October 18th, 2014

Is EOS-7D Mark II iTR Face Detection Improved? Does it Matter for Nature Photography? Great Bean Bag Tip for Easier Framing

The Streak Continues: 322

Yesterday was work, swim, and ice bath. The pool is down to 76 degrees. It is time to turn on the heater. I sent the final edit of the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide to Arash this morning. One more short phone conference and Arash will be creating the final PDF. This blog post, the 322nd in a row, took me about 2 hours to prepare. It was published at about 5:45am from my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, 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.


dpp-3-14-41-crane-head-and-neck-scrn-capt

This is the DPP v3.14.41.0 screen capture for today’s image.

The DPP v3.14.41.0 Screen Capture

The two AF sensors illuminated in red show what a great job the 65-Point AF Selection Area Mode did in helping me create the image design that I wanted. The new widest-ever AF array makes it easy to avoid winding up with the bird positioned too low in a vertical frame.

The Sandhill Crane here was watching several other cranes fly by.

Does EOS-7D Mark II iTR AF with Face Detection Actually Work with Birds?

While EOS iTR AF has been around for quite some time, EOS iTR AF with Face Detection was introduced in the EOS-1D X. This feature is not available in the EOS-5D Mark III. With iTR AF the camera’s metering system communicates with the AF system and helps it to better track the subject only when you are in an AF mode that offers automatic AF point selection. iTR with Face Detection takes things a step further. Here is how it works: the RGB metering system uses a combination of skin tone and facial detail and shape to recognize the subject as a human face. And the EOS iTR AF allows this face recognition system to “talk” to the AF system. I tried this new feature with the 1D X for creating tall-in-the frame vertical head and shoulders portraits similar to today’s featured image. It never really worked. Even if I started AF on the bird’s face (with the subject parallel to the imaging sensor), the system almost always shifted to sensors that were lower down, effectively shifted the active AF points to the bird’s torso (which being wider was closer to the camera).

My early impression is that 7D Mark II iTR ( Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) AF with Face Detection actually does work. If you select and start with a sensor that falls on the bird’s face it tends to stay on the face rather than shifting downwards. I have other examples–most notably with two Yellow-crowned Night Herons from the Fort DeSoto IPT–that I will share with you here.


sandhill-crane-vertical-head-and-neck-redder-7d-ii-_36a0855-indian-lake-estates-fl

This image was created at 8:16am on the morning of 16 October down by the lake at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my vehicle I used the BLUBB-supported/hand held Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (with the internal extender in place at 560mm) and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

65-point Automatic Selection Rear Focus/AI Servo AF selected the fifth and sixth sensors directly above the central sensor that fell on and just above the base of the bird’s bill and were of course active at the moment of exposure. (See the DPP v3.14.41.0 screen capture below to view the active AF points.) Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Whaddya Mean BLUBB-supported/Hand Held?

When attempting to follow the action or when I need extra freedom of movement to get the exact framing that I want I will rest the hood of a big lens on the saddle of the BLUBB, my custom-designed, handmade Big Lens Ultimate Beanbag. I hold the camera body with my right hand with my finger on the shutter button. My left hand supports the lens just behind the tripod collar. It is much easier to frame an image using this technique than it is when the center of the lens is resting on the big beanbag. The latter, however, is best when working at shutter speeds below 1/250 sec.

The BLUBB

The BLUBB is made of durable nylon pack cloth and each section is individually hot-cut to sear the edges; this prevents raveling. As nylon can be rather noisy and slippery, the surface that the lens is placed on has a layer of heavy duty cotton duck fabric sewn on top of the nylon fabric. The entire upper surface of the BLUBB is concave so that the lens will stay put. The inner surfaces that are placed over the door-frame or car window have a large piece of Toughtek non-slip fabric sewn in place to help keep the bag from slipping, especially in vehicles where the driver’s window angles downward to the right. All of the fabrics have a water-repellent (but not water-proof) finish. The entire bag is sewn with nylon thread used in the parachute industry. The bag closes with a top quality YKK nylon zipper. All seams are sewn twice to help prevent failure. The bags are made in the USA and each is individually hand-sewn to extremely high standards.

Beware of smaller, cheaper, far-inferior imitations :). As is usually the case, you get what you pay for.


sandhill-crane-100-per-cent-crop-sharper-face-_36a0855-indian-lake-estates-fl

This is a sharpened 100% crop of the optimized image. How does it look to you in terms of image quality and noise?

The Image Optimization

After converting the image in DPP v3.14.41.0 I brought the image into Photoshop. I applied an 80% layer of NIK Color Efex Pro Detail Extractor to the WHITEs only that had been selected with the Quick Selection Tool. Then I painted a Quick Mask of the pupil and put it on its own layer. To darken the pupil only I pulled down the Curve (Ctrl + M). Then I selected the background only with the Magic Wand Tool, ran Select > Refine Edge, placed the selection on a layer, and applied a very small amount of Filter > Blur > Surface Blur to remove the noise that was barely noticeable at 200% in the ISO 400 image.

