Darker Mangroves By Popular Demand. A Feathering Question. And Another Canon Fire Sale … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Darker Mangroves By Popular Demand. A Feathering Question. And Another Canon Fire Sale ...

Stuff

On Sunday morning I spent several hours tidying up details for the upcoming Falklands land-based IPT. Then I spent the rest of the day watching NFL football. I still need to finish the gear/clothing letter for the trip.

I have been getting back into the pool recently and have almost built back up to my usual half mile. A week ago the pool was 85 degrees F. Yesterday it was down to 77! Winter is coming to Florida.

There are only two slots left on the Spoonbill Boat IPT; scroll down for details. Do check out the great buy on an Induro BHL3 ballhead below.

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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 here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Mini Canon Fire Sale

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Price Reduced $300 on November 20, 2018.

Multiple IPT veteran, multiple BBC and Nature’s Best honored photographer, and good friend Paul Mckenzie is offering a Canon 600mm F4 IS II lens (purchased in 2012) in very good to excellent condition for the silly low price of $6,199.00 (was $6499.00). There are a few superficial scratches on the paint. The sale includes the lens trunk with all the accessories, caps, straps, etc., and insured shipping via Fed Ex. As Paul lives in Hong Kong, he requires payment via a bank TT (electronic transfer). Contact Paul on the electronic transfer (and shipping) details. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Paul via e-mail.

The 600 II has been the state of the art super-telephoto for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many years. When I was using Canon and could get it to my location, it was always my go-to weapon. It is fast and sharp and deadly alone or with either TC. Paul’s copy has created many internationally honored images. He is upgrading his Canon stuff and is not switching to Nikon. You can save a bundle by grabbing Paul’s lens now. artie

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS Lens with Internal 1.4X Extender (& LensCoat)

Price Reduced $600 on November 20, 2018.

Multiple IPT veteran, multiple BBC and Nature’s Best honored photographer, and good friend Paul Mckenzie is also offering a Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS Lens with Internal 1.4X Extender in near-mint condition for the amazing low price of $5599.00 (was $6199.00). The sale includes the lens trunk, the front lens cover, the rear lens cap, all the original accessories, a LensCoat, and insured shipping via Fed Ex. As Paul lives in Hong Kong, he requires payment via a bank TT (electronic transfer). Contact Paul on the electronic transfer (and shipping) details. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Paul via e-mail.

This is the world’s best lens for a trip to Africa. It kills also in the Galapagos and in South Georgia, the Falklands, and Antarctica. And I used mine a lot at Bosque and other dusty places where the built-in TC helps to keep your sensor clean. And I loved it in the Palouse for its versatility. Last summer, I often found myself wishing that I had taken the 200-400 rather than my 500 II on the Bear Boat Cubs IPT as the bears were often too close! Many nature photographers use it as their workhorse telephoto lens as it offers 784mm at f/8 with an external 1.4X TC added. The lens sells new at B&H for $10,999.00. You can save an amazing $4,800.00 by grabbing Paul’s pretty much like-new lens right now. artie

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS Lens

Sale pending as of the first day of listing

Multiple IPT veteran, multiple BBC and Nature’s Best honored photographer, and good friend Paul Mckenzie is also offering a Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens (the original IS lens version of this lens) in very good to excellent condition for the bargain price of $499.00. There are some small, superficial scratches on the lens finish. The sales includes the lens hood, the lens case, the front and rear caps, and insured shipping via Fed Ex. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Paul via e-mail.

I owned and used this very lens, the original IS version of the incredibly versatile 70-200 f/2.8 for birds and wildlife and landscapes and Urbex for many years with both teleconverters. When I upgraded to version II, I did not notice any improvements … They were both great indoors for events like granddaughter Maya’s dance recitals. A new copy of the 70-200 II( currently sells for $$2,099.00 so you can save a small fortune by grabbing Paul’s lens. artie

Induro BHL3 Ballhead

Sold Instantly!

