Bird Photography Basics. And Red Knot Identification Primer … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Bird Photography Basics. And Red Knot Identification Primer ...

What’s Up?

I am headed to Sebastian early on Friday morning despite the deteriorating weather forecast …

Need System or Upgrade Advice?

These are certainly exciting and volatile times in bird and nature photography: Canon, Nikon, SONY? Upgrade or switch systems? Yikes! If you are thinking about switching or upgrading and have questions, feel free to call me on my cell at 863-221-2372 for a free ten-minute consultation. The only thing that I ask in return is that you make a firm commitment to use my B&H affiliate links or to buy from Bedford using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout if you decide to go forward. Remember that Steve Elkins at Bedford can save you a few additional bucks on lens/camera/accessories packages. See the blog for his contact details. Either way, it will not cost you one penny more.

Be sure to leave a message if I do not pick up and I will get back to you. And please follow that up with an e-mail or a text stating your name and a good time for me to call you back. I spend lots of time each day walking, swimming, and watching football and baseball πŸ™‚ And napping.

IPT Updates

  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 6. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 5)

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.

The Used Gear page has been hot lately with the continuing price drops on Canon and Nikon gear. There are still lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page.

Recent Sales

John Nelson sold his Canon 500mm f/4 IS USM lens (the “old five”) in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $2749.00 in mid-October 2019.
Multiple IPT participant Larry Master sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for a BAA record-low $5,989.00 and his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in like-new condition for $2099.00.
BAA friend and multiple IPT veteran Paul Reinstein sold a Canon Extender EF 2X III teleconverter in excellent condition for only $229.00 the first day it was listed in mid-October.
Top BAA Used Gear page seller Jim Keener sold his Canon mount Zeiss Distagon T 15mm f/2.8 ZE lens in like-new condition for the crazy low price of $799.00 (was $949.00) in early October 2019.
Allen Dale sold a Canon 300mm f2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for $3399.00 in early October,2019.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

BAA Record-low Price!

Regular Used Gear page sellers John Bowden is offering a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lnes in excellent-plus condition for a BIRDS AS ART record-low $598.00. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the front lens cap, the lens pouch, the lens shade (hood), the original product box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US-addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact John Bowden via e-mail e-mail or by phone at 1-919-358-5717 EST.

The 24-105mm focal length is my all-time favorite for B-roll stuff: bird-scapes, quasi-macros, photographers and people, scenics, and just about everything else on the planet. Whenever I would decide to leave it in the car I would not get far before I was wishing that I had taken it along for the ride. artie

BIRDS AS ART

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

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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 over $1000.00, 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 has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



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.

Red-Knot-juvenal-plumage-_DSC2717-Fort-DeSoto-Park-Pinellas-County-FL-1

This image was created on September 29, 2019, the second morning of the recent DeSoto Fall Sandbar Secrets IPT. I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter, and the the 61-MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 500. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/1600 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 9:30am on a sunny morning with a hint of a cloud in front of the sun.

Flexible spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF. The selected AF point was on the bird’s face. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Red Knot, juvenile plumage

Red Knot

First, you want to learn to identify this species by its stocky, chunky look, medium size, fairly stout medium-length bill, and its mid-length yellowish or greenish legs. The juveniles like the bird in Image #1 have a beautiful somewhat scaly pattern. If you look closely, you can see that the feathers of the upperparts each have a dark subterminal band and a white fringe. I was surprised to see so many fairly fresh juveniles in late September that had not even started to molt into first-winter plumage.

Perspective Question

Both of today’s images were made while I was seated behind my lower tripod. Once I seated the tripod firmly in the sand I leveled the FlexShooter Pro and was good to go while not have to worry about getting off-kilter when I panned to follow feeding or running birds. When you are seated at 840mm, the images look as if you were nice and low. In what way would this image have been improved had I gotten a foot lower or better yet, gotten prone right down on the ground?

Red-Knot-adult-in-basic-plumage-_DSC2796-Fort-DeSoto-Park-Pinellas-County-FL-1

This image was also created on September 29, 2019, the second morning of the recent DeSoto Fall Sandbar Secrets IPT. Again, I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter, and the the 61-MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/1000 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB at 9:41am on a sunny morning with a hint of a cloud in front of the sun.

