Give Me Eight Good Minutes! A Like-New Canon EOS-1DX Mark III for sale. The Topaz AI One-Two Punch. And Creative (?) Fun With the Liquify Tool … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Give Me Eight Good Minutes! A Like-New Canon EOS-1DX Mark III for sale. The Topaz AI One-Two Punch. And Creative (?) Fun With the Liquify Tool ...

What’s Up?

Saturday was a foggy, hazy, lazy, rather warm grey day in Central Florida. I went out briefly in the morning and then relaxed for the rest of the day. No bursts. No walks. No swim.

For the first time in recent memory, I finished this blog post the day before it was posted. The weather forecast for what is now Sunday 23 January 2021 is for mostly cloudy with a chances of sprinkles and light northeast winds.

The plan is that I will create the RawDigger Adapted Histogram video on Sunday morning.

This blog past makes thirty-five days in a row with a new blog post. It took more than two hours to prepare. Please remember …

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now at 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.

The BAA Used Gear Page

The Used Gear page continues to be very active. The 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 for the past eleven months at the bottom of the page.

Canon EOS-1DX Mark III professional digital camera body

Used Gear Page regular Don Busby is offering a Canon EOS-1DX Mark III dSLR in like-new condition with less than 10,000 shutter actuations for a very low $5499.00. The sale includes the original box and everything that came in it including the 64gb CF Express Card, the CFexpress reader, and an extra battery. Also included is 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 Don via e-mail

The Canon 1Dx bodies have been solid performers under challenging conditions for many years. The autofocus performance of the 1Dx and 1Dx MkII had been lacking as compared to Nikon or lately Sony (A9) especially when it comes down to dynamic focusing using the whole sensor array or specific zones. on the 1DX Mark II, the Automatic AF area selection never did a great job of acquiring and tracking the subject; thus, that mode was pretty much useless for photographing birds in flight. Single-point AF or AF Expand (4 or 9 points) with the tracking sensitivity set at -2 often produced good results for me with flying birds, but the fact that you were limited as far as image design always bothered me. Nikon’s dynamic focusing and Sony’s tracking capabilities provided extra compositional flexibility. As a result, many bird photographers decided to leave Canon and switch to Nikon or a Sony a9 series body. I decided to stay the course with Canon for two reasons: my collection of great Canon lenses, and the fact that the development of sensor and AF technology is like an arms race: one day Nikon is ahead, the next day Canon is ahead. I was lucky enough to get the new Canon 1Dx MkIII camera body from Steve Elkins just in time for my trip to Alaska to photograph the bald eagles. It was the perfect place to test the improved AF capabilities of the new Canon flagship body, the EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR with CFexpress Card and Reader.

The 1Dx MkIII is a hybrid camera with an Optical Viewfinder (OVF) and Live-View shooting making it a mirrorless camera at the same time that it is a rugged dSLR. There are a ton of other great new features, but I focused primarily on testing the new enhanced AF system. I was especially interested to see if the new dynamic 191-point Automatic AF selection and the AF zones would perform better than the previous versions of the 1Dx. The conclusion is that even under difficult circumstances — the first two days with heavy winds and heavy snow) — the camera had no issue focusing on the subject and keep tracking it with the Automatic AF selection mode. I used the center point to acquire focus and as soon as it locked the focus on the bird, it did a great job keeping multiple AF points on the subject and tracking it through the frame and through the snowflakes. The same applied for the Zones — smaller AF areas with multiple AF points active. Even with busy backgrounds, the AF stayed locked on the subject. The AF modes have been reduced to 4 compared to 5 in the previous 1Dx models. I primarily used Mode 2 (Continue to Track Subjects, Ignoring Possible Obstacles) and Mode 4 (For Subjects That Accelerate or Decelerate Quickly) but was not able to see a significant difference between the modes. Even with trying the “Deep Learning” Automatic setting (Tracking Automatically Adapts to Subject Movement) I did not notice a significant difference. They all performed really well. The conclusion is that Canon has produced a camera that is now on-par or even better than its competitors with respect to AF performance. Although I did not test the mirrorless capabilities yet, other tests show that this function is also equal to or better than the Sony A9 performance, the only difference is that you can not use the OVF in mirrorless-mode with the 1DX III and have to use the display on the back of the camera (the rear monitor) instead. Due to the fact you have to keep the camera away from your eye, this is somewhat awkward for photographing birds in flight. I am very happy with the AF performance as compared to the previous Canon models and am looking forward to testing it further on Florida birds this coming spring. Clemens van der Werf

The 1DX III sells new right now for $6,499.00. Grab Don’s almost new body, save a $1000.00, and get an extra battery to boot! I remember how thrilled Clemens was with his then brand-new 1DX III in Homer. You can see some of his eagle images made with the 1DX iii in the Field-testing the New Canon EOS-1DX Mark III at Homer: World-Class Nature Photographer Clemens Van der Werf Shares the Skinny on Canon’s New Flagship Camera Body post here. artie

Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro

We have just one Induro GIT 404L/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro in stock. Two dozen are being shipped from Hungary this coming Tuesday. The ballhead that acts like a (but is much lighter than) a gimbal-head, and serves all purposes, is — as I predicted when I first used a FlexShooter — indeed taking the world of nature photography over by storm. And it’s all on the level too!

