How to Get a Wet Muddy Butt that Might Ruin the Rest of your Day … Or Not! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

How to Get a Wet Muddy Butt That Might Ruin the Rest of Your Day ... Or Not!

What’s Up

Friday April 19 did turn out to be a wild weather day. It began with mixed clouds and sun and a pretty stiff south wind. We did great with a fairly tame flock of Red Knot and several other shorebirds species. Red Knot, Calidris canutus, is listed as near-threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018. Learn more about the status of Red Knot here.

Then the sun disappeared for good and the wind picked up. The forecast for heavy rain all afternoon and thunderstorms all afternoon seemed quite plausible, I suggested that rather than giving up we should try another location outside the park where we might enjoy some great flight and diving pelican action. That turned out to be a bonanza and we wound up photographing until after 1pm. It turned out to be the longest-ever single IPT photo session: 6 1/2 hours from start to finish.

We all met up at my AirBNP for our critiquing session — each participant brings their five favorite images for review. That was followed by the first-ever BAA IPT Barbecue. We all enjoyed skirt steak, potato salad, and a big old carrot cake. No worries, I had only a small piece of the cake. Saturday morning dawned cold and clear with a stiff NW wind. Wind against sun conditions are the worst for bird photography. We spent a bit of non-productive time in the park and then headed back to the outside-the-park location where things were difficult but not impossible as the pelicans flew up into the wind and then turned back toward us as they dove. It was a very long shot but everyone got at least a few different images. All in all it was, thanks to the clear skies and NW winds, a pretty lousy morning.

The afternoon turned out to be the best photo session of the Spring DeSoto IPT, and heck, one of my best afternoons ever at the park, maybe the best. Both by far! We started with some Laughing Gull flight, two feeding White Ibises, and two bathing Laughing Gulls. Then a gorgeous spoonbill flew in. I slowly made my way through a foot of water and muck and everyone but multiple IPT veteran Tony Zielinski followed. The bird was a spiffy adult with the bright carmine patch on each folded wing. It even had the black India ink markings on its bill. And it turned out to be silly tame. Calling across the small bay I convinced Tony to remove his Sunday-go-to-meeting sneakers and join us. We followed the bird for several hundred yards staying on sun angle all the while. After a full hour, it flew. We were headed to my favorite afternoon location and had stopped for some soft light Laughing Gull flight photography when I noticed some tern flocks on an accessible spit. We concentrated on paired off Royal Tern pairs on the clean sand beach. We had two pairs copulate right in front of us. We left the beach totally giddy and headed for the Thank You Dinner at Pia’s Trattoria in Gulfport; the food and the company was great.

Anita North and Tony fly back to Toronto today from TPA and Luis and I are headed to ILE for his last two crane photography sessions.

IPT Updates

I now have three — possibly four — folks for the UK Puffins and Gannets trip; that leaves one or two (or six or seven) openings on what will be an amazing experience and will possibly be my last trip and almost surely the last of the amazing Dunbar gannet boats trips — Gordon is getting old. 🙂

Galapagos: No Reasonable Offer Will Be Refused!

Luis Alberto Grunauer, Jr signed up for the Galapagos trip on Tuesday. I still have two openings: please shoot me an e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this trip. Or try any reasonable offer …

  • The 2019 Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/THURS 18 APRIL through the morning session on SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2019: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 1. Meet and greet at 7PM on the evening of WED 17 APRIL. Free morning session on WED 17 APRIL.
  • 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 5 10) or photographers/Openings: 2 (or 7). This trip is a definite go.
  • 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: 13 photographers/Openings: 3. Please e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this trip.
  • The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 7)

BIRDS AS ART

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

Lessons-from-the-Field

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style is a 1 hour, 15 minute, 314 image,
click and play MP4 video

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style: $10.00

Click here to order or see the Save $10 Bundle offer below.

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style is a 1 hour, 15 minute click and play MP4 video. It is available here in the BAA Online Store, by phone order, or by sending a Paypal for $10.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net. As the file is a large one, be sure to upload it when you have a good internet connection.

