Important Blog News. Wanted to Buy Info. A Selective Color Tutorial. And Both Not Too Bad … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Important Blog News. Wanted to Buy Info. A Selective Color Tutorial. And Both Not Too Bad ...


I worked on several blog posts on Sunday, exercised and stretched a lot, and enjoyed my swim. Tomorrow the plan is taxes, taxes, taxes.

Folks who are have gotten into comparing the two Razorbill images below will surely find the BPN thread with the same two photos to be quite interesting. See here. At this moment, I am vacillating between the two as my favorite …

Important Blog Subscription News

Many folks have been e-mailing recently stating that they have not been receiving blog notices via e-mail after having received them for years. They are actually still subscribed. But, since we went to a new server, we have been having problems with certain e-mail providers, most notably with Our understanding is that they, and several others including,, (and possibly others) have black-listed us for no reason whatsoever. 🙂 We have been aware of and have been working on this issue but there is a chance that the situation may never be fixed. Actually, the exact same problem has persisted for several years on BirdPhotographer’s.Net. My solution there was to open a free gmail account and get in the habit of checking it every day. I still do just that so that I can get my BPN notices and respond to the various threads that I am following.

At present, there are two viable solutions:

1- You can open a free gmail account and subscribe at that address. You will get your BAA blog notifications there without a problem.

2- You can save the blog address as a favorite and get in the habit of visiting every day. I should be posting every day for at least the next year … And beyond that as well. Barring any serious health or internet problems.

I am glad that folks miss getting their BIRDS AS ART Blog notices. If you have stopped getting yours and use a different e-mail provider than the four listed above, please click here to shoot me an e-mail. Please be sure to let us know your e-mail provider.

Wanted to Buy Service

If you would like to post a wanted to buy item, I will be glad to run it on the blog provided that you agree to pay me a 2 1/2 per cent finder’s fee if I am successful, 2 1/2% of the what you wind up paying for the item. To list an item, please click only here and let me know what lens or camera body you are looking for.

Those wishing to sell a wanted to by item, please click here to shoot me an e-mail. Once I get your e-mail I will send you the Items for Sale Info e-mail. If you agree to all the usual terms we will work together to determine a fair price and then I will put you in touch with the prospective buyer. If a sale is not completed within two weeks, you agree that I will list the item for sale in a blog post and on the Used Gear page. In addition, you agree not to sell the item to the person who originally wanted to buy the item. As always, we rely on the honor system. Once the seller cashes the check they will pay me 5% of the original asking price. Note: the cost of insured Ground Shipping via major courier is always paid by the seller.

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-two days in a row with a new educational blog post. This one took well more than three hours to prepare. What’s wrong with me? 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.


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 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 many 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 an afternoon landing at Inner Farnes on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. This one was made two seconds before Image #2 below. 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 seabird 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 (as framed). The selected AF point was placed on the base of the bird’s bill, directly below the right eye, on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

Image #1 (3622): Razorbill looking toward us

Not Too Bad …

In the recent Razorbill Editing Practice/Your Call … blog post here, I asked that folks choose the stronger image and to let us know what they liked or did not like about each image. Everyone who responded did a great job:

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

Kevin Hice: 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 those.

Clive Bushnell: I like them both. If they were mine, I would keep both. For me the stronger image is the top one with the bird looking at the viewer. And I like the green background in both.

John Mack: I like image 3622, the top one. 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.

Jay #1: I would keep both, but would show others the first image because of head angle; looking in the direction of the camera results in greater connection with the viewer.

Jay #2: I’d keep both. My preference is for 3622 because of the head angle. That said, I like both.

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. I’d have only kept the first one it if I didn’t have the second one!

Jake (not Jake Levin): I like both but much prefer 3624. I think that the shapes and curves on the head and bill and much clearer in that image. I also like that the razorbill is looking into the empty space whereas in image 3622, that space is wasted. I think it would have been better with a tighter composition.

artie: I like and kept both but like the first one just a bit better because you have a great look at the triangular pattern formed by the stripes. I love the background and the perch is not bad either. The diagonal in the second image creates more tension. Note to Jake (not Jake Levin): I cropped the first image to tighten it up as you suggested. Both images feature sharp, discernable eyes.

These two were my keepers from about a 15-image sequence.

Razorbills are Tough to Photograph!

Razorbills are tough to photograph. The cliffs that they like and nest on are often cluttered with birds and splattered by whitewash. Their dark eyes set against their black heads are a challenge to deal with. Lastly, chances of getting one on a clean perch with a distant background are few and far between. You can learn to spot such situations (as recently discussed in the Puffin Isolationism blog posts here and here) by joining me on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT (with a Bempton Cliffs pre-trip). Expect a formal announcement here in about a week. Please e-mail if for advance info if you are seriously interested.

This image was created on the same afternoon landing at Inner Farnes as the image above. 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 seabird 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 (as framed). The selected AF point was placed on the back of the Razorbill’s neck, on pretty much on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

Image #2 (3624): Razorbill looking down and ready to squabble …

The Image Optimizations

With the WHITE RGB values in both RAW files in the high 240s, I reduced the brightness about 1/3 stop during the RAW conversion in DPP 4. I went with my usual -1 on the Highlights slider and +1 on the Shadow slider. Please note the recent pattern: when working with black and white birds like puffins and Razorbills I push the RGB values for my WHITEs to the mid- to upper 240s (rather than to my usual mid-230s). If you know why I do that, please leave a comment.

My Selective Color Adjustments for the two Razorbill images

Making Selective Color Adjustments

Learning to make Selective Color adjustments can really improve your images. Once I had the TIFFs in Photoshop, my main concern was with the BLACKs. They were a bit too RED and a bit too warm. To correct the problem I made the following Selective Color adjustments on a separate layer as follows:

1-I selected the BLACK channel from the dropdown menu.

2-I moved the CYAN slider to +2 to reduce the REDs. Be sure to be gentle here.

3-I moved the YELLOW slider to -4 to reduce the YELLOW and cool down the BLACKs a bit. Again be sure to be gentle here.

4- I moved the Black Slider to +2 to deepen the BLACKs.

While you are working, you can toggle the layer eyeball on and off to check your results.

Next was some Eye Doctor work to brighten the irises and darken the pupils. Judiciously. Last, I selected the faces with the Quick Selection Tool and applied a Contrast Mask to selectively sharpen them.

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.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

Everything mentioned above is covered in detail in the 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. 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 along with detailed info on making Selective Color adjustments. 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.

The two most recent MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in the new guide:

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading, can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

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. Web orders only. 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 :).

4 comments to Important Blog News. Wanted to Buy Info. A Selective Color Tutorial. And Both Not Too Bad …

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie, I really like these images, I think that they are even better after the crop. Have you gone off your nik 30/30 recipe for black and white birds, or would it not have worked with these razorbill images?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jake, Glad that you like them; I do too. Only Image #2 was cropped, that just a bit. Here is a good one. I remember that I used my NIK 30-30 on only one of these images. After the fact I could not tell on which one … So, there may be a big, possibly time-saving lesson there …

      Can you tell which one got Nikked?

      With love, artie

      • avatar Jake

        I am tempted to say that it was image #2 that received the treatment, because of the bluer colour on the neck and also because of the increased contrast/detail on the rock perch and black feet. Which was it?

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks Jake. The NIK was applied only to the bird. But I think that you are right. But the difference is obviously not huge 🙂

          with love, artie