Wind Against Sun Explained … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Wind Against Sun Explained ...


The early Friday morning forecast was less than ideal: clear skies with freshening northwest winds. But it was my last day so I left younger daughter Alissa’s house just after 6am and headed to Heckscher State Park. The puddle in Field 7 was frozen solid and there were no birds anywhere so I headed west to Robert Moses and there was not much going on there either. With the now bright sun the deer were cooperative but the photography was impossible … There were very few gulls in either parking lot so I made second loop and saw a gull dropping a large whelk onto the roadbed to crack it. I grabbed it as bait and headed back to Parking Field 2. With wind against sun photography was not easy; see below to learn why. I did have a few good chances and cashed in on some of those. Photos and lessons on that here soon.

I visited my younger sister Arna at lunchtime and then headed east to the parking lot at the jetty on the east side of Shinnecock Inlet. With the wind and sun together, my goal was to create some head portraits of Herring Gulls with distant blue water backgrounds. Things worked out perfectly.

I woke very early on Saturday to catch the 6:20am Southwest non-stop to Orlando. I will be home well before lunch.

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).

The Streak

Today makes one hundred twenty 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.


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.

This image was created (while I was out of the car on foot) at Robert Moses State Park on the morning of Black Friday, November 24, 2017 with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 328mm), the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite gull photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/1000 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB. Clear skies at 9am.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: extrapolated to zero.

Four AF points to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was placed on the gull’s neck.

Great Black-backed Gull, first winter, in parking lot.

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

Wind Against Sun Explained …

Northwest wind in the morning with clear skies is about as bad as it gets, and the stronger the wind the worse it is. Note that I am almost right on sun angle. Note that with the northwest wind in my face the bird is standing into the wind. If I was a tad to my right and the wind was a bit stronger the bird would have been facing directly away from me and the only shot available would be a perfect butt shot. I.E., not good. I zoomed out BS waited for a nice head turn to create this “parking lot habitat” image. Notice that by zooming out I had pretty much enough depth of field to cover the bird from bill tip to tail tip.

Though this was intended to be “just” an educational image, I rather like it. I like the image design and I like all of the angled lines. And the bird was a handsome specimen.

I will be sharing additional images from this same morning to teach you a few more tricks when you are attempting to deal with wind against sun conditions.

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 …

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.

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