Roseate Spoonbill with white ruff cropping options. And advancing through a puddle on your knees and your butt. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Roseate Spoonbill with white ruff cropping options. And advancing through a puddle on your knees and your butt.

What Up?

Mornings at DeSoto have continued to be fabulous. The morning of Thursday, 24 September 2020 was blast-off at the beach day. Large flocks of skimmers, Laughing Gulls, and shorebirds (mostly winter plumage Red Knots) took flight in swirling maelstroms every ten minutes or so. In addition. Anita and I had lots of chances on bathing terns and skimmers, diving Brown Pelicans, and more than a few Marbled Godwits. Even though I left my neutral density filters at home :(, the broken clouds allowed me to create some pretty nice pleasing blurs.

Please take a moment to leave a comment and let us know which of the three crops of the ruffed spoonbill image below is your favorite. And why. Many thanks for that.

Want to be inspired by some great images? See the BAA San Diego Gallery here. Then scroll down for info on the 2021 San Diego IPT.

Via e-mail From Derek Hallum

Thank you so very much Artie! You and Patrick did a spectacular job with the SONY e-Guide and Video. They helped me tremendously! Much love to you and your family. Sincerely, Derek Hallum

RawDigger e-Guide and Video Advance Copy Available

Save $10 Now

The RawDigger e-Guide and Video is almost finished. It will sell for $51.00. If you are anxious to get started with RawDigger, learn to mega-Expose to the Right, and wind up with the highest quality image files, you can save $10.00 and have a chance to review a pre-publication copy of the guide by sending a PayPal for $41.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net with the words RawDigger e-Guide and Video Pre-publication Copy cut and pasted into the Subject line.

You will of course receive a link for the completed PDF when the guide is finished.

SONY e-Guide Discount Program

Purchase a (new) qualifying SONY camera body (a7r iii, a7r iv, a9, a9 ii) from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $40 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 200-600mm G lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $25 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a free SONY e-guide with one or two videos.

Please send your Bedford’s or B&H receipts to me via e-mail to receive your discount and your ordering instructions. Folks purchasing from Bedfords and using the BIRDSASART code will save 3% on all orders. Folks sending their B&H receipts may need to wait a few days to have their purchases confirmed. Folks using Bedfords will have their purchases confirmed immediately.

114 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

Please Remember

If you enjoy and learn from the blog, please remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so will not cost you a single penny and if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save at least $50.00 on all orders greater than $1000.00. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and will be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes can always help out by clicking here if they see fit.

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

The BAA Used Gear Page

Right now, the Used Gear page is red hot! It is BAA Used Gear Page is the place to sell your used photographic equipment. We will help you to get your gear sold quickly for 20 to 60% or more than what the big guys are offering … Doubt me? Check out the Recent Sales list at the bottom of the page.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Price Dropped $100.00 on 9/24!

IPT veteran Mark Overgaard is offering a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV body in excellent plus condition with Really Right Stuff B5D4-L L-plate for only $1379.00 (was $1479.00). This body recently underwent the 18-point Canon Maintenance Service with Canon Professional Services. The sale includes the body cap, one Canon LP-E6N battery, the LC-E6 charger, the unused Canon camera strap, the English Instruction Manual, the original product box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Certified bank check or no-fee, near-instant bank transfer with Zelle. Or, PayPal +4%.

Please contact Mark via e-mail or by phone at 831-539-3200 (Pacific time zone).

What can I say? The 5D IV was my favorite ever Canon digital dSLR. I owned and used three of them while my 1DX II sat on the shelf in my garage for the most part. If you have been dreaming of a 5D IV, grab Markโ€™s camera body right now and save a cool $1120.00! artie

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, but using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free overnight shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time). Be sure to mention the 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 and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.

SONY e-Guide Discount Program

Purchase a (new) qualifying SONY camera body (a7r iii, a7r iv, a9, a9 ii) from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $40 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 200-600mm G lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $25 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a free SONY e-guide with one or two videos.

Please send your Bedford’s or B&H receipts to me via e-mail to receive your discount and your ordering instructions. Folks purchasing from Bedfords and using the BIRDSASART code will save 3% on all orders. Folks sending their B&H receipts may need to wait a few days to have their purchases confirmed. Folks using Bedfords will have their purchases confirmed immediately.



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 on 18 SEPTEMBER 2020 at Fort DeSoto Park. I used the Induro GIT 404l/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the 61-MP Monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400. The exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel and confirmed as perfect in RawDigger: 1/1000 sec. at f/9. AWB at 5:242Pm on a sunny afternoon.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) Continuous AF was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly.

Image #1: Roseate Spoonbill with ruff — the full frame original

The Situation

With last week’s heavy rains, there were large rain pools in the picnic area adjacent to the North Beach parking lots. They have since dried up. Photographing the White Ibises and the spoonbills there while feeding was a difficult task at best even though the birds were tame. In late afternoons the spoonbills would take a break from foraging and stand on the limestone road between the big puddles and the Gulf to rest and preen.

