February 26th, 2015

Foggy Ideas...

What’s Up?

With a wind shift to the west and a bit of persisting fog, Wednesday morning was the worst of the IPT. That said a lot of learning went on and everyone made some nice pleasing blurs of spoonbills, pelicans, and cormorants. And later on we had a nicely juxtaposed group of three spoonbills that posed for us for a while. Then a displaying dark morph Reddish Egret in smoking-hot breeding plumage. Lunch again was at Ruby Tuesday’s in Gibsonton. During our Photoshop session I worked on a lovely spoonbill image that will be featured in Friday’s blog post.

In the afternoon Captain James trailered the Hooptie to Medard Park where we had too much fun and lots of challenges with the White Pelicans–the light was changing constantly and it was hard to predict their behavior. We had a small richly vegetated island topped with loafing Brown Pelicans and had a few more come in to land, right into the wind and right down sun angle. We also enjoyed some good flight chances with Double-crested Cormorant, Osprey, and Anhinga.

This blog post took 1 1/2 hours to prepare and was published just before 5:00am from my hotel room in Brandon, FL.


bh-7d-alone

Super Price Drops

B&H is offering huge discounts on the original EOS-7D. Have you discounted this camera? Before you quit on it, be sure to check out the images created by Dan Cadiuex here and by Sally Sue South here. Both used the 7D and “only” the original 100-400…. Click here for details or to purchase.


bh7d-28-135

EOS-7D Kit with the 28-135 Zoom Lens

Same great camera body plus the versatile 28-135mm zoom lens. Click here for details or to purchase.

Hooptie Spoonbill Mini-IPT

The Hooptie Roseate Spoonbill Mini-IPT announced yesterday signed up two folks. There are just four slots left. See our morning and Saturday only rates below. Scroll down for additional details.

South Georgia October 2015

Do consider joining me in South Georgia next October for the trip of a lifetime. Click here for complete details.

Save $242

Register before the end of the month for the South Georgia trip and receive a $242 discount on your return airfare. Please e-mail for details.



Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links :)

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. We sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. I just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.


y5o9692-alafaia-banks-fl

This image was created on the very foggy morning of February 24, 2015 at Alafia Banks, FL with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops off the white sky: 1/1600 sec. at f/4.

Central AF point (manual selection)/AI Servo Shutter Button AF as originally framed fell neat the base of the bird’s left wing, nowhere near the bird’s eye, face, or neck and was of course active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version. Cloudy WB.

This JPEG represents the RAW capture

Getting the Right Exposure in the Fog

It is very simple: work in Manual mode and go three stops brighter than the meter reading off the white sky. For most birds with white on them like the spoonbills and pelicans, this setting will give you a workable if not a perfect exposure. For darker birds like cormorants you will want to go two to three shutter speed clicks slower, i.e., open up one full stop.


dpp-br-pelican-fog-scrn-cap

This is a DPP 4 screen capture for today’s featured image.

The DPP 4 Screen Capture

The bad news: I failed to keep the active AF point anywhere near the bird’s eyes, face, or even neck. The good news: the pelican’s eye was on the same plane as the base of the bird’s left wing. This resulted in the eye of the subject being in perfectly sharp focus. Note how far to the right I have exposed to ensure getting lots of detail in the feathers of the underwing….


brown-pelican-flight-in-fog-_y5o9692-alafaia-banks-fl

This is the optimized image

The Image Optimization

As with yesterday’s featured image, also made in the fog, a simple Levels adjustment brought this image to life. You can see that image here. My NIK 50-50 recipe at a relatively high 75% opacity was a close second as it brought up the underwing detail beautifully. I finished up with some Eye Doctor work and a Contrast Mask applied to the whole bird.

Do understand that by exposing well to the right you maximize file size, minimize noise, and increase image quality. The goal is to create a RAW file that looks washed out on the back of the camera. A simple Levels adjustment will increase the contrast and give the images pop.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize both of today’s images is covered in detail in my Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Digital Basics File is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, Contrast Masks, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, the Surface Blur (background noise reduction) settings as taught to me by Denise Ippolito, and tons more.

APTATS I & II

Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS II. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount to either with phone orders only. Buy both APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order.


dpp-4-guide

You can order your copy of “The Photographers’ Guide to Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.0″ (aka the DPP 4 Raw Conversion eGuide) by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris by clicking here.

