Not a Head Shot! SONY AF Point Display after-the-fact News Coming Soon. And Topaz DeNoise ISO 8000 Magic « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Not a Head Shot! SONY AF Point Display after-the-fact News Coming Soon. And Topaz DeNoise ISO 8000 Magic

What’s Up?

Wednesday was another totally grey day. I walked the pier with the a9 ii/200/600 and created 360 intentionally blurred images. I kept four. None will probably ever see the light of day, or be featured on the blog … Many times when I walk with a zoom lens — be it a SONY lens or the Canon RF 100-500 with the R5, I am working to learn more about the AF system and to fine tune my understanding of exposure …

SONY folks are advised to check out the Coming Soon item just below.

It is partly cloudy here this morning — Thursday 14 January 2021 with light winds from the SW. I hope that it stays cloudy for my walk so I can try some more blurs.

This blog past makes twenty-five days in a row with a new blog post. This one took about 2 1/2 hours to prepare. Please remember …

Please Remember

With income from IPTs approaching zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a Walmart greeter and will not cost you a single penny more. And if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. 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 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.

SONY AF point display after the fact!

Coming Soon!

We recently learned about an amazing new program that will show SONY AF points (and to a limited degree, the AF info). We hope to be sharing that info with you here soon.

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 with the words RawDigger e-Guide and Video Pre-publication Copy cut and pasted into the Subject line. The recent delay is the result of my recent conversations with Iliah Borg, the brains behind RawDigger. It is very likely that the Shock-your-World section will shock you.

In the new guide, we teach you why the GREEN channel is almost always the first to over-expose. We teach you how to interpret the Max G values. And most recently, we teach you a simple way to evaluate your exposures using an adapted RawDigger histogram. And tons more, of course. I am planning on having the RawDigger guide ready for sale by next Monday. Folks who saved $10.00 by pre-ordering will of course receive a link to the final PDF.

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plugins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Topaz Stuff

As I said just a while back and have said often many times before, I should have listened sooner. If you, like me, are new to the Topaz party, please use this link to purchase. Right now I can wholeheartedly recommend both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Though I have not yet worked with JPEGtoRAW AI or Gigapixel AI, I have installed both of these plug-ins and look forward to trying them on some I-Phone 11 images fairly soon. If you are thinking like me, consider the Utility Bundle that includes all four plug-ins mentioned above at a money-saving price.

Again, those who purchase Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI using my link, can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. I had a bit of trouble getting the two plug-ins installed and having them appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu. In addition, I will explain how to best learn about the two plug-ins by applying them on a Layer (in Photoshop).

132 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.

Folks who have used my B&H affiliate links or purchased their SONY gear are invited to e-mail for discount information.

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, by 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 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order to save 3% and enjoy free 2nd-day air shipping. 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.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs (remember those?) 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 28 October 2020 at Anahuac NWR, TX. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Levered-clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 8000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/125 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:35am on a foggy morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Click the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Great Egret and dayflowers bird-scape

The Situation

We arrived at Anahuac early every morning in hopes of photographing the grackle and ibis pre-dawn blast-offs. On the very foggy morning of 28 OCT, I spotted this Great Egret standing still next to a canal near some dayflowers and approached just a bit as I moved to my left. Remember: when it’s dark, keep your teleconverters in your pocket. I went with 1/125 second wide open at f/4 and raised the ISO until I had some Zebras on the subject. RawDigger showed that the raw file was about 2/3 stop too dark — in the SONY e-guide we advice going with lots os Zebras in low light …

Not a Head Shot!

I love clean tight and graphic. And I love head portraits. But, when the wide image includes some interesting habitat (and some nice flowers), small-in-the-frame is the way to go. Not to mention that the birds at the refuge were not at all tame …

Image #1A: Topaz DeNoise AI on Auto

Topaz DeNoise on Auto

The comparison view of this ISO 8000 image clearly showed that DeNoise AI was the most effective option. Be sure to click on the image to see how DeNoise AI cleaned up the noise and brightened and sharpen the image. Please note that white feathers in very soft light will never show much if any fine feather detail (FFD).

The Image Optimization

In the raw file converted with no adjustments you can see a large blue-cast. While converting the image in Capture One, I used click-White Balance to warm up the image and then backed off a bit. I executed the rotation and crop before bringing the image into DeNoise AI. Then I spent a while cleaning up the many distracting elements along the near-shoreline, especially in the lower left portion of the frame. The clean-up was performed using my usual cadre of tools and techniques. Those included the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, the Clone Stamp Tool, a series of small, transformed Quick Masks modified with Regular Layer Masks, and Divide and Conquer.

Feel free to leave a comment revealing your thoughts on the image clean-up.

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. Be sure to specify Digital Basics II.

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

The clean-up techniques mentioned above and tons more great Photoshop tips and techniques (with the exception of Capture One RAW Conversions) — along with all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — are 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. 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.

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. Note: all of the videos are now priced at an amazingly low $5.00 each.

You can learn how and why I used to convert all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here. More recently, I became proficient at converting my Nikon RAW (NEF) files in Adobe Camera Raw. About two years ago I began converting my Nikon and Sony RAW files in Capture One Pro 12 and continue to do so today (along with my R5 images).

To purchase Capture One, please use this link. Then you can learn more about Capture One 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 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.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

5 comments to Not a Head Shot! SONY AF Point Display after-the-fact News Coming Soon. And Topaz DeNoise ISO 8000 Magic

  • avatar Paul Burdett

    Hi Artie. I’ve taken so many shots of similar situations to your image (small bird/large surroundings) and thought that were not worth processing. This one has changed my mind. Thank you.

    P.S. Unrelated question: just wondering…do you ever use flash (fill or otherwise) in your bird photography? Haven’t seen you mention this in any of your blogs/bpn posts. Just purchased a Godox 860iin for occasional use with my D500/500PF combo. Cheers,

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Paul, You are welcome. With fog and digital the info is in the file …

      I used flash with film and with digital. Once I started using Nik Detail Extractor I pretty much quit using flash. I may get one for SONY at some point,

      See you on BPN.

      with love, artie

  • Artie I love the clean up work as the dried stuff to the left drew my eye when looking at the image, may I ask what prompted you to rotate the image, what stuck out to you?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Bob. I looked at the small dark green vegetation in the upper right and saw that it was not square to the world. So I used the Ruler Tool (as detailed in DB II) to level just that. It was tricky because the tops of the reeds mislead the eye.

      with love, artie

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