Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
November 29th, 2021

Cluttered, Dull, Dreary Grays and Browns, Too High, and Relatively Boring/My First Screech Owl: the Eyes Have It!

What’s Up?

I walked Nickerson Beach and peeked in at West End, Jones Beach. There were no Snowy Owl anywhere. Then I headed to Massapequa Park in Nassau County on Long Island to look for the Screech Owl. That worked out a bit better.

Today in Monday 29 November 2021. It is cold and cloudy. I am headed to Westhampton to look for another Snowy Owl. 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 22 consecutive days with a new one.

Please remember that 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 save 3% 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, and 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 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 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.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the links on the blog (including the logo-link immediately above). My link works with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂

Please Remember Also

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.

Image #1: Photo Mechanic screen capture for the gray morph Eastern Screech Owl in nest hole image

The Exposure

Photo Mechanic shows the sky completely blown out. RawDigger showed 9,000,000 OvExp pixels. Yet, I considered this a perfect exposure. Any?

This image was created on 28 November 2021 at Massapequa Park on Long Island. While standing at full height plus a bit more, I used the no-longer available GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted-Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only). ISO 2000. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/125 sec. at f/8 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 1:54pm on a very cloudy day.

Tracking: Flexible Spot AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a larger higher-res version.

Image #1A: gray morph Eastern Screech Owl in nest hole

Cluttered, Dull, Dreary Grays and Browns, Too High, and Relatively Boring

In short, it was a difficult situation. The nest hole was about 60 feet up the tree. There was no light. The owl had its eyes closed 99.9% of the time. Working with the 2X TC meant a high ISO along with low shutter speeds. When a squirrel ran through the leaves at my feet, the owl looked down and opened its eyes ever-so-briefly.

The problem was that the yellow irises appeared totally gray both in the raw file and the converted TIFF. I relied on various Eye Doctor techniques to yellow them up, but it took me a long time as initially, were too orange. Several times I went back and started from scratch.

Note also that I eliminated the large branch in the upper right corner and that I chose to leave the single, out-of-focus scraggly twig in the lower left corner. Would you have removed the latter?

I fully realize that the optimized image will not win any contests. But it is my first-ever screech owl, so I processed with with extreme care.

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 Eye Doctor and clean-up techniques mentioned above and tons more great Photoshop tips and techniques — along with all of my 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 and continue to do so today.

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.

Typos

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

November 28th, 2021

Intermediate Telephoto Zoom Lenses Kill in San Diego and Elsewhere! And Pleasant Nikon D850 Memories.

What’s Up?

On Saturday, I drove from eastern Connecticut to Shawangunk Grasslands NWR near Walkill, in New York. I had hoped to photograph Short-eared Owls. Instead, I made some tall grass blurs and some woods at sunset images. Today is Sunday 28 November 2021. I woke early and headed to Nickerson Beach in hopes of finding a Snowy Owl in the snow … My chances are slim at best. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took less than two hours to prepare and makes 21 consecutive days with a new one.

Please remember that 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 save 3% 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, and 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 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 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.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the links on the blog (including the logo-link immediately above). My link works with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂

Please Remember Also

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.

This image was created on 23 January 2019 at La Jolla, CA. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 300mm) and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 400: 1/3200 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 2:37pm on a sunny afternoon.

Center Group/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to enjoy a hi-res version.

Image #1: Heermann’s Gull in flight

Intermediate Telephoto Lenses Kill in San Diego (& Elsewhere!)

It goes without saying that intermediate telephoto lenses are great on the cliffs of La Jolla for photographing Pacific-race Brown Pelican behaviors. Those include head throws, preening, interacting, flight, and lots more. And they are great for shooting gulls (and terns and ducks) in flight as well. And there are several really handsome gull species in San Diego. Many would agree that Heermann’s is the most elegant. Both of today’s featured images are small crops from below and behind the bird.