The DPP 4 eGuide (PDF)

Learn how and why I and many other discerning photographers choose and use only DPP 4 to convert their Canon RAW files in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly. The latest version supports all of the newer Canon camera bodies and several older models including the EOS-7D and the EOS-1D Mark IV.


hooptie-card-shadle-aa

Images courtesy of and copyright Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Mini IPT. 1 1/2 DAYs: $1250. SAT MAR 7 (full day) and SUN Morning MAR 8, 2015. Working lunch on Saturday included. Strict Limit: 6 photographers/Openings: 4

Either morning photo session only: $475. Saturday morning photo session plus working lunch: $525. Saturday Full Day: $775.

Two great leaders: Captain James Shadle (Nikon) and Canon Explorer of Light Arthur Morris.

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in early March is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage….

Weather permitting there will be three boat trips: 2 mornings and 1 afternoons. Mornings at Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography with the birds likely carrying nesting material), cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White in breeding plumage. Many of the White Ibises will be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we will get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. The afternoon trip will be either to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and more or to a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes one working lunch.

Important Notes

We stay in Brandon, FL for this IPT. From our hotel it is only about 20 minutes to the dock. The plan is for all sessions to be by boat. For the Alafia Banks segments, Captain Shadle provides light weight chest waders as much of the photography will be done while we are standing in fairly shallow water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with balance problems. Note however that some folks may opt to stay on the boat. They always have lots of good chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

This mini Hooptie IPT represents an incredible opportunity. It may fill quickly. We hope that you can join us. Scroll down for registration info.


hooptie-card-artie-layers-cc

All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks early in the season. Images copyright Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Hooptie Mini-IPT Registration Info

Payment in full for this short notice trip is of course due upon registration. Call the office at 863-692-0906 to arrange to send us a check for payment in full (preferred) or to put the whole thing on a credit card. If by check, it should be made out to “Arthur Morris” and be mailed to BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee.

However you arrange for payment, please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with the paperwork. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!

…..

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here. Many thanks to those who have written.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

February 25th, 2015

The 600II/1D X Combo Still Works Well & Midair Pelican Miracle Ballet in the Fog

What’s Up?

More spoonbills. Tons of pelican flight. Tons of fog. Tons of learning about exposure. Lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s. A great Photoshop session. And an hour of fine land-based photography at a local rookery.

This blog post took 2 hours to prepare and was published at 3:50am from my hotel room in Brandon, FL.

Not Too Late!

It’s not too late to join us for some great in-the-field instruction at Fort DeSoto: 2 photo sessions and a working lunch. This coming Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Scroll down for details.

Hooptie Spoonbill Mini-IPT

The Hooptie Roseate Spoonbill Mini-IPT announced yesterday signed up two folks. There are just four slots left. Scroll down for details.

South Georgia October 2015

Do consider joining me in South Georgia next October for the trip of a lifetime. Click here for complete details.

Save $242

Register before the end of the month for the South Georgia trip and receive a $242 discount on your return airfare. Please e-mail for details.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links :)

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. We sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. I just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.




brown-pelican-shaking-head-in-flight-eye-replaced-_y5o9787-alafaia-banks-fl

This image was created on the foggy morning of February 24, 2015 at Alafia Banks, FL with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the white sky: 1/2500 sec. at f/4.

Central AF point (manual selection)/AI Servo Shutter Button AF as originally framed fell on the diamond on the bird’s neck and was of course active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Situation: Lucky, Lucky!

It began as a warm, still, foggy morning so I wore my lightweight waders, my surf booties, and a lightweight sun protection blouse. After a few hours, some sea fog rolled in on a southwest wind and I became chilled. I kept threatening to switch to my thick neoprene waders and finally did. After I changed and got back off the Hooptie Deux to join the group in the water I picked a spot, planted my tripod in the bottom, and set my exposure to 2 1/3 stops off the white sky. A moment after being ready a pelican flew in from right to left. Just as I acquired focus the bird extended its neck, raised its head, and shook it. I fired off two frames. The first frame, today’s featured image, had the most pleasing wing position and the sharpest face. so violently did the pelican shake its head that even at 1/2500 the second image in the series suffered from motion blur.

I knew that I had nailed the focus and knew that the exposure was right so I was elated even before I looked at the two images on the rear LCD.

Talk about lucky. Step up to the plate and hit a grand slam on the first pitch. You gotta love it. I had seen this behavior before many times but had never photographed it. It is good to know that an old, slow dog can find a bone once in a while….


y5o9787-alafaia-banks-fl

This JPEG represents the RAW file as it came out of the camera.

