My Short Walks on a Long Pier have been Productive … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

My Short Walks on a Long Pier have been Productive ...

Which is the Stronger of Today’s Two Featured Images?

Why did you make your choice?

What’s Up?

On Sunday morning, I took yet another worthwhile walk on the longest freshwater pier in the state of Florida. I usually do not need to walk far to find some action. After my pier walk, I drove around for a bit on what was a gorgeous morning and did a few cranes and a few (more) Ospreys.

Today is Monday 13 June 2022. The early morning ILE forecast is calling for clear skies with a breeze from the SW. I will be headed down to the lake as usual for a quick look-see. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took about 90 minutes to prepare and makes ninety days in a row with a new one.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon links that are found on most blog pages and to use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout when purchasing your new gear from Bedfords to get 3% back on your credit card and enjoy free second-day air FedEx. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!

Induro GIT 304L Price Drop

Amazingly, we have two, brand-new-in-the-box Induro GIT 304L tripods in stock. They are $699.00 each (were $799.00) and the price now includes the insured ground shipping to the lower 48 states. Weekday phone orders only: 863-692-0906.

And Please Remember

You can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!) 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 who, like me, 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.

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 earn 3% cash back at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout for your major gear purchases. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And always earns my great appreciation.

Brand-New and As-Good-As-Ever Bedfords BAA Discount Policy

Folks who have fallen in love with Bedfords can now use the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout to enjoy a post-purchase, 3% off-statement credit (excluding taxes and shipping charges) on orders paid with a credit card. The 3% credit will be refunded to the card you used for your purchase. Be sure, also, to check the box for free shipping to enjoy free Second Day Air Fed-Ex. This offer does not apply to purchases of Classes, Gift Cards, or to any prior purchases.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would like to enjoy getting 3% back on your credit card along with free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex 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 check the box for Free Shipping. That will automatically upgrade to free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The waitlists 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 a 1, 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.

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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 (still!) save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I lost about fifty thousand dollars in income due to COVID 19 — 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.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs 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. If you are desperate, you can try me on my cell at 863-221-2372. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up.

This image was created on 12 June 2022 down by the lake at ILE. While standing on the pier, I used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens
the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 1250. 1/1000 sec. at f/6.3 (stopped down 1 1/3 stops) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be dead-solid perfect. AWB at 7:13:47am on a clear, sunny morning.

Tracking: Zone AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed to perfection. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1: Limpkin with freshwater mussel

Shooting Down at the Birds

I general, we’d like to be as low as possible. Being at the bird’s eye level is usually ideal as it offer an intimate perspective. That is obviously not possible when you are working on a pier, a boardwalk, or a steep bank (where getting down to water level is impossible). The advantage of being higher rather than lower on still days, you get better reflections. Anyhoo, I like this small-in-the-frame image. What do you like? What don’t you like?

Settings Error

Though I got a perfect exposure, I made a serious error when adjusting (or failing to adjust!) the settings. Take a close look at the EXIF data for Image #1, and if you see my error, leave a comment, and let me know what my settings should have been (had I been awake and aware), and what my mistake was.

This image was also created on 12 June 2022 down by the lake at ILE. Again, while standing on the pier, I used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens
the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 1000. 1/2500 sec. at f/4 (Wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be dead-solid perfect. AWB at 7:7:20:23am on a clear, sunny morning.

Tracking: Zone AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed to perfection. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #2: Green Heron ready to strike

A New Find

Anything on the right side of the pier early on a sunny morning is going to be 30 or more degrees off sun angle. So, I rarely look on the north side. A few days ago, I happened to peek over the railing on the right and flushed a Green Heron that had been perched on a low, rotted piling that had been part of the previous pier. So now I am more careful. This bird was obviously ready to strike, and I knew it, but did not have the stamina to keep Fat Boy raised so I missed the strike. I plan to start checking the right side of the pier before I take my walk; if I see a Green Heron on one of the low perches, I will bring the 600 f/4 and both TCs. The longer the focal length the less I will be off sun angle.

