August 29th, 2014

Revisiting Japan in Winter...

The Streak Continues: 272

This blog was published at 6:30am from my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL. My flight yesterday from Islip to Orlando was uneventful. Right now it is looking like an unprecedented ten weeks with no plane flights on the horizon until I fly to ABQ for a long stretch at Bosque. Then home for four days before heading to the Southern Ocean for a month on another great Cheeseman’s Expedition. See yesterday’s blog post for more info on that trip. Photographically, my New York week was phenomenal. This post makes 272 in a row.

As always, I would appreciate your using the BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases, using our Amazon logo-link for all of your household purchases, and visiting the BAA Online Store for your tripod, tripod head, LensCoat, miscellaneous, accessories, and eGuide purchases as well.


red-crowned-crane-on-final-approach-_y5o7994-hokkaido-japan

This image was created at 10:52am on February 19, 2014 with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the cloudy bright sky: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3. AWB.

One sensor up from the central sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF was squarely on the bird’s head 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.

Incoming Red-crowned Crane

The Leaders Favorite’s

Paul McKenzie’s great love is for the Whooper Swans. Like me, Denise’s favorites are the Red-crowned Cranes and the sea eagles–there are two species, the huge Steller’s and the smaller white-tailed. And all three of us love the adorable Snow Monkeys. It is not too soon for you to join this trip of a lifetime and choose your favorite. If you want to hone your flight photography skills, this is the trip for you Everything flies but the Snow Monkeys. But come to think of it we did photograph them jumping across the stream on our last trip…. And do know that images from Hokkaido have been honored in most every BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition for several decades. Three great leaders, the best lodge, the best guide, great food, superb organization, and a wealth of incredible subjects in awe-inspiring settings. What more could you ask for?


japan-2016-card

Consider joining us in Japan in February, 2016; the world’s best Japan in Winter workshop. Click on the card to enjoy the spectacular larger version.

Japan In Winter IPT. February 9-24, 2016: $13,999/double occupancy. Limit 7: Openings: 5.

Needs five to run; just 3 more to go. All lodging including Tokyo hotel on 9 FEB, all breakfasts & dinners, ground transport and transfers including bus to the monkey park hotel, and all entrance fees and in-country flights are included. Not included: international flights, all lunches–most are on the run, and alcoholic beverages.

This trip is one day longer than the 2014 trip to allow for more flexibility, more time with the cranes, and most importantly, more time for landscape photography. Hokkaido is gorgeous. Three great leaders plus the world’s best Japan in winter Japanese photography guide: the amazingly creative Denise Ippolito, multiple award winning photographer Paul McKenzie and yours truly. Tons of trip planning and gear advice, in-the-field instruction and guidance, at-the-lodge Photoshop and image review sessions in addition to short introductory slide programs for each of the amazing locations.


japan-2016-a-card

Amazing subjects. Beautiful settings. Nonstop action and unlimited opportunities. Join us.

Arrive Tokyo: 9 FEB 2016 the latest. 8 FEB is safer and gives you a day to get acclimated to the time change. Your hotel room for the night of the 9th is covered.

Travel to Monkey Park Hotel: 10 FEB: Short 1/2 DAY of Monkey photography possible depending on our travel time….

Full Day snow monkeys: FEB 11.

Full Day snow monkeys: FEB 12.

13 FEB: Full travel day to Hokkaido/arrive at our lodge in the late afternoon. The lodge is wonderful. All the rooms at the lodge have beds. Bring your warm pajamas. Local onsen (hot springs bath and tubs) is available for $5 each day before dinner–when you are cold, it is the best thing since sliced bread. Smile emoticon The home cooked meals at the lodge are to die for.

FEB 14-23: Red-crowned Crane, raptors in flight, Whooper Swans, and scenic photography. Ural Owl possible. One 2-night trip to Rausu for Steller’s and White Tailed Sea Eagles on the tourists boats dependent on sea ice conditions. Only our trip offers complete flexibility in this area. It saved us this year. One afternoon of duck photography in the harbor is a strong possibility in Rausu. 2-3 boat trips. In addition, few if any tours offer at least one afternoon boat trip….