The video features 314 of artie’s best images, educational and otherwise. Based on his 35 years of in-the-field experience, it covers all the basics along with many fine points. Are you making mistakes that give you no chance to create a great image? Learning to avoid those and learning to think like a pro will make you a better photographer. If you purchase and study the video, it will surely prove to be the best ten dollars you’ve ever spent on photography.


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birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100:

Save Ten Bucks!

Order the Lessons From the Field MP4 video and add a copy of the birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100 (via convenient download — normally sells for $20.00) for an additional 10.00.

Order the bundle for $20.00 by clicking here.

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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.

Booking.Com

Many IPT folks have been using the Booking.Com link below to get great rates and save 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.

Airbnb

I have been using AirBNB for all of my travel lodging needs. Everyone on the Fort DeSoto IPT is staying at an AirBNB property in Gulfport. 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, their secure messaging makes it easy to coordinate with your host. And Airbnb support teams are available 24/7. And this morning, I made a 17-day reservation for an Airbnb condo for San Diego, 2020. I am staying with Rick again: his place has lots of room, a full kitchen, two bedrooms, and great WiFi. All for a lot less than the price of a chain hotel.

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 above to save $25.00.



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.

Great-Blue-Heron-sunrise-silhouette-_MAI6734-Fort-DeSoto-Park,--Tierra-Verde,-FL

This image was created on the morning of April 18, 2019 on DAY ONE of the DeSoto Spring IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. ISO 500. Matrix metering minus about 1/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3 AUTO1 WB at about 7:11am on a clear day.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +3. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

One up from center Group (grp)/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the top of bird’s neck right below the chin.

Image #1: Great Blue Heron silhouette at sunrise

How to Get a Wet Muddy Butt That Might Ruin the Rest of Your Day …

The whole group crossed to the spit even before the sun rose into partly cloudy skies. The only possible silhouette-able subject was this handsome Great Blue Heron. And the only way to create a decent silhouette would be to get very low. The bird — as are many of the birds at DeSoto — was silly tame so I simply sat down in four inches of water and muck and began working. The color behind the bird’s head and neck was pretty sweet for only a few moments. The color that you see was actually reflected color on a swath of the lagoon water. The challenging part was moving to my left to place the color of the swath just in front of the bird’s upper breast. As soon as I got the shot the lighting changed …

An Option?

What might have been an option starting with the RAW file for Image #1?

Great-Blue-Heron-backlit-at-sunrise-_MAI6742-Fort-DeSoto-Park,--Tierra-Verde,-FL

This image was created moments after Image #1 (above) on the morning of April 18, 2019 on DAY ONE of the DeSoto Spring IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering plus about 2/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/6.3 AUTO1 WB at about 7:12am on a clear day.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +3. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

One up from center Group (grp)/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. Again, the array was centered on the top of bird’s neck right below the chin.

Image #2: Great Blue Heron gently backlit at sunrise

The Lighting Changed

As the sun rose behind a thin cloud, I decided to go for a much more muted look that would reveal the detail in the shadowed side of the bird. Note the much lower shutter speed used to create Image #2. Image #1 and Image #2 were created from separate RAW files but in truth, I could have come close to duplicating the two looks by working with the same RAW file and doing two different conversions.

Your Favorite?

Which image do you prefer, the blog look of Image #1 or the softer look of Image #2? I will share my clear favorite with you all here in a few days.

Was It Worth It?

Though I was less than thrilled to get down in the wet muck I was more than thrilled with the results. I knew what needed to be done to get the image and I did it. Was it worth it to me? Very much so. Kudos to Donna Bourdon’s friend BAA IPT newbie Spears McAllister who snuggled up right next to me in the mud. When Spears told Donna that he wanted to become a better bird photographer she told him to sign up for an IPT. Spears has worked with Donna at the Erlanger Institute in Chattanooga, TN for several decades and had been amazed by Donna’s progress as a bird photographer.

Galapagos-card-2019---1

The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience

Galapagos: No Reasonable Offer Will Be Refused!

