Afternoons for Laser Razor Flight … And Sunny to Cloudy Conditions Exposure Advice. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Afternoons for Laser Razor Flight ... And Sunny to Cloudy Conditions Exposure Advice.

Stuff

I met up with IPT veteran and long-time friend Greg Gulbransen for an afternoon photo session on Sunday. We tried the East Pond with no luck at all. Then we decided to do the cormorants on the pilings at the north end of what I call the South Channel Bridge. When we arrived, every piling had a bird on it. By the time we set up in the parking lot, they were all gone. As many south shore beaches had been closed in the morning as a result of washed up medical waste, we called Nickerson to find out if it was open. Good news there. We took the back roads to avoid the Southern State traffic. That brought back many memories of me: lots of striped bass in Far Rockaways and the Capri Beach Club in Atlantic Beach. With thick clouds and an east/northeast wind there was only one place to be. We went right to it and had too much fun and lots of great skimmer flight photography with almost constant midair battles. When those opportunities abated we headed down to the surf where dozens of tame oystercatcher families were feeding on sand crabs and feeding their large chicks.

artie-and-GG-IMG_0483

i-Phone 8+ double selfie

Last was a fine dinner in nearby Point Lookout. It was great seeing and working with Greg again.

News on the Galapagos Front

Right now I have six deposits for the 2019 Galapagos Photo Cruise … The trip needs ten registered in about two months to run. If the archipelago is on your bucket list, please get in touch via e-mail with questions. If you might be registering with a friend or a spouse do ask about the two at a time discount. See the complete details here.

The Podcast YouTube Link

You can view and comment on the recent Understand Photography podcast on YouTube here.

The Topics

As many of you know, I had great fun doing the 100th Understand Photography episode with Peggy Farren in Naples last Friday afternoon past. We talked in depth about my getting fired by Canon as an Explorer of Light, my switch from Canon to Nikon, the pros and cons of each system for bird photographers, the best tripod head for bird photography, and lots more. And we did get to include the Long Lens Sharpness Misconceptions and Tips demo.

Long Island Small Group Instruction

I will be returning to my old haunts on Long Island from 15-27 August, prime time for bird photography. The schedules below may be expanded based on demand.

Skimmer Sessions

Join me at Nickerson Beach to photograph Black Skimmers and lots more. Gull predation of young skimmers is likely. With full frame bodies, a minimum of a 500mm lens with TCs is recommended. 400mm OK with crop factor bodies.

Skimmer Afternoon (usually best for flight): Tuesday AUG 21, 2018. 5:00pm till sunset: $250/session. Limit 4/Openings 3.
Skimmer Morning: Wednesday, AUG, 22, 2018. 5:30 – 9:00am plus a working brunch: $375/session. Limit 4.
Skimmer Afternoon (usually best for flight): Wednesday AUG 22, 2018. 5:00pm till sunset: $250/session. Limit 4/Openings 3.

Please inquire e-mail for multiple session discounts.

To register, please call Jim or Jen with your credit card in hand: 863-692-0906. I hope that you can join me.

Shorebird Sessions

Join me at the East Pond at Jamaica Bay WR on the ideal tides to photograph southbound migrant juvenile shorebirds. With full frame bodies, a minimum of a 500mm lens with TCs is recommended. 400mm OK with crop factor bodies.

Important note: The Shorebird Mornings are dependent on suitable water levels at the East Pond. If the pond is flooded, the sessions will be conducted at Nickerson Beach.

JBwR Shorebird Morning: Friday, AUG 24, 2018. 6:00 – 9:30am plus a working brunch: $375/session. Limit 4/Openings 3.
JBwR Shorebird Morning: Saturday, AUG 25, 2018. 6:00 – 9:30am plus a working brunch: $375/session. Limit 4/Openings 3.

Please inquire via e-mail for multiple session discounts.

To register, please call Jim or Jen with your credit card in hand: 863-692-0906. I hope that you can join me.

BIRDS AS ART

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



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.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Pierre Williot

I would encourage anyone who wants to sell some of their photographic equipment to contact Art. High-end photographic equipment can be difficult to sell. Art, with is widely read daily posts, will allow you to sell your equipment fairly easily for a reasonable price and commission. Please, seriously consider the price that he suggests as it can be hard to face the reality of the actual value of well loved equipment! Art is well aware of the current market for second-hand photographic equipment.

Used Gear Page News

After a month or so in the summer doldrums, sales on the Used Gear page have been picking up recently.

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!

Hard to Find Nikon Stuff Available Now

Steve Elkins has several Nikon D850s in stock right now. In addition, he has a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and an AF-S 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens in stock! E-mail Steve about a special deal on either big Nikon lens. The 180-400, like its Canon counterpart, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM with Internal Extender 1.4x lens — is especially great for trips to Africa, the Southern Ocean, or the Galapagos.

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.

Black-Skimmer-calling-while-landing_MAI3626Nickerson-Beach-Park,-Gilgo-Beach,-NY

This image was created on the afternoon of Friday, August 17 at Nickerson Beach. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 400. Matrix metering -1/3 stop as framed. 1/5000 sec. at f/5 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 4:05pm on a sunny afternoon (before the clouds took over).

