Small Sublime Gems by Ravi … And a Story of Exemplary Lives « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Small Sublime Gems by Ravi ... And a Story of Exemplary Lives

What’s Up?

I am proud to share with you today some wonderful photographs and a truly wonderful story.

I began working on the Nikon D850 Camera User’s Guide yesterday.

It finally rained here on Saturday afternoon. Morning photography has not been great larely and yesterday light winds from the west in the morning (wind against sun) were not helpful. The forecast for this morning, Sunday June 2, 2019, is the same. But I will head down to the lake after breakfast anyway.

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

The late-registration discount has been increased to $3,500.00.

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. See the listing on the IOT page here or e-mail for additional information.

FlexShooter Pro Updates

All previously back-ordered FlexShooter Pro heads have been shipped thanks again 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 the correct BigFoot plate available for all lenses but for the Nikon 600mm f/4 VR lens. Please place a phone order if you would like the plate to go with your new FlexShooter Pro head; they should be in the store by next week.

As most of you know, I am now using it for 100% of my tripod-mounted photogtraphy. See here and here to learn more. Or see the video here.

The other day 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 Nikon camera body and the best news is that the Wimberley F-1 Flash Bracket fits perfectly and mounts easily. I will post a photo here soon. We will have them in stock in about three weeks.

The Capture One Pro-12 Simplified Video
Click here to order.

The Capture One Pro-12 Simplified Video

$15.00 via electronic download

When I first heard about doing RAW conversions in Capture One Pro 12 I purchased the somewhat pricey program and tried to figure it out on my own. I was totally lost. So I did some reading online and was still very confused. Then I consulted Arash Hazeghi’s comprehenisve The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide and while Arash does a great job of covering the fine points, I still had some difficulty getting started. I thought Who needs Sessions and who wants to have to Import images? So I consulted Patrick Sparkman, the BAA technical advisor. Patrick had been using C-1 Pro 12 for a while. We spent a good deal of time on FaceTime simplifying things. That video is a direct result of those conversations.

You can purchase your copy in the BAA Online Store here.

If you are new to Capture One Pro-12, please click here to order. Understand that C-1 Pro 12 is expensive for good reason … Are your photos worth it?

Here are some of the things you will learn in this 33+ minute video as we convert nine different RAW files (eight Nikon and one SONY) from soup to nuts, from Photo Mechanic through the RAW conversion in Capture One to Photoshop:

  • 1-How to quickly and easily find your images while working in a simple file folder format.
  • 2-How to customize your Exposure and Details tabs to streamline your workflow.
  • 3-How to set the White and Black points using Levels.
  • 4-How to adjust set the values for the relevant sliders including Exposure, White Balance, High Dynamic Range (the Highlight and Shadow sliders), and Clarity and Structure.
  • 5-How to work at 100 or 200% and fine tune your settings for Noise Reduction and Sharpness.
  • 6-How to work with the Color Editor

If you are trying to get a handle on how to use this great RAW conversion engine for your Nikon and SONY images, this video is just what you have been looking for. It is meant to serve as an adjunct to Arash’s comprehensive The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide. For Canon shooters, Arash and I both recommend using DPP 4.


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 by Ravi Hirekatur. He used the tripod-mounted Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II dSLR. ISO 800: 1/60 sec. at f/8.

Image #1: Big Blue Stem with flowers
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Ravi Hirekatur

Click on this image to enjoy a larger version.

Big Blue Stem with flowers

I love everything about this image, from the soft purples, lavenders, and pinks to the super-fine detail. See what others thought about this image in Ravi’s BPN post here.

Running into the work of Ravi Hirekatur

I spend most of my time on BirdPhotographers.Net (BPN) in the Avian Forum. But our BPN motto is “it ain’t just birds!” So I do spend some time in the other forums, including especially Macro & Flora and Wildlife among others.

Last November when I was tooling around in Macro I came across Ravi’s work. I was most impressed. I loved his simple compositions, his use of soft light and pastel colors, and especially his BIRDS AS ART backgrounds. I got in touch with him via e-mail and asked him if it would be OK to use some of his images on the blog. I got this back from him:

Hi Artie,

Thanks for your generous comments and words of encouragement on my posts. I have learned pretty much everything I know in digital photography – from camera settings, capture techniques and post-processing – from your blogs and the products you offer including CDs, videos, software and instructional manuals. Thanks for all that you are doing in educating nature photographers.

