As Promised … Part III « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

As Promised ... Part III

What’s Up?

I will be without internet access from 8 AUG through late in the day on 22 AUG. There will be a brand new educational blog post every day in my absence. I toiled long and hard on August 6th and 7th to make that happen 🙂

Please call the office at 863-692-0906 on weekdays and speak to Jim and Jennifer about all things BAA Online Store- and IPT-related. And anything else that you might need help with or would like to chat about.

Please continue to patronize the BAA Online Store and to use my B&H affiliate links. Both are hugely appreciated.

with much love, artie

The Streak

Today marks nineteen days in a row with a new educational blog post. This blog post took about two hours to create.


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.

Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.


I finally updated the IPT page to properly reflect the recently completed trips. If you doubt that I am really slowing down do click here to see the meager IPT schedule. Right now there are only two US-based IPTs on the schedule. Best news is that I turned up the missing registrant for the Fort DeSoto IPT so that will run. Do consider joining us if you would like to learn from the best.

Photographers Wanted

If you would like to learn to be a better bird photographer, consider joining me on either the Fort DeSoto IPT in late September or the San Diego IPT in January, 2018. With just one person signed up, DeSoto will offer practically private instruction. And you can tack on the In-the-Field/Meet-up Workshop Session on the morning of Tuesday September 26, 2017 for free. Click here for IPT info and the current but abbreviated schedule.

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 from the skiff in Kukak Bay in Katmai National Park on the Bear Boat Cubs IPT with the hand held 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens (now replaced by the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II (at 24mm) and my favorite seal photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. Cloudy WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +2. (Yes, for the first time I MA-ed a short lens while working on the new guide. There is one mandatory trick.)

Two rows down and one to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Harbor Seals hauled out on rock, Kukak Bay

As Promised … Part III

I have photographed single Harbor Seals many times before so I opted to try photographing them on this little rocky outcrop with two short lenses, the “circle” lens as I call it, the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM , and the reliable old 24-105, my all-time favorite b-roll lens. I shot mostly fish-eye with the circle lens but I liked the images at 24mm much better.

How Many Seals?

Before attempting to count the individual Harbor Seals be sure to enlarge the image. And then leave a comment with your answer.

The Image Optimization

With the yellow seaweed on the rocks, Cloudy WB was not a good choice so I converted the RAW file with Daylight WB. That helped but everything still looked too yellow to me. Th first thing I did to the image after leveling it was to increase the Vibrance 50 points on its own layer. This brought up the color in the distant trees nicely but made the seaweed and the seals even more yellow. To eliminate that problem I reduced the Saturation of the YELLOWs 20 points with a Hue-Saturation adjustment also on a separate layer (Command + J). Then I added a Regular Layer Mask and painted away the island and the two seals in the water (working large on those). Here’s a great tip to make sure that your masks are accurate: when you are painting your mask, toggle off the visibility eyeballs for the layers below; when you paint, you can accurately see what you are painting away. If you paint outside the lines, simply hit X to restore and then hit X again to continue painting.

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.

Everything that I do to optimize the image above and all of the images that you see here on the blog 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. Just so you know, the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

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.

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.

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 :).

11 comments to As Promised … Part III

  • avatar Jim Crane

    Artie, I’m counting 19. Have a safe trip. Jim

  • avatar R. Waide

    I count 18 assuming that is a head sticking up by the seal in the upper left. Good camouflage.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I count 18, but with relatively low confidence. I’m sure there are at least 17, fairly confident in 18, could be 19 or even more.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    hitting the backward slash key gives a red overlay on your mask to help you make your masks more accurate

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie, I agree with Mike on 17, one is very camouflaged (the shape of the face and the rear end gave it away for me). I like this shot a lot, it has a similar style to and goes well together with the wide image of the orca. My screen shows a little CA on the swimming seal’s head, do you have a particular method for editing out CA. I have a good method involving duplicating the layer, applying Gaussian blur, changing the blending mode to colour, and finally creating a layer mask a black layer mask and then painting in the areas which need the CA removed (with a brush set to foreground colour. Is yours more effective and/or easier.
    Do you use the 24-105 a lot for close up work? If not why did you bother with MA? Have a great trip in Galapagos,

  • avatar Tony Z

    17, including the one swimming.

  • avatar Larry Brown

    16, but probably more camouflaged. I just recently have been to California and Oregon and have similar photos. They lay all over each other making it difficult to count them.

  • avatar Chicago Jeff

    Artie – do you notice any difference between the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II and the previous version of the lens

  • avatar Bob Allen

    Love this photo! Such a nice habitat image.

    I count 17 seals. At first, I too saw 16. Something told me there was another, so I downloaded the file, opened in Preview, and enlarged. They sure blend into the rocks & algae well.

  • avatar MikeH

    I count 17.
    Enjoy Galapagos!

  • Hey Arthur, There are 16 harbor seals in the image.