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. The current guide will teach you how to best convert all of your Canon images in all 3 point something versions of Canon Digital Photo Professional including the current v.3.14.41.0.

Coming very soon: The DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris. The more that I use DPP 4.0 for my 1D X and 5D III RAW conversions the more I learn about it. And the more I learn about it the more I am impressed with it. Note: at present, DPP 4.0 will work only with 1D X, 5D III, and 6D images. I am hoping against hope that at some point Canon will release a new version of DPP 4 that will support 7D II images.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize 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 (including Surface Blur settings), 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, Digital Eye Doctor, using Surface and Gaussian Blurs, 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 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.




san-diego-ipt-card-layers

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

2015 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): FEB 1 thru the morning of FEB 5, 2015: $1799 (Limit: 8/Openings: 3)

Meet and Greet after dinner on your own at 7:00pm on JAN 31

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red bill pouches; Brandt’s and Double-crested Cormorants in breeding plumage with their amazing crests; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others 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 likely; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice landscape opportunities as well.

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, five lunches, after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions, and two fine dinners. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to use at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 12/1//2014. If 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. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


san-diego-card-b

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.

San Diego Natural History Museum Program & The Birds of the World Exhibit

On Saturday morning, February 7, 2015 I will be presenting “A Bird Photographer’s Story” at the San Diego Natural History Museum to kick off the Birds of the World photographic exhibit that will feature the images of about a dozen of the world’s top avian photographers. This program,which is being generously sponsored by the Canon Explorers of Light program, will be free and open to the public. I am proud to say that both Denise Ippolito and I will have images hanging in the show. The exhibit opening is scheduled for later that same day, February 7, 2015. (Times TBA).

Folks on the IPT who wish to stay over and attend the program and the exhibit opening on Saturday are invited to join me for a photo session on Friday morning as follows:

Friday Morning Add-on Photo Session: February 6, 2015: $299.

This workshop includes 3 hours of in-the-field pelican photography instruction and brunch with image review and Photoshop instruction. For now, this session is open only to folks attending the IPT.

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 or errors. Just be right :).

October 17th, 2014

One-Frame Wonder: Tiny-in-the Frame 7D Mark II Image/Used Photo Gear Updates

The Streak Continues: 321

Yesterday during a long working lunch I met with my ART (Active Release Technique) chiropractor, Dr. TJ McKeon, and his interior designer, Shelly. TJ is re-doing his office space and will be using a selection of BIRDS AS ART images as part of the re-decoration. I still managed a late swim and a really cold ice bath; the water temp was 58.9 degrees when I got out of the tub! I should be sending my final edit ofthe DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide ready to Arash early tomorrow morning. I hope to get the final PDF from him no later than Monday.

This blog post, the 321st in a row, took me about 1 1/2 hours to prepare. It was published just after 5:30am from my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, 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.

You can find the following items in the store: Gitzo tripods, Mongoose M3.6 and Wimberley heads, plates, low feet, and accessories, flash brackets, , Delkin e-film Pro Compact Flash Cards, LensCoat products, and our unique line-up of educational materials including ABP I & II, Digital Basics, Site and Set-up e-Guides, Canon and Nikon Camera Users and AF e-Guides, and MP-4 Photoshop video tutorials among others.


belted-kingfisher-at-sunrise-_36a8961-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This image was created just after sunrise on the morning of October 12, 2014 on day 2 of the recently concluded Fort DeSoto IPT. I used the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 200 (via ISO Safety Shift). Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/1000 sec. at f/4.5 in Tv mode. AWB.

Central Sensor/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the kingfisher and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Situation

As regular readers might surmise, IPT groups are routinely in the field well before sunrise to take advantage of a great variety of exciting and sometimes unexpected lighting conditions. At my favorite DeSoto dawn location, we often have a variety of birds flying through the color in the eastern sky. As there was not a whole lot going on on this particular morning, I decided to create a silhouette tree-scape with my long lens. As I rear-focused on the lower tree, I saw the distant Belted Kingfisher sitting on the perfect perch. I re-focused on the bird, re-framed the image, pressed the shutter button once, and watched the bird take flight.

I checked out the image on the rear LCD and pretty much began jumping for joy. Then I ran around sharing the image with all seven folks who were with me that day. All were glad for me. It was a once in a lifetime totally serendipitous situation. In bird photography the situation is often there for just an instant. And either you get it or you miss it. Usually the latter. But not this time :).

From: “Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART”
To: “artie”
Subject: Blog Image Template general
Date: Thursday, August 07, 2014 6:17 PM


belted-kingfisher-at-sunrise-more-orange-_36a8961-a-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This is a darker, more orange version that I created after answering Gary Axton’s question about the sky color. It was probably somewhere between the two versions.

Which one do you like best?

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20% plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight.