I have always traveled with one super-telephoto lens and at least one intermediate telephoto zoom lens. The latter are incredibly versatile at most locations. Several offer an excellent minimum focusing distance. As above, they are great for flight. And most are easily hand held. On my bucket list trip to Snow Hill Island in Antarctica, the Nikon 80-400VR was my most valuable lens. It is super sharp.

It is entirely possible to comfortably do the whole San Diego IPT with lenses like the Canon RF 100-500, the Sony 200-600 G, or the Nikon 200-500. Details below.

Nikon AF-S 80-400mm/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens with Extra

Price Reduced $200.00 on 30 August 2021!
BIRDS AS ART Record Low Price

Paul Sher is offering a Nikon AF-S 80-400mm/4.5-5.6G ED VR in like new condition for $1196.95 (was $1396.95). The sale includes a Wimberley P-10 plate (a $52.00 value), the front and rear lens caps, the lens case, the original Nikon box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Paul Sher via e-mail or by phone at 1-503-248-9870 (Pacific time zone).

I owned and loved this super-sharp and very versatile lens when I shot Nikon. It was my go-to lens on my bucket-list Emperor Penguin trip to Snow Hill Island, Antartica. It complements either the 500 PF or the 600 f/4 VR lenses perfectly. As it sells new for $2,296.95, you can save an incredible $1100.00 on Paul’s pretty much new lens. artie

This image was created on 23 January 2019 at La Jolla, CA. Again, I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 400mm) and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 400: 1/4000 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 2:43pm on a sunny afternoon.

Center Group/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to enjoy a hi-res version.

Image #2: Western Gull in flight

Pleasant Nikon D850 Memories

Regular readers will remember that when I used Nikon gear for two years, the D850 was my favorite camera body while the vaunted D5 sat on the shelf in my garage. Its 45.7 MP files were quite excellent.

Image Questions

1- Which background you prefer?
2- Which flight pose do you like best?
3- Which is the prettier gull?
4- Overall, which is the strongest image?

San Diego, California: A Bird Photographer’s Paradise!

I’ve been visiting San Diego, California for more than 50 years, and photographing there for almost four decades. It truly is one of my favorite bird photography locations on the planet. The Pacific race Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches, are indeed the stars of the show, but there are lots of other great birds there that are relatively easy to photograph. Check out this five minute video to see the potential.

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking here.

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The 2022 San Diego Brown Pelicans (and more!) IPT. Monday 17 January thru the morning session on Friday 21 January 2022. Four full and one-half day: $2999.00. Deposit: $899.00. Limit: 8 photographers/Openings: 6

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (nesting with eggs and possibly chicks) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Northern Shoveler and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heermann’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others are possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lions. And as you can see by studying the IPT cards, there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Not to mention a ton of excellent flight photography opportunities and instruction.

Please note: where permitted and on occasion, ducks and gulls may be attracted (or re-located) with offerings of grains or healthy bread.

Learning Exposure, Whether You Like It Or Not

Whether you like it or not, we will be beating the subject of exposure like a dead horse. In every new situation, you will hear my thoughts on the exposure situation along with my thoughts on both Nikon and Canon histograms and SONY Zebras. Whether you like it or not, you will learn to work in manual mode and to get the right exposure every time as long as a bird gives you ten seconds with the light constant. (Or two seconds with SONY zebras…) And you will learn what to do when the light is changing constantly. What you learn about exposure is one of the great takeaways on every IPT.

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT, there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

It Ain’t Just Pelicans

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography as well, often with 70-200mm lenses! And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You will be guided as to how to make the best of all of those opportunities. And depending on the weather and local conditions and tides, there are a variety of other fabulous photo chances available in and around San Diego.


san-diego-card-neesie

Did I mention that there are lots of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter? Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include five three hour morning photo sessions, four one and one-half afternoon photo sessions, four working brunches that will include image review and Photoshop sessions. On rare cloudy day occasions, we may — at my discretion, stay out in the morning for a long session and skip that afternoon. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. And so that we can get some sleep, dinners will be on your own as well. In the extremely unlikely event that Goldfish Point is closed due to local ordinance (or whimsy) — that has never happened in the past fifty years, I will of course do my very best to maximize our photographic opportunities.

