Like Bringing a Bazooka to a Knife Fight « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Like Bringing a Bazooka to a Knife Fight

And I Quote

Having Arthur Morris next to you in the field to teach you flight photography and exposure is like bringing a bazooka to a knife fight.”

Sanjeev Nagrath, during his first In-the-Field session at Nickerson Beach.

What’s Up?

Carlotta Grenier, Sanjeev Nagrath, and I had a fabulously productive morning at Nickerson Beach on Wednesday. Anke Frohlich was along to enjoy the great photography and to help out. What began looking like somewhat of a bust weather-wise, turned fantastic thanks to a cloudy-bright lightbox of a sky. With a nice breeze from the northeast and zero shadows to be seen anywhere, everyone made some truly great images.

Today is Thursday 18 August 2022. The Lido Beach forecast for this morning is for clear skies with WNW breeze of less than ten mph. That is pretty much a death knell forecast for bird photography. We will see what we can turn up. 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 one hundred forty-seven 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!

Time is Running Out

Many folks are scheduled to join me at either Nickerson or JBWR in the next two weeks for an In-the-Field session or two. The first window for doing shorebirds at the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge has closed. The second window is from 24-26 August. See the additional details below. Muhammad Arif enjoyed there In-the-Field sessions and made lots of great images with his R5. I hope to share some of them with you here soon. Carlotta Grenier is coming for her third session this morning and will joined by first-timer Sanjeev Nagrath who is staying for the afternoon and the following morning. Sandy Brown is flying in from Seattle for an afternoon at Nickerson and a morning on JBWR. And Marc Wortsman will be coming for lessons on his Sony a6400 as soon as we get an afternoon west wind.

Clockwise from the upper left corner back around to the center: Wilson’s Phalarope, JBWR; just fledged Common Tern, Nickerson; Black Skimmer, adult skimming, Nickerson; Black Skimmer killing tiny skimmer chick, Nickerson; American Oystercatcher foraging at sunrise, Nickerson; Common Tern chick swallowing baby bluefish, Nickerson; Short-billed Dowitcher, juvenile, double overhead wing stretch, JBWR; Black Skimmers, predawn flock blur, Nickerson; Black Skimmer, 10-day old chick, Nickerson.

Click on the card to view a larger version.

Nickerson Beach/East Pond JBWR composite

Nickerson Beach/East Pond at Jamaica Bay (JBWR) In-the Field Workshops

Both Nickerson Beach and the East Pond at JBWR offer some of the best midsummer bird photography on the planet. Hundreds of pairs or Black Skimmers and Common Terns along with more than a dozen pairs of American Oystercatchers breed at Nickerson each season so there are lots of chicks of all sizes and handsome fledged young to photograph. Provided that the water levels are low, hundreds of young shorebirds in their handsome fresh juvenile plumages stop by the pond each August on their way south.

Nickerson often reveals nature at it rawest, most basic level. Most days we get to photograph all sorts of dramatic behaviors ranging from skimmers and terns fishing and feeding (and tending) their you. There are often chances to shoot a variety of predatory encounters — gulls eating large skimmer chicks, skimmers eating skimmer babies, and Peregrine Falcons hunting. And rarely, if we are lucky, Peregrine Falcons catching! Consider joining me to learn a ton both about bird photography and the birds.

I am taking the Auto Train north on 31 July and will happily spend all of August on Long Island. I head south on 31 August and should be back home on 1 September (barring anything unforeseen). I am offering In-the-Field sessions at both Nickerson Beach and the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. If you are interested, please get in touch via e-mail or text me at 863-221-2372.

Whether you are a local or would like to fly in for several days of instruction — a sort of private, or small group. — at worst, IPT, LMK via e-mail so that we can work on a schedule that could possibly include both Nickerson and Jamaica Bay.

Instagram

Follow me on Instagram here. I am trying to feature both new and old images, especially images that have not appeared recently on the blog. Or search for birds_as_art.

BIRDS AS ART Image Optimization Service (BAA IOS)

Send a PayPal for $62.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net or call Jim at 863-692-0906 and put $62.00 on your credit card. Pick one of your best images and upload the raw file using a large file sending service like Hightail or DropBox and then send me the link via e-mail. I will download and save your raw file, evaluate the exposure and sharpness, and optimize the image as if it were my own after converting the raw file in Adobe Camera Raw. Best of all, I will make a screen recording of the entire process and send you a link to the video to download, save and study.

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. Order yours here while they last.

This image was created by first-timer In-the-Field participant Sanjeev Nazareth on 17 August 2022 at Nickerson Beach. He used the hand held Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens (at 500mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 2000. Exposure determined via test image and blinkies evaluation: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 (wide open) in Manual (M) mode. AWB at 8:59:34am on cloudy-bright Lightbox of a morning.

Full screen Eye Detection AI Servo AF (as detailed in the R5 e-Guide) was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2022: Sanjeev Nagrath
Image #1: Common Tern fishing for sand crabs
Image Optimization by BIRDS AS ART

Sanjeev Nagrath

After receiving a forwarded e-mail from Jim at the office, I contacted Sanjeev. He wrote back, I would like to do a full day with image review on August 17th and a second morning with image review on the 18th. I will be driving to the location from Chappaqua, NY, about an hour away. In terms of gear, I use the Canon R5 with native lenses 100-500mm, 70-200mm, 24-70mm & 15-35mm. I am still trying to get the RF400mm or RF600mm, but those are hard to come by these days. I use Bedfords for all of my gear purchases. I would classify my skill level as advanced beginner.

