Point, Counterpoint. Life Goes On. Or Not … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Point, Counterpoint. Life Goes On. Or Not ...

Stuff

On Sunday we pretty much relaxed day and had dinner with our new farmer friend Kristian. On Monday morning Anita and I left the hotel at 3:20am to try again for lekking ruffs. We were doing pretty good until Martin came along; story to follow … You will love it.

The UK Puffins and Gannets IPT is slowly coming more into focus …

This Just In

On Sunday afternoon Amy and I returned to Ekkeroy, the site of the carnage below. A beautiful white chick about ten days old fell out of its nest and landed with a splat about a foot from Amy’s left boot. It was alive. But only for about two minutes. Talk about life and death struggles. The parent bird looked at the chick for a few minutes, flew off, and never returned.

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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.

New Listings

Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens

Ray Maynard is offering a Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS lens (the original version) in near-mint condition for the BIRDS AS ART record-low price of $2349.00. The sale includes the lens trunk, the front leather cover, the rear lens cap, the lens strap, and insured shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your lens will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ray via e-mail or by phone at 1-731-300-4141 (after noon/Central time).

The older version of the Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS is a super-sharp lens that is great for hand held flight and action photography and great as well with both teleconverters for portraits and for flight. It has long been the favorite focal length of the worldโ€™s best hawk photographers. Rayโ€™s near-mint package is priced to sell immediately. artie

Canon EF 1.4X III Teleconverter

Ray Maynard is also offering a Canon 1.4X III teleconverter in near-mint condition for the low price of $299.00. The sale includes the original product box, the front and rear lens caps, the pouch, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ray via e-mail or by phone at 1-731-300-4141 (after noon/Central time).

As folks know, I always travel with two 1.4X teleconverters because they are an important part of what I do every day. artie

Canon EF 2X III Teleconverter

Ray Maynard is also offering a Canon 2X III teleconverter in near-mint condition for $329.00. The sale includes the front and rear lens caps, the pouch, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ray via e-mail or by phone at 1-731-300-4141 (after noon/Central time).

As folks know, when I used Canon, I used the 2X teleconverter on about 40% of the images that I made with f/4 super-telephoto lenses. artie

Three Nikon D850s Available Right Now!

Contact Steve below to get yours tomorrow.

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 DeSoto IPT used the Booking.Com link below, 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 photographers 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.

Black-legged-Kittiwake-dying-chick-_BUP1665-Ekkeroy,-Norway

This image was created on June 17, 2018 at Ekkeroy, Norway. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 270mm) with my back-up Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/320 sec. at f/7.1. NATURAL AUTO WB at 6:02pm in the shade of the cliff on a sunny afternoon.

One up and two to the right of the center AF point/Single Point/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was placed on the bird’s right eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

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

Image #1: Black-legged Kittiwake, a days old tiny chick dying

Lens Choice

In the previous blog post here, I used the tripod-mounted Nikon 600 to create the two kittiwake chicks in the nest panos. Two days later I made the same walk with only the 80-400 VR because I was tired and being a bit lazy. (I could have worn my Xtra-hand vest and brought both …) But as I have said here often, it is often fun to take a walk without your big gun and see what you can come up with. I do those walks most often with an intermediate telephoto zoom lens, the Nikon 80-400 now that I am using Nikon gear, or the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II. Note the close focusing advantage of the Canon lens: just over 3 feet (.98 meters) as compared to just under 6 feet (1.57 meters) for the 80-400 VR. On Saturday afternoon, my lens decision turned out to be a great one; if I had taken only the 600 it would have been impossible to photograph the three chicks from above … And when I was done, I walked along the shore near the car-park and did some scenics and some tight detail shots of small, old, weathered fishing boats.

Your Call …

What do you think is the right/best thing to do when you find a small, dying chick that has fallen out of its nest?

Black-legged-Kittiwake-dead-chick-_BUP1673-Ekkeroy,-Norway

This image was also created on June 17, 2018 at Ekkeroy, Norway. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 240mm) with my back-up Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering at zero: 1/320 sec. at f/9. NATURAL AUTO WB at 6:26pm in the shade of the cliff on a sunny afternoon.

One up and three to the right of the center AF point/Single Point/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was placed on the right side of the bird’s face just to our left of the base of the bill. Click on the image to see a larger version.

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

Image #2: Black-legged Kittiwake, a week-old dead chick

The Discoveries

I discovered the tiny dying chick on the beach right as I arrived at the main part of the colony. Note the tiny wing stubs. I was not surprised as life on the cliffs is harsh indeed. But I was surprised that I spotted it because it was so perfectly camouflaged. After a few more steps I discovered the fluffy white week old chick seen in Image #2. When I shared my finds with Amy and Anita, Anita, who had arrived first, showed us the much larger dead chick that she had found. Tough indeed.

Many chicks of all bird species die of starvation either because of a lack of food or because they are out-competed by their nest-mates. The latter especially occurs with the runts, the smallest chick in the nest. The last bird to hatch is often smaller and unable to secure enough food to survive. At times with various species the runt may even been thrown out of the nest (or off the cliff?) by its older, larger, and stronger siblings.

Even healthy chicks may simply fall out of a nest. This may happen in their eagerness to get fed when one of the parents returns to the nest to feed. The larger gull species — nearly all of which nest on the ground — have red spots near the end on their yellow bills. When their chicks see the red spot on the adult’s bill, they are inherently programmed to start pecking at it. The stimulates the parent birds to regurgitate partially digested fish (or other food items) into the youngster’s throat.

