What Ugly Pier Railing? UK Puffins and Gannets IPT Discount Increased! White Balance Tip. A 63% Crop! And the Capture One Pro 12 Loupe (great for SONY images) « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

What Ugly Pier Railing? UK Puffins and Gannets IPT Discount Increased! White Balance Tip. A 63% Crop! And the Capture One Pro 12 Loupe (great for SONY images)

Huge Late-registration UK Puffins, Gannets, and Red Kites Instructional Photo-Tour Discount Increased!

In an effort to fill a single remaining slot, I have increased the the late-registration discount for this great IPT from $3,000 to $3500. Scroll down for trip details. Please e-mail for additional information.

What’s Up?

While the morning photo sessions down by the lake have slowed down a bit, my 25-minute sunset sessions had been getting better and better each night. I absolutely killed it on Monday and continue to refine my techniques and framing. On Tuesday evening I was so engrossed in watching James Holzhauer continue his unprecedented run as Jeopary champion that I forgot to go down to the lake (depsite ideal conditions) 🙁 IAC, images soon. I’ve swum at least a mile for straight days, a new record, and plan on continuing unitl I fly to northern Ontario on June 6th. I will be back in the office late in the day on June 17th.

Today’s blog post took two hours to prepare.

FlexShooter Pro Updates

Jim shipped a load of FlexShooter Pro heads yesterday; tahnks to those who trusted us and ordered by phone. The FlexShooter Pro is now in stock here in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store

. We have about ten left and have already ordered a thrid batch of 20. If you have been living in a cave for the past three weeks you can learn about this great new head — I am using it for 100% of my tripod-mounted photogtraphy — here and here. Or see the video here.

I got my hands on the prototype for the new FLN-60 Bigfoot for the Nikon 600 VR. It is long enough to balance the 600 alone with any camera body and the best news is that the Wimberley F-1 Flash Bracket fits perfectly and mounts easily. I will post a photo for Brian Small and others here soon. We will have them in stock in about three weeks.


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

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.

This image was created on the morning of Tuesday, May 29 2019 down by the lake near my home. Working while seated in the front seat of my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 400. Matrix metering at about +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode was dead-solid perfect. AUTO1 WB at 7:2am on beautiful clear morning.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: a very significant +9. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

A single AF point one up and one to the left of the center AF point Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The point was on the base of the crest just behind the bird’s eye.

Great Blue Heron scratching

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The FlexShooter Pro on a Tripod in my Vehicle

Each session I become more and more comfortable and efficient at setting up the tripod inside my SUV while I am seated in the driver’s seat. It really opens up a whole new world. I will be doing a video on just how to do that as soon as we get some clouds down here. It will be offered for sale for $20 but will be free to all who have purcahsed a FlexShooter Pro from BIRDS AS ART. Once the car is re-positioned it takes only a few seconds to level the silver ball and get to work. I had been setting up the tripod in my vehicle for about 25 years using first the Wimberley V2 head and then the Mongoose M3.6 but doing flight or following action with either of those was pretty much impossible. While shooting flight and action on a trpod from your vehicle with the FlexShooter Pro is not a piece of cake (as compared to standing at full height behind your tripod, it is, as you have seen here recently 100% do-able.

Great Blue Heron scratching
Before and after White Balance Adjustment

White Balance Adjustment Tip

Whether I am doing a RAW conversion in ACR or Capture One Pro 12, I use the same White Balance trick. (It also works with DPP 4.)

  • 1-Note the As Shot white balance. For ths GBH scratching image this value was K5690 and as you can see in the RAW (NEF) file, the left-hand photo above, the image was too warm and the sky was grey not blue.
  • 2-Do a click White Balance adjustment by clicking on the brightest whites. This lowered the WB to K3851. Now the image was much too blue.
  • 3-Re-set the As Shot WB and pull the slider to the left adjusting the WB to your taste. With today’s featured image I converted at K4655 (the right-hand image above shows the un-cropped converted TIFF.

It works every time. Note: at times, you may wind up at or very close to the As Shot WB, and at other times you might wind up at or very close to the Click WB value.

Note: this is just one of the many, many dozens of great post-processing tips detailed in The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II).

The 63% Crop!

As I created a long series of images depicting the GBH scratching, I knew that the pier railing was too ugly to be included in the image; milled lumber rarely makes an attractive perch. In addition the dark shadows and the whitewash on the wood were both very distracting. But I also knew that a super-sharp 45.7MP D850 image would stand up well to a large crop. A flattened 8-bit D850 image comes in at 130MB. My cropped and flattened 8-bit optmized image came in at 48.2MB. Thus, 63% of the original pixels were cropped away. Though I used only 37% of the original image, the sharpness and fine feather detail are remarkable.

Great Blue Heron scratching
The Capture One Pro 12 Loupe

The Capture One Pro 12 Loupe

One of the features that I love about Capture One Pro 12 is that it offers an adjsutable magnifying loupe (Keyboard shoartcut P.) You can set both the size of the loupe and the magnification. I opt for Large Loupe Size and 200% magnification while Patrick Sparkman keeps his at Medium and 100%. Horses for courses.

This feature is pretty much mandatory for editing SONY images because SONY does NOT embed a large JPEG in their RAW files as both Canon and Nikon do. So when I am editing in Photo Mechanic I am ubable to check my SONY images for crtical sharpness. That is where the C-1 Pro 12 Loupe comes in quite handy to say the least.

Capture One Pro 12 Simplified MP4 Video

The Capture One Pro 12 Simplified MP4 video is complete and will be posted here soon.

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 1

Please e-mail to learn about the very large late-registration discount

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the White Horse Inn in Cranswick, about twenty minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best.

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip.

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

I truly hope that you can join me on this exciting venture.

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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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

5 comments to What Ugly Pier Railing? UK Puffins and Gannets IPT Discount Increased! White Balance Tip. A 63% Crop! And the Capture One Pro 12 Loupe (great for SONY images)

  • avatar Brian E. Small

    Artie…………also just to clarify. In your WB adjustment trick (using ACR) in step 2, am I correct that you first would need to select the eye-dropper tool from the group of tools at the top left of the ACR window? Then you would click on the brightest whites to give you a new WB as a starting point.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Exactly. If you are unsure of the birghtest white area you can hold down the Alt key while moving the WHITE slider to the right (I believe).


  • avatar Brian E. Small

    Thanks Artie………….definitely interested to see the set up with the new foot and flash bracket!

  • avatar Warren Robb

    I think you may have wanted to specify “Digital Basics” after “Note: this is just one of the many, many dozens of great post-processing tips detailed in the”, but it is blank.

    I like this image because of the unusual pose.

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