Small in the Lime-Green Frame Image Optimization … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Small in the Lime-Green Frame Image Optimization ...

Higher Res Viewing

Please note that clicking on each blog image to enlarge it will connect you to a higher resolution image. For unknown reasons, the smaller images simply do not look sharp. I am attempting to rectify that situation. In the meantime, click on the images to be impressed by the quality of the new higher res photos.

What’s Up?

After being cooped up in a Rockville Centre hotel for two days due to the rain, I headed back to Ronkonkoma on Monday afternoon. I was thrilled to learn that the Homer/Kachemak Bay Bald Eagle IPT is a complete sellout. To have your name placed on the waiting list, please get in touch via e-mail. I have a private client for Thursday morning — likely at JBWR, and another for Thursday afternoon at Nickerson. I will be scouting the East Pond on Wednesday morning to check the water level after Henri. I will likely be heading back to Florida in about a week. If you would like to try and hook up for an In-the-field session, please get in touch via e-mail.

Today is Tuesday 24 August 2021. I will be catching up on e-mails and lots more. I hope to get to work on e-mail #23 for the Sony A1 Info and Set-Up Group; it will deal with my new simplified approach to the SONY AF system and will likely shock some folks. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

Remember that you can find some great photo accessories (and necessities!) on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-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 when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

This blog post took about an hour to prepare (including the time spent on the image optimization) and makes 237 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, 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.

Wild Ginger

If you enjoy sushi and happen upon a Wild Ginger restaurant, you will not be disappointed. The food and the wait staff at the one in Rockville Centre are both superb.

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now close to 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 20 August 2021 at the East Pond, JBWR, Queens, NY. While seated on wet mud and working off the a1’s tilted rear screen on the splayed Induro GIT 304L topped by a Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro– with the Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter (at 840mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 4000. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the Thumb Wheel: RawDigger showed that the raw file brightness was about 1/3-stop too dark: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 7:28am on a cloudy morning.

Tracking: Spot S/AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly by tracking and nailing the bird’s eye.

Image #1: The raw file for the Semipalmated Sandpiper/warmly colored juvenile image

Cloudy Morning Raw Boredom …

As mentioned in the blog post here, properly exposed raw files created on cloudy days should actually look dull and washed out. You can bring them to life during the raw conversion. In Photoshop, I went with these:

Color Temperature: 5200 (reduced from 5400)
Exposure: +15
Contrast: +6
Highlights: -6
Shadows:-10 (to increase contrast)
Whites: +17 (to brighten the highlights)
Blacks: -26
Vibrance: +44
Saturation: +6

In addition, I did some work on the Color Mixer tab with both the Luminance and Saturation sliders for the Aquas, Greens, and Blues.

It is important to remember that the sliders always need to be fine-tuned to your taste for each individual image. The settings in today’s blog post are a good starting point for images made on dull days, but they should be refined to your personal taste on a file by file basis!

All toward the end of juicing up a rather bland raw file. It is truly amazing how much information (color and otherwise) that a properly exposed raw file contains. The lesson: even though raw files created on cloudy days will and should appear quite lacking, your optimized image files can and should look beyond pleasing; with proper technique during post-processing, they can even pop! I will be doing a video on the basics of converting your raw files with Adobe Camera Raw soon.

The last step in my workflow was to select and sharpen the bird in Topaz Sharpen AI (Motion Blur). The trick with that is to enlarge the image and check the edges of the subject for any artifacting.

Image #1A: The optimized file for the Semipalmated Sandpiper/warmly colored juvenile image

A Warm Juvie SESA

Most young Semipalmated Sandpipers appear grayish with little buff, orangish, or reddish coloration. The atypical bird in today’s featured image was warmly and richly colored, much brighter than the usual young semi. Note the striking buff/orange breast band on this individual. Many shorebirds, gulls, and terns feature such fairly bright breast bands that wear to grey in just a matter of days. The feathers of juvenile shorebirds are more fragile than the feathers of the adults and thus, wear much more quickly.

Note the background clean-up especially just to the left of the bird. In addition, I smoothed parts of the background with a Gaussian Blur that was first hidden by an Inverse or Hide-all mask and then painted in at 33% increments where needed.

The optimized images reflects the colors that I saw in the field in life much accurately than the raw file does. Feel free to leave a comment sharing your thoughts on today’s featured image. What do you like? What don’t you like? What do you think of the processing? Again, be sure to click on the image to see the higher res version.

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 raw conversion strategies and the clean-up techniques mentioned above and tons more great Photoshop tips and techniques — along with all of my time-saving 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 converted 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 . Today I convert all of my SONY raw files in Photoshop with Adobe Camera Raw.

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.


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

3 comments to Small in the Lime-Green Frame Image Optimization …

  • Art, as I shared with subscribers to my location updates for Jamaica Bay, there is no dry land anywhere on the East Pond as NYC area got over 4” of rain! Nickerson Beach is open with most of the birds resting outside the ropes near the ocean. I figured this news will save you, and others, time and money. I will see you in the field, Greg.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks a stack, Greg. You saved me a trip.

      with love, artie

      ps: You have some beautiful images. Terns are not shorebirds 🙂

      • I’m glad I could help!
        I treat bird categories rather loose on my website to simplify it for “general” viewer but thank you for pointing it out, as unintentionally I could be misleading them.
        Thank you also for kind words and all the wisdom you share with all of us. I loved reading your stories about Jamaica Bay back in the day. Keep them coming 🙂
        All the best,

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