Variety is the Spice of Foggy Mornings! Join Me at Nickerson « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Variety is the Spice of Foggy Mornings! Join Me at Nickerson

What’s Up?

After one seriously cloudy day and one seriously foggy morning, it dawned clear on Thursday, August 15. I got to the beach at 5:30am and noted a big red full moon hanging in the western sky. The winds started from the north/northeast so I knew exactly where to be for some great flight photography. Anticipating that, I left the 600 in the car and headed afield with only the 500 PF, the deadliest flight lens ever. For me at least. Tom Pfeifer joined me after a while and we had a great morning as the winds shifted east and then southeast. As some light clouds softened the light, a tiny skimmer chick walked out of the dunes right in front of Tom and was brooded by one of the parents. The adult bird kept digging scrapes but after resting for a while, the chick was more interested in exploring.

Though I have not looked at my images yet, I am sure that I did quite well. I will download the card and edit my images (choose the keepers) when I put the finishing touches on this blog post. I would love to have you join me at Nickerson on Friday, Saturday, or Monday morning. See the info on the In-the-field sessions below.

With the time spent on the five image optimizations, this blog post took about three hours to prepare.

Your Favorite?

Please be so kind as to leave a comment and let us know which of today’s five featured images is your favorite. And please let us know why you made your choice.

Nickerson-composite

There is lots of great stuff at Nickerson Beach in August

Click on the composite to see a larger version

Nickerson Beach In-the-Field Morning Sessions

Prices reduced $100.00!

All are invited to join me for an In-the-Field photo session or two during the middle of August 2019, as below. We will get to photograph Black Skimmers and Common Terns in flight, the skimmers dueling in mid-air, and both species on the beach. With luck, we might get some great stuff on chicks and fledged young as the timing is perfect. We have a good chance to photograph American Oystercatcher with fledged young. We should enjoy some good gull photography with herring, great black-backed, and even lesser black-backed gulls. Gull predation of fledged young skimmers is likely. We may also have some good chances with several species of migrant shorebirds, especially Sanderling. It goes without saying that as always, you will learn a ton.

If you would like to join me on Friday morning, please text me at 863-221-2372. Otherwise, please contact me via e-mail or leave a message on my cell phone at 863-221-2372.

Morning Sessions: pre-dawn (about 6am) till 9:30am: $300.00 (was 400.00)
Each session includes a working brunch/Photoshop/Workflow/Image review session. Limit 3.

With the current forecasts, mornings are looking much better than the afternoons so I have eliminated the afternoon shoots.

Available: FRI AUG 16, SAT AUG 17, and MON AUG 19.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. We have all but one of the BigFeet in stock (phone orders only for now: 863-692-0906) but are sold out of the new FLN-60 BigFoot that was recently re-designed for the Nikon 600 VR. Click here to access the pretty much complete FlexShooter Pro story with videos.

BIRDS AS ART

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


Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 III. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

As used gear sales have slowed a bit in recent months — especially with dSLR bodies, there are lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

BAA Record-low Price!

Multiple IPT veteran Phil Frigon is offering a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $5999.00. The sale includes the lens trunk, the original product box and everything that came in it, an off-brand low foot, the original foot, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

Please contact Phil via e-mail.

The 600 II has been the state of the art super-telephoto lens for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many years. When I was using Canon and could get it to my location, it was always my go-to weapon. It is fast and sharp and deadly alone or with either TC. With a new one going for $9,499, you can save a cool $3,500.00 by grabbing Phil’s excellent lens now. The lighter 600 III goes for $12,999.00! artie

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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.

snow-fence-in-fog-_MAI2341-Nickerson-Beach-Park-Lido-Beach-Long-Island-MY-1

This image was created on the morning of August 14, 2019, on a Nickerson In-the-Field session with Greg Gulbransen. I used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850 Auto ISO: 900. Matrix metering +2 1/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode was perfect. AUTO1 WB at 6:41am on a solidly foggy morning.

Center d-9 Continous AF was active at the moment of exposure.

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

Image #1: Snow fence in fog display

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Variety is the Spice of Foggy Mornings!

How foggy was it? It was so foggy that when I was coming down the Meadowbrook I missed the Loop Parkway! I was not at all discouraged as I have done quite well in foggy conditions over the decades. Speaking of decades, August 7 marked 36 years since I purchased my first telephoto lens, the Canon 400mm f/4.5 FD.

In any case, I photographed with Greg until he left for a shooting assignment at about 10:30. Tom Pfeifer and I kept shooting until 12:30 in the softbox of light created by the diminishing fog. All in all, it was a great morning. When shooting in fog expose far to the right so that the images look totally washed out. As always, that provides the largest image files with the most detail while minimizing noise. Simply setting the white and black points during the RAW conversion will bring your files to life.

Black-Skimmer-flight-blur-1-30-sec-_MAI2395-Nickerson-Beach-Park-Lido-Beach-Long-Island-MY-1

This image was also created on the morning of August 14, 2019 on a Nickerson In-the-Field session. Again, I used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850 ISO: 80. Matrix metering +2 1/3 stops off the white sky: 1/30 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode was perfect. AUTO1 WB at 7:18 am on a solidly foggy morning.

Center d-9 Continous AF was active at the moment of exposure.

