Puffin Isolationism/Part II of II. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Puffin Isolationism/Part II of II.

What’s Up?

With Jen’s help, I got lots of work done on my 2016 tax return on Saturday and will get lots more done in the coming days as the end is not yet in sight. I did some stretching and core exercises, and enjoyed a late-afternoon swim.

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 forty-one days in a row with a new educational blog post. This one took about two and one-half hours to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time, the plan right 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.

Wanted to Buy

I have a buyer for a 7D Mark II and an old 100-400. If you would like to sell one or both of those items, please contact me via e-mail.

New Listings

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

Ray Stranagan is offering a used Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens in excellent condition for the very low and very fair price of $3999. The sale includes the lens Hood, the lens strap, the lens trunk, the front tough fabric cover, the rear lens cap, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ray via e-mail or by phone at 1-607 353 5080 (Eastern time).

The 300mm f/2.8 autofocus lenses have long been the first choice of the world’s best hawks-in-flight photographers with and without a 1.4X TC. When teamed up with either the 1.4X or 2X TC, it makes a great hand holdable walk-around lens. Grabbing Rays’ lens will save you an incredible $2,100 as new ones are going for $6099 from B&H. I owned and used several versions of the 300 f/2.8 lens for many years until finally replacing my 300 f/2.8 II with the 400 DO II about a year ago. That said, the 300 f/2.8 II represents a great value as the 400 DO II sells new for 6,899.00. artie

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Zoom Lens

Les Greenberg is offering a used Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lens in mint condition for a very low $1599. The sale includes a Kirkphoto LP-2 lens plate, the tripod collar, the lens case, the rear lens cap, the hood, the front lens cap, the original product box, and insured ground shipping to US addresses only. The lens was purchased new in 2010 and used less than a dozen times. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other
arrangements are made.

Please contact Les via e-mail or by phone at 1-216-571-3636 or 1-216-292-7510 after 6:00 PM (Eastern time).

The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens is amazingly versatile. I still own one and have made zillions of great images with it. It works well with both the 1.4X III and the 2X III TCs, even with the 7D II! It is easily hand holdable. It is great for tame birds, landscapes, urbex, indoor stuff likes concerts and recitals, and just about anything you want to photograph. A new 70-200 II currently sells for $1,949 so you can save a cool $350 by buying Les’s mint copy asap. artie

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Zoom Lens

Lisa Tri is offering a used Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Zoom lens the original IS version) in near-mint condition for the BAA record low price of $898. The sale includes the lens, the front and rear lens caps, the hood, the tripod mount ring, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Lisa via e-mail or by phone at 1-509-833-2622 (Pacific time).

I owned and used this, the original IS version of the incredibly versatile 70-200 for birds and wildlife and landscapes and Urbex for many years with both teleconverters. It was great indoors for events like granddaughter Maya’s dance recitals. A new copy of the 70-200 II currently sells for $1,949 so you can save a small fortune by grabbing Lisa’s lens. artie


Booking.Com

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.

Revamped

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 become a much better bird photographer, 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.

Atlantic-Puffin-striding-on-rock-_W5A3662-islands-off-Seahouses,-UK

This image was created on a morning landing on Staples Island 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 puffin photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/9 (not a mistake …) in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -7.

The AF point that was two rows up and to to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected point was placed on the bird’s upper breast almost directly below (but slightly behind) the bird’s eye. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #1: Atlantic Puffin taking a walk.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Puffin Isolationism/Part II of II

In yesterday’s blog post here, we discussed the strategies that you can use to isolate cliff top-dwelling seabirds. We talked about getting very close to your subject (Image #2) or choosing and using a relatively long focal length, often with a teleconverter (Images #s 1 & 2). Again, long focal lengths always make isolating the subject easier. We noted that the biggest key to success is finding a good situation is to find a single puffin sitting on a rock that either rises above the surrounding rocks or is completely isolated from other rocks (Again, Images #s 1 & 2). With each of today’s featured images I chose my perspective carefully so that I could come up with distant backgrounds that were perfectly clean. The rock in Image #1 is one of my very favorites for one obvious reason and one not-so-obvious reason. Obviously it offers a relatively distant green background. And not so obviously the puffins love it; they are constantly landing and taking off from and socializing on this single rock.