Flexible spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF. The selected AF point was on the bird’s face. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #2: Red Knot, adult basic (winter) plumage

Bird Photography Basics …

Note that in each of today’s two featured images that the subjects are placed well back in the frame with three to four more times room from the bill tip to the right frame-edge than from the tail tip to the left frame-edge. That is always a good guideline when working in horizontal format. Next, note that in each image I am pretty darned close to working right down sun angle. Next time that you head into the field, concentrate on these two important principles and your images will improve. Master the basics and then start worrying about producing contest-winning photographs …

Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers

The info above and tons more on age-ing and identifying all of North America’s regularly-occurring shorebirds is in this great book (he said modestly). In addition, the text tells you everything you’ve always wanted to know about our sandpipers, godwits, yellowlegs, phalaropes, plovers, avocets, stilts, and oystercatchers. Other topics covered include shorebird behavior, their incredible migrations, feeding and diet, mating and breeding strategies, eggs, nests, and young, conservation efforts, and shorebirding tips. There are approximately 50 species-accounts covering all of the shorebirds that you will find regularly in North America.

You can purchase a copy here while they last.

Bosque-2019-big-card

Bosque del Apache 2019 IPT

Notice the incredible variety of images that you can learn to make by developing your skills and your creative vision on a BAA IPT.

2019 Bosque del Apache IPT

Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT #1. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 6. Introductory Meet and greet at 7pm on MON 25 NOV.

Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three In-the-Field Days as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.

I quit going to Bosque several years ago as conditions had worsened each year for several seasons running. My understanding is that things have improved dramatically in recent years. Photography-wise, I know Bosque better than anyone. Join me to learn how wind and sky conditions influence bird photography, how to create dramatic sunrise and sunset silhouettes, how to be in the right place at the right time, and how to create contest-winning blurs. As usual, you will learn to get the right exposure every time, to use your camera’s AF system to create pleasing, balanced image designs, and to improve your flight photography skills.

We should get to photograph many thousands of Snow Geese, more than a few blast-offs, some Ross’s Geese, and lots of Sandhill Cranes in the water, taking flight and flying. Depending on local conditions we may get to shoot some ducks: point-blank American Wigeon and Wood Duck. With any luck, we might enjoy sunrises and sunsets that leave you in tears. Live, eat, and breathe photography with one of (if not the) world’s premier photographic educators at one of his very favorite locations on the planet. Top-notch Photoshop instruction. Join me to learn to think like a pro and to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather. Every time we make a move, I will let you know why. When you get home, applying what you learned will prove to be invaluable.

Lunch is included.

To Register

To register, send your non-refundable $500 deposit — check made out to BIRDS AS ART — via US Mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Or call Jim weekdays at 863-692-0906 to put your non-refundable deposit on a credit card. Balances must be paid in full by check no later than two months before the IPT. If you cancel, all but your deposit will be refunded only if the IPT sells out.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for both big international trips and US-based IPTs is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality travel 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.


If In Doubt …

If you are 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 πŸ™‚

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 or Bedfords, 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 or Bedfords 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 :).

9 comments to Bird Photography Basics. And Red Knot Identification Primer …

  • Artie – I am looking at your shutter speeds and ISO. Do you think you could have gone for higher shutter speeds and higher ISO ?

    With the higher megapixel camera, I myself see the need for higher shutter speeds for sharper images (Not that these images are not sharp).

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I would take that approach with slower shutter speeds; 1/1000 and 1/1600 will freeze most feeding and walking birds.

      with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Lovely images. Is your wonderful little book on shorebirds still available? It’s a treasure. For me image 1 would be even better if you got lower because you’d have got the bird’s reflection. I really like getting the bird, it’s shadow, and it’s reflection all in the same image.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Still available. I am pretty sure that getting lower gives you less of the reflection. But that is not at all what I am looking for.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Mary Van Deusen

    Artie, your Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers is one of my most beloved books! A real treasure!
    πŸ™‚

  • Artie – I purchased a Nikon Z6 recently from Bedford. Got my discount, quick service and thanks. Also they had a better package than B&H – Bedford included a 64G XQD card, the XQD card reader ( I now have a couple) and the adapter to use non-z Nikon lenses on the Z6.

    Again thanks a bunch for the Bedford connection!

  • avatar Jordan Cait

    In what way would this image have been improved had I gotten a foot lower or better yet, gotten prone right down on the ground? Less water detail in the foreground – smoother background.

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