birds even though there behavior and flight path were predictable. Perhaps AF Lock might have helped.

    The head shot is my favorite. Love the detail and personally, I just can’t get enough eyes.

    Have a great one Artie and thanks for the post.

  • hi Art,

    the link to the used gear doesn’t seem to be working.

    Sorry, you are not allowed to preview drafts.

    regards Ian

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. Not sure how that happened. Best to simply use the Used Gear Page tab on the tool bar upper right. with love, artie

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    My favorite is #2 for:
    the OOF grasses
    the horizontal composition
    the shaggy feathers
    the bird’s strong downward gaze
    the up close portrait
    the soft colors in soft light
    the sharpness of the infocus bird while the grass is OOF
    the soft blue background