Sunny and Cloudy Day Eagles. And Thoughts on Cloudy Day Underexposures … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Sunny and Cloudy Day Eagles. And Thoughts on Cloudy Day Underexposures ...

What’s Up?

I should surely be in the UK by the time that you read this. Photographing gannets at Bempton Cliffs.

Two brand new BAA publications will be released soon. The first will be The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide, co-written and co-illustrated by Joe Przybyla and yours truly. Focus on Frogs – An Illustrated Guide to Great Photography was written and illustrated by Andrew McLachlan and edited for readability by yours truly. Each of these new e-Guides is lavishly illustrated with images that will educate and inspire. Both will sell for $50.00 via electronic download.

Coming Soon

I will be announcing the Fort DeSoto Fall Sandbar Secrets IPT soon. Both Bosque IPTs and the San Diego IPT are wide open. Click here to see the IPT listings.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. We are sold out on the newly-arrived FLN-60 BigFeet recently re-designed for the Nikon 600 VR. Click here to access the pretty much complete FL SH Pro story.



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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.


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.

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The Photo Mechanic Screen Capture for Image #1 (below)

Click on the image to see a larger version and read the fine print.

The Photo Mechanic Screen Capture for Image #1 (below)

Thoughts on Cloudy Day Underexposures …

So here we have another well-underexposed image. Why does this happen so often to all of us?

  • 1- We forget that in low light conditions (cloudy, late-in-the-day, etc.), the great majority of photographers fail to add enough light. This is usually done by either by raising the ISO or lowering the shutter speed.
  • 2- To avoid working at a higher ISO with close calls, we subconsciously opt to go with an ISO that is too low.
  • 3- A cloud (momentarily and often temporarily) covers the sun.
  • 4: We accidentally bump the shutter speed wheel.
  • 5: We followed this oft-given advice, When unexpected action occurs, press the shutter button; do not attempt to change any settings …
  • 6- We simply screw up, often by being in too much of a hurry.

The reality is that all of us will — at least on occasion — have to deal with underexposed RAW files. The image above was quickly and easily converted with Capture One Pro-12. You can see exactly what I did in the Two Eagles Capture One & More MP4 Video. See more on that below.

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This image was created on June 16, 2019, at Basket Lake Camp near Dryden, Ontario. I used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. AUTO ISO: 1000. Matrix metering plus one off the grey sky: 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode was about 2/3 stop under. AUTO1 WB at 7:20pm on a cloudy-dark afternoon.

Center Group (grp) Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the eagle’s breast, pretty much on the same plane as its eye.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Imge #1: Bald Eagle lifting off with Walleye in talons

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image Optimization for the Cloudy Day Eagle

The Exposure slider at 1.23, the Highlight slider to 19, and the Shadow slider to an almost-insignificant 7 (be careful not to overdo your Shadow adjustments), the White Balance was reduced from 5778 K to 5085 K using click White Balance. This resulted in RGB values of R = 233, G = 234, B = 233, perfect for cloudy day WHITEs. After those adjustments to the RAW file, I did not even need to play with the end-lines in Levels. Not only does C-1 Pro 12 provide higher image quality for your Nikon and SONY images, but the process is also fast and easy to learn. Again, see the item on the Two Eagles Capture One & More MP4 Video below.

Bald-Eagle-in-flight-with-walleye-_BUP0362-nr-Dryden-Ontario-CA-1

This image was created on June 11, 2019, at Basket Lake Camp near Dryden, Ontario. I used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. AUTO ISO: 800. Matrix metering plus 2/3 stop off the low blue sky: 1/5000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode was a perfect exposure. AWB 7:20pm on a cloudy-dark afternoon.

Center Group (grp) Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the base of the near-wing. With the eagle angling somewhat towards us, the array was pretty much on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Imge #2: Bald Eagle lifting in flight with Walleye in talons

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The Sunny Day Eagle

With a pretty much perfect exposure right out of the box, setting up to optimize the RAW file in C-1 Pro 12 took less than one minute. And crunching the TIFF file took well less than that. Notice that in some sunny day flight situations I have started working at ISO 800 and maximizing the shutter speed, as with image #2.

Your Thoughts?

Which is the stronger image? Why? In what ways is Image #1 better than Image #2? Is Image #2 better in any way than Image #1?

Leaving a comment here is always greatly appreciated by yours truly.

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The Two Eagles Capture One & More MP4 Video

Cheap: $5.00. Click here to order.

The Two Eagles Capture One & More MP4 Video

I thought that it would be interesting and educational to do an MP4 video showing the Capture One conversions and the Photoshop optimizations of a cloudy day under-exposed Bald Eagle as compared to a properly exposed sunny day Bald Eagle. In the Two Eagles Capture One & More MP4 Video I have done just that. The topics covered include using Click White Balance to determine a pleasing Color Temperature, adjusting the Highlights and Shadows sliders, setting the Black and White points using the end-lines in Levels, Capture One Noise Reduction, adjusting the other important sliders, converting the image to a TIFF, and bringing the TIFF into Photoshop. Once there we crop the image, level and fill in canvas if needed (as was necessary with the cloudy eagle), do some background and bill cleanup using the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, the Clone Stamp Tool, Content-Aware Fill, and a small Quick Mask modified by a Regular Layer Mask, sharpen selectively with a Contrast Mask, do some Eye Doctor work with Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, flatten and save the master file, and create and sharpen a JPEG. All of that plus lots more in an easy to follow format — you can pause the tape or rewind as needed.

The best news is that this video costs only $5.00, in other words, cheap. You can have a link for this 29-minute video sent to you via e-mail by clicking here. If you enjoy this inexpensive video and would like to learn more about Capture One, check out the Capture One Pro-12 Simplified MP4 Video immediately below. 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?

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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.

Don’t Forget

Do not forget that the Nikon 500 PF and a souped-up Nikon D850 are absolutely deadly for photographing birds in flight. And please do not forget to either use my B&H affiliate links for your purchase or to get in touch with Steve Elkins at Bedford’s as noted near the beginning of this blog post. Do understand that these lenses are still very difficult to come by; the sooner you place your pre-order the sooner you will have this great lens in your hands.

Two Eagles Capture One & More MP4 Video

1 comment to Sunny and Cloudy Day Eagles. And Thoughts on Cloudy Day Underexposures …

  • Hey Arthur, Image #1 is stronger. The bird is lit evenly with a nice wing up pose and clean background. Image #2 has more action, the wing position could be alot better. You have a nicer view of this fish than in image #1. I would take either anyday.

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