Anticipation. And dramatic jet-black backgrounds! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Anticipation. And dramatic jet-black backgrounds!

What’s Up?

Tuesday on the puffin boat was mega. We could not land on Wednesday morning because of a nasty swell and that afternoon was lousy with an east wind against bright sun. Thursday on the puffin boat was mega-mega. We have been eating well (and too much), learning a ton, and having fun. I went 100% SONY on lousy Wednesday and fabulous Thursday; I have lots to share on that, some of it quite surprising.

BPN is still down, with apologies. We suffered a phishing attack that is so bad that right now not even the service provider had been able to get into the back-end to do the clean-up. My understanding is that progress is being made.

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.

Publication Delay 🙁

Publication of the The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide, co-written and co-illustrated by Joe Przybyla and yours truly has been delayed as yours truly screwed up the PDF. Once that new e-Guide is released, the publication of Focus on Frogs – An Illustrated Guide to Great Photography was written and illustrated by Andrew McLachlan and edited for readability by yours truly will follow. 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.

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.

Atlantic-Puffin-flapping-_BUP4917-Seahlouses-UK

This image was created on July 2 on the first of our puffin boat trips on the 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Again, I used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850 AUTO ISO: 400. Matrix metering at about -2/3 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 12:15pm on a cloudy-bright day.

Center d-9 AF was active at the moment of exposure. The center point was squarely on the puffin’s eye.

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

Image #1: Atlantic Puffin with sand eels — flapping in place

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Anticipation

On Tuesday morning we landed at an alternate site. There were lots of close puffins on the rocks with nice backgrounds, but the sun was shining just a bit too much in our faces. “Let’s pass on those for now and get them on the way back after it clouds up.” So we did. There is a single location on Staple Island where you can consistently enjoy jet-black backgrounds. But you need a west wind and cloudy skies. I got lucky when the isolated bird with sand eels in its bill flapped.

puffin-vert-with-fish-_DSC8913-Bempton-2019

This image was created on July 2 on the first of our puffin boat trips on the 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Anita North used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and her souped-up Nikon D850 AUTO ISO: 1600. Matrix metering at about -1/3 stop as framed: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 12:15pm on a cloudy-bright day.

One up from the center Group (grp) Continuous AF was active at the moment of exposure.

Image #2: Atlantic Puffin with sand eels — vertical portrait.
Image courtesy of and copyright 2019: Anita North

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Math Quiz

Which settings let in more light, Image #1 or Image #2? No guessing — please share your math.

600VR

I have yet to use my Nikon 600 VR. And prospects for doing so are not looking good …

Comments?

Any and all questions and/or comments on today’s two images are of course welcome.

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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.

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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 :).

15 comments to Anticipation. And dramatic jet-black backgrounds!

  • avatar Joel Eade

    I want to clarify my answer.

    The question is which settings “let in more light” ?

    Light is photons hitting the sensor. The number of photons that hit the sensor is determined by the length of time the shutter is open and how wide the shutter is open …. ie shutter speed and f-stop. In addition it would be determined by the amount of available photons in the ambient light.

    So my (edited) answer would be that IF the levels of ambient light were the same then the settings for image #1 would allow more photons to reach the sensor. If we don’t know anything about the level of ambient light then the question cannot be answered.

  • Really dramatic Guru.

    However, many modern photographers know this is achieved by software tools. Perhaps that’s why some of them prefer to leave it with the natural look.

    Would love to see how these images were originally!

    Best regards.

    • Quazi,

      In this case, many modern photographers would be wrong but only 100% wrong. Both of these images are exactly as the appeared out of camera …

      with love, arrtie

      ps: the “look” therefore is 100% natural 🙂

  • avatar Guido Bee

    If the two exposures resulted in files whose exposures were equally “correct” (whatever that means), then the amount of light required to make them would be only affected by the iso. Working backwards to how much light would be required to make an exposure with the iso, shutter speed and apertures described indicates that the EV for shot 1 was 15 and the EV for shot 2 was 17, exactly the two stops difference between 400 and 1600. Worked out the values on the dial of my old Luna Pro; analogue is still good for something. All the best.

