Razorbill Editing Practice/Your Call … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Razorbill Editing Practice/Your Call ...

What’s Up?

I took another break from taxes on Wednesday; I get back to work on them today. I swam in the morning and headed into town to run a variety of errands at 1:30. I was glad to learn that Ivan Kuraev’s 100-400 II and his 5D Mark IV sold within days of being listed.

Please remember that the blog is intended to be interactive. The more folks who comment the more everyone learns, including you. And me.

Canon 100-400 II On Sale

The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens is on sale right now from B&H for only $2049!

The Streak

Today marks thirty-nine days in a row with a new educational blog post. This one took about 30 minutes to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time, the plan now is to break the current record streak of (I think) four hundred eighty something … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Everybody’s Doing It…

Everybody’s buying and selling used gear on the BAA Used Gear Page. Sales recently have been through the roof. Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They recently folded. And eBay fees are now in the 13% range. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar at the top of each 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.

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


I recently updated the IPT page. If you doubt that I am really slowing down, click here to see the meager IPT schedule. Right now there are only two US-based IPTs on the schedule. Best news is I now have two folks registered 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 in person, consider joining me on either the Fort DeSoto IPT in late September or the San Diego IPT in January, 2018. With four folks 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. Scroll down for details. Click here for complete 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.

These two images (made about two seconds apart) were created on an afternoon landing on Inner Farnes on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. I used 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 -1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 7.

The AF point that was one to the right and two rows up from the center AF point/AI Servo/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure (each as framed).

Razorbill images for editing …

Razorbill Editing Practice

Your Call …

Simply scroll up and down to compare the two images. Would you keep one or both? Which do you think is the stronger image, 3622, the upper photo, or 3624, the bottom image? Why? What do you like about each image? What don’t you like?

Note: the underscore in _W5A indicates that the image was captured in Adobe RGB. The W5A identifies the specific camera body that was used. The next four digits are the file number. I have long said that using four digits for the file number would make much more sense.

Image Design Question

Why did I pick an upper AF point?

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. Web orders only. 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/openings 4.

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.

The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Register soon so that you can be assured of a room at the IPT hotel.

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 :).

13 comments to Razorbill Editing Practice/Your Call …

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie, I like but of these images but I much prefer 3624. I think that the shapes and curves on the head and bill and much clearer in image 3624. I also like that the razorbill is looking into the empty space whereas in image 3622 I think this space is wasted and I think would have been better with a tighter composition. I think your choice to stop down to f/9 was a good one because it shoes all the detail and texture of the rock on which the bird is sat. It also kept the whole bird in sharp focus.

    • avatar Jake

      You picked an upper af point because at first the bird’s head was higher in the frame (as seen in image 3622) the bird then moved it’s head down (for image 3624).

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jake (not Jake Levin), Thanks for playing. Do understand that f/9 is only stopped down 1/3 stop from wide open (f/8) with the 500 and the 2X and thus it did not help to “show all the detail and texture of the rock on which the bird sat nor did it help to keep the whole bird in sharp focus.”

      Two things did those:

      1- Accurate focus on the plane of the bird’s eye.
      2- The depth of field that comes naturally with distance.

      As for a tighter composition, one advantage of the 5D IV is that sharp images are quite crop-able. The two images in this exercise represent the untouched RAW (CR2) files.

      with love, artie

      ps: good analysis of the AF point issue.

  • avatar Jake Levin

    Keep the second image. You see the eye perfectly and the entire head is well within the focal plane. You also get to see the stripe on the bill. The first one…I’d only have kept it if I didn’t have the second one!

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Between them, Kevin Hice and Pat Fishburne express my thoughts exactly.

  • avatar Jay

    I would keep both, but will show others first image because of HA — looking in the direction of the camera results in greater connection with the viewer.

  • avatar Jay

    I’d keep both. My preference is for 3622 because of the head angle. That said, I like both.

  • Hey Arthur, I like image 3622. The direct stare is nice, the background is great in both images and the rock perch is nice as well. You picked a higher autofocus point to get the bird higher in the frame.

  • Hi Artie, I like them both, so if they were mine, I woud keep both. For me the stronger image is the top one with the bird looking at the viewer (although that might anthropomorphism – it may have a better view of us in the lower image). I like the green background.

  • avatar kevin Hice

    Good Morning Artie, Normally I would have kept the bottom frame because of head angle. In this case I like both images .I like the top image because it shows the facial stripes and my eye is drawn to that. As for the sensor if you had used a lower sensor point the bird would be too low in the frame .The bottom bird would have its bill almost to the bottom of the frame.Also wouldn’t have shown as much of the rock it would be cut off more. Gives some room for the front composition wise.

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    Both images are great, but I like the second one better because you can see the eye.