What’s Your Plan? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

What's Your Plan?

Stuff

Well, the hoped for miracle occurred yesterday; Multiple IPT veteran Michal Goodman Fed-Exed his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens to me. As soon as it arrives I will begin micro-adjusting it. I was so excited when he called that I could barely stand it.

Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity

Not sure how the conversation began, but when Micheal was with me at Nickerson last summer we wound up talking about college and discovered that we had both been AE Pi. I was AE Pi Beta Pi (at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, where I pledged) and Phi Theta (at Brooklyn College). If there are any other brothers out there, please leave a comment or get in touch. On a related note, if you missed the part I of the Savior Labs podcast yesterday, click here to access it.

News on the Galapagos Front/Limit 12/Openings: 3

Right now I have nine folks committed to the 2019 Galapagos Photo Cruise. A friend who had committed to the trip learned that he and his wife might not be able to attend. Thus, I have room for a couple or for two same-sex roommates, and for a male single. If the archipelago is on your bucket list, please get in touch via e-mail asap 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.

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.

New Listings

Canon EOS 1DX dSLR

Multiple IPT veteran Mike Gotthelf is offering a Canon EOS 1DX in near-mint condition for $2299.00. The sale includes the instruction manual, the front cap, the strap, the charger and cord, one battery, the original box 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 Mike via e-mail or by phone at 1-978-407-0679 –Will be in Hawaii until 10/26, then Eastern Time Zone; will be able to arrange shipment while away).

Two 1DX bodies severed admirably as my workhorse digital camera bodies for several years. The original 1DX has a superb AF system and produces high quality image files. It is fabulous for photographing birds in flight and in action. Some folks wish that they had kept their 1DX bodies and not upgraded to the 1DX Mark II … artie

Canon EOS 7D Mark II dSLR

Multiple IPT veteran Mike Gotthelf is offering a Canon EOS 7D Mark II in near-mint condition for $799.00. The sale includes the instruction manual, the front cap, the strap, the charger and cord, one battery, the original box 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 Mike via e-mail or by phone at 1-978-407-0679 –Will be in Hawaii until 10/26, then Eastern Time Zone; will be able to arrange shipment while away).

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. BPN’s Dan Cadieux (try a blog search) uses a 7D II with great success. And 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. Mike’s camera body is priced to sell. artie

Canon EOS 1D Mark III dSLR

Multiple IPT veteran Mike Gotthelf is offering a Canon EOS 1D Mark III in excellent condition (with a very few tiny scratches on the corner of the viewfinder housing) for the amazingly low, might-as-well-be-giving-it-away price of $449.00. The sale includes the instruction manual, the front cap, the strap, the charger and cord, one battery, the original box, the AC adapter, 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 Mike via e-mail or by phone at 1-978-407-0679 –Will be in Hawaii until 10/26, then Eastern Time Zone; will be able to arrange shipment while away).

Two EOS-1D Mark IIIs served as my workhorse camera bodies for more than 2 years. I created thousands of consistently sharp, saleable images with them. As with my two 1D III bodies, Mike never experienced any AF problems with his 1D III. This is a great price for a rugged professional digital camera body. artie

Airbnb

For the past few months, I have been hearing folks use the word Airbnb, most notably, Amy Novotny. Out of curiosity I asked a few questions. What I learned amazed me. Join Airbnb and become part of a community that connects global travelers with local hosts across the world. Find a place to stay and discover things to do. Airbnb lists more than 4.5 million homes across 200 countries; you’ll find spacious, affordable options for every occasion. With Airbnb you will travel with confidence as reviews from past guests help you find the right fit. Once you do, our secure messaging makes it easy to coordinate with your host. And Airbnb support teams are available 24/7. Last night I made a reservation for an Airbnb apartment for my upcoming January San Diego visit: 13 nights with a full kitchen and two bedrooms.

Yikes. I almost forgot the best part: Airbnb rates average less than half of even the least expensive chain hotels and motels. If you would like to save $40 on your first booking sign up by using this link: Airbnb. Airbnb does charge clean-up and service fees that make short stays less attractive bargains than long stays.

