Nikon TC-E20 & the 600mm f/4 VR. You Always Have to See the Bird’s Eye. And Dust Spotting How-to Lessons. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Nikon TC-E20 & the 600mm f/4 VR. You Always Have to See the Bird's Eye. And Dust Spotting How-to Lessons.

Stuff

I will be away for almost a month while leading the 2018/2019 Falklands land-based IPT. I should be back in the office (and back in the pool) on the afternoon of Monday, January 14, 2019. Happy new year! I should have good internet access until Friday December 21 and then again on the weekend of January 12/13. I will surely not be online from December 23-27 and then again from January 4-7. I may or may not have limited internet access at other times.

Jim and Jen will be in the office weekdays to help you with your online orders and with IPT registrations.

I was thrilled recently to learn that first-timer Shonagh Adelman of Chattanooga, TN signed up for the 2019 Puffins and Gannets and Red Kites IPT. As he is the first registrant, we need three more for the trip to go. I am counting on it and hope for a sellout with ten plus the two leaders; there are lots of puffins and gannets. 🙂

I still need three or four folks for the Galapagos trip. If you would like to explore the possibilities, please get in touch via e-mail. No reasonable offer will be turned down.

  • 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/Openings: 9. This trip 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

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

iPhone-composite

The iPhone Photography e-Guide

If you missed the long-awaited announcement recently, click here to learn about Cliff Oliver’s great new iPhone e-Guide. To order your copy of the The iPhone Photography e-Guide, please click here. The PDF is sent link by e-mail for downloading: the file is relatively huge at 216 MB.

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.

Royal-Tern-sleeping-LAYERS-_DSC7643--Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created on the Fort DeSoto Fall IPT. I used 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-20E III, and the 9fps mega mega-pixel Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/11. AUOT2 WB at 10:53am on a pretty much sunny morning.

One up and to the right of the center/Group (grp)Shutter Button C (AI Servo in Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the base of the black crest.

AF Focus Peaking Fine-tune -5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Royal Tern crest

Nikon TC-E20

Here I am working on this blog post in the Holiday Inn Airport Hotel. And I just realized that I left the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III at home on the shelf in the garage. As this image looks more than fine in terms of sharpness and image quality and ever fine feather detail I think that I need to re-consider my position with regards to the Nikon 2X III …

You Always Have to See the Bird’s Eye

You Always Have to See the Bird’s Eye. Not! While it is a general guideline that we need to be able to have a good, clean look a bird’s eye if we wish to create a successful avian image. And that is generally even more true if the eye is fully open. But as today’s featured image shows, all rules are meant to be broken. The crest of a Royal Tern is a thing of beauty — that is what caught my eye and prompted me to push the shutter button and created this somewhat out-of-the-box rear view with neither of the bird;s eyes anywhere in sight. What do you think?

The Lesson: I

If you frame up something out of the ordinary do not be afraid to push the shutter button just because it does not fit into any conventional boxes. You just might come up with something quite different and quite extraordinary.

The Lesson: II

When the light is relatively harsh think long focal lengths along with clean, tight, and graphic. And be absolutely sure to work right on sun angle for best results.

Dust-spotting-Royal-Tern

Dust Detector Levels Adjustment

Dust Detector Levels Adjustment

With this image, stopped down one full stop to f/11, there were some fairly large visible dust spots. I figured that there might very well be lots of smaller dust spots that needed to be dealt with. To reveal all the dust spots in cases like this or when you will be making a large print, open a Levels layer and pull the Highlight slider to the left to about the center. This will move the mid-tone slider to the left. Now move the mid-tone slider back to the right without making the overall image too dark. Voila! You will easily be able to see all the dust spots. Now click on the background copy and get to work removing the dust spots. If there are not too many, you can use the Spot Healing Brush. If there are lots, try this:

1- Using the Lasso Tool (set to Add to Selection), circle each dust spot.
2-Then hit Shift Delete (Content Aware Fill) and hit Enter. No more dust spots.
3-Drag the Levels layer into the trash. You are done.

If you know a similar way to reveal dust spots, feel free to share it 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, Roseate 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.

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 :).

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