2018 BAA Top Twenty Images: Part I of IV. Announcing the 2018 B&H/BAA Holiday Bird Photography Contest! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

2018 BAA Top Twenty Images: Part I of IV. Announcing the 2018 B&H/BAA Holiday Bird Photography Contest!

Stuff

After being down to as low as 70 degrees about a week ago, the pool was up to a balmy 85 degrees today. I did my usual slow half mile in the afternoon. When I got out of the pool I noticed a foraging flock of small songbirds high in the trees that border the next lot to the east. I got my Leica 8x32s and was able to make out Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Pine Warbler, several other warblers that I could not see well enough to identify, and an ILE first for me, a Downy Woodpecker.

Tomorrow is packing day for the DeSoto Fall IPT; I head to the west coast on Thursday.

The 2018 B&H/BAA Bird Photography Holiday Contest!

Thanks to the generosity of the great folks at B&H, I am proud to announce the first-ever B&H/BAA Bird Photography Holiday Contest. The rules are simple:

1-Anyone can enter one or two of their favorite avian images that were created in 2018. As below, each image must be sent in a separate e-mail.
2-Image clean-up and repair is permitted.
3-Send you JPEGs in two separate e-mails only by clicking on this link: Contest Entry e-mail.
4-Please size your properly sharpened JPEGs as follows: 1200 high or wide less than 600 kb.
5-If you do not follow the instructions above to the letter your images will not be judged and you will not receive any notification.
6-There is one judge and you can guess who it is.
7-Here are the five prizes:

1st place: a $100 B&H gift certificate
2nd through 4th place: a $50 B&H gift certificate

All prizes will be awarded.

8- Entries my be submitted from now until January 16, 2019. Happy New Year! Please remember to do your holiday shopping at B&H using a BAA affiliate link or by clicking here or on the banner just below.

Good luck.


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: 10/Openings: 4) 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.

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.

2018 BAA Top Twenty Images: Part I of IV

Below are five of my twenty favorite images created in calendar year 2018; I am not quite done yet 🙂 All in all it was a wonderful year, a year filled with blessings and great opportunities. The remaining 15 images will be shared with you here in three future blog posts.

Please leave a comment and let us know which of the five images below is your very favorite. And do let us know why.

Brown-Pelican-breeding-plumage-_DSC1489--La--Jolla,-CA

This image was created on January 21, 2018. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 700mm), and the blazingly fast professional digital camera body, the Nikon D5 DSLR camera body with dual XQD slots). ISO 800. Matrix metering probably -2/3 stop:: 1/1600 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:10am on a clear day.

Five AF point up and one to the left of the center AF Point/d-25/Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo with Canon) AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was just behind (but pretty much on the same plane as) the bird’s eye.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune: +7. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #1: Brown Pelican vertical head portrait, black background

Image #1: Brown Pelican vertical head portrait, black background

I love the Pacific race of Brown Pelican with their fire-engine red bill pouches.

Recipe for Success:

Subject in sun, background cliffs in total shade.

This image has not yet been featured on he BAA Blog.

American-Coot-fire-in-the-mist-take-off-_J1I8928--Gilbert-Water-Ranch,-Phoenix,-AZ

This image was created on morning of Thursday, January 11 at the Gilbert Water Ranch in Phoenix, AZ. I used the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 320. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/6400 sec. at f/10. K 6000 at 8:03am shooting into backlit ground fog, aka, fire in the mist.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -3.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/rear button AF on the avocet and release. Click here to see the last version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see the spectacular larger version.

Image #2: American Coot taking off with avocet and assorted waterfowl

Image #2: American Coot taking off with avocet and assorted waterfowl

Ugly as a coot. Not …

Recipe for Success:

Recognize the potential for fire in the mist conditions and get up really early.

Learn more about the creation of this image in the blog post here.

hybrid-heron-egret-in-breeding-plumage-_DSC6429--Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created on the 2018 Fort DeSoto IPT on April 16, 2018. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and the Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering-1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 9:28am in cloudy conditions.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered toward the rear of the bird’s rear chin, right on the same plane as the its eye.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +6.

Image #3: Heron/egret hybrid/head portrait

Image #3: Heron/egret hybrid/head portrait

Is this just a Reddish Egret? I think not …

Recipe for Success:

See something different and follow up on it.

Learn more about the creation of this image in the blog post here.

