Not the Greatest Image Ever But Not Bad For a Bucket List Species … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Not the Greatest Image Ever But Not Bad For a Bucket List Species ...

Oops!

While preparing the blog post with the Ruff image (the converted TIFF and the optimized version that you see below), I accidentally replaced the kittiwake blog post with the Ruff text and photos. First time ever. If anyone has a browser window open with the kittiwake blog post (do not refresh the page!), please copy and paste the whole thing and send it to me via e-mail. Please do not send a screen capture … With a cut and paste, I can pretty easily restore the kittiwake post … If not, it will have fallen by the wayside never to be seen again. Your help would be appreciated.

To avoid duplication, the only thing that I could do was delete the old kittiwake post with the ruff images and text … I did publish the ruff blog post (the one you are looking at if you are reading this), a half day early on the evening of Tuesday June 5, 2018. It should not have been published until the early morning of Wednesday, June 6.

Stuff

Monday was pretty much of a disaster with a stormy, rainy morning (that sent me back to bed at 2:15am) followed by a Ruff-less session in the throw-over blinds on the lek south of Komagvaer. On Tuesday we decided to head up north in search of Temminck’s Stint. We left at 5:30am for the two-hour drive to Sandefjord. We were less than 10 kilometers away when we realized that we were almost out of gas … We found a place to turn around and headed to the nearest gas station in Vardo. I got out of the car to help with our u-turn and was greeted by icy blasts of wind. We gassed up in Vardo and found a museum right outside of the undersea tunnel with some Black-legged Kittiwakes nesting on the window frames. It was a great situation for practicing exposure and fine-tuning your image design skills.

When we were finished, we headed to the local market for a great brunch and coffee for Anita. With the cloudy conditions and the wind from the northwest we headed to the west side of the harbor to look for gulls. I short order we found some large flocks of Herring Gulls and Black-legged Kittiwakes feeding at various fish processing outflows. The flight action was fabulous but we froze as the winds increased. Then it rained and the wind increased some more. Then it snowed and the wind increased even more — to gale force! We kept the van running and took turns resting and getting warm. When we could not take it any longer we headed back to our hotel in Vadso. Amy and I headed to dinner, Anita went out in the freezing cold to try for Ruffs and Red-necked Phalaropes in the big pond. The woman is either committed or needs to be committed 🙂 But give her credit for trying and for here amazing endurance and determination.

For me, the jet lag continues 🙂

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Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog 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 went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Canon EOS 5DS R mega mega-pixel dSLR

Pierre Williot is offering a Canon EOS 5DS R in like-new condition for a very fair $2399.00. A screen protector was applied to the rear LCD as it came out of the box. The sale includes the front cap, the camera strap, a Vello Battery Grip, the battery charger, USB cable,the Instruction Manual, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only is included. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Pierre via e-mail or by text message to 1-716-481-7158 (Eastern Time Zone).

Without an anti-aliasing filter, the 5DS R will–for those with good sharpness techniques–produce large high-quality image files that feature hard to believe detail. You have seen the amazing 100% crops showing fine-feather detail in many older blog posts. And it is not bad for flight photography either! artie

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Pierre Williot is also offering a Canon EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition for a very fair $848.00. A screen protector was applied to the rear LCD when the camera came out of the box. The sale includes the front cap, the camera strap, the battery charger, USB cable,the Instruction Manual, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only is included. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Pierre via e-mail or by text message to 1-716-481-7158 (Eastern Time Zone).

Both Patrick Sparkman and I used and loved the 7D Mark II until about two years ago when we both committed to using full frame Canon bodies. We both made some truly great images with it. Two of my three 2016 Nature’s Best honored entries were created with the 7D II, one still, and one video. One thing is for sure: the 7D Mark II is the greatest value ever in a digital camera body. With a new one going for $1499 you can save a cool $651 by grabbing Pierre’s camera body now.. artie

Ruff-with-wings-raised-_MAI2073-Komagvaer-Valley,-Norway

This image was created at Komagvaer, Norway on June 3, 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 1600. Matrix metering plus about 2/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/6.3. CLOUDY WB at 7:10pm on a very cloudy afternoon.

Center Group (grp) AF/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the bird’s secondaries as originally framed. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Ruff

Ruffs are medium-sized shorebirds that nest in northern Europe. They have been on my photo bucket list since I first saw them in early spring at Pedricktown Marsh near Philadelphia where 4-6 males stopped by regularly in the late 1970s and the early 1980s headed for who-knows-where? In spring, the males grow in incredible boas of colorful feathers about their heads, necks, and breasts. No two are identical. They gather in small groups on relatively tiny patches of tundra to display for the females (reeves). When a reeve lands on the lek lots of fighting ensues. The bird in the image above raised its wings to threaten a white Ruff that landed nearby. Photographing the ruffs (or better yet trying to photograph the ruffs) while covered up by a heavy throw-over blind is a huge challenge as the birds are beyond extremely skittish. We had out best luck (and lots of action) on the day that today’s featured image was created.

Learn lots more about Ruffs and the regularly occurring shorebirds of North American in Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers here (by yours truly).

Ruff-with-wings-raised-&-clean-up-_MAI2073-Komagvaer-Valley,-Norway

This image was created at Komagvaer, Norway on June 3, 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 1600. Matrix metering plus about 2/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/6.3. CLOUDY WB at 7:10pm on a very cloudy afternoon.

Center Group (grp) AF/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the bird’s secondaries as originally framed. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5.

Ruff, with wings raised; this is the optimized image

Tundra Clean-up

Though I liked the original version above, there was some distracting background stuff that bugged me. I used the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush (for the very small distracting elements), and a series of small Quick Masks (refined with a Regular Layer Mask) to eliminate most of those. For others I went with Content Aware Fill. The latter often leaves somewhat ugly and somewhat noticeable irregularities and blotches. To eliminate those in areas with otherwise even-toned backgrounds, I apply a 65-pixel Gaussian Blur, add a Hide-all (Black or Inverse) Layer Mask, and paint in the effect incrementally where needed while making sure to stay well away from the bird. I usually start with a 50% Opacity brush and drop down to 33% opacity brush where additional softening and smoothing is needed.

For this ISO 1600 image I made a careful selection of the bird, feathered it 0.7 pixels, and saved the selection. First I ran my NIK Color EFEX Pro 30-30 recipe on the bird only. Then I re-loaded the selection and used the high level Neat Image techniques detailed in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly. That involves applying less noise reduction to the bird only and more noise reduction to the background after using Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection to protect the bird. In addition, I moved the bird down in the frame just a bit using one of the APTATS tutorials.

DBII-cover

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

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)

Your guessed it, everything mentioned above and tons more 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. While the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. 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 converted nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here. And, yes, I still have many Canon images to work on. 🙂 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.

Your Favorite?

Do you like Image #1 with all it flaws or the clean-ed up version, Image #2? Do let us know why.

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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

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