Blood Work — Japanese-style? And 200-600 Versatility « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Blood Work -- Japanese-style? And 200-600 Versatility

What’s Up?

On Wednesday morning, I thought at first that two of the three Limpkin chicks were lost. But after a great morning, I saw all three with two adults. I got some good stuff on a single Limpkin chick, possibly from a different pair, with and without the adult. I found a Black-necked Stilt nest with no eggs. It is quite a lovely creation made of rotting straw and aquatic vegetation and snail and mussel shells, with about a half-inch of water in the bottom … Without any recent rain, the level of the lake continues to fall daily. I will check the nest out on Monday morning. Nesting success for this species is precarious at best.

I swam early and headed over to Gulfport at about 1:00pm. We left our AirBnB at 5:45pm and, after a not-too-bad afternoon at DeSoto with Least terns and diving birds at sunset, were home by 9:30.

Today is Thursday 26 May 2021. The forecast for St. Pete is for mostly sunny with a light south wind. Good stuff. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you have a great day.

This blog post took about an hour to prepare, and makes 152 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.

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, are invited to help out by clicking here to leave a blog thank you gift if they see fit.

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 second-day air 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.

This image was created on 26 May 2021 on State Road 60 about five miles from my home at ILE. I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 255mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 400. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/5000 sec. at f/6.3 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 6:41am with a light cloud on the eastern horizon.

Wide/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed as expected: perfectly. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Pine tree at foggy sunrise

Blood Work — Japanese-style?

I had forgotten that Quest Diagnostics in Lake Wales opens at 6:00am. It had been 6:30 for forever. I arrived at 5:45am (without an appointment) and was thrilled when the nice lady opened the door at six. I was back in the car headed east on SR 60 by 6:24am. With the foggy sunrise, I stopped to do my favorite group of pines and then jumped in the car to rush down to the lake. Until I saw this tree right on the side of the highway. I pulled over again, grabbed the 2-6, and went to work. I shot darker and darker in an attempt to save the sun. Though RawDigger showed 99,000 OvExp pixels in the R and G channels (out of 51,000,000), I was able to recover most of those during the raw conversion. I did some Sun Doctor work to bring the complete sun ball into line.

With my butt leaning back against my vehicle, I carefully crouched down a bit and chose my perspective so as to place the sun right where I wanted it. Would you have put it somewhere else?

Sun Doctor Work

Unlike Eye Doctor Work, Sun Doctor Work is not covered in detail in Digital Basis II. But all the techniques are. I used a series of Quick Masks refined by Regular Layer Masks to cover the hot spots. Working very large, I erased the entire mask, and then painted the properly exposed sun back as needed.

SONY 200-600 Versatility

In addition to being a one-size-fits-all lens for walk around bird photography, the 2-6 is a superb landscape lens. I generally work with it hand held, but the tripod-foot with Wimberley P-30 plate affixed is always in my bag should I need to do some slow shutter speed scenic photography.

Your Call?

What do you like about today’s featured image? What don’t you like?

The Title?

Do you like the title? If you have a better one, please leave it in a comment.

Sony Alpha a1 AF

Barring operator error, the performance of the Sony Alpha a1 AF system at any focal length — including at 1200mm as seen in recent blog posts — is, when the a1 is set up properly as detailed in the in e-mails to the Sony Alpha a1 Info & Updates group, more than remarkable. Early on, there was lots of discussion within the group with many preferring multiple back button approaches. For me a simple shutter button approach with the right AF settings that yield 99% sharp-on-the-eye images is best. By far. It is super-simple and mega-effective. In recent SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group e-mails, I shared what I have learned as to when and it what situations it is best to abandon Wide. And with what. The group has already learned to limit the AF Area choices and to switch AF Areas quickly and conveniently. The default method of switching AF points with the C2 button is both slow and cumbersome. In addition, recent e-mails have detailed the best program to use to pick your a1 keepers and the big problem with the Camera Set. Memory menu item.

SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group is going great guns as folks chime in with thoughtful questions and experience-based advice. We are now up to an astounding 49 blessed folks. Early on, we discussed the myriad AF options. I gave my opinion as to the best one for flight and general bird photography. More recently, we have been in contact with folks at SONY sharing our thoughts, experiences, and frustrations with the EVF blackout problem.

All who purchased their Alpha a1 bodies via a BAA affiliate link will receive a free subscription to the Sony Alpha a1 Set-Up and Info Updates after shooting me their receipts via e-mail. (Note: it may take me several days to confirm B&H orders.) This same service may be purchased by anyone with an a1 body via a $150.00 PayPal sent to indicating payment for Alpha a1 Info Updates. Alternatively, folks can call Jim weekdays at 1-863-692-0906 to pay via credit card. New members will receive composite e-mails that summarize all previous discussions.


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

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