I would be honored to have some of my images featured in your blog. Yes, I do some photography whenever I can. I used to do a lot more a few years ago, but I can’t get out much for photography due to family obligations. My only time is early mornings during the warmer days, so I switched to macro and wildflowers.

Thanks again, Ravi

Ravi Hirekatur with family
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Ravi Hirekatur

Ravi Hirekatur

Ravi lives in Madison, WI where he is a family practice physician for the University of Wisconsin Health system. He does most of his macro photography in and around Madison at various parks and natural areas. You can see more of his work (including some birds) on his website here.


1. serving as a desirable model; representing the best of its kind.

Exemplary Lives

Ravi was born in 1960 in South India in a small town near Bangalore. He later moved there; it is now a big city and software hub. He grew up in a middle-class family that drove him hard to do well in school. In 1987, he came to the US to study Industrial Engineering after completing Mechanical Engineering degree in India. He went to Kansas State University for his graduate work and was then employed in Kansas City for 4 years as an Industrial Engineer, working mainly in developing algorithms for computer controlled manufacturing. After a while, He realized that his heart was not in it. He returned to school for pre-med courses and eventually got a medical degree from the University of Kansas in Kansas City and Wichita in the year 2000. He started his training in Family Medicine at the University of New Mexico and completed his residency at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and joined the UW Health system afterwards. He has also trained in holistic medicine and the Indian system of Ayurvedic medicine. He met his wife Ann in Madison 15 years ago; she now works for the WI State Department of Natural Resources in the area of water quality. In 2013, They adopted two orphaned siblings from Ethiopia. His daughter Melkiya is 12 and is doing very well in school. She is adept in violin and piano. His son Zerihun is eight and is good at cello and piano. He is also playing basketball and wants to play in college when he grows up.

Needless to say, He had to go part-time after adopting his kids so he could spend as much time as possible with them to develop bonding. Prior to adopting his children, he was very active in international volunteering in under-served areas in Africa, and South and Central America. He also volunteered multiple times in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. He still works part-time as a doctor. At home he does lots of cooking and cleaning and very much enjoys taking the kids around town to their various activities.

He did mostly landscape photography for about 15 years prior to adopting his kids. Then he got interested in birds after reading an article about Arthur Morris in Outdoor Photographer many years ago, probably in the late 1990s; it talked about his transition from teaching in NYC to bird photography. Ravi did some bird photography for a few years after getting Artie’s first book on bird photography. His photography came to a standstill after adopting his kids, but he started out again gradually 3-4 years ago, focusing mainly on wildflowers in Wisconsin. He does not have the time to get out much except in early mornings on warmer days, which is perfect for wildflower photography. He hopes to get back to bird photography in a few years when his kids are a little older. He also practices mindfulness meditation and he is currently working on doing wildflower photography in a meditative way.

This image was created by Ravi Hirekatur. He used the tripod-mounted Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II dSLR. ISO 800: 1/200 sec. at f/5.6.

Image #2: Strings and Beads
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Ravi Hirekatur

Strings and Beads

This one is evocative of John Shaw’s work. I distincly remember his cover on Natural History magazine from about a zillion years ago; it was quite similar to Ravi’s photograph but with a grey background. What I especially love about Strings and Beads is the single large drop of water top center. Ravi wrote in his BPN post here:

I saw this spider web covered with raindrops after an early morning shower. I was able to get a few images quickly. A couple of seconds after this image was made, the entire web collapsed from the weight of water drops. Such is the impermanence of nature! That lesson is especially important for macro photographers: take the image now (not later or tomorrow) as it might be gone in an instant. I am still working on learning that one …

This image was created by Ravi Hirekatur. He used the tripod-mounted Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II dSLR. ISO 800: 1/100 sec. at f/8.

Image #3: Potato Beetle
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Ravi Hirekatur

Potato Beetle

Here again I enjoy the simple image design and the soft pastel colors that turn an ordinary subject into a work of art. You can see what others had to say about this image in Ravi’s BPN post here.

This image was created by Ravi Hirekatur. He used the tripod-mounted Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II dSLR. ISO 800: 1/150 sec. at f/8.

Image #4: Yellow Foxtail with Milkweed seed
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Ravi Hirekatur

Yellow Foxtail with Milkweed seed

Here is my comment at Ravi’s BPN post here:

Sublimely superb. And I love the image design as is. The soft light and your use of the d-of are both great. And the BKGR is complimentary. All in all, very well done.