What Bugs You?

Does anything about this image bug you? If yes, please leave a comment and let us know what it is.

Fish?

Is there any indication of a fish in Image #2? If yes, what is it?

Flight Photography at Jacksonville Till You Can’t Lift Your Lens! with Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Join me on the beach at Huguenot Memorial Park to learn about photographing terns in flight. 8,000 pairs of Royal Terns nest there and there are birds in the air all the time, often carrying all kinds of fish and crabs for their young. Learn about how the relationship between the wind and the sun impacts flight photography and about the best gear for shooting birds in flight. Join me on a workshop at Jacksonville this summer.

Cute & Beautiful: Photographing Chicks in Jacksonville, FL with Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

There is an amazing beach near Jacksonville, FL where 8,000 pairs of Royal Terns and 12,000 pairs of Laughing Gulls (along with a few other species) breed each summer. As this video shows, photographing the chicks is easy in the summer. And there is tons of great flight photography as well. If you want to improve your bird photography skills, consider joining me on an Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT).

Click on the composite image to enjoy the incredible quality of the hi-res JPEG.

Clockwise from upper left clockwise and back around to the center: Royal Tern in flight with squid for chick; Royal Tern chick on beach; Royal Tern in flight with shrimp for young; Royal Tern chick — double overhead wing stretch; Royal Tern landing with greenback for chick; Royal Tern in flight with juvenile mahi mahi for chick; Brown Pelican — large chick preening; Laughing Gull in fresh juvenal plumage; Royal Tern chick begging; Many Royal Terns with many chicks on face of dune.

Jacksonville IPT #1: 4 FULL DAYS — the afternoon of FRI 1 JULY thru the morning of TUES 5 July 2022: $2099.00 (Limit 6 photographers/Openings: 5)

Jacksonville IPT #2: 4 FULL DAYS — the afternoon of FRI 15 JULY thru the morning of TUES 19 July 2022: $2099.00 (Limit 6 photographers/Openings: 5)

The first three folks to register on each trip can ride to and on and from the beach with me for no charge.

I first visited the breeding bird colony at Jacksonville in late June 2021. I was astounded. There were many thousands of pairs of Royal Terns nesting along with about 10,000 pairs of Laughing Gulls. In addition to the royals, there were some Sandwich Terns nesting. And there are several dozen pairs of Brown Pelicans nesting on the ground. Flight photography was non-stop astounding. And photographing the tern chicks was relatively easy. Folks could do the whole trip with the Sony 200-600, the Canon 100-500 RF, or the Nikon 500 PF or 200-500 VR. With a TC in your pocket for use on sunny days. Most of the action is within 100 yards of where we park (on the beach). As with all bird photography, there are times when a super-telephoto lens with either TC is the best tool for the job.

Morning sessions will average about three 1/2 hours, afternoon sessions about 1 1/2 hours. On cloudy mornings with favorable winds, we may opt to stay out for one long session and skip the afternoon, especially when the afternoon forecast is poor. Lunch is included on the first three days of the IPT and will be served at my AirBnB. We will do image review and Photoshop after lunch.

We will be based somewhere west and a bit north of Jacksonville where there are many AirBnB possibilities. The deposit is $599.00. Call Jim at the office any weekday at 863-692-0906 to pay by credit card. Balances must be paid by check.

Click on the composite image to enjoy the incredible quality of the hi-res JPEG.

Clockwise from upper left clockwise and back around to the center: Royal Tern feeding chick; Royal Tern/4-week-old chick; ink-stained Royal Tern in flight with squid for chick; Royal Tern/3-week-old chick begging; Brown Pelican in flight on white sky day; fresh juvenile Laughing Gull on clean beach; Laughing Gulls stealing fish from Royal Tern; tight shot of Royal Tern in flight with fish for young.

