Ending the Free Update Confusion, and the Wickedly Tricky Blogger … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Ending the Free Update Confusion, and the Wickedly Tricky Blogger ...


On Wednesday, July 5, the IPT group enjoyed a perfect day for bird photography in Northumberland, UK. We had cloudy bright skies, dozens of tame Atlantic Puffins with fish, landing puffins, point blank Razorbills and Shags, and a single Common Murre that posed for 30 minutes with a lovely fish in its bill. Not to mention hundreds of Arctic Terns with young of all ages. I created just under 1,000 images and several of the participants did more than double that. The weather, which has basically terrible here for several weeks, is looking grim for both Thursday and Friday as the predicted fair weather high pressure system disintegrated upon the approach of another low front …

Ending the Free Update Confusion

When the publication of the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) was announced in the blog post here, and as it states plainly in the BAA Online Store, “DB II represents a stand-alone purchase; there will be no updates. From time to time however, I will share new Photoshop techniques on the blog that will be announced as a Free-to-All Digital Basics II Updates.” So when I ran the “Filling in Added Canvas by Judiciously Stretching the Pixels” item in yesterday’s blog post, that was exactly what it said, a free-to-all update.

Thus, there is no need to call Jim for your free update. The free update was there in the blog for all to enjoy. Thanks to the many who have purchased the new e-Guide.

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 18 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 same morning as the Snowy Egret with shrimp image shared here recently, both made on the 2106 Fort DeSoto Fall IPT, this one 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 +2/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

Two rows up and one to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was right on the young night-heron’s pupil.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, head portrait of juvenile

In the “Free-to-all Update to the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II): Filling in Added Canvas by Judiciously Stretching the Pixels” blog post here, I posted this:

Photoshop Hanky Panky

Can you spot the Photoshop Hanky Panky? Once you do, be sure to include your proof with your comment.

Do note that Dave K. posted this comment:

I am going with the water droplet was added. Where the droplet is forming at the bill the line looks a little harsh and un natural to me. Also when I scroll over the picture it says “added bill tip and droplet” but you could be trying to throw us off 🙂

Others agreed that the drop was unnatural, that the drop was reflecting stuff that was not there, and that the drop should have reflected the photographer. Others were positive that the eye color was wrong, or that I had messed with the orientation of the eye …

This is a Photo Mechanic cut and paste of the RAW file for the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, head portrait of juvenile image …

The RAW File …

As anyone can plainly see by comparing the RAW file with the Photoshop Hanky Panky? image that I originally posted in the “Free-to-all Update to the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II): Filling in Added Canvas by Judiciously Stretching the Pixels” blog post here, was pixel for pixel identical to the RAW file.

It has always been my contention that when you are told what has been done where in Photoshop that everyone is a genius at spotting the telltale signs that a repair has been made. In this case, I purposely misled folks by captioning the image as I did, knowing that at least a few folks would be tricked. Several in fact took the bait. And again as I have long contended, when there have been no major repairs some folks will invent such repairs and gladly offer the “proof.” I once saw an image on BPN with a hard, straight line in the image, an obvious clone stamp mark. Obvious that it until I saw the RAW file. I apologized profusely. Simply put, it is very difficult today to know the truth of an image. That is why I — almost always 🙂 — let folks know what I have done with or to an image in Photoshop. In the future, folks will need to be wary of the Wickedly Tricky Blogger.

This is the optimized image that I created here in the UK early on the morning of July, 6, 2017.

The Optimized Image

After converting the RAW image in DPP 4, I did a bit of bill clean-up and then moved the bird back in the frame using one of the APTATS tutorials. That was about it. I did not monkey with the eye or the eye color and I added neither the bill tips or the drop of water. I tried to do the majority of bill clean-up work with Content Aware Fill but after 10 minutes I gave up and started from scratch working large and using mostly the Patch Tool and a bit of the Spot Healing Brush. Why did I quit with Content Aware Fill? I had made things a mess with Content Aware Fill …

Everything above plus tons and 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. Justso 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.


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 :).

1 comment to Ending the Free Update Confusion, and the Wickedly Tricky Blogger …

  • avatar Jay Shah

    Haha…yes you got us. But you make a good point and I agree completely. We see what we expect to see.