This image was also created by first-timer In-the-Field participant Sanjeev Nazareth on 17 August 2022 at Nickerson Beach. Again, he used the hand held Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens (at 500mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 2000. Exposure determined via test image and blinkies evaluation: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 (wide open) in Manual (M) mode. AWB at 8:59:36am on cloudy-bright Lightbox of a morning.

Full screen Eye Detection AI Servo AF (as detailed in the R5 e-Guide) was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2022: Sanjeev Nagrath
Image #2: Common Tern kiting
Image Optimization by BIRDS AS ART

Learning Fast

Sanjeev quickly filled two cards, mostly of the terns in flight. I urged him to acquire focus early, track the bird in, and to wait until the birds were close to point blank range and then fire away. In addition, I stressed that with an f/7.1 lens on a cloudy-bright day, he need not fear the higher ISOs. He was a quick study. By the third card, he had been transformed from a beginning flight photographer to a pretty darned good flight shooter. Sanjeev had a head start by having his AF system set up exactly as per the BIRDS AS ART Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide. He purchased enough gear using my Bedfords discount code to earn a free copy of the guide.

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.

This image was also created by first-timer In-the-Field participant Sanjeev Nazareth on 17 August 2022 at Nickerson Beach. Again, he used the hand held Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens (at 500mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 2000. Exposure determined via test image and blinkies evaluation: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 (wide open) in Manual (M) mode. AWB at 9:30:09am on cloudy-bright Lightbox of a morning.

Full screen Eye Detection AI Servo AF (as detailed in the R5 e-Guide) was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2022: Sanjeev Nagrath
Image #3: American Oystercatcher with sand crab in foaming surf
Image Optimization by BIRDS AS ART

High Key

Sanjeev learned that in the cloudy-bright conditions, the exposure setting for the oystercatchers and the terns were identical. He nailed the high-key exposure here by exposing well to the right for the black and white subject with an orange bill. That left the breaking surf a bright white. I did not move the Highlight slider much to the left to keep the water a bright white. This gave the image an artsy, high key look.

Your Favorite?

Which of Sanjeev’s three featured images do you like best? Please leave a comment and let us know why you made your choice.

Cover Image courtesy of and Copyright 2021 Brian Sump (Sump scores!)

The BIRDS AS ART Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide

The BIRDS AS ART Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide: $75.00

The guide is 82 pages long: 21,458 words. More than 50 DPP 4 Autofocus-depicting screen captures. And a 31 minute 44 second educational video. This guide took three and a half months of hard work and a ton of help from at least seventeen very helpful and generous folks.

The guide covers — in great detail — all Menu Items that are relevant to bird, nature, and wildlife photography. It does not cover video. The section on AF methods and the AF Gallery has been expanded from the R5/R6 AF e-guide. It remains the one of the great strengths of this guide. I share my thoughts on what I am sure is the single best AF Method for photographing birds in flight. As most of you know, the guide includes a simple and easy way to change AF Methods that was introduced to me by Geoff Newhouse. In the AF Gallery you will see exactly how Face Detection plus Tracking AF works. In the Educational R5 Gallery video, I share my favorite R5 images along with dozens of bird photography tips and techniques.

In addition, I teach you how to get the best exposures with your R5. Detailed instructions on using the great In-camera HDR and Multiple Exposure features will be appreciated by creative folks who like to have fun. The three shutter modes are explained in detail as well. Bruce Dudek solved the can’t-get-to-Auto ISO problem that had stumped everyone at Canon. This information is of course shared in the guide. You will learn how to set up your EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) and Screen toggle options. Not to mention that the mysterious performance of the Q Button is revealed and simplified. Brian Sump’s images reveal how well you can do when using the R5 with EF lenses using one of the three Canon EF-EOS R Mount Adapters (as Donna did with Image #1 below). You will learn how I use Customize Dials to put either ISO or EC on the Thumb Dial and how to set up and save Custom Shooting Modes (C1-C3) that can remember both your Customize Dial and Customize Button settings! That is something that none of the SONY bodies do. 🙁 Near the end of the guide I share my all-important MY MENU items with you.

Like all BAA educational materials, the R5 guide is written in my informal, easy-to-follow style. I am quite proud of this guide and look forward to hearing your thoughts on our hard work.

You can purchase your copy of the BIRDS AS ART Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide for $75.00 here in the BAA Online Store or by calling Jim in the office weekday afternoons at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

6 comments to Like Bringing a Bazooka to a Knife Fight

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    #1 my fav bc of the eye glint and the blurred wing tips. Sort of angelic, not to mention the wing position and overall position of the tern.
    # 2 pretty, pretty, good! A shame that the blue sky horizon line wasn’t aligned with the wings. Not a critique, just why I liked # 1 over #2.
    #3 I can tell artie provided optimization in this one. Brights are fantastic! I know you said exposure was well to the right (well done Sanjeev!) But artie pushes just a tad more..tell tale. He love that.

    Overall Sanjeev, fantastic!

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    Nice job, Sanjeev!

  • avatar James Saxon

    No. 2 due to the position of the bird and the way the wings are stretched and the tail feathers open. The position of the bird in the frame helps divide the frame into thirds with the birds body and the transition from blue to white in the background. The black head and feet break up a lot of the white in the bird and gives my eye a place to rest. Good job.

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