Arthur Morris — that’s me — is offering an Induro BHL 3 Ballhead in brand new (never used) condition for a ridiculously low $99. The sale includes the original product box, the Induro plate and tools, and insured ground shipping to US addresses. The BHL3 has been replaced by the BH3LS. The BHL3 sold for $310.00. The newer version sells for $349.00. The BHL3 is a large sturdy ballhead with a smooth ball. You can find a detailed review/tutorial here on DPReview.Com. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact me via e-mail if you are interested in this great buy.

Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II Lens

Brooke Miller is offering a Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM in excellent condition for $1,449.00. The sale includes: the rear lens cap, the front lens cap, the lens hood, the lens strap, the lens case, the owner’s manual, the original product box, a LensCoat Lens Cover in digital camo, 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 Brooke via e-mail.

Y’all know how much I loved and now miss this amazingly sharp and versatile lens. artie

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L L IS Lens (with tripod ring!)

Brooke Miller is also offering a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens in near-mint condition for $599.00. The sale includes the Canon tripod mount ring D(B) (a $172.00 value), the rear lens cap, the front lens cap, the lens hood, the lens case, the owner’s manual, the original product 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 via e-mail.

I loved this lens for flowers both on a tripod and hand held. I used it often on a tripod with a 12mm tube in front of the 1.4X III TC; manual focusing is mandatory and easy with combination. artie

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.

Fish-Crows-predating-spoonbill-egg-DARKER-MANGROVES-_DSC4786--Alafia-Banks,-Tampa-Bay,-FL

This image was created at Alafia Banks on the morning of Friday, February 20, 2018 with 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 my souped up Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering at about +1 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3. AUTO0 WB at 9:47am on a cloudy bright day.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune was a very significant +15. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Center Group (grp) Shutter Button AF as originally framed. The array covered the second (from our left) crow.

Fish Crows eating wading bird egg (with the mangroves darkened)

Darker Mangroves By Popular Demand

In the A Pretty Bad Original (showing some interesting behavior). Crow Lessons. And a Post-processing Question … blog post here the other day, I asked if I had lightened the mangroves too much. Everyone said yes. I agreed. 🙂

First I selected the background above the sand using the Quick Selection Tool (my keyboard shortcut W). Then I feathered the selection 10 pixels (though I am not sure why; in any case it worked. See more on feathering selections below). Then I pulled the Curve down. Lastly, after merging that layer, I used Tim Grey Dodge and Burn with a large brush to further darken the mangroves. The repost is above. The originally posted image is below for comparison. Should I have darkened the mangroves even more? Should I have made them all black?

All of the above techniques and many dozens more including all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts, are 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.

Fish-Crows-predating-spoonbill-egg-_DSC4786--Alafia-Banks,-Tampa-Bay,-FL

This image was created at Alafia Banks on the morning of Friday, February 20, 2018 with 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 my souped up Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering at about +1 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3. AUTO0 WB at 9:47am on a cloudy bright day.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune was a very significant +15. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Center Group (grp) Shutter Button AF as originally framed. The array covered the second (from our left) crow.

Fish Crows eating wading bird egg

Feathering Selections and a Question

It is common knowledge that you should feather all of your selections before making adjustments so that the gradations on the edges are as smooth as possible. For years I feathered most selections at 4 pixels. Someone on BPN suggested that I try feathering 0.7 pixels. I tried that and wound up feathering most selections at 1.0 pixels. But the truth is that I do not really have a great understanding when it comes to how much to feather. I do know that when I want to darken a sky after feathering the selection that I wind up with an ugly dark or very light line along the horizon.

If you have a good understanding of feathering or have a suggestion for selecting and feathering a sky while avoiding the ugly dark or light lines along the horizon, please do share by leaving a comment.

Hooptie-card-2017-images

From left to to right clockwise back to the center: Brown Pelican, Roseate Spoonbill downstroke, Brown Pelican sunrise silhouette, Double-crested Cormorant pre-dawn blur, Roeseate Spoonbill flapping after bath, Brown Pelican taking flight, Roseate Spoonbill taking flight, Reddish Egret white morph breeding plumage in flight, and Reddish Egret dark morph breeding plumage in flight.

All images on this card were created by me on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks on the February 2018 trip.

You can click on each card to enjoy a larger version.