An $899 deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART”) to us here: BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 3385, or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, is due right after you sign up.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for both big international trips and US-based IPTs is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality travel insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.


san-diego-card-b

Variety is surely the spice of life in San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Getting Up Early and Staying Out Late

On all BIRDS AS ART IPTS including and especially the San Diego IPT, we get into the field early to take advantage of unique and often spectacular lighting conditions and we stay out late to maximize the chances of killer light and glorious sunset silhouette situations. We often arrive at the cliffs a full hour before anyone else shows up to check out the landscape and seascape opportunities.

Typos

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

November 27th, 2021

Snowy Owl Miracle: Very Muddy and a Little Bloody

What’s Up?

I headed back to Long Beach on Friday morning for seconds on the owl. It turned out to be a rather miraculous outing. See below for more on that. You can learn a valuable lesson by considering the High Level Perspective Question just below the I-phone image … Friday afternoon was a bust as it was cloudy way dark and the wind was howling from the west with gusts in excess of 35mph.

Today is Saturday 27 November 2021. With clear skies and a strong NW wind, I opted to stay in and write this blog post. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took less than two hours to prepare and makes 20 consecutive days with a new one.

Please remember that 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 save 3% 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. 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, and 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 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 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.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the links on the blog (including the logo-link immediately above). My link works with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂

Please Remember Also

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.

I-phone image

Image #1: Snowy Owl (facing away) 🙁 on rock near marsh

Finding the Owl

The forecast called for a “90% chance of rain.” I arrived at about 8am. Over the course of three hours, it drizzled for about three minutes. I walked west about 3/4 of a mile without my gear to search for the owl. There was nothing doing so I headed back towards my car. While getting close to the parking lot, I spotted the owl sitting on a large rock just behind the lot. After getting my gear, I went to work until 11am.

I made this I-phone image to give folks an idea of the setting.

High Level Perspective Question

Did I spend the bulk of my time photographing the owl from well to the left or from well to the right of the spot from which I made Image #1? How did you know?

The iPhone Photography e-Guide

To order your copy of the iPhone Photography e-Guide, please click here.

The PDF is sent link by e-mail for downloading: the file is relatively huge at 216 MB.

Hard to Believe

Yes, Cliff has a great eye and wonderfully creative vision. Yet it is still hard for me to believe that he can make so many great images with just an i-phone. Almost more amazingly Cliff captures with his iPhone and does all of his post-processing on the phone! In this great new e-Guide written for BIRDS AS ART you will learn to use set up you iPhone quickly and efficiently and how to use it. In addition, there are dozens and dozens of tips on Cliff’s favorite apps and his favorite gear. Scroll down to the bottom to see the Table of Contents.

The iPhone Photography e-Guide: $20.00.

To order your copy of the iPhone Photography e-Guide please click here.

Dr. Cliff Oliver

Dr. Cliff Oliver is an award-winning photographer, former photography instructor for the San Diego Natural History Museum, cutting-edge integrative health care professional, and international workshop leader. He created and taught the first 5-day immersion iPhone photography workshop at Hollyhock, Canada’s premier Leadership Learning Center. He teaches quarterly iPhone photography classes at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library School of the Arts (these include Art on the iPhone, iPhoneography, Portraits and Selfies, and Practicing in the Field). His images have been on the cover of WildBird magazine, on display at Scripps Oceanography Institute, and been honored with multiple first-place finishes in the International Exhibition of Photography Del Mar. The San Diego Natural History Museum’s, “Birds of the World” centennial exhibit featured several of his images. One of his iPhone images received an honorable mention in the Athenaeum 23rd annual juried exhibition. He has displayed images at Art Speaks: Expressions of Hope and Healing and has produced a series of books, called Zen I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII that feature original images that promote inner peace. The last 4 books feature only images taken on the iPhone. He teaches individuals and groups the skills of capturing iPhone/mobile photographs and then how to create personalized works of art.

