Finally: Southeast Wind in the Morning … Flying Puffins Ain’t Easy! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Finally: Southeast Wind in the Morning ... Flying Puffins Ain't Easy!

Stuff

The unprecedented period of sunny with blue skies weather in the UK has been merciless and has been most often paired with winds from the north. In other words, tough conditions all day … The weather in July on the northeast coast of England is almost always cloudy bright with lots of gray days, some drizzle, and occasional partly cloudy days with mixed sun. The group has been great and everyone has loved being with the puffins. See more on the weather below.

PHOTOEXPO 2018

If you missed the PHOTOEXPO 2018 announcement and live anywhere within driving or flying distance of Memphis, TN, click here for the info. I have a ride to Beale Street for one night, but am still looking for a ride on the other night.

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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.

Recent Sales

Ray Maynard sold his Canon 1.4X III teleconverter in near-mint condition for the low price of $299.00 in late June, 2018.
Randall Ennis sold his Canon EOS-1D Mark IV in excellent condition for $849.00 in late June.
Joel Williams sold his Sony Vario-Tessar T FE 16-35 f/4 ZA OSS lens in like-new condition for $629 (was $749) in late June, 2018.
Joel Williams also sold his Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR lens in like-new condition for $749 (was $949) in April 2018.
Pierre Williot sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition for a very fair $848.00 in late June, 2018.
Top BAA used gear seller Jim Keener sold his Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens in like-new condition for the BAA record low price of $1349.00 the first day it was listed in late June.
Jim Keener sold a Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $999.00 (was $1149.00) in mid-June.
Jim Keener sold a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for the BAA record low price of $1099.00 in Early June.
Steve Traudt sold an Xtrahand Vest, the Khumbu model, size XL, in very good condition for the BAA record-low price of $179.
Jim Brennan sold a used Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens in good condition for $249.00 in late May.
Larry Padgett sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in excellent condition for $1160 soon after it was listed in late May.
Charlie Curry sold his Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens in mint condition for a BAA record-low price of $750.00 on the first day of listing in late May, 2018.

Four Nikon D850s and a Nikkor AF-S 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR Lens! Available Right Now!

Contact Steve below to get your D850 tomorrow. Or e-mail Steve about a special deal on the big Nikon zoom lens that is especially great for a trip to Africa or the Galapagos.

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 UK IPT used the Booking.Com link below for there Edinburgh hotels, 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.

Atlantic-Puffin-flat-incoming-_MAI9790islands-off-Seahouses,-UK

This image was created on July 4, 2018 at Staple Island. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and the Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering at zero off the blue sky: 1/5000 sec. at f/5.6 was a bit of an underexposure. NATURAL AUTO WB at 10:59am on a cloudy day.

Center Group (grp) Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. Despite the fact that the array was centered on the bird’s right flank this image is super-sharp on the eye.

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

Image #1: Atlantic Puffin/incoming flat flight

Southeast Wind in the Morning …

We got lucky in the morning on Thursday, July 4 with a nice southeast wind. This found the birds flying and landing towards us. The folks who stayed by the blue rope did great with flying puffins. The folks who set up on the steps did great with flying puffins. And the folks who photographed from below the bluff did great with flying puffins. (I was in the middle group.)

On most mornings — all sunny — the winds have been from the north or northwest. With the sun at your back the birds are flying and landing either partially or completely away from us in the light. While backlit Arctic Terns can be beautiful with the light coming through their wings — photos and lessons soon — this strategy does not work with puffins and murres …

Atlantic-Puffin-incoming-_MAI9932islands-off-Seahouses,-UK

This image was created on July 4, 2918 at Staple Island. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering +1/3 stop off the blue sky: 1/4000 sec. at f/5.6. NATURAL AUTO WB at 10:59am on a cloudy day.

Center Group (grp) Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the bird’s lower right flank: this image was more than sharp enough for web presentation but not as sharp as Image #1.

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

Image #2: Atlantic Puffin/braking in flight

Not So Easy …

Puffins in flight are incredibly challenging subjects even when they are landing into a stiff breeze. They veer from side to side, drop like rocks at times, and often abort just when they begin to lower their feet and brake for a landing. Using a long lens slows them down a bit (relatively). Using a short lens makes it easier to follow them in flight, but when they get closer — within decent photographic range — the relative speed of their movements makes things very difficult. Even on our best day with perfect conditions I had zillions of clipped wings. I had a ton of trouble acquiring AF and then a ton of trouble keeping the array on the bird’s face, head, or upper breast. And at times, I had images with gorgeous flight poses that were razor sharp — on the bird’s feet. With the two images presented here today everything came together.

Do know that when I acquire focus on an incoming puffin with more than a dozen sand eels in its beak, I choke. I get so excited that my muscles tense up and so nervous that my elbows turn to jelly … Incoming puffins are not sitting ducks, especially those with food for the chicks!

Bright Sun Image Processing Difficulties

Processing images of black and white birds made in full sun is problematic, even when you are working right down sun angle, and especially with birds in flight as there are almost always dark shadows that are usually image killers. Perfect image optimizations, NIK detail extractor, reverse S-curves, Linear Burns, and Tim Grey Dodge and Burn all help.

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)

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.

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s two images is your favorite? Why?

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Typos

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12 comments to Finally: Southeast Wind in the Morning … Flying Puffins Ain’t Easy!

  • avatar James Saxon

    Tried to get a d850 from Steve, but he is on vacation until July 12 and they are out at this time. Spoke with someone else and he told me to order on the website and I would get one in the next 2-4 weeks when they expect their next shipment. Told me they had fulfilled previous orders. Will order tonight. Is there a link from your website?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jim,

      He had ten last week! Enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout to save $50.

      thanks with love, artie

  • avatar Adam

    #2 is more dynamic and dramatic. Glad you are having a great and challenging shoot.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. A little too challenging if you ask me 🙂

      with love, artie

  • avatar Warren Robb

    The first time I ever tried to photograph puffins was in Alaska. Our guide cautioned the group with regard to the incoming ones that “puffins fly like a potato and don’t have a lot of control, so look out!.” From your description it seems as if their Atlantic cousins are much the same. I’d like just about any image of a puffin, but #2 captures the “puffin personality” that I have when thinking of them.

  • avatar Chris Loffredo

    Arthur. I laughed so hard this morning I spilled my coffee while reading your description of puffin photography. 100% accurate too.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Both great images; I think I prefer # 2 but it’s a tough choice. # 2 has more action and an interesting pose, but #1 is so nicely symmetrical. I think there’s a typo, and this one is important if so. Under the heading “Southeast Wind in the Morning” you wrote “We got lucky in the morning on Thursday, July 4 with a nice southwest wind.” I can’t believe a southwest wind in the morning would have made you feel lucky….

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks and fixed. A southwest wind in morning would not have been terrible. The north winds have been killing us most mornings.

      with love, artie

  • Great shots Art, I was on Staple Island on Friday 6th July and the light was unremitting !! The Puffins move so fast they are really difficult, added to that from their point of view is avoiding the Gulls predating the Pufflings – It’s life and death out there !!

    Regards, Graham.

  • Hi Artie, I really like both images but I would say that I prefer image #1 because the eyes are perfectly lit and I think the image is more unique. I really like the pose and the background colours of image #2 but the light is a bit harsh and doesn’t illuminate the bird’s eyes.
    Jake