2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — FEB 16 thru 19, 2019: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 3.

3 1/2 days on the boat including four morning photo sessions and three afternoon sessions via customized pontoon boat.

Price per day Reduced from the 2018 rates! Please e-mail for details on IPT veteran and couples’ discounts. Pro-rated options may be available …

We will be leaving the dock very early for the morning sessions (weather permitting) in hopes of photographing the pre-dawn American Crow and White Ibis blast-offs. All sessions are planned for the Alafia Banks Roseate Spoonbill Rookery. We might consider other options in the unlikely event of horrific weather. There will be lots of opportunities for flight photography of several species including and especially Roseate Spoonbill. Also likely for flight photography are nesting Brown Pelican, both morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, White and Glossy Ibises, and Double Crested Cormorant. We should have some good chances with birds carrying nesting material. This IPT includes all boat and guide fees, in the field instruction, chest waders (feel free to bring your own of course to assure a perfect fit), and three working lunches on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. For the most part we will be standing in mid-calf to knee high water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with mobility or balance problems. Note however that some folks opt to stay on the boat to photograph. They usually have lots of chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

spoonbill-card

All images on this card were created by me on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks

The Timing and Tides are Perfect!

I recently saw a similar trip advertised two months too late for breeding plumage spoonbills … The 2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT represents an incredible opportunity to photograph Florida’s most wanted species. I do hope that you can join us. There will be a meet and greet at 7:00pm sharp on the evening of Friday February 15, 2019. All of the images on the card were made on the Hooptie Duex during the last two weeks of February, prime time for the spoonies in mega-breeding plumage. Many folks have written expressing interest so please do not tarry.

Please e-mail to hold your spot. Then you may either secure your spot by calling Jim or Jennifer at the office at 863-692-0906 and leaving the $500 deposit on credit card or sending your check for payment in full to us as follows with the check made out to:

BIRDS AS ART and sent here via US mail:

BIRDS AS ART
PO BOX 7245
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855

If you call to leave your deposit you will be asked to mail your check for the balance no later than December 15, 2018.


hooptie-card-shadle-aa

Images courtesy of our guide; copyright 2017 Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Everybody Loves Spoonbills!

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in mid-February is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage…. with long telephoto lenses. A 500 or 600 with a 1.4X TC is perfect for this trip.

Mornings to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography often with the birds likely carrying nesting material), Double-crested Cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White) in breeding plumage. Some of the White Ibises may be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we may get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. Afternoon trips will most likely be back to Alafia Banks for the spoonbills with an option to visit a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an extensive image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes lunches on the full days with small group image sharing and review and some over-the-shoulder Photoshop instruction.

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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 :).

8 comments to Darker Mangroves By Popular Demand. A Feathering Question. And Another Canon Fire Sale …

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Several years back Tim Grey did a series on photoshop “video2brain.” I have them on dvds they were done with photoshop CS6. In the dvd on selections and feathering he did the feathering with just the adjustment layer, he did not put the selection on it’s own layer. Like I said that was several years ago, he might do it differently now.
    Ted

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    I don’t know if he puts the selection on a layer first, I will look into it, and you are very welcome, times two.
    Ted

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    I like the darker much better. And ditto–thanks for all the lessons.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    What you do is make your selection, make your adjustment, click on the mask symbol and feather in the box that opens and then you can feather seeing the results, no guessing!

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Check out Tim Grey, he says do not feather the selection beforehand, feather the results after you have made your adjustment, and then you can see what amount of feathering works best!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks times two. Do you know if he puts the selection on a layer first???

      with love, artie

  • avatar Jordan Cait

    Hi Art,

    Thank you for all the lessons you send us. I have a question regarding darkening the mangroves. Assuming there is nothing else green in the image, would it be easier to adjust the HSL sliders for the color green?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jordan,

      You are welcome. Even if there were green elsewhere, you could simply make a selection and you could surely tone down/darken the GREENs (and probably the YELLOWs too) that way. But I also wanted to darken the shadows as well. With Photoshop note that there are almost always dozens of ways to get to the same place.

      with love, artie