Sea Purslane: Step One: Seeing the Image. And If I’ve Said It Once, I’ve Said It a Thousand Times … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Sea Purslane: Step One: Seeing the Image. And If I've Said It Once, I've Said It a Thousand Times ...


I spent about 8 hours on Saturday micro-adjusting my lightweight Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens with three camera bodies and two different 1.4X III TCs. And each of those must be done wide and tight. That’s a lot of work. All for six hours of gannets in flight photography … Is it worth it? I made some more amazing breakthroughs in terms of creating consistently sharp clusters. During the three recent days of micro-adjusting I have learned a ton. After a nap and packing my camera bag (44 1/2 pounds) I took my latest half-mile swim of the week. And again, I ate well.

I packed one checked bag (50 pounds) after dinner. I packed my second check bag (48 1/2 pounds, so far) on Sunday morning. Next was my laptop bag. All that I need to do now is add my frozen gel packs and my insulin and head up to Orlando. I fly from MCO this afternoon up to Newark and then from EWR to EDI. I meet the group and our driver in Edinburgh tomorrow morning at about 8:30am if all goes as planned. Then it will be puffins and gannets and more. For eight days!

Lots of folks have tried to answer the first question that I posed in yesterday’s blog post. It is a relatively simple exposure question and best (or worst?) of all, I have given the answer in many recent blog posts. If you’d like to take a crack at it, click here and scroll down to question 1.

Mongoose M3.6 Heads Sold Out

For the first time in months, we had seven Mongoose M3.6 heads in stock last week. They are all gone. Your best bet is to call Jim at 863-692-0906 right now to order yours. We will not bill your card until we receive our next back-order and ship yours.

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 15 days in a row with a new educational blog post 🙂


I could not secure the lodging that I needed for the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT in Dunbar, Scotland, so I went from Hotels.Com to Booking.Com and was pleasantly surprised. I found the rooms that I needed with ease at a hotel that was not even on Hotels.Com, and it was a nice hotel that I had seen in person. And the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward.

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.

Apropos Price Reduction

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Zoom Lens (the old 24-105)

Price Reduced $100 on June 25, 2017.

Multiple IPT veteran Dr. Gil Moe is also offering a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens in excellent plus condition for $449 (was $549). The sale includes the front and rear lens caps, the lens hood, the soft lens pouch, and insured ground shipping via UPS or FEDEX to U.S. Addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Dr. Gil Moe via e-mail or by phone at 909-732-1456 (Pacific time).

I rarely make a trip or head out to the beach without my 24-105 in my Xtra-hand vest. Whenever I leave this versatile B-roll lens behind, I wind up regretting it. I use it for bird-scapes, photographer-scapes, landscapes, mini macro scenes like bird feathers, dead birds, and nests with eggs (the latter only when and if the nest can be photographed without jeopardizing it) and just about anything else that catches my eye. While I am nowhere near as good as Denise Ippolito with this lens, I have made lots of good and saleable images with mine, the old version. artie

ps: It was the perfect lens for creating today’s featured image; I sure am glad that I did not leave it in the car!

This image was created on the 2016 Fort DeSoto Fall IPT with the hand held “old” 24-105mm (now replaced by the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens (at 24mm) and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/4 in Tv mode. Daylight WB.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/rear button focus on the bird’s eye and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Sea Purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum)

Step One: Seeing the Image

There were lots of birds on the beach on the morning that I made this photograph. But when I glanced at the plant’s lovely colors and its beautiful pattern, I knew that I had to photograph it. So I grabbed my “old” 24-105 out of the milk crate on my Wheeleeze beach cart, removed the 100-400 II from the 5D IV, and mounted the wide angle B-roll lens in its place. Then it was a matter of getting almost on top of the subject by straddling it without getting my feet in the image. By doing that I was best able to parallel the subject. I braced my elbows into my sides to steady the lens while re-composing. In retrospect, I could have chosen an AF sensor just below center and kept that active at the moment of exposure. As for the exposure, it was pretty much perfect at “only” +1. The RAW file, however, did not look to inspiring … See more below.

Join me on this year’s Fall Fort DeSoto IPT to learn to see the shot and learn a ton of Photoshop as well.

Sea Purselane

This low growing plant plays an important role in dune creation. It is salt tolerant and sets it roots just above the high tide line. Its leaves catch windswept sand that helps build dunes and in time, other plants catch on and a new dune is formed.

The Image Optimization

If I’ve said it here once I’ve said it here a thousand times: “If they are properly exposed with data well into the rightmost histogram box, light-toned images should look washed out both on the rear LCD and on your computer monitor.” It is your job to bring them to life during post-processing.

After converting the image in DPP 4, I brought the TIFF into Photoshop. I increased the Vibrance about 50 points and the saturation about 10 points.Then, a simple Levels adjustment got me most of the way there. Next I added a 40% layer of Auto Contrast. At that point I loved the tonality but there was a significant color cast. I tried reducing the Saturation of both the BLUE and the CYAN channels and though that helped, I was not where I wanted. Next I tried the Curves Adjustment Color Balancing technique and that turned out to be bingo. (Concept by Denise Ippolito, expanded concept and text by Arthur Morris).

Everything above plus tons more is detailed in the new BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here Juts so you know, the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow.

You can learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of their Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here. And you can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac/Photo Mechanic/Photoshop workflow that will make it easy for you to make your images better in Photoshop (rather than worse). That true whether you convert your images in DPP 4 or ACR. See the blog post here to learn lots more and to read a free excerpt.

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.


Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The Fort DeSoto 2017 Fall IPT/September 22 (afternoon session) through the full day on September 25, 2017. 3 1/2 FULL DAYs: $1649. Limit 8.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With luck, we may get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher almost guaranteed. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join us on the ITF/MWS on the morning of Tuesday, September 26 as my guest. See below for details on that.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time.

This IPT will run with only a single registrant (though that is not likely to happen). The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Though I have not decided on a hotel yet — I will as soon as there is one sign-up — do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel (rather than at home or at a friend’s place).

A $500 deposit is due when you sign up and is payable by credit card. Balances must be paid by check after you register. Your deposit is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with ten folks so please check your plans carefully before committing. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand or by sending a check as follows: make the check out to: BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, gear advice, and instructions for meeting on the afternoon of Friday, September 22.


Fort DeSoto in fall is rich with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

BIRDS AS ART In-the-Field/Meet-up Workshop Session (ITF/MWS): $99.

Join me on the morning of Tuesday September 26, 2017 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive afternoon workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tour. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal non-refundable registration fee. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place at least two weeks before the event.


BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT.

Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make the IPT? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

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.


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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 :).

2 comments to Sea Purslane: Step One: Seeing the Image. And If I’ve Said It Once, I’ve Said It a Thousand Times …

  • avatar Kathy Woveris

    Hi Artie
    I have a Canon “old five” for sale, with golf bag type backpack, extenders, metal case and probably more when I look. Do I send you pics of the stuff for evaluation?
    kathy woveris