To see some of Cliff’s iPhone images, click here. Learn more about Cliff and what he does on his Center for Balance website here. And don’t forget, if I had never met Cliff I would be pushing up daisies somewhere. To request my Health Basics File that contains the whole story, please shoot me an e-mail by clicking here..

This image was created on 26 November 2021 at Long Beach, Fairfield, CT. Standing, I used the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod (no longer available)/ Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted-supported Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. ISO 1600. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/400 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 1:15pm.

Tracking: Spot S with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly by tracking and nailing the bird’s right eye. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #2: Snowy Owl staring (after preening)

The Preening Session!

For the first hour, the owl simply sat on the rock with it eyes barely open. Things got really exciting when the bird changed position and began preening the feathers on its leggings and picking the mud from between its impressive talons. With the mud on the central breast feathers and traces of blood on the leg feathers, it was obvious that the bird had enjoyed an early morning breakfast in the marsh.

There are two owls at this location; this is the very tame one. It looked up to the sky briefly when a Herring Gull flew by and harassed it with a half-hearted dive. And it stared at the sky when a low-flying helicopter went right over. It never once reacted to my presence. It had been preening away just before I made today’s featured image; perhaps it heard something in the nearby bushes. Out of more than 800 images that I made, this image, and the others in a short series, were the only one that featured two fairly wide open eyes.

At one point I removed the TC and created several videos; I am pretty sure that the last one will be the bomb.

RawDigger showed that the raw file was about 1/3 stop too dark; that knowledge is immensely helpful when doing the raw conversion in Adobe Camera Raw.

This image was created on 26 November 2021 at Long Beach, Fairfield, CT. Standing, I used the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod (no longer available)/ Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted-supported Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. ISO 1600. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/400 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 1:15pm.

Tracking: Spot S with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly by tracking and nailing the bird’s right eye. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #2A: tight square crop of Snowy Owl staring (after preening) image

a1 Image Quality

The tight crop here allowed me to eliminate the muddy breast feathers.

I continue to be in awe of the image quality of sharp Sony a1 files. They can easily stand up to large or even massive crops. And as mentioned here previously, you the color of at files is far more accurate than the colors of files from the a9, the a9 ii, or the a7r III or IV. With most photos, the raw file matches the color space in my mind.

SONY Alpha 1 Bodies in Stock at Bedfords!

Bedfords still has a very few SONY Alpha 1 bodies in stock. Order yours, save 3% by using the BIRDS AS ART discount code at checkout, enjoy free second day air Fed-Ex, and earn free entry into the BIRDS AS ART Sony Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Notes Group. As part of the attraction, the first e-mail that you will receive includes a .DAT file with my a1 settings and explicit directions on how to load my settings onto your a1; talk about convenience! Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took more than two hours to prepare.

SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group is going great guns as more and more folks chime in with thoughtful questions and experience-based answers. As the a1 is becoming more readily available, more and more folks are getting their hands on this amazing body. With another photographer joining yesterday, we are now up to an astounding 95 lucky and blessed folks. Early on, we discussed the myriad AF options. I gave my opinion as to the best one for flight and general bird photography. More recently, we have been in contact with folks at SONY sharing our thoughts, experiences, and frustrations with the EVF blackout problem.

All who purchased their Alpha a1 bodies via a BAA affiliate link will receive a free subscription to the Sony Alpha a1 Set-Up and Info Updates after shooting me their receipts via e-mail. (Note: it may take me several days to confirm B&H orders.) This same service may be purchased by anyone with an a1 body via a $150.00 PayPal sent to birdsasart@verizon.net indicating payment for Alpha a1 Info Updates. Alternatively, folks can call Jim weekdays at 1-863-692-0906 to pay via credit card. New members will receive composite e-mails that summarize all previous discussions.

Typos

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