July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 or 13 photographers plus the leader. This trip needs ten clients to run. All deposits and payments will be returned in the unlikely event that the trip does not run.

This trip is THE best Galapagos Photo-Cruise in the world. By far. No one else offers a trip that visits the top three world-class landings twice each. What does this trip offer? The world’s best Galapagos guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), a great crew, and me, with ten Galapagos Photo-cruises under my belt. Pre-trip gear suggestions and advice and twice-daily, pre-landing, location-specific briefings. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea! Do know that there are one-week Galapagos trips (six full and two half- days on the boat “from $9995”! (If you think I am exaggerating, click here.) Thus, this trip represents a tremendous value; why go all that way and miss half of the great photographic locations? And why not visit the three very best spots twice each?

The great spots that we will visit include Tower Island — including Darwin Bay (almost surely twice!) and Prince Phillips Steps, Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world’s only nesting site of Waved Albatross (almost surely twice!), and Gardner Bay — each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway. We will also visit Fernandina, Puerto Ayora for the tortoises and Darwin’s Finches, Puerto Egas—James Bay, and North Seymour (almost surely twice) for nesting Blue-footed Boobies and both frigatebird species in most years, South Plaza for Land Iguanas and seabirds, Floreana for Greater Flamingoes, and Urbina Bay, all spectacular in their own right. We visit every great spot on a single trip. Plus lots more.

There will be lots of opportunities to snorkel on sunny middays for those like me who wish to partake. (The park service does not approve our second visits to the same great locations until right before the trip; we have never been turned down. We will be the first boat on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island every afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast skies, we will often spend 5+ hours at the best sites. And as noted above, mid-day snorkeling is an option on most sunny days depending on location and conditions. On the 2015 trip most snorkeled with many thousands dolphins. I eased off the zodiac to find hundreds of dolphins swimming just below me.

Note that some of the walks are on the difficult side. Great images are possible on all landings with either a hand held 70-200mm lens and a 1.4X teleconverter or an 80- or 100-400mm lens. In the past, I have taken a longer lens ashore on most landings as they better fit my style. In 2017 I took the then brand-new Canon 400mm DO lens and the Canon 500mm f/4 L IS II lens (with both teleconverters). In 2019 I anticipate taking at least my Nikon 200-500 and my 80-400 VR. Along with the 24-120.

The Logistics

SUN July 21, 2019: Arrive in Guayaquil a day early to ensure that you do not miss the boat.

MON July 22, 2019: Introductory sessions.

TUES July 23, 2019: We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2017 trip some folks made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!

TUES: August 6, 2019: We disembark late morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; most will overnight there.

Most will fly home on the early morning of August 7 unless they are staying on or going elsewhere (or catching a red-eye flight on the evening of the August 6).

$14,499 includes just about everything: all transfers, guide and park fees, all food on the boat, transfers and ground transportation, your flights to the archipelago, and three nights (double occupancy) in a top notch hotel in Guayaquil. If you are good to go, a non-refundable deposit of $5,000 per person is due immediately. The second payment of $5,000 is not due until 12/1/18. The final payment of $4,499 per person will be due on 3/1/19. All payments must be made by checks made out to BIRDS AS ART and mailed to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.

Again, this trip needs ten participants to run so please do not book your flights until you learn that we are good to go. Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On two fairly recent cruises a total of 5 folks were forced to cancel less than one week prior to the trip. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same.

Not included: your round trip airfare from your home to and from Guayaquil, beverages on the boat, phone calls, your meals in Guayaquil, personal items, and an $800/person cash tip for the crew and the guide to be shared by our guide and the 7 folks who will be waiting on us hand and foot every day for two weeks. The service is so wonderful that many folks choose to tip extra.

Galapagos-Card-A2015

The Itinerary

Sunday, July 21, 2019: Fly to Guayaquil arriving a day early to ensure that you do not miss the boat.

Monday, July 22, 2019: Introductory sessions.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019: We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2017 trip some folks made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!