What You Will Learn on a Jacksonville IPT

  • 1- First and foremast you will learn to become a better flight photographer. Much better.
  • 2-You will learn the basics and fine points of digital exposure. Nikon and Canon folks will learn to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and SONY folks will learn to use Zebras so that they can be sure of making excellent exposures before pressing the shutter button.
  • 3- You will learn to work in Manual exposure mode even if you fear it.
  • 4- You will learn to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography, especially the photography of birds in flight.
  • 5- You will learn several pro secrets (for each system) that will help you to become a better flight photographer.
  • 6- You will learn to zoom out in advance (because the birds are so close!) 🙂
  • 7- You will learn how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them.
  • 8- You will learn to spot the good and the great situations.
  • 9- You will learn to understand and predict bird behavior.
  • 10- You will learn to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system.
  • 11- You will learn to choose the best perspective.
  • 12- You will learn to see and control your backgrounds.
  • 13- You will learn to see and understand the light.
  • 14- You will learn to see and create pleasing blurs in pre-dawn situations.
  • 15- You will learn to be ready for the most likely event.

The best news is that you will be able to take everything you learn home with you so that you will be a better photographer wherever you are and whenever you photograph.

Typos

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

9 comments to My Short Walks on a Long Pier have been Productive …

  • avatar Keith Solberg

    Hi Artie, #2 does it for me. I think it is a much, much better composition. the colors and the reflection are more pleasing. never mind that the reflection isn’t perfect. most of the image is in the right third. Even tho there isn’t any action, the bird is poised and ready to strike and it is that anticipation of action that grabs my attention.

    The bubbles(?) on the left seem to indicate something is under the surface and they are probably the focus of the bird’s attention. Plus the bird’s beak appears to be pointing at the bubbles.

    the piling and bird together seem to call for a vertical shot.

  • Artie
    Which is the Stronger of Today’s Two Featured Images?
    #1
    Why did you make your choice?
    Because i can 🙂
    Does anything about this image bug you? If yes, please leave a comment and let us know what it is.
    The Heron’s reflection is a little bugging however i wouldn’t crop it any different as i have looked at different crops but your framing works best imo.
    Is there any indication of a fish in Image #2? If yes, what is it?
    The heron is ready to strike and his neck is tight in body screaming he sees a fish dinner and ready at any second to strike which i bet he did seconds after you lowered your camera!

    Always with love b

  • Loved Adam’s comment on the long and short of piers.

    In addition to a higher angle giving better reflections, it increases depth of field. Thus, given your love of f2.8 and the ample depth of field in both images, I’m guessing you see f6.3 in Image 1 as a mistake. The reflections add to both images, and often in my own images, it’s the reflections and the water colors I like best.

    Close call, but I’d give the nod to Image 1 for the action, especially the bird’s wake. The mussel instead of a snail adds interest, and the fringe of vegetation at the top adds depth.

  • avatar Adam

    I guess I’d rather take a short walk on a long pier than the converse. #2 is the more powerful image and in some ways I’m in agreement with Elinor. Perhaps, horizontal framing with the reflection would have been better and it would have led the viewer in the direction of the green heron’s gaze and bubbles. With image #1, I might have considered a tighter crop on the Limpkin as the grasses don’t add enough to characterize it as an environmental shot.

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    I like #2 best but agree with Elinor Osborn — the reflection takes away from the image.

  • avatar Joel Eade

    My guess as to your settings “error” is that you would have preferred a much faster shutter speed (as in image #2) at the expense of higher ISO.

    ISO settings up to 12,800 almost seem irrelevant given the effectiveness of Topaz DeNoise.

    I like image 2 best ….. the bird is a little larger in the frame, the vertical format with symmetry of the reflection gives the illusion of a somewhat lower shooting angle and the absence of any distracting elements in the background focuses the attention more on the subject. There is a feeling of tension or anticipation as the bird is intensely looking at the small ripple on the water which indicates the bird’s target.

  • #2 The reflection bugs me. If this were horizontal framing with the reflection out of the frame, would that have made the bird more level with the camera rather than looking down as much? Are those little bubbles where the heron is looking the fish? That makes me think horizontal framing even more.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I like the rippled reflection. That’s why I went vertical. I did make some horizontals without the reflection but did not like them as much.

      with thanks and love, artie

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