Lodging notes: bring your long johns for sleeping in the lodge. In Rausu and the snow monkey park, the hotel the rooms are Japanese-style. You sleep on comfortable mats on the floor. Wi-fi is available every day of the trip.

FEB 24. Fly back to Tokyo for transfer to your airport if you are flying home that night, or, to your hotel if you are overnighting. If you need that room it is on you.

To save your spot, please send your $5,000 non-refundable deposit check made out to “Arthur Morris to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. We do hope that you can join us for this trip of a lifetime. Do e-mail


japan-2016-card-b

Life is short. Hop on the merry-go-round.

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…..

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Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, ay, 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, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. :)

August 28th, 2014

You Need a Clear Head at Sunrise on the Beach at Nickerson

The Streak Continues: 271

This blog was published at 6:15am from my Mom’s home in Holbrook, Long Island, NY. It was early to bed last night. At the time of publication I have about three hours to shower, shave, and pack. Younger daughter Alissa is picking me up at 9:15am. Then my flight from ISP to MCO where I will be met by my right hand man Jim Litzenberg. Right now it is looking like an unprecedented ten weeks with no plane flights on the horizon until I fly to ABQ for a long stint at Bosque. Photographically, my New York week was phenomenal. This post makes 271 in a row.

As always, I would appreciate your using the BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases, using our Amazon logo-link for all of your household purchases, and visiting the BAA Online Store for your tripod, tripod head, LensCoat, miscellaneous, accessories, and eGuide purchases as well.

Your Help Is Needed

Sales for most of August, 2014 via our BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate links have been microscopically abysmal at best. If you need to purchase some new camera gear, please remember to use either our B&H logo link below or one of the product-specific links in the blog or the Bulletins. All should feel free to write me via e-mail


american-oystercatcher-feeding-at-dawn-_y5o4180-nickerson-beach-li-ny

This image was created at 6:24am on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop as framed: 1/125 sec. at f/10 in Tv mode.

61-Point AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF selected 3 sensors forward of the bird’s tail and was active at the moment of exposure. That worked out to be on the same plane as the bird’s eye. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Amercian Oystercatcher in sunrise reflections

Getting Up Early

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday past I was in the Nickerson Beach parking lot no later than 5:15am, just about an hour before sunrise. If you want to take advantage of the remarkable sunrise colors like those in the image above and in yesterday’s featured image, you need to get up early. I enjoy doing pre-dawn blurs and as we will see in a coming blog post, creating images well before the sun comes up is a viable option, especially when wind against sun (SW, W, or NW on clear mornings) is a sure thing….

Shutter Speed and Exposure Info & Questions

I had been working in Tv mode trying to create some pleasingly blurred images of the distant skimmer flocks. Rather than switch to Manual or Av mode I simply raised the shutter speed when I saw several oystercatchers feeding on the wave-washed beach. I positioned myself to try and take advantage of the gorgeous sunrise light that was being reflected off the water. I did get lucky with the shutter speed of 1/125 second. What would have been a better option? And why?

As the feeding birds were staying at roughly the same distance from me I opted to stay in an automatic exposure mode. +1 stop worked out nicely as that left me with only a few easily recovered blinkies on the brightest reflections. Even at +1 stop the bird was rendered very dark in the original capture. Was it necessary to underexpose the subject in this situation? Why or why not? See Image Optimization below to learn how I dealt with the under-exposed subject.

Why should and would I have gone to Manual mode if the distance to the subject kept changing?

The Image Optimization

There were two post processing challenges with this image. The first was to remove the three dark lines of foam that intersected with the bird’s head. For those, I used a series of small Quick Masks that were fine-tuned by adding Regular Layer Masks. In backlit situations it is especially important to have a relatively clean background behind the bird’s head and neck. Heck, you might say that for all situations….