Those who prefer to stay in a motel or hotel are invited to use the Booking.com link below to save $25.00.

Booking.Com

Several folks on the UK IPT used the Booking.Com link below for their 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.

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. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

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.

CAPT-NX-Murre

This image was created on Staple Island on July 8 on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 550mm) and the blazingly fast professional dSLR, the Nikon D5 (with Dual XQD slots). ISO 800. Matrix metering +2 stops off the grey sky: 1/1250 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 11:25am on completely cloudy morning.

Center Group (grp) Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure as originally framed (above).

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +3. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

The original for today’s featured image/Capture NX-D screen capture
Image copyright 2018: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Your Plan?

I liked the head of the second bird in the bottom of the frame but did not like that the subject was angling away from it. Before you scroll down, consider what you would do with this image …

EXIF Question

If you check the image caption carefully and compare it with the EXIF data in the screen capture above, you should be confused by something. If one person lets us know the source of their confusion, I will provide an explanation.

Limited Time …

On our puffin boat trip landings we enjoy about two and one half to three hours on each of the two islands, depending on the weather and the sea conditions. Knowing where to be on what wind with a given sky condition is instrumental to the photographic success of each landing. On every IPT, you will learn to analyze the wind direction and sky conditions and learn the principles involved so that when you get back home or to another travel destination, you will be able to maximize your time in the field by being in the right place at the right time.

Alex Becker’s Guillemot Image

The moment that I saw the thumbnail of Alex Becker’s very fine guillemot image here in the Avian Forum on BPN, I knew exactly where the image had been created.

Note: this species is called Common Murre in North America, Common Guillemot in Europe.

Common-Murre-landing-with-fish-_DSC4037islands-off-Seahouses,-UK

This image was created on Staple Island on July 8 on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 550mm) and the blazingly fast professional dSLR, the Nikon D5 (with Dual XQD slots). AUTO ISO 800. Matrix metering +2 stops off the grey sky: 1/1250 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 11:25am on completely cloudy morning.

Center Group (grp) Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure as originally framed (above).

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +3. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Common Murre landing with fish for chick
Image copyright 2018: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Image Optimization

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to move the head at the bottom of the frame to the opposite side of the frame so that the bird landing with the fish would be flying toward the second bird rather than away from it. And I knew that I would crop to a vertical. The very sharp D5 image held up nicely to the substantial crop. The NEF file was converted in ACR.

To move the head, I painted a Quick Mask of the head along with some surrounding water. Then I placed the selection on its own layer, flopped it using the Transform Tool, and moved it into place using the Move Tool (V). There was a tonality mismatch with the water so I added a Regular Layer Mask and — working very large — painted away the water and then hit X to paint back in the edges that had been slightly smudged.

Though the RGB values from the fish were OK, there was little detail in the brightest areas so I selected the highlights with the Quick Selection Tool (W), applied a Linear Burn, reduced the Opacity to 15%, and then fine-tuned the selection with a Regular Layer Mask painting away the edges that had gotten a bit too dark.

Then I selected the head and the fish, again with the Quick Selection Tool (W), and applied a layer of my NIK Color EFEX Pro 40/40 Detail Extractor/Tonal Contrast recipe. Even though the RGB numbers looked fine the white breast looked too dingy. Working on a new layer I made a Selective Color adjustment by removing 20 points of WHITE from the BLACK channel. That really brighten up the image. Last was a slightly boxy vertical crop.

Everything above is of course detailed in the Current Workflow e-Guide, aka Digital Basics II. Learn more or purchase here.

UK-puffins-2018-CARD-

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn, just fifteen minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography at there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best. Note: this trip needs a minimum of four photographers to run.

UK-Puffins-2017card

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip. The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as we will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer and my co-leader 🙂

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Info

Single supplement rooms in Bridlington and Dunbar are available for those who register early. The cost of the single supplement for those six nights is $600.00. Single supplement rooms at the lodge may be available on a limited basis but only if the trip does not fill with ten photographers. The single supplement fee for those seven nights is $700. If you would like your own room in Bridlington and Dunbar, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement with your deposit: $2,600.00. The single supplement deposits are non-refundable as I will need to make the reservations well in advance.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

I truly hope that you can join me on this exciting venture.