RawDigger e-Guide pre-publication version

RawDigger e-Guide and Video Advance Copy Still Available — but not for long …

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 recently updated pre-publication version 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 completed RawDigger e-Guide ready for sale by this coming Wednesday. Folks who saved $10.00 by pre-ordering will of course receive a link to the final PDF.

134 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.

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).

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.

This image was created on 22 January 2021 while working away from my SUV at the Vulture Tree in the South Field at Indian Lake Estates. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter, and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 1250: 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 9:22am on a sunny morning.

Center Zone AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and sharp focus was achieved. Click the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Black Vulture braking to land

Give Me Eight Good Minutes

The first of 37 flight keeper images was created at 9:14am. The last, today’s featured image above, was created just eight minutes later. The wind was from the south at first, but switched to southwest about halfway through the session or I would have had a lot more good ones. I was a bit too close and a bit too old with slow reflexes and not the greatest hand-eye coordination or fine motor skills, so I clipped a lot of wings and heads. But I sure had fun.

And as I have been saying here repeatedly, If my life depended on making one sharp flight image, I would want a SONY a9 ii in my hands …

Wind Direction Question

Why would a southeast wind have been better for this image than the south wind?

Image #1A: Topaz Sharpen AI on the vulture’s head

The Topaz AI One-Two Punch!

Before adding canvas above, right, and below using the Crop Tool/Content-Aware Fill method, I ran the whole image through Topaz DeNoise AI. It cleaned up the noise in the sky and in the dark tones of the vulture beautifully. Then I selected the bird’s head with the Quick Selection Tool (W), put that on a layer, and brought the layer only into Topaz Sharpen AI. In the Comparison View, I clicked on Auto and saw the Stabilize was best. I reduced the Sharpness setting by one-third from 48 to 32.

Despite the fact that I am trying to use faster shutter speeds for flight, the fact that Stabilize is almost always the best mode chosen by Auto in Topaz Sharpen AI shows two things:

  • 1- My panning skills even on a tripod are less than ideal.
  • 2- I need to strive for Shutter speeds even faster than 1/3200 second.

Click on the image to view a larger version and to be able to read the fine print.

Image #1B: RawDigger Screen Capture Composite

RawDigger Screen Capture Composite

First note the 191 OvExp G (GREEN) pixels. Next check out the 800% view in the upper right corner. All of the over-exposed pixels can be seen as rosy-red OvExp warnings in the specular highlight in the vulture’s eye. The GREEN channel histogram pegged against the 16000 line indicates that same degree of over-exposure. In the RawDigger e-Guide we teach you that this is a perfect exposure. By mega-Exposing-to-the-Right we are opening up the dark tones of the bird as much as possible and attaining the highest possible level of shadow detail in every situation.

Click on the image to view a larger version and to be able to read the fine print.

Image #1C: Black Vulture Liquified

Creative (?) Fun With the Liquify Tool

Amazingly, I dreamed of creatively messing around with this image last night. First I tried Twirl (Filter > Distort> Twirl), but that was totally unsuccessful. Next I tried the Liquify Tool (Filter > Liquify). I played around a bit — often taking a step back (Command + Z) when I didn’t like what I had done — and wound up saving two different versions. Image #1C was my favorite. Like I or hate it, I’d love to hear from you.

If you are a high-end Photoshop user, you will find a great Adobe Liquify Tool tutorial here.


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

2 comments to Give Me Eight Good Minutes! A Like-New Canon EOS-1DX Mark III for sale. The Topaz AI One-Two Punch. And Creative (?) Fun With the Liquify Tool …

  • Hi Artie
    I have just down loaded Topaz in to Photoshop I had a Image of the Queen Victoria cruise ship in Liverpool which I took with a Canon G10 point and shoot it was very grainy due to high ISA setting it was a bit of a grab shot It is for a Calendar for 2022. Topaz transformed into a very usable Image , and yes I purchased it using your link. I would recommend it to your bloggers any time.
    Best and love


  • Hi Artie
    #1 everything bang on the button exposure sharpness overall light of bird fabulous. A great record/action shot it’s a 10 out 10 from me.

    Best and love

    Ps I really miss my daily swim

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