Basket Stanchions and the Witch’s Tree Sunset … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Basket Stanchions and the Witch's Tree Sunset ...


Thursday was a 100% relaxing day spent with family and football and fine food with younger daughter Alissa hosting. I did get some additional work done on the 5D Mark IV User’s Guide. I hope to get out to do some photography on Friday. I fly home very early on Saturday.

If you would like advance notice of a slew of used Fuji and Sony gear coming to the Used Gear page soon — including a Fuji X-T2 camera body — please get in touch with me via e-mail.

If you are interested in joining the Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT at this late date, please shoot me an e-mail or call me on my cell at 863-221-2372 (and leave a message if I do not pick up).

Canon EOS-1DX Mark II

Shock the world price #2/Reduced $800 on 22 NOV 2017!

Mansoor Assadi is offering a lightly used Canon EOS-1DX Mark II professional digital camera body in like-new condition for a BAA record low $3998 (was $4899) with only 23,000 shutter actuations.The camera was recently cleaned and checked by Canon. The sale includes the front body cap, a RRS L-plate, a LensCoat BodyBag, the original box with everything that came in it, and insured ground shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mansoor via e-mail or by phone at 415-559-8027 (Pacific time).

The 1DX Mark II is Canon’s rugged, blazingly fast professional digital camera body. It features an amazing AF system and high quality image files with great dynamic range. It is the choice of Arash Hazeghi, one of the world’s premier birds in flight photographers. artie

The Streak

Today makes one hundred nineteen days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took more than an hour to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Used Gear Sales

Things have been picking up on the Used Gear Page recently after a two-month downturn, especially with long glass. You can see the complete updated listings here.

Recent Sales

  • Chesley Swann sold a Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS Zoom lens (the original 1-4) in excellent condition for the very low price of $529 in mid-November.
  • Mike Lawie sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II body in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $923 and his Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens in excellent condition also for a BAA record low price: $448. Both in mid-November.
  • Gary Wade sold his Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens in near-mint condition for the record-low BAA price of $7449 in mid-November.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Shelly Goldstein sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens (the “old five”) in excellent condition for the $3899 a week after it was listed.
  • Peter Noyes sold his Nikon D-810 Digital SLR Camera Body in excellent condition for $1499 two hours after it was listed.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Shelly Goldstein sold his Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Super Telephoto lens in like-new condition for $9,399 in early November before it was even listed …
  • IPT veteran Duncan Douglas sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens (the “old five”) in early November for #3699.
  • Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS-1DX Mark II professional digital camera body in like-new condition for the BAA record low/shock the world price of $3999 an hour after it was listed.


Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all 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. Those might include system, camera body, accessory, and lens choices and decisions.

Basket Stanchions and the Witch’s Tree Sunset/Optimized version

Be sure to enjoy an enlarged version by clicking on the image.

Basket Stanchions and the Witch’s Tree Sunset …

Sometimes you create a dramatic image knowing in advance that you will have some serious work to do in Photoshop. Such was the case with today’s featured image. What I envisioned as the final image (below) was just too good to pass up.

This image was created at Heckscher State Park, Long Island, NY on the evening of Tuesday, November 21, 2017 with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) and my favorite sunset photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/200 sec. at f/11 in Av mode. K7500. Colorful sunset.

Note: the lens was braced on the top of a chain link fence.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Shutter Button/Spot AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point caught a branch in the middle of the tree.

Trees and basketball stanchions at sunset

Be sure to enjoy an enlarged version by clicking on the image.