Kittiwakes and other cliff-nesting birds have evolved without having a red pecking spot; adult kittiwakes have plain yellow bills. This is an adaptation so that the hungry chicks will not begin pecking at the red spot when a parent lands at the nest. This would greatly increase the chances of a chick falling out of its cliff nest.
With the kittiwakes, the red is inside the parent’s mouth. When the parent bird lands, it faces somewhat away from the sea and when it is in a good position to feed, it opens its bill exposing its red gape thus reducing the chances of a chick falling out of the nest.

Of Note

Kittiwakes lay from one to three speckled eggs. They take about 27 days to hatch. And the chicks take about 40 days to fledge, that is, to fly away from the nest. It is a long tough road …

Black-legged-Kittiwake-dead-chick-_BUP1686-Ekkeroy,-Norway

This image was created on June 17, 2018 at Ekkeroy, Norway. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens )at 220mm) with my back-up Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering at zero: 1/320 sec. at f/9. NATURAL AUTO WB at 6:29pm in the shade of the cliff on a sunny afternoon.

One up and three to the left of the center AF point/Single Point/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was placed on the lower right of the chick’s face. Click on the image to see a larger version.

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

Image #3: Black-legged Kittiwake, a two week-old dead chick

Photographing Dead and Dying Birds

As with humans, death and dying is part of the natural process. I have always enjoyed photographing dying and dead birds, whether they be chicks or adults. I try to depict both their fragility and their beauty. In Image #3 note that the primary and secondary fight feathers are growing in, each individual feather is encased in its own sheath. The feather sheaths are like tiny, plastic drinking straws that split open as the feathers continue to grow. If I had had a Nikon macro lens with me, I would have photographed the details of the new feathers … But heck, I do not even own one ๐Ÿ™‚

If you own a copy of The Art of Bird Photography II (916 pages, 900+ image, on CD or via download), you might enjoy finding and reading the story of finding and photographing the dead zebra mare in Africa. Most of the group wanted to go back for lunch but Wes and Patty Ardoin who used to host the Lake Martin, LA Roseate Spoonbill IPT, opted to stay with me and photograph the event. That was very tough for me to do as it was not long after I lost Elaine to breast cancer in 1994. Wes, whom I called “Pops” for good reason, died of kidney cancer about six years ago. Death and dying …

I do believe that The Work of Byron Kate has helped me deal better with death and dying. I guess that I will find out more when my turn comes. Hopefully not this week ๐Ÿ™‚

The Work is a way to identify and question the thoughts that cause all of our stress, suffering, and pain. Everything you need in order to do The Work is available for free at the previous website link. You will also find links to lots of great Byron Katie YouTube videos. In short, doing The Work can help you to learn to love what is.

Your Favorite

Which of today’s three featured images do you like best? Do let us know why you made your choice.

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Typos

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8 comments to Point, Counterpoint. Life Goes On. Or Not …

  • avatar Adam

    I am around a lot of dying and suffering every day and perhaps that is why I choose not to focus my imagery on this subject. Yet, I understand the fascination and compunction in wanting to capture these images. For better or worse, nature (and humanity are cruel, unrelenting, and unforgiving. Small creatures are eaten by larger creatures and life is often short and brutish. These are the realities and unfortunately death and anguish is as much of a part of life as is joy and development. We as humans have the unique capacity to ascribe meaning to the omnipresent cycle of life, death, and renewal. Interestingly social scientists tell us that humans tend to dwell on or recall more positive events than what actually occur. Perhaps that is hard wired in our brains much in the same way that the Kittiwake mother looked at her dying chick and then moved on. Our tendency to want to look at pleasing images and feel uncomfortable when seeing death is an adaptation which ensures a species’ survival and enables life to flourish.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Adam, Thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree with much of it. Are you a doctor?

      From where I sit, nature itself is not at all cruel. Our perceptions of death and predation may appear cruel to some humans, but that it only their perception, their story. Chicks hatch and perish and predators eat. Their is no cruelty in either …

      I do not understand your last sentence at all; how can feeling this way or that ensure a species’ survival in any way, shape, or form?

      with love, artie

  • Sorry Guru, not amused with the images. Nature is getting destroyed in an unstoppable process however, watching it live is depressing.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      QAH,

      My purpose was not to amuse. I do not see the death of chicks — chick mortality averages about 50% across the board — as nature being destroyed; I see it as nature taking its course. As far as being depressing, that is your choice. (See The Work of Byron Kate: http://www.thework.com).

      with love, artie

  • I don’t think I would have taken these photos, but I have no problem with others choosing differently. I don’t know what the young bird mortality rate is, but it’s likely high. Nature is beautiful, but also cold and indifferent.
    What to do when encountering a dying animal? Either let the process take its course or euthanize if you can do so quickly and safely.

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie, it’s great to learn new things about behaviour and adaptations from you. Interesting thoughts on photographing dead animals. In answer to your question, I think the best thing to do when you find a dying chick is to let nature do its job. Unless of course the suffering is caused by human activity or the animal is clearly in pain, in these cases I might consider, if I could do it quickly, taking the animal out of its misery. I agree with David exactly on the ordering of the three images and the reasoning.
    Jake

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: Thanks for this. Many years ago I went fishing in Alaska with a friend who loved photographing dead salmon, and I, influenced by him, started doing the same, and also other creatures. Here’s a question: Would you mind if you knew someone were going to photograph you after you died? I don’t like the idea but obviously after I’m dead nothing matters to me. My favorite of your images is the third one, which expresses the fragility of the young, now-departed life so beautifully. Then the second image; the first has too much going on for me.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Would not mind. As you said, “Dead is dead.” I have published several images of dead salmon here over the years, not to mention the dead fish on black image just a while back.

      with love, artie