This image was created by Ravi Hirekatur. He used the tripod-mounted Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II dSLR. ISO 800: 1/400 sec. at f/5.6.

Image #5: Sweet Coneflower (Rudbeckia subtomentosa)
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Ravi Hirekatur

Sweet Coneflower

For this image Ravi went to a higher than usual shutter speed to freeze the slowly swaying subject. He does his RAW conversions in DPP4 and optimizes them hi Photoshop (just as I did when I was using Canon gear). He added a bit of canvas on the right as the sepal was too close to the frame-edge and softened the right lower corner with the Healing Brush Too.He selectively applied NIK Color Efex Pro Tonal Contrast (at 35% opactiy) and Detail Extractor (at 30% opacity). By focusing on the flower center and working at a relatively wide aperture Ravi gave this image a surreal look.

See what others thought about tSweet Coneflower in Ravi’s BPN post here.

This image was created by Ravi Hirekatur. He used the tripod-mounted Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II dSLR. ISO 800: 1/400 sec. at f/5.6.

Image #6: Showy Tick Trefoil
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Ravi Hirekatur

Showy Tick Trefoil

In Ravi’s BPN post here, I learned that this one is a simple two-frame focus stack. I have often thought about trying that with birds …

Huge Thanks!

Huge thanks to Ravi for allowing me to share his wonderful images and his story with you here. Ravi’s work is absolute proof that by being selective and having a good eye one does not need to be prolific …


If you could own a large print of one of Ravi’s images, which one would you select? Please leave a comment and let us know why you made your choice.

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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19 comments to Small Sublime Gems by Ravi … And a Story of Exemplary Lives

  • avatar Kouros Farro

    Yes I do photography. Mainly landscape for fun.

  • avatar Farro Kouros

    I do hobby pro photography mainly landscapes. I have done some macro with Ravi.

  • Very nice work. I would have to go with the strings and beads. I love dew and water drops on anything and that one is very well done.

  • it was nice to meet Ravi. i’m most fond of the spider web with water droplets. i’ve seen Mr. Shaw’s similar shot and always envied it. Ravi’s picture brings you right into the picture and melts away everything else. i also like the Sweet Cornflower.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Beautiful images, by Ravi Hirekatur, and by the short bio, you can see he is an intelligent, creative, and selfless person!

  • avatar Jay

    Great pics, and a great story. In answer to the question posed, I’m torn between two. The spider web and the showy tick trefoil. I want to love the black eyed susan, but the petals get lost to me in the yellow background. The foxtail with milkweed seed is interesting, along with the potato beetle, but they don’t excite me as much as the spider web and trefoil. That said, it’s time to follow the link and look at more of Ravi’s pictures for inspiration. He’s reminding me that it has been a while since I took out the macro lens.

  • Dear Artie,
    I was pleasantly surprised to see this in your blog today. I didn’t expect to see it this quick! I am humbled to see my images and my story. Your work is inspirational and one can see threads and elements of your teachings in my images. My heartfelt thanks to you and all the great photographers who commented on them. I am honored to be featured in your blog.
    Thanks again

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW Ravi. It was wondeful working and learning more about you. When I first saw your images I thought MACRO AS ART 🙂

      with love, artie

  • That one big drop near the top in the spider web makes that photo stand out enormously because of the creativity in composition. My second favorite is the Sweet Conflower. With that sharp center and the Petals/Sepals soft ( I need to learn flower parts) it looks painterly. All very beautiful.

  • Excellent work Ravi! My two favorites are Strings and Beads, and Sweet Coneflower. The others are beautiful as well. I also had a smile on my face when I read in all exif captions “Canon EOS 7D Mark II dSLR”.

  • Beautiful Image. Difficult to select one image. I like Sweet Coneflower most.

  • avatar James Saxon

    That last image is my favorite. The composition, use of some muted soft color in the background and the placement of the flower against the yellow background was the icing on the cake. Great set of photos.

  • Image #2 is my favourite for sure. I love the simplicity and beautiful gradient of greens in the background. I was amazed that this image only required f/5.6 for perfect focus across the web.
    All are beautiful images,

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    The spider’s web with that magical large droplet. The symmetry and delicate fragility with that beautiful green bokeh makes an image that will live in the memory.

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    Wonderful story and beautiful pictures.

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