A Most Happy Camper … And face photography tips « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Most Happy Camper ... And face photography tips

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 πŸ™‚

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 twenty 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 on the boat on the way to Staple Island on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 220mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +3 stops off the light grey sky: 1/1600 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +1.

Center AF Point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell on the inside corner of Tony’s right eye. This image was cropped a bit from the left and the right and a bit more from above.

Happy camper Tony Zielinski

Photographing Faces on Cloudy Days on an Open Boat

Photographing faces on cloudy days on an open boat is a great way to learn and have fun. Most times you will wind up underexposing your images quite a bit as the white sky fools the meter. Try this approach for light skinned folks: meter the gray sky, open up three full stops, set that manually, and then make a single exposure. If you have any blinkies try a faster shutter speed by one-third increments until no more blinkies. For dark skinned folks you will need to go even lighter. Either way, having a few blinkies on white clothing will usually not be too terrible.

Take care with your selected AF point. With a rocking boat it can be difficult to get the selected AF point on a corner of the eye or the bridge of the subject’s nose (where it should be).

As you can imagine by Tony’s beatific, serene smile, he is one happy camper.

Unsolicited via e-mail from Tony

First, an e-mail to the IPT Group

Hi Everyone, I’m finally back in Toronto after touring Scotland and Iceland (post-IPT). I had a really great experience on the IPT. I learned a ton (often including old habits to break), and I MUST spend some time now documenting as much of what I learned as possible so that don’t forget most of it before my next opportunity to get out there with a camera. It was a great a pleasure to meet you all and get you know you a little. It was great meeting people who are so passionate about birds, nature, and photography. I hope that we can keep in touch.

I’m really impressed with how you guys all deal with such a huge volume of photos. I am still swimming through the thousands of photos that I didn’t delete while we were in the UK, and it may take me a while longer before i can isolate the 5 to share and for Arthur to critique. I’ll commit to getting that done in the next week or two (before the eclipse), or else it will never get done. Again, thank you all; that was an amazing week! Best regards, Tony

Next,an e-mail to the me

Hi Arthur, I wanted again to say thank you for everything. That Puffin IPT trip was fantastic. At times it was overwhelming, and sometimes the lessons seemed repetitive, but that’s exactly what I needed to learn the skills and retain the knowledge so that it wasn’t immediately forgotten during my flights to Iceland and then home.

Two of the birds that I didn’t get proper shots of in the UK, fulmars and oystercatcher, I found in abundance in Iceland. I was able to apply what I learned and get some good shots of them there. I got some somewhat-ok-shots of a whimbrel too. I know that they migrate through Toronto but I had never seen one before. Additionally, we found a place in Iceland where the puffins were nesting right next to the path at the top of a cliff, so my daughter and wife were able to experience the joy of seeing the puffins up-close. I had described that to them many times by e-mail while on the IPT! It was one of the highlights of their trip!

I would like to take you up on your offer of the photo critique, and I’m going to sign up for another IPT next year, perhaps one in Florida (that way I can bring my wife and daughter along so they can visit relatives, and it won’t feel as if I’m vacationing on my own.) Perhaps they might like to join the IPT too, given how much they’re both starting to enjoy photography.

Anyway, I can imagine how jet-lagged you must be, with the amount of travel you do. (I am amazed at your energy and vigor – i am completely bagged right now and ready to sleep for a week, and I wasn’t carrying half what you carried every day.) I hope you get lots of rest before your Galapagos trip. I have several weeks of your blog to read through, so I will catch up on all the goings-on on your Alaska trip, and trust i’ll also be seeing many of your photos from the Puffin trip πŸ™‚

It was a real pleasure meeting you, Artie. Thanks again for everything. Best, Tony

My Reply to Tony

Hi Chris πŸ™‚ I mean Hi Tony, (sorry, that’s an inside joke …)

Thanks for the e-mail πŸ™‚ I am in the middle of answering your previous one but have a bit more work to do before I get to that one; you inspired me finish my third edit of the UK Puffins IPT folder. I eventually got down to only 274 images for the entire trip. Thanks for your kind words regarding the IPT. Thy are greatly appreciated. Many folks need repetitive πŸ™‚ Whimbrels are not easy in Florida but I got some great stuff on them in San Diego last year; my three faves are attached; sorry, I could not pick just one …

Your puffin experience with your wife and daughter sounded wonderful. My late wife, Elaine, loved the birds (but she did not photograph). I look forward to receiving your images for critiquing. I hope to meet your wife and daughter either in FL or on an IPT somewhere.
Sounds great. I look forward to meeting them. As far as my jet-lag, I still feel whipped here and there. I did sleep eight hours last night with just one pit stop so I am doing better πŸ™‚

Thanks again for your kind words. Please know that when I say that you are one of the nicest, sweetest people I have ever met, that I was not BS-ing you. Your smile and your helpful, easy-going attitude and manner made every minute that we spent together a pleasure. And your help was greatly appreciated as well.

Hey, here is some long-range food for thought β€” I am looking to do my amazing Galapagos trip one more time in AUG 2019 and I am in search of Happy Campers. It might make the trip of a lifetime for the three of you. Just a thought. For this year’s trip Juan, my great guide, was able to add a third great island to visit twice making three in all. We should be able to duplicate that in 2019.

with much love, artie

ps: I hope that you did not get any great images of Black-tailed Godwit. I went to Iceland just for that bird and pretty much struck out.

(Note: Tony send me several nice images of a bird that he could not identify; I will share his image of a lovely juvenile Black-tailed Godwit in a blog post soon.

If In Doubt

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Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store πŸ™‚

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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