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

Image #2: Black Skimmer blur over dune grasses

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Necessity is Often the Mother of Invention

When we started, it was so foggy that I would have needed a very high ISO had I wanted to try for sharp flight images. Since I love a well-done blur, I went to work at 1/30 sec. and came up with a few that I really liked. This one is my favorite. The RAW file was (properly) 100% washed out. After converting the image in Capture One, the TIFF looked great. I brought it into Photoshop and in two steps, selected the area below the bird and then the area to our right of the bird and added a good bit of motion blur. Then I reduced the opacity of each of those layers until each looked like a perfectly natural pan-blur.

Black-Skimmer-brooding-to-chicks-_BUP9531-Nickerson-Beach-Park-Lido-Beach-Long-Island-MY-1

This image was also created on the morning of August 14, 2019, on a Nickerson In-the-Field session with Greg Gulbransen. For this one I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR AF lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and my souped-up Nikon D850 ISO: 500. Matrix metering +2 1/3 stops off the white sky: 1/400 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode was perfect. AUTO1 WB at 7:39am in mostly foggy conditions.

Center Group (grp) Continous AF was active at the moment of exposure.

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

Image #3: Black Skimmer on nest brooding two chicks

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Nesting Successes

Hundreds of pairs of both Black Skimmer and Common Tern have raised a ton of chicks this season at Nickerson. For the first time in years, the West Colony was active in 2019. There are fledged and flying young of both species. And there are still lots of very small skimmer chicks still hatching. For this image, I was seated behind my lowered tripod. I have come up with a great method of simplifying the leveling of the FlexShooter Pro when working on soft substrates like sand, mud, or soft dirt. I will share it with you here soon.

Common-Tern-braking-to-land-at-nest-_BUP9833-Nickerson-Beach-Park-Lido-Beach-Long-Island-MY-1

This image was also created on the morning of August 14, 2019, on a Nickerson In-the-Field session with Greg Gulbransen. For this one I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR AF lens and my souped-up Nikon D850 ISO: 800. Matrix metering +2 stops off the white sky: 1/2500 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode was perfect. AUTO1 WB at 9:19am in somewhat foggy conditions.

Center Group (grp) Continous AF was active at the moment of exposure.

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

Image #4: Common Tern braking to land above dune grasses

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Working at f/4

Notice that even when working wide open at f/4 that there was more than enough depth-of-field to cover the subject because the bird was relatively distant.

Black-Skimmers-chasing-juvenile-Laughing-Gull-_BUP0049-Nickerson-Beach-Park-Lido-Beach-Long-Island-MY-1

This image was also created on the morning of August 14, 2019 on a Nickerson In-the-Field session. Again, I used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850 ISO: 500. Matrix metering +2 1/3 stops off the white sky: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode was perfect. AUTO1 WB at 11:41am on a then cloudy morning.

Center Group (grp) Continous AF was active at the moment of exposure.

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

Image #5: Black Skimmers chasing juvenile Laughing Gull

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Gull Predation

Both the skimmers and the terns will attack any gull that has the audacity to fly over the colony. At Nickerson, several gull species are often seen patrolling for and easy meal. Those include Great Black-backed, Herring, Ring-billed, and Laughing. This year there are several hundred black-backeds along with small numbers of the other three species.

DBII-cover

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II).

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

Everything mentioned above (except for Capture One RAW conversions) and tons more — including all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — is covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. While the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II): Note: all of the videos are now priced at an amazingly low $5.00 each.

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

I continue to optimize my old Canon images in DPP 4. You can learn how and why I converted (and still convert) nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here. And, yes, I still have many Canon images to work on. 🙂 More recently, though I had become proficient at converting my Nikon RAW (NEF) files in Adobe Camera Raw, I began converting my Nikon and Sony RAW files in Capture One Pro 12. Learn more about Capture One Pro 12 in the Capture One Pro 12 Simplified MP4 Video here. The next step would be to get a copy of Arash Hazeghi’s “The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide” in the blog post here.

You can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and edited by yours truly. Please use this link to purchase NeatImage.

To introduce folks to our MP.4 videos and the basics involved in applying more NeatImage noise reduction to the background and less on the subject, I’d be glad to send you a free copy of the Free Noise Reduction Basics MP.4 Video. Simply click to shoot me an e-mail to get your free copy.

Guide to Pleasing Blurs

A Guide to Pleasing Blurs

Learn everything there is to know about creating pleasingly blurred images in A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Denise Ippolito and yours truly. This 20,585 word, 271 page PDF is illustrated with 144 different, exciting, and artistic images. The guide covers the basics of creating pleasingly blurred images, the factors that influence the degree of blurring, the use of filters in creating pleasing blurs, and a great variety of both in-the-field and Photoshop techniques that can be used to create pleasingly blurred images.

Artie and Denise teach you many different ways to move your lens during the exposure to create a variety of pleasingly blurred images of flowers and trees and water and landscapes. They will teach you to recognize situations where subject movement can be used to your advantage to create pan blurs, wind blurs, and moving water blurs. They will teach you to create zoom-blurs both in the field and during post-processing. Artie shares the techniques that he has used and developed for making blurred images of flocks of geese in flight at his beloved Bosque del Apache and Denise shares her flower blur magic as well as a variety of creative Photoshop techniques that she has developed.

With the advent of digital capture creating blurred images has become a great and inexpensive way to go out with your camera and have fun. And while many folks think that making successful blurred images is the result of being a sloppy photographer, nothing could be further from the truth. In “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” Artie and Denise will help you to unleash your creative self.

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 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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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 :).

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