Witch’s Tree Sunset Optimized

One of the tricks that I use to juice up the color of sunrise and sunset images during the RAW conversions in DPP 4 is to pull the Color fine-tune dot into the lower right corner towards RED; this really intensifies the sky colors. I brought the TIF file into Photoshop and leveled the image using the Ruler Tool (my personalized keyboard shortcut R). The rest of the image optimization for me was more difficult than it seemed it would be at first glance. I thought that simply circling the basket stanchions with the Patch Toll and then applying Content Aware Fill (default shortcut Shift + Delete) would take care of the right-most basket. It did not. Instead, it made a mess. So I started again using Divide and Conquer principles by breaking the basket stanchion into smaller sections (using the Clone Stamp Tool at 0% hardness ) and then using the Patch Tool on each section. That worked just fine. The two stanchions on our left went away easily with Content Aware fill. I used the Patch Tool to eliminate the bright light on the horizon. That left me with the tree branches in the upper left. I thought about leaving them. I tried Content Aware Fill on the whole thing but again that made a huge mess. Again I worked in smaller sections but the results were quite lumpy so I applied an 80 pixel Gaussian Blur to the whole image (on a Layer), added a Hide-all (Black or Inverse) layer mask, and then painted the effect in (B + D) on those upper left tree branches with brushes of varying opacities. A bit more texture in that area might have been a bit nicer but overall I was happy with the final image.

Last was a fast and dirty NeatImage noise reduction that was badly needed on the deep REDs.

ps: when I showed the final image to my younger daughter Alissa she asked, Africa?” Heckscher is 19 minutes from her home. 🙂

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac or PC/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)

The few things mentioned above (and tons more) are 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. 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 and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • 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.

Recent Fort DeSoto Images

From bottom left clockwise back to center: Great Egret, blasting sunrise highlights; Black Skimmer, winter plumage in pre-dawn light; Roseate Spoonbill foraging; Brown Pelican, juvenile landing; hybrid heron X egret???; American Oystercatcher feeding; Royal Tern, worn juvenile; Great Blue Heron from below.

You can see a composite of more recent images in the DeSoto Sucked This Past Weekend blog post here.

Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT. 3 1/2 days: $1599

Saturday DEC 2 (afternoon session) through the full day on Tuesday DEC 5, 2017. Meet and Greet Introduction on SAT DEC 2, 2017

With no water in Estero Lagoon, Corkscrew Swamp and Anhinga Trail total busts for many years, and Ding Darling NWR managed into oblivion, Fort DeSoto has emerged as the premier bird photography location in the state. Join me in early winter to escape the cold weather and photograph lots of tame terns, gulls, herons, egrets (including Reddish Egret), shorebirds (including and especially Marbled Godwit), Osprey, and Brown Pelican. Long-billed Curlew, Wood Stork, and Roseate Spoonbill all range somewhere between likely and possible.

Learn to get the right exposure every time, to approach free and wild (and often tame!) birds, and to design a pleasing image. And learn the location of my new Fort DeSoto hotspot along with my favorite sunset location (sky conditions permitting). To register call Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 or shoot me an e-mail.

DeSoto IPT Details

This IPT will include four 3 hour afternoon sessions, three 3 1/2 hour morning sessions, three lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. Dinners are on your own so that we can get some sleep.

Your $499 non-refundable deposit can be paid by credit card. Call Jim or Jennifer at the office on Monday with a credit card at 863-692-0906 to register. Your balance must be paid by check once you sign up. The balance check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART) should me mailed to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your balance check. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Canon lens rentals are available on a limited basis: 600 II, 500 II, 400 DO II, and 200-400 f/4 with Internal TC.

If In Doubt …

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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.

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6 comments to Basket Stanchions and the Witch’s Tree Sunset …

  • avatar Noel Heustis

    I think the original was beautiful (could have used a silhouette dunker in there), but I really like the optimized version with the single tree. I see you are up there finding beauty all around you. Be safe coming home. We miss you in Florida.

  • avatar Jake


  • avatar Don M.

    Hi Artie,

    I’m relatively new to wildlife, but I’ve done landscapes for many years.

    I agree the basketball nets needed to go, but I would have kept the second tree in the image. I’m fascinated by the way the two trees interact and the space between them.

    I would have cropped only slightly to move the sun towards the right third. If I wanted a more abstract feel, I might have removed the horizon entirely and created even more drama by placing the trees on an angle.

    Sometimes with landscapes, especially sunsets, I shift to black and white to focus exclusively on compositional strength. I reintroduce colour once I’m comfortable with the composition.

    Food (turkey) for thought,


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Don. I thought about keeping the second tree …

      with love, artie

      ps: I like it quite a bit as presented 🙂

  • Hey Arthur, Neat image here like the mood. The color is very nice.