  • This is a trick question. And the answer is: they both let in the same amount of light. Here is how the math works out: ISO 1600 to ISO 400 = -2 stops, 2500 to 1250 = +1 stop, f/8 to f/6.3 = +2/3 stop. This works out as image#2 being 1/3 stop underexposed, that is if the brightness of the scenes were the same. But the real clue lies in how you compensated for the amount of light. Clearly, the whites of the puffins against the black background had to be compensated for to prevent blown highlights. In image #1, the amount was -2/3 vs only -1/3 in image #2. In other words, you had to stop down an extra -1/3 in image #1 for proper exposure which is the same amount of underexposure the math above shows for image #2. So both images let in the same amount of light.

    Another way to think about this: if both images were correctly exposed, then the amount of light that reached the camera’s sensor was the same no matter what the settings were.

    • avatar Mike Poole

      The question is “Which settings let in more light?”. Aperture and shutter speed are the only components that let in light. ISO is disregarded as it simply boosts the signal from the photons in the sensor. The fact that photo 2’s ISO required two stops of additional boost is proof that more light was provided by the settings in #1. Taken further, the area in the histogram for each image could be measured after they were normalized for ISO.

      • Ah, yes, I see the flaw in my thinking. And yes, I agree that settings in#1 let in more light. But I disagree on how much more light. That’s because we are forgetting another factor – the brightness of the scene. Assuming both images were correctly/equally exposed, based on the ISO alone, #1 let in 2 stops of more light, not 1 2/3.

  • avatar Mike Poole

    Shutter speed (1250 vs 2500) gives #1 1 stop more light. Aperture (6.3 vs 8) gives #1 2/3 stop more light, so the settings in #1 deliver 1 2/3 stops more light to the sensor.

  • avatar Maggi Fuller

    Have you seen this Artie? From yesterday’s DPreview….

    Sony a9 ‘real-time tracking’ update makes it the highest scoring camera in its class

    We’ve tested and re-scored the Sony a9 with a focus on the AF enhancements that firmware 5.0 brings, and it raises the score to 90%. This makes the a9 the highest-scoring camera in its class, out-ranking the Nikon D5 and Canon 1D X II.

  • avatar C Eseka

    combination of same light, higher ISO, lower -ve exposure compensation, higher shutter speed and higher Fstop (in the 2nd image) FULLY compensated by the combination of lower ISO, higher -ve exposure compensation, lower shutter speed and lower fstop (in the 1st image)

    • avatar C Eseka

      SAME LIGHT…combination of higher ISO, lower -ve exposure compensation, higher shutter speed and higher Fstop (in the 2nd image) FULLY compensated by the combination of lower ISO, higher -ve exposure compensation, lower shutter speed and lower fstop (in the 1st image)

  • avatar Joel Eade

    Surely the settings for image #1 let in more light. When comparing the shutter speed and f-stop the first image was taken with a much slower shutter and wider f-stop. I don’t think ISO has anything to do with it because it is amplification applied after the image is obtained to sort of mimic film speed.

  • avatar Pete.C.

    Doing the maths in my head, they both let in the same amount of light, same exposure, just different settings?

    Great images with the 500pf Art, I think you will be using the 600vr from the car!

    Been a couple of years since I went to the Farne Islands, its a superb site, are you going to the Tern colony?

    Pete.C

  • avatar Chris Barber

    I was driving home on Thursday, looking at the sky and thinking you’d be excited by the clouds! Pleased to hear it was a great day and thanks again for your excellent instruction and company. Hope to see you all again at some point, cheers, Chris

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for joining us for the two days on the Farnes. It was great meeting and working with you.

      with love, artie

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