Using our best stalking techniques, we were able to approach the spoonies to within about 25 feet. Knowing what I was after, I had mounted the 2X TC on the 600 GM before we literally worked out tails off to get close. It is always a thrill to get close to gorgeous birds in nice light, but the physical price was a high one. We knee-walking and advanced on our butts for about 20 yards. Definitely not fun. For me it was physically taxing because kneeling was a bit too high and sitting was a bit too low. With both of those, the clean green backgrounds were not possible. And the in-between was not comfortable at all. But in the end, it was well worth it.

I made some images with the lens pointed down a bit, and I made some vertical originals, but those did not have enough depth-of-field to cover the bill tip. I was so excited and nervous when the bird that was right down sun angle — the bird with the lovely collar of white feathers around its neck. — looked right down the lens barrel at me for several seconds that I choked just a bit on the image design. But even looking on the back of the camera, I knew that I had gotten something good and that there were several nice crops available.

a7r iv Crop-ability

Sharp a7r iv image files, even those created at 1200mm, can stand up to a variety of large crops. The flattened 8-bit file for the smallest of the lot, Image #4 (below), still comes in at a very handsome 55.1 MBs.

This is the same image cropped to a pano. I used the Induro GIT 404l/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the 61-MP Monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400. The exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel and confirmed as perfect in RawDigger: 1/1000 sec. at f/9. AWB at 5:242Pm on a sunny afternoon.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) Continuous AF was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #2: Roseate Spoonbill with ruff — pano crop

The Pano Crop

My first thought was the a boxy (near-square) crop would work well. But when fiddling around with the Crop Tool I came upon a pano crop almost by accident and thought that it looked pretty good.

This is the same image with a boxy crop. I used the Induro GIT 404l/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter,and the 61-MP Monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400. The exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel and confirmed as perfect in RawDigger: 1/1000 sec. at f/9. AWB at 5:242Pm on a sunny afternoon.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) Continuous AF was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #3: Roseate Spoonbill with ruff — boxy crop

The Boxy Crop

I am generally not a big fan of boxy crops, but when the shoe fits, I choose to wear it. While the out-of-camera proportions of 3X2 and 2X3 are my favorites, I am not at all wedded to them. Here, the boxy crop worked quite well with this wonderful subject emphasizing the ruff while including all the pink that I had in the original frame.

This is the same image cropped to a tight vertical. I used the Induro GIT 404l/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the 61-MP Monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400. The exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel and confirmed as perfect in RawDigger: 1/1000 sec. at f/9. AWB at 5:242Pm on a sunny afternoon.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) Continuous AF was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly.

Image #4: Roseate Spoonbill with ruff — tight vertical

The 2X3 Vertical Crop

When I viewed this image on the back of the camera for the first time, a tight, 2X3 vertical crop came to mind immediately. This crop emphasizes the ruff to the max at the expense of eliminating all of the pink feathers.

Your Favorite?

Please take a moment to leave a comment and let us know which of the three crops is your favorite. And why.

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

San Diego 2021 Brown Pelican IPT

January 12 thru the morning session on January 16, 2021. Four full and one-half day: $1999.00. Deposit: $500.00. Limit: 8 photographers/Openings: 7.

Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins: MON JAN 11, 2021.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (nesting with eggs and possibly chicks) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heermann’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others are possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lions; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the IPT cards, there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Not to mention a ton of excellent flight photography opportunities and instruction.

Please note: where permitted and on occasion, ducks and gulls may be attracted (or re-located) with offerings of grains or healthy bread.

Learning Exposure, Whether You Like It Or Not

Whether you like it or not, we will be beating the subject of exposure like a dead horse. In every new situation, you will hear my thoughts on the exposure situation along with my thoughts on both Nikon and Canon histograms and the subject of blinkies. Whether you like it or not, you will learn to work in manual mode and to get the right exposure every time as long as a bird gives you ten seconds with the light constant. And you will learn what to do when the light is changing constantly. What you learn about exposure will be one of the great takeaways on every IPT.

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT, there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

It Ain’t Just Pelicans

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography as well. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You will be guided as to how to make the best of all of those opportunities. And depending on the weather and local conditions and tides, there are a variety of fabulous photo chances available in and around San Diego.


san-diego-card-neesie

Did I mention that there are lots of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter? Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include five 3 1/2-hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2-hour afternoon photo sessions, four lunches, and after-brunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. And so that we can get some sleep, dinners will be on your own as well.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 3385, or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, is due immediately after you sign up. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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.


san-diego-card-b

Variety is surely the spice of life in San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Getting Up Early and Staying Out Late

On all BIRDS AS ART IPTS including and especially the San Diego IPT, we get into the field early to take advantage of unique and often spectacular lighting conditions and we stay out late to maximize the chances of killer light and glorious sunset silhouette situations. We often arrive at the cliffs a full hour before anyone else shows up to check out the landscape and seascape opportunities.

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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