Ye of Little Faith. And Out of the Crane Box Twice … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Ye of Little Faith. And Out of the Crane Box Twice ...

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Ye of little faith …

On Wednesday morning, in perfect conditions, Anita, Clemens, and I made our way into the marsh at 6:40am. We did not see a single Black-necked Stilt anywhere. It seemed as if we were in a dead zone. I said, “I’m outta here,” and headed north for the two small chicks (by car). I did OK. Like me, Anita was not optimistic and headed to the south end of the marsh. When she returned, Clemens was ecstatic; his patience had been rewarded when two stilts landed right in from of him, courted, and copulated. Facing him! Then two more showed up for a battle royale. His final reward was a single stilt bathing. Anita had chased a dive-bathing Osprey and got a great image of the bird shaking out in flight after its bath. I hooked back up with them at about 8:00am; we all worked the edge of the marsh and enjoyed some really good chances with the two large crane colts and their parents. And finally, with a young Green Heron.

That evening we decided to head to Lake Blue Cypress for sunset … We left the dock at about 6:00pm and took a beating on the way across the lake as we headed into a stiff northeasterly wind. Once we got in the lee of the eastern shore we were fine. We had a decent sunset. For the better part of the evening, we did scenic photography with the occasional landing Osprey thrown in for good measure. We got back to the dock at 8:45pm and headed home well past my usual bedtime.

Today is Thursday 20 May 2021. The forecast for ILE is calling for partly cloudy with a northeast wind. Partly cloudy at ILE usually means clear as a bell. The three of us will be back down in the marsh. It is likely that Anita and I will be more patient than we were this morning. I have neglected to mention that the weather here for the past five days has been quite strange for May in central Florida. Morning and later afternoons have been cool and there has been a pretty decent cool breeze each day as we’ve dined on the pool deck, sort of like October on Long Island …

Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you have a great day.

This blog post took about two hours to prepare and makes 147 consecutive days with a new one. Please remember that if an item — a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head — for example, that is available from B&H and/or Bedfords and is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great if you opt to purchase from us. We will match any price. Please remember also to use my B&H affiliate links or to save 3% at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And doing so always earns my great appreciation.

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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.

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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

This image was created on 19 May 2021 by yours truly. While seated — using the knee-pod technique, I used the hand held Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera (while standing –double gasp!). ISO 2000. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 7:03am on a clear morning.

Tracking: Expand Spot/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and created a sharp-on-the-eye image.

Image #1: Sandhill Crane chick standing in grass between adult’s legs

Out of the Crane Box #1

This image — a photo illustration if you would, was created from a horizontal original that included the second chick and the bill of the adult whose legs remain in the photo to frame the chick. The bill of the adult was cloned away and I did some work on the grass as well. If you would like to see the JPEG that represents the original frame, please click here.

Like It or Hate It?

Like it or hate it. Why?

This image was created on 19 May 2021 by Anita North. She used the hand held Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 500. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/2500 sec. at f/4 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 8:34am on a clear, sunny morning.

Wide/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #2: Stretched wing detail of Sandhill Crane colt
Image courtesy of and Copyright 2021 Anita North

Out of the Crane Box #2

When I saw one of the big colts do a wingstretch right in front of Anita, I wanted to call out, “Shoot the wing,” but there was no time so I went back to what I was doing. The bird was much too close to her for anything but an out of the box body parts image. A few hours later I walked by her open laptop and lo and behold, there was Image #2. She was in the next room so I called out, “Anita, I am so proud of you for getting the wing shot!”

Designing and Creating Pleasing and Dramatic Natural History Images
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Order your copy by clicking here.

Designing and Creating Pleasing and Dramatic Natural History Images

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In this 1 hour 28 minute plus video you will learn and be inspired. We cover everything from the very basics to the fine points. After a brief bio, the topics include Behavior, Action, Diagonal Lines, and the Cuteness Factor; Birds in Flight — The Holy Grail of Bird Photography; Mis-Framing!; Basic Image Design/HORIZONTALS: Get the subject out of the center of the frame. Basic Image Design/VERTICALS: The center of the frame is generally fine; The Importance of BACKGROUND; Isolating the Subject; Other Elements of Composition; On Getting Low; Going Wide for Bird-scapes; Super-tight!; Working in Sunny Conditions; Working in Cloudy Conditions; Working in Foggy Conditions; Working in the Shade; Working in Bad Weather; Creating Back-lit Images; Creating Silhouettes; and Creating Pleasing Blurs.

Each segment of the program consists of an average of about 15 images that will drive home the points being made, educate you, and inspire. The instructions and advice, given clearly and concisely, are based on my near-38 years of experience photographing birds with telephoto and super-telephoto lenses. And on several decades of creating educational blog posts.

This presentation is based on the webinar that I did for the South Shore Camera Club in April. You can find some of the comments below along with comments from two of the folks who viewed the webinar the night before the DeSoto IPT began.

You can order your copy of Designing and Creating Pleasing and Dramatic Natural History Images/A Video Webinar by clicking here or by calling Jim with your credit card in hand at 863-692-0906.


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

3 comments to Ye of Little Faith. And Out of the Crane Box Twice …

  • Art,

    I like the crane chick a lot (and have made similar images of Great Blue and Wood Stork chicks with their parents’ legs at Wakodahatchee). The between-the-legs focus is amazing (though I think the R5 would do it too, also amazing to me after years of moving a single focus point around manually). But the new technique of sitting with the 600 and 1.4 while standing with the A1 needs explaining! 😉

    Anita’s wing doesn’t grab me, though many of her other images have (like the the stilts and the flight images she got wading with the Bull sharks–i.e., in deep water–at Fort Desoto).

  • avatar Bill Goodhew

    Great experience ordering Webinar. Super web site!

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