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure.

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +1. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #1: Black Skimmer incoming/calling in flight

Nickerson Afternoons

Nickerson afternoons are generally great for flight photography. South, southwest, or west winds are great when it is sunny. If it is cloudy with winds from other directions there will always be at least one good location that will provide lots of flight photography afternoons; the trick is to keep the wind at your back …

Black-Skimmer-in-flight----wings-up-_MAI3653Nickerson-Beach-Park,-Gilgo-Beach,-NY

This image was created on the afternoon of Friday, August 17 at Nickerson Beach. Again I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 400. Matrix metering -1/3 stop as framed. 1/5000 sec. at f/5 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 4:15pm on a sunny afternoon (before the clouds took over).

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure.

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +1. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: Black Skimmer/level flight

Sit or Stand for Flight?

In general, you will have more opportunities for green backgrounds if you stand behind your tripod at full height. And you will have more opportunities for sky backgrounds if you sit behind your lowered tripod.

head-of-Black-Skimmer-in-flight----wings-up-_MAI3653Nickerson-Beach-Park,-Gilgo-Beach,-NY

As far as flight photography is concerned, I have great confidence with my Nikon gear.

Image #2A: This is an unsharpened 100% crop of Black Skimmer/level flight

What Can I Say?

For me, and I repeat, for me, I am able to create a far higher percentage of sharp flight images with my Nikon gear than I was with my comparable Canon gear. For me …

Black-Skimmer-starting-dive-away-from-midair-fight-_MAI3752Nickerson-Beach-Park,-Gilgo-Beach,-NY

This image was created on the afternoon of Friday, August 17 at Nickerson Beach. Again I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 800. Matrix metering +1 2/3 stops off the light blue sky: 1/2000 sec. at f/5 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 4:36pm on a now mostly cloudy afternoon.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure.

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +1. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #3: Black Skimmer/breaking off after an aerial battle

Here Come The Clouds

Serious students can learn a ton about exposure by studying the EXIF data for the four images presented today. When the clouds first covered the sun, there were still a few patches of light blue sky. But in effect, the birds were shaded so I doubled the ISO and halved the shutter speed. I was very happy with the brightness of the NEF file with this image but still needed to move the Exposure to +0.20 before setting the WHITE point.

Black-Skimmer-with-needlefish-_MAI3869Nickerson-Beach-Park,-Gilgo-Beach,-NY

This image was created on the afternoon of Friday, August 17 at Nickerson Beach. Again I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 800. Matrix metering +1 2/3 stops off the light blue sky: 1/2000 sec. at f/4.5 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 6:10pm on a now very cloudy afternoon.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure.

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +1. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #4: Black Skimmer with needlefish for young

Very Cloudy

It continued to get darker as the clouds thickened. I opted not to raise the ISO so I opened the aperture from f/5 to f/4.5. That was not enough. For this one I needed
to move the Exposure to +0.60 before setting the WHITE point. The NEF file here was more than 1/2 stop under-exposed but with the great dynamic range of D850 image files the optimized image looks just fine.

The Lessons

When it is sunny, determine a good exposure while working in Manual mode by checking the histogram and checking for blinkies. With white and black birds like skimmers having a few blinkies on the bright white flanks is just fine; this ensures that the blacks will have maximum or near-maximum detail.

When it is cloudy, you need to be at least 2 stops over the grey sky. And the darker it gets, the more you need to go plus. Do that by raising the ISO, using a wider aperture, and setting a slower shutter speed. Most folks (at times including me) will tend to underexpose images created in cloudy conditions … You can do better than I did by being sure to have at least a smattering of blinkies in the sky.

Your Opinion Requested

#1: Which image is the most dynamic?

#2: Which image has the most evenly lit near-underwing?

#3: Which image here is the strongest? Be sure to let us know why you made your choice.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

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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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 Afternoons for Laser Razor Flight … And Sunny to Cloudy Conditions Exposure Advice.

  • Very Nice images Artie. I like the second Image, no shadows and very nice and smooth background.

  • I like #1 with the grass leading your eye back to the bird.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Wow, Artie, all great images. I think #1 is my favorite (so I guess I’m judging it the “strongest”), in part because I just love the few in-focus grass blades in the foreground, and the bird’s pose and open mouth. And the lighting, exposure, composition, sharpness, color, and so on. I think #s 1 and 4 have the most-evenly lit near underwing. I’m not sure how to judge dynamism but again I think # 1 wins, although # 3 is a close second. Why not #4? Because the bird is just cruising in with the fish; the dynamism was in the recent past. But what a fine image anyway.

  • avatar Carlotta Grenier

    The first image is the most pleasing to me in all aspects

  • avatar Warren H

    The Answer to all three questions is #5, with fish. It is the most dynamic with flight and fish. Also, due to the cloudy sky, it has the most even under wing lighting. (no shadows or shadow lines.) Finally, I think it is the “strongest” image due to showing more information about the bird, including the environmental image background and behavior .

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