Learning to Think Tall (and Wide) and Digitally in the Field … How to Create a Stitched Panorama of a Bird (or a Bear) « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Learning to Think Tall (and Wide) and Digitally in the Field ... How to Create a Stitched Panorama of a Bird (or a Bear)

Stuff

I was thrilled to learn that Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime veteran Dietmar Haenchen signed up for the Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT next week. See below for details and late registration discount info.

After three cold nights in a row the pool was down to 70 degrees on Friday morning. By the time I got in the pool at 3pm it was up to a still- chilly 74 F. I wore all of my warm neoprene gear and enjoyed a nice easy half mile swim. I am heading over to Circle Bar B Ranch early on Saturday morning to meet with BPN friend Joe Przybyla and do some photography.

DeSoto Early Winter IPT Late Registration Discount!

Please e-mail me directly if you are interested in learning about the substantial late registration discount for this IPT. Because both folks who have signed up have expressed an interest in learning to micro-adjust their gear, I will be bringing my LensAlign unit and the complete lighting set-up. Do consider joining us if you would like to do the same. See below for details. From Ed Dow via blog comment: For anyone contemplating the Fort Desoto trip, jump on it. I don’t think anybody knows that area like Artie. I was pretty much new to bird photography and he got me into position to create many shots that I treasure.

BAA IPTs

  • The 2018 Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT/Thursday December 7 through the morning session on Monday December 10, 2018: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 5.
  • Falklands Land-based IPT DEC 22, 2018 thru JAN 5, 2019/Two Weeks: Sold out.
  • 2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099. (Limit: 8/Openings: 1) Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins: THURS, 6 DEC.
  • The 2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — FEB 16 thru 19, 2019: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 2.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites 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 — needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 photographers/Openings: 4.

BIRDS AS ART

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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.

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.

Wh-IBIS-pano-PH-MECH

These are the two original captures that I used to create the vertical panorama below that is today’s featured image. Both were made s made on the morning of September 26, 2018 on the Fort DeSoto Fall IPT. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR AF lens and my souped up Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering at about +1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual Mode. NATURAL AUTO WB at 7:22am on a clear morning.

Two up from the center AF point/D-9/Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo with Canon) AF. For the image on the left the selected AF point was active at the moment of exposure and was placed on the ibis’s neck. For the image on the right I again focused on the bird’s chin. I locked focus with the AF Button (set up that way in the Menu) and then reframed upwards to create the source material for the top of the pano.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune was a significant +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

White Ibis vertical pano

Thinking Tall and Digitally in the Field …

After I created 8519, the image on the left, I knew that I would not like the fact that the o-o-f gull flock of Laughing Gulls at the top of the frame was cut off. So I focused on the bird’s chin in 8525, locked the focus, pointed the lens up to include the flock of gulls and strips of both dark mud and green marsh at the top. I am almost always a fan of o-o-f strips of color above and below as borders. Note that the poor head angle in the right hand image did not matter as I knew I would be using only the upper half or so. Note also that it is important to be in Manual exposure mode when you are creating panos so that the images match.

I first I converted both images (using the same settings). Then I cropped away about 3/8 off the bottom of 8528. Next I put the two TIFFS — the full frame of 8519 and the cropped version of 8528 — into a folder and went Image > Automate > Photomerge and hit OK. It stitched the images together perfectly. Done deal.

White-Ibis-pano-_MAI8519Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Tierra-Verde,-FL

This vertical panorama was created from two images made on the morning of September 26, 2018 on the Fort DeSoto Fall IPT. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR AF lens and my souped up Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering at about +1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual Mode. NATURAL AUTO WB at 7:22am on a clear morning.

Too up from the center AF point/D-9/Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo with Canon) AF. See above for AF point placement and pano strategies.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune was a significant +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

White Ibis vertical pano

The Optimized Stitched Pano

Apologies for having to scroll to see the whole image. I wanted to emphasize that the point of stitched panos is to wind up with more pixels and with a lot better image quality than if you had moved back or zoomed out and then cropped to a pano.

The Lesson

When you are in the field and you can’t fit everything in the frame, think stitched pano and create and extra frame or two as needed so that you have the source material that you need. I have done a stitched pano of a sleeping Coastal Brown Bear and once I stitched six frames of a single Great Blue Heron. When creating panos remember to be work in Manual mode and remember not to refocus …

Spoonbills and DeSoto IPTs

Over the years, virtually every DeSoto IPT group has had a least one good chance on Roseate Spoonbill. Is a close encountered guaranteed? Not by any means. But oftentimes we are so, so lucky that I think my late-wife Elaine is calling the shots from above …


desoto-fall-card-b

Fort DeSoto in early winter is rife with tame birds. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Caspian Tern, Great Egret, Sandwich Tern with fish, Willet, Black-bellied Plover threat display, Snowy Egret, 2-year old Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron.

The 2018 Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT/Thursday December 7 through the morning session on Monday December 10, 2018: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 6.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in early winter. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, and gulls that winter on the T-shaped peninsula. With luck, we may get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher almost guaranteed. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We may very well get to see and photograph the amazing heron/egret hybrid that has been present for three year. And we should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. In addition, Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork might well be expected. And we will be on the lookout for a migrant passerine fallout in the event of a thunderstorm or two.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. Most importantly you will surely learn to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time.

The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Once you register, you will receive an e-mail with the hotel information. Do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel (rather than at home or at a friend’s place).

A $500 deposit is due when you sign up and is payable by credit card. Balances must be paid by check after you register. Your deposit is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight folks so please check your plans carefully before committing. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand or by sending a check as follows: make the check out to: BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, clothing, and gear advice. Please remember that the meet and greet will take place at 7:30 on THURS, 6 DEC. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.


desoto-fall-card-a-layers

Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are short in December. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, juvenile Tricolored Heron, Marbled Godwits, Great Blue Heron, juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, Wood Stork, smiling Sea Scallop, Ruddy Turnstone scavenging needlefish, Great Blue Heron sunset silhouette at my secret spot, and southbound migrant tern flock blur.

Early and Late

Getting up early and staying out late is pretty much a staple on all BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours; on this particular trip we will get lots of sleep as the days are short. Being in the field well before the sun comes up and staying out until sunset will often present unique photographic opportunities, opportunities that will be missed by those who need their beauty rest. I really love it when I am leaving the beach on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers arrive.

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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.

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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 :).

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