Atlantic-Puffin-with-sand-eels--_DSC3789islands-off-Seahouses,-UK

This image is a composite of the two images above that were created on July 8, 2018 on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens and the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 550mm) with the Nikon D5 DSLR Camera (w/Dual XQD Slots). ISO 800. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec at f/9 in S (Tv in Canon — shutter priority in both systems) mode. AUTO1 WB at 11:01am on a nicely cloudy morning.

Just above center D-72/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point in the first image was on the fish. In the second image, it was too our left of the bird’s head. As with Canon’s Expand and Surround, it is not possible to ascertain which AF point was active at the moment of exposure. This is a weakness in both systems that could easily be fixed with a software update.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +3. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #4: Atlantic Puffin with sandeels/the optimized version

Image #4: Atlantic Puffin with sandeels/the optimized version

Incredibly, nobody has signed up yet for the 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, and Red Kites IPT …

Recipe for Success:

Follow your own advice; I had told the group to head back to the top of the steps at the morning landing site every once in a while to check for puffins with fish in their bills. 🙂 So I did.

Learn more about the creation of this image in the blog post here.

Emperor-Penguin-stretching-_BUP6511--Snow-Hill-Island,-Antarctica

This image was created on Day 2 — October 25, 2018 — of the recently concluded Emperor Penguins of Snow Hill Island expedition via icebreaker. While lying flat on the snow and ice, I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 175mm) with my back-up Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering plus about 2 stops off the snow: 1/1000 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. Auto 1 WB at 10:13am on a cloudy-bright morning.

One AF point down and three to the right of the center AF point/Single/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was just above and to the left of the penguin’s eye.

I kept my 80-400 rig on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap so that it was instantly accessible when I was working with the tripod-mounted 500 PF.

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

Image #5: Emperor Penguin/adult stretching

Image #5: Emperor Penguin/adult stretching

This is my very favorite adult Emperor Penguin image.

Recipe for Success:

Pursue the items on your bucket list no matter the cost, and then lie down in the snow.

Learn more about the creation of this image in the blog post here.

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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 :).

13 comments to 2018 BAA Top Twenty Images: Part I of IV. Announcing the 2018 B&H/BAA Holiday Bird Photography Contest!

  • avatar Tony Z

    They are all great shots, but I think that #1 Pelican is the best, just by a little bit.
    I think it’s the dark background contrasting with the perfectly exposed bird, coupled with the framing of the shot.

  • avatar Kathy Kunce

    Dear Artie,
    Tried clicking on the contest entry link and couldn’t get in.
    Thanks,

    Kathy K

  • Hey Arthur, Cool to see your doing a top twenty and the photo contest is pretty neat as well. Look forward to seeing some great images. #2 is the one that does it for me out of this batch. Love that orange glow and those silhouettes.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: This is my favorite, by far: “Pursue the items on your bucket list no matter the cost, and then lie down in the snow.” 🙂

    Oh, you meant which IMAGE is my favorite? I think the puffin, partly because I just love puffins and this is a terrific image. But so are all the others.

  • avatar Keith Swindell

    I like the second image the most, it really expresses the feeling of the early morning.

  • avatar Jake Levin

    That penguin is #1 for me. It almost looks like he’s making fun of you (or whoever looks at the image). Great shot! I’ll make sure to send in some shots for the photo contest.

  • I like and can appreciate all of them. One thing I always do when looking at others work for better or worse is think to myself, “Could or would I have bagged that shot if I was there at that time?”. The one that I’m fairly sure I would have missed is number two. I’m not sure I would have thought to adjust my exposure settings for a silhouette. As a dark side guy, I hate to pick the Canon shot, (kidding, I’m not that petty) but that’s the one that blows my dress up the most. I think also that number 2 might be the most artistic as well. I think even people who are not fans of birds and bird photography can find joy in viewing it.
    Number 3 reminds me the most of my work except it would be a Great Blue Heron in the shot as opposed to that awesome hybrid you photographed.
    Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    hi Artie, you made it very difficult to choose!
    Image #2 is something you don’t see too often. Very moody & active shot.
    The way the Puffin is standing in Image #4 is great – love the slight tilt of its head!
    Image #5 is absolutely adorable the way the wings are held out.
    However, the image that nearly took my breath away is Image #1. Agree with Dietmar – love the blurred spots in the background, the sharpness of the bird, the color – what a shot!

  • Hi Artie,
    image # 1 is my favorite. It is a beautiful bird and perfectly framed. I like the black background with a hint of blurred blue. Great job.
    Dietmar

  • I like Image #2 due to the colors and the moment.

    Thanks for sharing.

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