Surprised! Not Surprised. And Not Surprised … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Surprised! Not Surprised. And Not Surprised ...

What’s Up?

On a very still, partly cloudy Monday morning, I photographed some flowers in the vacant lot at the end of my block. When I was finished, I did a ride-around and found six more blooming Alligatorlilies! On the backroads, I saw two crane families, one with one colt, the other with two colts. I have no way of knowing if those families bred down by the lake and are now simply roaming around ILE, or if they bred elsewhere in or out of ILE. I finally got some more work done on my 2020 taxes.

Below is a feature on the Carhartt Men’s Knit Cuffed Beanies that I use to protect my camera gear when traveling by air or by car or by train as well. Yes, train! I am taking the Auto Train on July 28 to visit daughter Alissa and her family, my sister Ilene, Nickerson Beach, and the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, NY where it all began for me. I will be offering In-the-Field Sessions at both locations.

In any case, this item brings up an important point. It would be extremely helpful if folks like me, who spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And it works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

Ah, I almost forgot to mention you find some great photo accessories (and necessities!) from Amazon, by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above.

Today is Tuesday 13 July. The forecast for this morning is for partly cloudy with a 10-12mph east wind. If I do go out, it will be early and I will likely not get much farther than our butterfly garden as I need to do laundry and begin packing for the ride up to Jacksonville on Wednesday. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

This blog post about an hour to prepare and makes 198 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, and greatly appreciated if you would 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.

Carhartt Men’s Knit Cuffed Beanie

Most folks know that I have been protecting my gear with Carhartt Watch Caps for decades. My lenses and camera bodies pack easily into one of my two Think Tank bags. The beanies are far less costly than the LensCoat stuff, and offer far more protection in terms of absorbing shock during travel by air or by car. I double the hats for my camera bodies. You can buy thinner, cheaper watch caps, but they simply do not do the job. Best of all, the Carhartt Men’s Knit Cuffed Beanies come in 17 colors; well-organized folks can color-code their gear by using one color for TCs, a different one for camera bodies, etc., etc., etc.

When rain threatens, I make sure to have an extra cap in my fanny pack. If it starts to drizzle or rain, I simply place the beanie over my camera body. They are thick and in addition, they repel the raindrops. I have never had a problem with a lens in the rain. Camera bodies, you ask? Well yes, too many. But never when protected by a Carhartt beanie 🙂

This image was created on 17 June 2021 on a beach in Southeast Florida. Standing at full height, I used the Induro GIT 304L/ Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted-Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only). ISO 4000. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 (wide open) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed the raw file brightness to be about 1/3 stop under. AWB at 8:03am on an overcast morning.

Wide/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed more than well enough. See Image 1B below. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #1: Least Tern adult in flight with fish for chick


As noted previously, flight photography at the Southeast Florida Least Tern colony was nearly impossible as the background was made up almost entirely of large condos. If you were fast and skilled (I am neither), you might get a very few chances at flight images with the small strip of dune grass along with some clean sand as background. As I did here.

What shocked me as I looked for an image for today’s blog post, was that this image was created in low light at ISO 4000 at 1200mm! Unlike many of the young guns, most notably Arash Hazeghi, I rarely attempt flight photography with the 600mm f/4 and the 2X TC (of course with the a1). Arash does so routinely while hand holding! (That is pretty surprising too, actually astonishing.)

Image #1A: Topaz DeNoise on the ISO 4000 Least Tern adult in flight with fish for chick image

Not Surprised

I was not surprised at all that DeNoise on Low Light eliminated the noise in this ISO 4000 image. I began with Low Light on Auto and found that moving the Reduce Noise slider from 17 to 12 was equally effective. In addition to virtually removing all noise, DeNoise sharpens the images just a bit (without creating any artifacts). Be sure to click on the screen capture to enlarge it and compare the before image on our left with the after image on our right. As regular readers know, I run DeNoise on virtually every image that I process immediately after executing the crop with the Delete Cropped Pixels box checked. For images made in sunny conditions, I used Standard. For images made in low light, I use Low Light. You can check all four methods by using the Comparison View, but I rarely do that any more as I am confident as noted above.

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plug-ins), will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. If the stuff is on sale (as it usually is), you save 15% off of the sale price! To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Those who purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or any other Topaz plug-ins using my link and then entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. Please include a copy of your Topaz receipt that shows the discount. Aside from the basics, the guide explains how to install the plug-ins so that they appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu.

Image #1B: AF Point for the Least Tern adult in flight with fish for chick image

Not Surprised Again

Folks might look at the screen capture above and think, “Lousy AF system.” But the fact is, that in many, many cases, the Bird/Eye Tracking AF will not lock onto the eye of a bird in flight, but image after image will be very sharp on the eye. . It’s as if the processor is not fast enough to keep up with the incredible AF performance. And I have seen the same thing often with the Canon R5: the AF point is nowhere near the subject but the image is razor sharp.

Note that I moved the bird in the frame for a more pleasing composition using Content-Aware Crop.

SONY and artie

Switching to SONY, first with the a9 and the a9 II, and then with the remarkable a1, has enabled me (and others, like Mike De Rosa as seen recently in the blog post here), to create images of birds in flight and in action that I could not have even dreamed of when using Canon for 33 years and then Nikon for more than two. Most of the time I am using one of two AF methods that together, cover about 99% of the commonly-encountered bird photography situations. Learn more by joining the group!

From Long-ago IPT veteran Keith Kennedy via e-mail

Absolutely great information. I am calling Jim in a few minutes to order a couple of Delkin 128GB UHS-II cards. Your timely email has saved me a ton of money! Many thanks

In the same vein, via e-mail from John LeClair

Well, e-mail #21 alone was worth the price of admission!

From Pamela Viale, after receiving my a1 settings along with detailed instructions on how to copy them to her SONY a1 via e-mail

This e-mail group has been an incredible boon to me! Thank you so much!

From Joe Barranco via e-Mail

Thanks for your great ideas on the A1 set up. I have been getting MANY more keepers doing things your way!

From Barbara White via e-Mail

Wow, I just gotta say – I learn so much from the SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info group! My camera is on my desk, and I’m always picking it up and changing something that I’ve read about in the e-mails.

Thanks, Barbara

From Janet Horton via e-Mail

Hi Artie, Mystery solved. Yes, I was able to replicate what you did. I forgot that you have to set self-timer using the upper dial. I am used to that being a MENU selection.

Thanks much, Janet

SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group is going great guns as more and more folks chime in with thoughtful questions and experience-based answers. As the a1 is becoming more readily available, more and more folks are getting their hands on this amazing body. With two folks joining yesterday, we are now up to an astounding 67 lucky and blessed photographers! 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.

4 comments to Surprised! Not Surprised. And Not Surprised …

  • avatar Don Poulton

    Art, you will really enjoy taking the Auto Train — I took it home from Florida a few years ago. I hope you booked a roomette accommodation. Take a camera body with short to medium zoom lens with you.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Don. This will be about my fourth round trip. What have you photographed on your journeys?

      with love, a

      ps: And yes, I have a roomette!

  • avatar Kathleen E Woveris

    I have a 500mm canon old five great condition,
    golf bag long lens backpack,
    window mount,
    long lens plate for tripod

    any info on pricing and listing on your website would be greatly appreciated

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