The Image Optimization

After converting the image in DPP 4, I brought it into Photoshop and did a Levels adjustment. That alone resulted in a dramatic improvement. Next I used a Quick Mask refined with a Layer Mask to eliminate the bits of sky from the upper right corner. Then I moved the bird down in the frame a bit, cropped from the bottom, ran my NIK 50-50 recipe on the bird only, applied a contrast mask to the bird’s face, and replaced the closed eye using a refined Quick Mask. The eye was borrowed from another pelican image. Learn advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Layer Masking and how to move a bird in the frame I used a technique from APTATS II. The rest is detailed in Digital Basics.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize both of today’s images is covered in detail in my Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Digital Basics File is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, Contrast Masks, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, the Surface Blur (background noise reduction) settings as taught to me by Denise Ippolito, and tons more.

APTATS I & II

Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS II. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount to either with phone orders only. Buy both APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order.


dpp-4-guide

You can order your copy of “The Photographers’ Guide to Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.0″ (aka the DPP 4 Raw Conversion eGuide) by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris by clicking here.

The DPP 4 eGuide (PDF)

Learn how and why I and many other discerning photographers choose and use only DPP 4 to convert their Canon RAW files in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly. The latest version supports all of the newer Canon camera bodies and several older models including the EOS-7D and the EOS-1D Mark IV.


fort-desoto-card

The Fort DeSoto Add-on Mini IPT will give us lots of chances to photograph a wide variety of species. Many of the birds at DeSoto are silly-tame.

Fort DeSoto Add-on Mini IPT: $349. Two shooting sessions: the afternoon of THUR FEB 26 and the morning of Friday FEB 27, 2015. Limit 12 photographers. One great leader: Arthur Morris.

Shorebirds, wading birds, terns, pelicans, gulls and more. Includes lunch on Friday and a small group image sharing and Photoshop session on Friday. Payment in full with a credit card for this one-day IPT is due upon registration. Or bring cash. You must call Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 to sign up.


hooptie-card-shadle-aa

Images courtesy of and copyright Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Mini IPT. 1 1/2 DAYs: $1250. SAT MAR 7 (full day) and SUN Morning MAR 8, 2015. Working lunch on Saturday included. Strict Limit: 6 photographers/Openings: 4

Meet and greet on the evening of FRI MAR 6. Two great leaders: Captain James Shadle (Nikon) and Canon Explorer of Light Arthur Morris.

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in early March is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage….

Weather permitting there will be three boat trips: 2 mornings and 1 afternoons. Mornings at Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography with the birds likely carrying nesting material), cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White in breeding plumage. Many of the White Ibises will be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we will get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. The afternoon trip will be either to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and more or to a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes one working lunch.

Important Notes

We stay in Brandon, FL for this IPT. From our hotel it is only about 20 minutes to the dock. The plan is for all sessions to be by boat. For the Alafia Banks segments, Captain Shadle provides light weight chest waders as much of the photography will be done while we are standing in fairly shallow water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with balance problems. Note however that some folks may opt to stay on the boat. They always have lots of good chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

This mini Hooptie IPT represents an incredible opportunity. It may fill quickly. We hope that you can join us. Scroll down for registration info.


hooptie-card-artie-layers-cc

All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks early in the season. Images copyright Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Hooptie Mini-IPT Registration Info

Payment in full for this short notice trip is of course due upon registration. Call the office at 863-692-0906 to arrange to send us a check for payment in full (preferred) or to put the whole thing on a credit card. If by check, it should be made out to “Arthur Morris” and be mailed to BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee.

However you arrange for payment, please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with the paperwork. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!

…..

Amazon.com

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use this link:

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here. Many thanks to those who have written.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

February 24th, 2015

Is the 600II/2X III/7D II a Viable Combo? What the ??? Answer

What’s Up?

More spoonbills. Lots more White Ibises coming in each day. Lots of flight photography. This blog post took 2 hours to prepare and was published at 4:45am from my hotel room in Brandon, FL.

What the ???

See item 2 for the answer.

Hooptie Spoonbill Mini-IPT

The Hooptie Roseate Spoonbill Mini-IPT announced yesterday signed up two folks. There are just four slots left. Scroll down for details.

South Georgia October 2015

Do consider joining me in South Georgia next October for the trip of a lifetime. Click here for complete details.

Save $242

Register before the end of the month for the South Georgia trip and receive a $242 discount on your return airfare. Please e-mail for details.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links :)

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. We sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. I just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.



Canon’s Two New 50+ Megapixel Camera Bodies

Many of you have read about the two new Canon 50+ megapixel bodies, the Canon EOS 5DS DSLR and the Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR. The two cameras look, sound, and pretty much are quite similar. I have withheld commenting until now because I did not have a good–heck, I did not have any–understanding of the single difference between the two bodies, that being the Low-Pass Filter Effect Cancellation.