Next I had to deal with the under-exposed oystercatcher. I tried going to a pure silhouette but that did not work out too well so I took the opposite approach by lightening the subject. That needed to be done judiciously to avoid the image looking totally contrived. I started with some Eye Doctor work and that improved things a lot. Lightening the dark tones of the bird’s upperparts however did not work well so I discarded that layer but I knew that the white breast and underparts needed to be just a bit lighter. To do that I created a duplicate layer of the whole image (Ctrl A, Ctrl J), pulled up the curve (Ctrl M) significantly, added a Hide-All or Inverse Layer Mask, and painted in the effect where needed with a soft brush. All that was left was a bit of foam clean up with the Patch Tool. You can of course compare the before and after look in the animated GIF above.

The DPP RAW Conversion Guide

To learn why I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to convert every image that I work on, click here. Coming soon: the DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi with Arthur Morris.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize today’s image is detailed 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 killer 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, Digital Eye Doctor, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

APTATS I & II

Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS I. 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.

cheesemans-dec-jan-card-layers

Antarctica/The Extended Expedition Voyage

Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falkland Islands: December 13, 2014 to January 10, 2015

Breathe deeply, bite the bullet, and live life to its fullest; we all get only one ride on the merry-go-round… Join me on this great trip. Click here for additional details.

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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, ay, 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, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. :)

August 27th, 2014

You Will Need to Put Your Thinking Cap on for This One...

The Streak Continues: 270

This blog was published at 4:00am, again from my Mom’s home on Long Island. I am heading to Nickerson for another busman’s holiday. I am on Long Island until this coming Thursday while visiting my elderly (gonna be 92 soon) Mom, my younger sister Arna, my younger daughter Alissa and her wonderful family, and doing some late summer bird photography. So far, the photography has been phenomenal. This post makes 270 in a row.

As always, I would appreciate your using the BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases, using our Amazon logo-link for all of your household purchases, and visiting the BAA Online Store for your tripod, tripod head, LensCoat, miscellaneous, accessories, and eGuide purchases as well.

Delkin e-Film Pro Flash Cards

Two of my Delkin 64gb compact flash cards came out of an extended spin spin in my Mom’s washing machine yesterday and, as expected, having done the same thing before, continued to function perfectly. One was the older 64gb 700X UDMA CF card and the other was a 64gb 1000X UDMA CF card that I use when doing video.

I have used and depended on Delkin CF cards since digital day one; you can order yours here.

Your Help Is Needed

Sales for most of August, 2014 via our BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate links have been microscopically abysmal at best. If you need to purchase some new camera gear, please remember to use either our B&H logo link below or one of the product-specific links in the blog or the Bulletins. All should feel free to write me via e-mail


black-skimmers-on-beach-foggy-sunrise-a-_a1c9604-nickerson-beach-li-ny

This image was created at 6:27am on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 (that was yesterday) with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops as framed: 1/250 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode.

Central Sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo-Expand/Rear Focus AF on the face of the closest skimmer and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image Questions

What colors do you see in this image?

Have you ever seen light like this?

Describe what you think the situation was in detail…. Please be as specific as possible.

I was standing. Where was I ???

Can you get these colors on a clear morning?

Why the 5D III?

When I left my Mom’s at 4:30am I was sure that I had taken both 1D X batteries. When I got to the beach I realized that I must have dreamed that. The two batteries were still in the charger on my Mom’s living room table. So the 5D III was it. It quite working once for about a minute right after I created this image. And on the UK puffin trip the rear LDC had died for several days. Both occurrences were possibly related to dampness in the air…. As soon as I get home my 5D III goes to the Canon Repair Center in Jamesburg, NJ (100 Jamesburg Road, Jamesburg, NJ 08831, tel: 732-521-7007).

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, ay, 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, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. :)