What is it? Seeing the Shot and the Right Tool for the Job « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

What is it? Seeing the Shot and the Right Tool for the Job


The 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT is off to a great start. We photographed Bamburgh Castle with great clouds late on Monday afternoon. It is early Tuesday morning as I type and it looks as if our boat trip today will be called off because of a light drizzle. Better yet, was breakfast. I filled a coffee pot with water, figured out how to turn the burner on, and two minutes later noticed a huge toxic cloud over range. There was a boiling mass of plastic that appeared as a light grey cloud. The cottage was filled with the toxic fumes so after we got the coffee pot off the stove (with long strings of dripping black plastic hanging off it) we turned off the burner. The coffee pot was an electric one that is designed to be placed onto a heater base. Oops. It looks as if we will be able to clean the melted plastic off the range top; we are waiting for it to cool.

If you have ever had an embarrassing “duh!” moment, please do consider sharing by leaving a comment below.

Photoshop Hanky Panky

If you missed the big question on yesterday’s blog post you might wish to play detective here. Some folks are on the right track …

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 16 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.

This image was created on the first afternoon of the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

Manual Selection single AF point/one row up and four AF points to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/rear button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the center of the flower.


What is It?

The flowers smelled like licorice so we thought that it might be some type of anise but an online search came up empty. If you know what type of flower is featured in today’s image please do share. Is the flower a wild or a domesticated flower? I think the latter. And I think that it might be a composite type of flower that is made up of many tiny blossoms, or not. Any and all help would be appreciated.


Huge thanks to Iain Lowson for correctly identifying the plant as Echinops ritro. It appears that the plant grows wild in parts of Europe but is a common garden plant in the UK.

Echinops ritro is a clump-forming, 4-foot tall plant with golf ball sized blue flower heads atop stiff, rigid stems clad with deeply lobed, dark green, thistle-like foliage. Globular, thistle-like, deep steel blue flower heads (1-2” diameter) bloom at the stem tops in summer. Coarse, spiny, deeply-dissected, gray-green leaves are white tomentose beneath. Basal leaves grow to 6-8” long, but stem leaves grow shorter.

Genus name comes from the Greek words echinos meaning a hedgehog and ops meaning appearance in reference to the flower heads.

‘Veitch’s Blue’ grows slightly smaller (3-3.5’ tall) and features darker blue flowers and more abundant flowering than the species.

Seeing the Shot and the Right Tool for the Job

Several folks in the group got excited when we saw the stand of pink/purple blossoms so we hung a u-turn and got our gear. There were some nice backlit blossoms but the backgrounds were less than pleasing as there were none that were consistently sharp enough. I was glad that I had enough room to take the 100 macro. Several folks were using their 100-400 IIs. Many were hand holding so I suggested that in the low light a tripod would be a good idea. For my favorite image (above) I would up photographing a shaded flower with an asphalt road background …

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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6 comments to What is it? Seeing the Shot and the Right Tool for the Job

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I have done that exact same thing! But Sheila noticed and we got the pot off the gas stove before things had got as bad as yours. Lovely flower. I have a photo of a purple one that looks a lot like it.

  • avatar Jon

    Hi Artie yes very common my back garden is full of the darned things – type of artichoke.

  • avatar arsène monfort

    dear mr. morris,
    it is indeed a flower and i think it is a ALLIUM a onionbulb specially grown for its beautyfull appearens. when is blooms it is a purple ball.
    greatings from
    Arsène Monfort
    Simpelveld Holland

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Bonjour, and thanks for replying. I am pretty sure that we have the plant IDed correctly as now posted here.
      with love, artie

  • avatar Iain lowson

    I think it’s Echinops ritro, a common garden plant in UK.

    Good luck with the English weather.

    Best wishes

    Iain Lowson

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Bingo. Many thanks. I have added some info to the post.

      with love, artie