If you missed the hugely popular “Canon’s Two New 50+ Megapixel Camera Bodies/You Must Read This Before You Buy,” you can click here to catch up and learn a ton to boot.


roseate-spoonbill-hand-and-neck-vert-_y8a0091-alafaia-banks-fl

This image was created at Alafia Banks on the somewhat foggy morning of February 23, 2015 with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the amazing Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/9. AWB.

Center AF point (by necessity)/AI Servo/Rear Focus/Expand AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Roseate Spoonbill head and neck vertical portrait

600II/2X III/7D II Spoonbill Image

When I first reached into the pouch on my waders I realized that I had brought both TCs, with the 2X III and the 1.4X III stacked around a 12mm Extension tube. My first thought was that with the 7d II on the 600 II that there was no need to have brought the 2X. But then I thought, “Why not?” and grabbed the 2X. The group had done a good job of getting into position when unexpectedly the four spoonbills that we had been photographing walked right towards us. Slowly.

What fun we had.

BTW, 1200mm X 1.6 is 1920mm. More than 38X magnification….

Is the 600II/2XIII/7DII a viable combo?

For folks employing top notch sharpness techniques (as detailed in ABP II), the answer is an obvious “Yes.” Having only the central AF point (plus four more with Expand) is a somewhat limiting factor. Rear focus can help at times if the bird stays still. Note for the image above that the neck and the bird’s eye were on the same plane. This allowed me to have AF active at the moment of exposure. Note that even skilled folks should not expect anywhere near 100% sharp images using this combo.


great-egret-_y8a9476-indian-lake-estates-fl

This image was created at 8:18am on a sunny morning down by the lake near my home from the car with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the amazing Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. I went with the standard 1/2000 sec at f/7.1 after making a single test exposure. This wound up being one-third stop brighter than the standard guideline values for ISO 400 for bright WHITEs in sunny conditions (for those using Highlight Tone Priority and converting in DPP 4): 1/2000 sec. at f/8. Note: if you are not using DPP to convert you should not have HTP enabled.

Upper center Zone/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF as framed activated three AF points, two of which fell directly on the bird’s eye, was active at the moment of exposure. In other words, it nailed the focus. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #2: Great Egret head portrait in early morning light

What the ???

The admittedly terrible image presented here was nothing more than an exposure check. You should be making lots of similar (lousy) images each and every time that you encounter a new exposure situation in the field. It is much better to create a poor exposure on a test image than it is to get it wrong when the situation is perfect…. The exposure test image looked a bit dark on the rear LCD and the histogram was well off the highlight axis so I went with a bit more light, 1/2000 at f/7.1 as opposed to 1/2000 at f/8 for the test image.

In the past I relied solely on my experience when figuring a new exposure. Though I almost always got it right on the button, you only have to screw up once before you realize that it is far better to start making and evaluating test exposures than to err when it counts. After fine-tuning the exposure I was pleased to be rewarded when this non-breeding Great Egret raised its head above the reeds and posed for an instant.

The Head Angles

How would you rate the head angles in Image #1 and in Image #2? Would you change either one?


hooptie-card-shadle-aa

Images courtesy of and copyright Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Mini IPT. 1 1/2 DAYs: $1250. SAT MAR 7 (full day) and SUN Morning MAR 8, 2015. Working lunch on Saturday included. Strict Limit: 6 photographers/Openings: 4

Meet and greet on the evening of FRI MAR 6. Two great leaders: Captain James Shadle (Nikon) and Canon Explorer of Light Arthur Morris.

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in early March is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage….

Weather permitting there will be three boat trips: 2 mornings and 1 afternoons. Mornings at Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography with the birds likely carrying nesting material), cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White in breeding plumage. Many of the White Ibises will be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we will get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. The afternoon trip will be either to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and more or to a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes one working lunch.

Important Notes

We stay in Brandon, FL for this IPT. From our hotel there it is is only about 20 minutes to the dock. The plan is for all sessions to be by boat. For the Alafia Banks segments, Captain Shadle provides light weight chest waders as much of the photography will be done while we are standing in fairly shallow water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with balance problems. Note however that some folks may opt to stay on the boat. They always have lots of good chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

This mini Hooptie IPT represents an incredible opportunity. It may fill quickly. We hope that you can join us. Scroll down for registration info.


hooptie-card-artie-layers-cc

All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks early in the season. Images copyright Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Hooptie Mini-IPT Registration Info

Payment in full for this short notice trip is of course due upon registration. Call the office at 863-692-0906 to arrange to send us a check for payment in full (preferred) or to put the whole thing on a credit card. If by check, it should be made out to “Arthur Morris” and be mailed to BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee.

However you arrange for payment, please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with the paperwork. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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