Remember, you can almost always improve your bird photography by being on the lookout for a teed-up bird on a nice perch with a distant background. If you so choose.

Atlantic-Puffin-head-portrait-_W5A3653-islands-off-Seahouses,-UK

This image was 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 puffin photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/9 (not a mistake …) in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -7.

The AF point one row up and two to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected point was placed on the top right corner of the orange rosette pretty much on the same plane as the bird’s eye. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #2: Atlantic Puffin head portrait

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Your Call

Which of today’s featured images is the strongest? Be sure to let us know why.

The Image Processing

The image processing for both of today’s images was almost identical to the way that I worked the image featured in yesterday’s blog post here. Both had the WHITEs with RGB values in the high 240s. To simplify things, I copied the recipe from yesterday’s puffin image and pasted it into today’s image before hitting Command D to convert the RAW files. The major difference was with Image #1 where I selected the bird using the Quick Selection Tool. Then I refined the selection with my latest new friend, the Lasso Tool (in both + and – modes). After feathering and saving the selection I used the techniques detailed in The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly to apply a bit of noise reduction to the puffin and lots more noise reduction to the background.

The 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

Dates and costs for the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT will be announced here in about a week. If you would like advance notice, please shoot me an e-mail. This trip will include a pre-trip to Bempton Cliffs.

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.


desoto-fall-card-a-layers

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.


desoto-fall-card-b

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.


fort-desoto-card

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.

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Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

3 comments to Puffin Isolationism/Part II of II.

  • Hey Arthur, Image number one is the strongest. The raised blurred foot giving a sense of motion and the lovely green background. Love the title by the way.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks John. The title was a bit of a stretch 🙂 But much more interesting than simply “Isolating Puffins.” So thanks for appreciating my cleverness 🙂

      with love, artie

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie, I like both of the images but neither of really stands out as my favourite.

    Funny. I like them both. A lot.

    With the first image I (personally) would have preferred to have the foot without motion blur.

    Funny. I like the motion blur because it implies motion. Let’s what other think, if anything.

    And there is something a little distracting to me about the dark green banding in the background.

    I far prefer the faint banding to a pure green background as it adds a bit of interest. But in truth, I did not even notice the banding until you mentioned it. Making the background pure green would be a bit of work but with this image, I much prefer the softly banded BKGR.

    For both of those reasons I think that stopping down a 1/3 stop was a mistake. However I am sure you will tell us why it was not a mistake.

    Of course. The d-o-f behind the subject (at 40 feet for a full frame camera at 1000mm) at f/9 is .12 feet. At f/8 it is .11 foot. So the difference is .01 foot. That is less than 1/4 inch … That said f/9 will bring up the background a bit, but not very much.

    Do you feel that a shutter speed of 1/400 sec. would have eliminated the motion blur on the foot?

    With image 2 I would have preferred a little more depth of field.

    What are you seeing that is not sharp enough?

    The shadows look quite dark on the back of the bird’s neck, was the light a little harsh and could you not be right on sun angle?

    #1: There are no shadows on the back of the neck. The blacks are just a bit darker there.

    #2: That it was cloudy bright seems obvious to me. I’d love to hear what others think on that.

    #3: I am a firm believer that the light has some direction in all but the most bleak days. That is why I was right on sun angle (or what would have been sun angle) had the sun been out.

    Great images, what is your opinion on the motion blur on the foot in image 1 and the DOF in image 2?

    As above, I like the motion blur in Image #1 and am not seeing anything unsharp in Image #2 (and thus see no need for more d-o-f there).

    I am confused as to why you say “great images” after going into great detail to explain what you do not like about them.

    Jake

    ps: First off, Jake, thanks for commenting. I do value each comment that is made. But just as I have done on BPN (and on other online critiquing sites prior to that) for several decades, I will defend my work and my choices. But that only 100% of the time. In the same vein, when folks make good points, I thank them and if possible, act upon their suggestions.

    With love, artie