Wedding Dress — Like it or hate it? Do Not Hesitate! And Auto Tone Magic. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Wedding Dress -- Like it or hate it? Do Not Hesitate! And Auto Tone Magic.

What’s Up

After a busy day of packing and a thunderstorm-abbreviated swim, Jim dropped me at the Marriott Courtyard airport on Tuesday afternoon so that I’d be in position to get to MCO for my early morning flights to Spokane for the Palouse IPT.

I was pleased to learn yesterday that the sales of Philip Laing’s Canon 1.4X III and 2X III TCs for $329 each were finalized.

Travel Update

I was at the gate for my 7:20 flight to Las Vegas at 6:00am. That despite the fact that Southwest check-in, both curbside and inside, was more crowded than I have ever seen. I did see one couple miss their flight to Atlanta … If you are traveling, it might be a good idea to follow the “be there two hours before the scheduled time of departure” advice. I am traveling all the way with new IPT veteran Ed Blanton who was with us on the 2017 Fort DeSoto Spring IPT. I may be announcing dates for the 2017 Fort DeSoto Fall IPT soon. Or not …

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 16 days in a row with a new educational blog post 🙂

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 5). The (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on is now part of the trip.

Please call 863-692-0906 for info on the substantial Late Registration Discount.

Here is some great info on the July 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT: I have finalized the cottage and vehicle rental arrangements. We have room for several additional folks, at least for a couple and single. And I am in position, as noted above, to offer a rather substantial late registration discount. Please call us at 863-692-0906 or get in touch via e-mail. Scroll down for additional details and our travel plans.

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 on the last Gatorland Meet-up weekend with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering about +1 1/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/9 (was a significant underexposure). AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

One AF point to the right of the center AF point AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on a fortunate area of feather edge contrast as originally frame.

Great Egret/spread wing

Wedding Dress — Like it or hate it?

If you like this image, please state so and let us know why. If you do not like this image, please state so and let us know why. If you think that there are both positives and negatives, please do share.

Do Not Hesitate

If you see a possible decent image in what is likely to be a situation that will last only a fleeting moment, focus and shoot. Do not worry about the exposure, do not worry about the aperture, do not worry about anything. Just acquire focus and push the shutter button. When I saw this Great Egret stretching its wing and saw that I had an opening through the vegetation, I fired and created only a single image before the bird re-folded its wing. In an ideal world I would have gone to ISO 800, set the aperture to f/11, and adjusted the exposure to at least +2. If I had tried to do that, I would have wound up with nothing.

The Image Optimization

In DPP 4, I used the ISO 800/5D IV noise reduction values because the image was about a stop underexposed. After brightening the image considerably during the RAW conversion, I brought the very flat original into Photoshop. I wanted to work only on the WHITEs while leaving the GREENs (and YELLOWs) intact. The solution was easy; I made a Color Range selection and refined it by adjusting the Fuzziness slider. Then, experimenting, I tried Image > Auto Tone. That turned out to be magical; the results were just what I had envisioned. I lightened the GREENs using a Hue-Saturation adjustment by lightening the YELLOWs and increasing the YELLOW saturation. Why the YELLOWs? As often happens, working with the GREENs did nothing to the image.

The image optimization here shows that even when you have studied Photoshop extensively and have mastered a great variety of tools and techniques that there are times when you have to think outside the box and use those tools and techniques in ways that you had never used them before …

Most everything above is detailed in my Digital Basics File, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete (former PC) digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, the basics of Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs and Dodge and Burn, a variety of making selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

The Curves on a Layer Color Balancing technique will be included for the first time in the all-new Current Workflow e-guide that better reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. It will include a section on ACR conversions, DPP 4 BASICS, and a simplified method of applying Neat Image noise reduction. Along with all of the Photoshop stuff from Digital Basics that I still use. Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here.


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.

Please call 863-692-0906 for info on the substantial Late Registration Discount.

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 two 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.

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.


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.

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

8 comments to Wedding Dress — Like it or hate it? Do Not Hesitate! And Auto Tone Magic.

  • Very nice, Artie. I love the balanced OOF green leaves in front the wing. That juxtaposed on the structure of the feathers gives a decent level of contrast. I initially thought it was a fence of some sort. Interesting as patterns in nature are rarely reminiscent of anything man-made.

  • avatar Glen

    Reverse it to black, maybe solarize it too.

  • avatar Larry

    As an abstract image, I like it. The problem for me is that the OOF vegetation brings it back to “reality” and subtracts from the abstraction.

  • I can’t say I hate it, but I would have deleted it if I’d taken it. The narrow depth of field isn’t working for this image; it makes the greater coverts seem too transparent. Not crazy about the title, either. “Nuptial Plumage” might work, but “Wedding Dress” is a bit to saccharine for this image.

  • avatar Jim Babbitt

    If I did not know it was a bird wing, I would have no clue as to what I was looking at. It would just appear as an out of focus picture.
    Knowing that it is an Egret wing, it is a fascinating picture. To me, the vegetation on the lower left gives the picture some meaning; the upper vegetation subtracts for me.

  • I think that the vegetation is necessary to hold the composition but the one main bug I have is that everything seems to be moving to the right but then there is nothing (no patch with less bands or a curve or even the edge of the wing) to close of the composition. I understand that there is nothing you could do about this but the angle of some of the leaves around the edges seem to be working against the angle of the feathers. However after all that I would also have pressed the shutter button with this opportunity.
    Typo: under Facebook ‘Tanks a stack.’ Thanks for a thought provoking image,

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I can see why you pressed the shutter button but it doesn’t work for me. It looks more like a picket fence than a bird’s wing to me. The vegetation at bottom left and top right doesn’t really add anything and might even subtract. Might a tighter crop to the center and some darkening work?

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Las Vegas?? Wedding dress??
    Anything you want to tell us?!