On the Boat

Day 1: Tuesday, July 23, PM North Seymour

Day 2: Wednesday, July 24, Genovesa: AM Darwin Bay, PM Prince Phillips´ Steps

Day 3: Thursday, July 25, Marchena: AM Playa Negra, PM Navigation to Isabela

Day 4: Friday, July 26, Isabela: AM Punta Albemarle, PM Punta Vicente Roca

Day 5: Saturday, July 27, AM Fernandina: Punta Espinoza, PM Isabela: BahĂ­a Urbina

Day 6: Sunday, July 28, Isabela: AM Elizabeth Bay, PM Punta Moreno

Day 7: Monday, July 29, Floreana: AM Post Office Bay, PM Punta Cormorant

Day 8: Tuesday, July 30, Santa Cruz: AM Highlands and Lunch, PM free time in the city with internet access.

Day 9: Wednesday, July 31, Española: AM Gardner Bay, PM Punta Suárez

Day 10: Thursday, August 01, Española: AM Punta Suarez, PM Navigation to San Cristóbal

Day 11: Friday, August 02, San CristĂłbal. AM Isa Lobos (only until 9 am), PM Punta Pitt

Day 12: Saturday, August 03, AM Santa Fe, PM South Plaza

Day 13: Sunday, August 04, Genovesa: AM Darwin Bay, Navigation to Santiago

Day 14: Monday, August 05, AM James Bay, PM Rábida

Day 15: Tuesday, August 06, North Seymour from 06 to 09 am. We disembark late morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; most will overnight there.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019: Fly home.

I hope that you can join us on what will surely be a rich and rewarding photographic experience.

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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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 :).

16 comments to How to Get a Wet Muddy Butt that Might Ruin the Rest of your Day … Or Not!

  • avatar Tony Z

    I like the first one better 🙂

  • Both are enviable shots. I’m a little more struck by the 1st shot with the Golden light and reflection of sunrise. #2 is a close 2nd with it’s soft colors, the ribbon of feathers at the back of the birds head. For a long time I wasn’t too enamoured with the Great Blue Heron. Seemed to always look ratty and splotchy in its feather dress to me. However, since getting to know the bird better I’ve become a big fan. Thanks for sharing, by the way you seem to have gotten a little dirt on your backside for the good of us all!

  • Hi Artie, my very clear favourite is image #1. Did you consider dropping the blacks even further on the bird to create a perfectly black silhouette?
    Jake

  • avatar Guido Bee

    On the exposure compensation for the two images, it would seem more likely to me that the silhouette would be minus and the second would the the plus?
    I like the first shot better, but number 2 is very nice. Probably worth a wet butt to get your results, but I’d likely just get the wet butt and miss the great shot.
    All the best.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      See my response to Patrick below. Good catch.

      with love, artie

      • avatar Guido Bee

        Now that I look and see that the two images were made a minute apart, I can assume the light did not really change in the interval. Thus about 2 stops difference in exposure and the 1/3 stop in iso (500 to 400) all make perfect sense . Be well.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Hey Guy, You gotta read what I wrote in the post 🙂 The sun went behind a light cloud after I made Image #1 …

          with love, artie

  • avatar James Saxon

    Image #2 is my favorite with just enough light on the bird to show feather detail and the eye. The soft background light adds to the “feel” of the image for me. Thanks for sharing.

  • avatar Patrick Sparkman

    Is the exposure information correct on Image 1 and 2? You mention the slower SS on image 2, but it shows 1/1250 vs 1/320 for image 1. I love image 1 BTW.

  • avatar Adam

    The silhouette takes it for me based on the colors, bokeh, and intrigue. I applaud you for capturing the shot and to paraphrase your sagely advice, press the shutter.

  • avatar Jordan Cait

    Hi Art, it sounds like an amazing IPT. You mentioned that you want us to tell you about typos:
    “We had to pairs copulate” to vs. two.

    Jordan

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks and always on the typos. I fixed it and in the same sentence I found and fixed “right in from of us 🙂

      with love, and yes, it has been great.

      artie

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