Long Lens Still-Life Technique « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Long Lens Still-Life Technique

Stuff

Blog regular and IPT veteran Ramona Boone hired me for a morning session at Gilbert in hopes of brushing up her understanding of working in Manual mode, Though Thursday morning paled in comparison to Wednesday morning we had lots of good opportunities for me to teach exposure and for her to learn and practice exposure. Thanks to several folks, most especially Ivan Sebborn who e-mailed alerting me to several typos in the The Nikon Autofocus Focus Fine-tune e-Guide.

The shoulder is coming along slowly. I will be heading out to photography every morning that I am here. I fly home on Tuesday.

The Streak

Today makes two hundred fifty days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about an hour prepare including the time spent on the image optimization. With all of my upcoming free time (or not…), the plan right now is to try to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Patrick Sparkman saved $350 on a recent purchase!



Booking.Com

Several folks on the Gatorland IPT used the Booking.Com link below and got great rates and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. 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 questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

Mallard-speculum-_DSC3783--Gilbert-Riparian-Preserve,-Phoenix,-AZ

This image was created at the Riparian Preserve at Gilbert Water Ranch on my second day in Phoenix, April 4, 2018. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering +1/3 stop as originally framed: 1/8 sec. at f/16 was confirmed by eliminating blinkies. AUTO1 WB at 8:30am in the shade.

AF-S in Live View with the square on the lower right corner of the blue speculum.

AF Focus peaking does not apply when in Live View as you are focusing off contrast on the sensor. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Mallard, speculum of sleeping drake

Long Lens Still-Life Technique

How I Created the Mallard Speculum Still-Life

  • 1- Positioned the tripod with the camera at the minimum focusing distance of the lens, about 4.4 meters, while striving to keep the back of the camera parallel to the plane of the subject.
  • 2- Set f/16 to ensure enough depth of field given the curvature of the duck’s body.
  • 3- Made several test exposures to eliminate blinkies.
  • 4- Turned on Live View and 5-second timer.
  • 5- Locked up both tripod knobs and the tightened the tripod collar all to the max.
  • 6- Pushed the shutter button three times.

Pro Contrast

Because this image was so flat I added some Pro Contrast to my NIK Color Efex Pro 30/30 recipe and experimented with the sliders. Wow, it really brought the image to life but the WHITEs were too bright in two spots so I added a Regular Layer Mask and painted those hotspots away.

The Nikon Autofocus Focus Fine-tune e-Guide

There is lots of mis-information out there on Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune. Working with Patrick Sparkman, we developed a way of using that feature most effectively. Patrick was on a roll and perfected a method for using the Focus Peaking feature available only on the D850 to quickly and accurately micro-adjust all lenses and TC-Es with the D-850. Both Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune and D850 Focus Peaking AF Fine-tune require a LensAlign Mark II kit so that you can obtain accurate results. I learned recently that the Nikon D500 DSLR and the older D7500 both offer Automatic AF Fine-tune.

Folks who use one of my links to purchase a Nikon D850, a Nikon D5 DSLR Camera (Body Only, Dual XQD Slots), a Nikon D500 DSLR , or any Nikon gear totaling more than $2,000 will receive the new guide free.

IPT Stuff

All IPTs include an introductory briefing before the IPT begins so you know what to expect, frequent in-the-field instruction and guidance (priceless), image editing and small group Photoshop instruction during and after lunch. Breakfasts are on your own so that we can get in the field early. Lunches are on me. Dinners are on your own as well so that we can get to bed as the days in spring will be long.

Rides with the leader are available on a limited basis for $50/day.

Registering for an IPT

To register for an IPT call Jim or Jen in the office at 863-692-0906 from Monday morning through Friday lunch with your credit card in hand to leave your $500 non-refundable deposit. Balances may not be paid by credit card so you will be asked to send a check for your balance along with the signed paperwork that you will find here.

Fort-DeSoto-Card

Spring at DeSoto is often magical

DeSoto IPT #1 Sunrise: 7:07 am. Sunset: 6:22pm.

3 1/2 DAYS: SUN 15 APR thru the morning session on WED 18 APR: $1599. Limit 5 photographers.

You must purchase a season Parking Pass in advance for early entry. Click here and scroll down for info. If you are not a local, the six month pass if fine. Best to order by mail. Join me to photograph a wide variety of birds of the shore including pelicans, gulls, terns, sandpipers, oystercatchers, heron, egrets, and night-herons. Many in full breeding plumage. Most are ridiculously tame. Osprey likely. Learn to get the right exposure, flight photography techniques, my secret DeSoto locations, how to see the best situations (nobody is better at that than me), and how to make great images in extremely cluttered situations. Enjoy some great sunrises and sunsets.

Which will offer better opportunities, Desoto #1 or DeSoto #2? I have no idea. Both have the potential to be great.

Gatorland-Card

Tame birds in breeding plumage and heron and egret chicks are great fun.

Gatorland IPT #2. Sunrise: 6:48am. Sunset: 7:58pm.

3 1/2 DAYs: THURS 26 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1599. Limit 5 photographers.

(2 1/2 DAY option) FRI 27 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1199.

Must purchase Gatorland Photographers Pass. Click here for details. All early entry. Late stays Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Gatorland IPT #2 should have lots of chicks, and lots of birds in breeding plumage. We will get to photograph Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, and Wood Stork. The Cattle Egrets in full breeding plumage will be present in good numbers. Learn my Gatorland strategy, to get the right exposure, flight photography techniques, my secret Gatorland spots, how to see the best situations (nobody is better at that than me), and how to make great images in extremely cluttered situations.

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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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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 :).

5 comments to Long Lens Still-Life Technique

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Hi Jesse, I love you too. My understanding is that for the best results you should have your WHITEs 2 stops over-exposed …

    with love, artie

  • avatar Adam

    Extraordinary detail and the iridescence is strikingly reproduced. It’s amazing what results can be obtained with the D850 in capable hands.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. I should have mentioned that few would have stopped to photograph a duck sleeping peacefully under a tree 🙂

      with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    I love this image, Artie. Mallard drakes are a wonderful example of a comment you made in a recent blog post about photographing common birds. If they were rare, people would spend thousands of dollars to get an opportunity to photograph these beautiful greenhead ducks with the pretty wing specula.