Chew On This for a While … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Chew On This for a While ...


On Saturday I saw the Jersey Boys road show in LA with a friend. As things turned out, each of the four stars was fantastic. Rather than creating a replication of the Broadway version (that I had seen three times), the four main actors put a personal twist to their interpretations of Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi, and Bob Gaudio. Each was fantastic. I cried a bit during the first act and cried full time during the second act. The show ended with a rousing, well-deserved two-song-long standing ovation. The music of the Four Seasons is fantastic, there is tons of great humor (and great drama as well), the story is riveting, and the acting is brilliant, skilled and creative. If the road show comes to a city near you, I would urge you to see it. (Be sure to get your tickets directly from the theater as the ticket services charge 5-6 times what the theaters do for the same seats …

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 5 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. Click here and scroll down for additional details and the 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 the BAA 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 morning of Friday June 16 on the beach at Carpinteria, CA with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -1.

Center Large Zone/AI Servo/shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure and selected the two bottom-right AF points that just caught the tip of the bill.

Image #1: Snowy Egret/after missed strike

The Bright White Exposure …

As I walked down to the shoreline at about 6:40am the sun was full-out on a clear morning. As noted here before and often, my standard ISO 400 full sun exposure for bright WHITEs is 1/2500 sec. at f/8. I opened up one click from that for the still early morning light to 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3 (the equivalent of 1/2000 sec. at f/8). I chose to work at f/6.3 to enjoy a bit of extra shutter speed while hand-holding. Note: all of my exposure values — shutter speed, aperture, and ISO — are set up in 1/3 stop increments so that one click of any of the dials results in a change of 1/3 stop. I had taken a test exposure at 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 but when that showed significant blinkies on the bird I went one click faster. Bingo.


This image was also created on the morning of Friday June 16 on the beach at Carpinteria, CA with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -1.

Three AF points to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure as originally framed (should have been one of two AF points to the right of the center AF point; more on that tomorrow).

Image #2: American Crow foraging

Exposure Lesson; Chew On This for a While …

BLACKs need about 1 2/3 stops more light than WHITEs to be properly exposed in a given lighting situation. So as I walked from the Snowy Egrets to the foraging crow I simply rotated the index finger dial five clicks counterclockwise knowing that this would yield a perfect exposure for the BLACKs. Bingo times two.

Consider this also: WHITEs need one full stop less light than MIDDLE TONEs to be properly exposed (in a given lighting situation) and BLACKs need about 2/3 stop more light than a MIDDLE TONE to be properly exposed (in a given lighting situation).

Working in Manual mode is of course the way to go when working with subjects of varying tonalities.

If you are at all confused by the above, please see the section on Exposure Theory in the original The Art of Bird Photography (ABP). My thoughts are that every competent photographer should have a working knowledge of exposure theory, available as noted above. Few do.

For a slightly softer treatment of digital exposure you are referred to the Exposure Simplified section of The Art of Bird Photography II (ABP II: 916 pages, 900+ images on CD only). Save $10 by purchasing the two-book bundle here.

Your Favorite?

Please let us know which of today’s featured images you feel is the stronger. And please let us know why you made your choice. Remember, the more folks who participate, the more everyone learns, including me.

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 :).

10 comments to Chew On This for a While …

  • avatar Carlotta Grenier

    For me it is the crow as the detail is exquisite and I do not see that to frequently

  • My favorite is the snowy egret the open bill and water drops are nice. The rear raised foot is nice as well.

  • avatar MBG

    I like the crow, perfect light, perfect exposure, both rare in such an extremely black subject. I will keep the 1 2/3 stops rule in mind. Too bad there isn’t something like the “blinkies” for under exposed blacks, because I certainly would have been watching them on that egret shot.

  • avatar Jerry Fenwick

    I like the egret best because it is in the act of doing something, and the composition is more dynamic. The crow is static. I an biased against the crow on general principles, because crows destroy so much of the small bird population. When they move into a neighborhood, the small pretty looking and singing birds disappear. Crows may be smart, but they are pests.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Crows are surviving just as they have done for tens of thousands of years 🙂

      with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Both great; I prefer the egret for the color and pose and action. What do you do for exposure with black-and-white birds? I expose for the whites and hope for the best.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      We always need to expose for the WHITEs. With B&W birds you might want to push the WHITEs a bit more than usual.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    I usually like “tight” shots, like the crow, to show off the feather details. Perfect exposure by the way and thanks for the reminders about white vs black birds. But, there are times when I like to back off the subject a bit to get a little more of the surrounds as demonstrated in the egret and the Willet you shared yesterday. So, both perspectives have there merits. Today, and could change tomorrow, I like the surroundings in presentation presentation of the egret so I think it’s a little stronger than the crow. But, what I really like are tight shots of Ravens. Love their massive beaks.

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    Dear Art:

    I definitely like the crow the best. The detail in the blacks is remarkable! In fact, it is such a strong image that I don’t mind it being in the center — it makes it more riveting.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks but watch your language 🙂 There is twice as much room from the tip of the bill to the frame edge than from the tip of the tail to the frame edge. Therefore, not really centered.

      with love, artie