Here’s Looking Down at You! And another depth-of-field lesson … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Here's Looking Down at You! And another depth-of-field lesson ...

Stuff

We had another great morning at DeSoto on Monday. We enjoyed making lots of tight head portraits of various herons and egrets and enjoyed some great flight photography as well. I am looking forward to finishing up teaching and getting back home on Tuesday afternoon. I fly to Long Island on Thursday to visit younger daughter Alissa and her family and to see my two sisters.

Great IPT News

An amazing nine folks have already committed to the new, expanded UK Puffins and Gannets 2018 IPT with the Bempton Cliffs pre-trip. And all have signed up for the pre-trip. There is just one slot left so if you are interested in joining us, please do not tarry. You can learn more about this great trip here.

The Streak

Today marks sixty-two days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 45 minutes to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), 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.


Booking.Com

I could not secure the lodging that I needed for last year’s 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.



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.

Great-Blue-Heron-from-below-_P3A2367--Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created on the last morning of the 2017 Fort DeSoto Fall IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 560mm), and my favorite heron eyeball photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/16 in Av mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -1.

Upper Large Zone/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The AF system activated four AF points in the vicinity of bird’s right eye and the base of the bill.

Great Blue Heron, from below.

Here’s Looking Down at You!

If you find yourself looking up at a heron or an egret from below, you can make some dramatic images by stopping down, focusing as near to the eyes as possible, and doing your best to design a pleasing image. You need to be patient and wait until the bird is looking right down the lens barrel with both eyes visible. I first came up with this idea about 20 years ago while lying down on the Sanibel Fishing pier and looking up at a Great Egret that was on the railing.

If you were a baitfish and looked up to see the view above, your time might be short …

Depth of Field Note

Note: even at f/16 the distal 1/2 inch of the bill is not even close to being in sharp focus. When do you need to stop down? When you are relatively close to the subject and working near the minimum focusing distance of the lens. Depth of field decreases as the camera to subject distance decreases. And it increases as the camera to subject distance increases. Working at 560mm at about 10 feet with a full frame body the total depth of field is less than 7/8 inch …

eyes-Great-Blue-Heron-from-below-_P3A2367--Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created on the first afternoon of the 2017 Fort DeSoto IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 264mm), and my favorite egret photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -1.

Upper Large Zone/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The AF system activated three AF points that grabbed the back of the bird’s lower neck.

Great Blue Heron, 100% crop of eyes.

Sharpness Question

How does the sharpness of this unsharpened 100% crop look to you?

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Typos

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12 comments to Here’s Looking Down at You! And another depth-of-field lesson …

  • Hey Arthur, The 100% crop looks very sharp.

  • avatar Roger Smith

    Hey Artie, great work on the heron looking down. I’ve never seen an image that so clearly demonstrates their ability to look nearly straight down past their bill in search of prey. Also thanks for the great examples of the 100-400 II + 1.4X + 5DIV combo. That is my main set up and your recent images give me confidence to get to work making great images. Sometimes I get hung up on the slow max aperture, but as always, its all about the light…

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Roger. Working at f/9 is not much of a handicap for two reasons: the amazing four-stop IS allows you to work at slow shutter speeds and the great dynamic range of the 5D IV gives you lots of exposure latitude (though I almost always strive to expose well to the right).

      with love, artie

      ps: I first came up with this perspective a zillion years ago with film 🙂

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie, great image the blue sky background works really well. The sharpness looks fine to me,
    Jake

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Jake. As amazing as the sky color was it looked a bit better after some NIK Color Efex Pro White Neutralizer!

      with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: The 100% crop looks more than sharp enough to me. Wonderful image.

  • avatar Jack D Waller

    No expert for sure but I’ve been noticing, especially depending on the quality of the light that some natural materials never seem to convey sharpness. Sometimes its animal fur, or it may be the petal of a flower or the wing of a white butterfly. Any thoughts?

    Very interesting composition.

    Jack

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jack, You are most correct. At the extreme, white feathers in soft light will rarely show any fine-feather detail at all.

      with love, artie

  • avatar mark harrington

    Great perspective.