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

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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 :).

13 comments to What’s Your Plan?

  • avatar Jonathan Ashton

    Horses for courses, I tend to point the camera in Auto ISO at the grass setting the aperture and shutter manually, this gives me a median exposure, I then set the camera to the indicated ISO manually. if there is likely to be an overexposure I dial in -1/3.
    If I am on Auto ISO and don’t have time to change a setting because of time constraint , i.e. taking average exposures at ground level and suddenly I see something coming I would use exposure lock as a quick resort.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      If it works don’t fix it. The Auto ISO when this was first published was an error 🙁

      Thanks for stopping by. See you on BON 🙂

      with love, artie

    • avatar Steve Wampler

      That’s what I do too. Works great.

  • avatar Gary Prestash

    Looks like the data shows your exposure compensation was plus 0.7 (2/3rds of a stop) but you say that exposure was plus 2 stops plus (2.7). That seems to be the disconnect you are asking about.

  • avatar Bob DeCroce

    Yes Artie. I remember this was happening to me during the Fort DeSoto IPT 2 years ago. We (you and I ) noticed that regardless of the fact that I was in Manual mode, the camera held on to the EC that I had dial in earlier while in Aperture mode. It’s something you have to be conscious of; zero the EC out when you are done with it. I think, not sure, that you can set the camera so that when you turn it off, the EC is cleared. Not certain, but I will have to check that.

    As always, thank you for the great blog….ordered my Z7 through your link…..someday it will arrive. Hope to shoot with you again soon!

    Best,

    Bob

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Bob, And that was while I was using Canon 🙂 If you figure out how to set that, let me know 🙂 I’ve been having so much fun shooting with Nikon that I have not really studied the menus as much as I should have …

      Good plan.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    Thanks for explaining. I wondered why it wasn’t +2 2/3 or even + 3 on the gray sky. I would never remember to make the change either.

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    Is this the “confused by something”? In the caption you say the exposure compensation was +2 off the gray sky. But the EXIF says exposure compensation was +0.7. So is the camera looking at the whole scene and not just the gray sky for the exp comp, even though you were in manual exposure?
    I like the vertical much better.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Right answer. Wrong reasoning. Here is what was going on. When I work in an automatic mode with Nikon using EC I often forget to put the EC back to zero. With Nikon, it will still apply to the EXP that you set … So my “+2 off the grey sky” was actually +2 2/3 stops when I was in he field. If that makes sense. Since I forget so often I rarely look at or remember the E with Nikon; instead, I rely on the two histograms and blinkies to come up with the best exposure.

      a

      • avatar Geoff

        It is my understanding though that even though it still records the set EC in the EXIF, it isn’t changing anything in your image is it? If you are in Full Manual mode and setting all three variables yourself, the EC does nothing (other than recording in the EXIF and making for a confusing EXIF). Or is it changing the value seen on the exposure bar in the VF?

        Now let’s not forget the other item that is wrong in the EXIF….the fact that Nikon engineers can’t do basic math of 400×1.4 😉

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Hi Geoff, I believe that that is incorrect. If you inadvertently have left -1 as the EC and wish to get to +2 you will need to set +3 to counteract the -1. I learned that on occasions where I was totally baffled by the EC but then learned that I failed to go back to zero EC …

          with love, artie

          • avatar Geoff

            Yes, you are correct, just went and checked on my camera….so it is using the value to affect the visual scale you see in the VF, correct? Therefore if one is used to using the visual scale to set M exposure I see this needs to be remembered.
            I’m more of a take shot, chimp, repeat as necessary and really never learned to use EC scale based on different scenes to set my M exposure so probably why I never paid much attention to this other than noticing it in the EXIF.

            Yes, the analog scale. All of the above is why I rely on the two histograms and blinkies …

            With love, a