Used Gear Cautions

Though I am not in a position to post images of gear for sale here or elsewhere, prospective buyers are encouraged to request for photos of the gear that they are interested in purchasing via e-mail. Doing so will help to avoid any misunderstandings as to the condition of the gear. Sellers are advised to take care to photograph their used gear with care against clean backgrounds so that the stuff is represented accurately and in the best light; please pardon the pun :).

Used EOS-1D Mark IV Digital Camera Body

Marc Lombardi is offering a used Canon EOS-1D Mark IV in excellent condition for $2699. The body has one minor cosmetic scratch on top. The sale includes the charger and two batteries, a RRS plate, and insured ground shipping to US addresses only. Your camera will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Marc via e-mail or by phone at 610-585-3500 (Eastern time).

Two Mark IVs served as my workhorse bodies for more than three years.

Used Canon EF 100-400 f 4.5-5.6 L IS Lens

Multiple IPT veteran Jack Panzeca is offering a used Canon EF 100-400 f 4.5-5.6 L IS lens in very good + condition for $999 including insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses only. The tripod collar has one small scratch. The sale includes the original tough fabric case, the original box, the front and rear caps, the lens hood, and the strap. Your gear will be shipped only after your check clears.

Please contact Jack via e-mail or by phone at 817 819 1756. Central Time Zone.

The 100-400 is a versatile intermediate telephoto zoom lens with 1,000+ uses. It makes a great starter lens especially for folks who do general nature and wildlife in addition to birds. I’ve sold 100s of images made with a 1-4 and denise loved hers for many years forsaking it only recently for the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. Jack’s 100-400 is priced to sell.

Used Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Lens

Price reduced $350 on 10/17/2014!

Dan Womack is offering a used Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM lens in excellent condition with clean glass with a few small nicks on the lens hood for $5150. B&H is offering a virtually identical used “old 500″ for $6,299.95; you can save more than $1000 by grabbing Dan’s lens asap. The sale includes the front leather hood, the rear dust cap, the original case with keys, and insured shipping to US addresses only. Your lens will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Dan via e-mail or by phone at 337 412 1898.

Used Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM Lens

Price reduced $100 on 10/17/2014

Multiple IPT veteran Shelly Goldstein is also offering a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM lens, this one in excellent condition for a ridiculously low $699. The lens sells new for $1,399.00. The sale includes the front lens cap, the lens shade, the rear dust cap, and insured shipping via Fed Ex Ground to US addresses only. The lens was cleaned and checked by Canon in September 2014.

You can contact Shelly via e-mail or by phone at 646-423-0392 (EST). Your lens will be shipped only after your check clears.

The lightweight, relatively tiny, but optically excellent 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS is a great one-lens-fits-all walk-around or travel lens. And it would do well on your shoulder at places like Bosque as well.

Used Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift Manual Focus Lens

Price reduced $100 on 10/17/2014

Multiple IPT veteran Shelly Goldstein is offering a used Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift Manual Focus lens in excellent condition for the ridiculously low price of $799. The lens sells new for $1,399.00. The sale includes the front lens cap, the lens shade, the rear dust cap, and insured shipping via Fed Ex Ground to US addresses only. The lens was cleaned and checked by Canon in September 2014.

You can contact Shelly via e-mail or by phone at 646-423-0392 (EST). Your lens will be shipped only after your check clears.

The 90 Tilt Shift is a specialized lens that enable precise control of depth of field along with perspective control. It is useful for portrait, product, and landscape photography. George Lepp loves it for flower field and macro photography, using it often with the 2X III teleconverter.

Used Canon Wide Angle Tilt Shift TS-E 24mm f/3.5L Manual Focus Lens

Price reduced $100 on 10/17/2014

Multiple IPT veteran Shelly Goldstein is offering a used Canon Wide Angle Tilt Shift TS-E 24mm f/3.5L Manual Focus Lens in excellent condition for a ridiculously low $749. The sale includes the front lens cap, the lens shade, the rear dust cap, and insured shipping via Fed Ex Ground to US addresses only. The lens was cleaned and checked by Canon in September 2014.

You can contact Shelly via e-mail or by phone at 646-423-0392 (EST). Your lens will be shipped only after your check clears.

This specialized lens provides tilt-shift functions to control perspective and correct convergence of lines. It is especially useful in architecture, landscape, and product photography. The optical tilt mechanisms enable precise control of depth of field along with perspective control.

Used Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Lens

IPT veteran Stuart Hahn is offering a used original owner Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM lens in excellent condition with clean glass for $5250. B&H is offering a virtually identical used “old 500″ for $6,299.95; you can save more than $1000 by grabbing Stu’s lens asap. The sale includes the front leather lens hood, the rear dust cap, a used RRS B-91 Flash Bracket, the original case with keys, and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses only. Your lens will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Stu via e-mail or by phone (after October 3) at 916-485-1630 (Pacific time).

Canon 400mm EF f/5.6L USM Lens

Bob Bass is offering a used Canon 400mm EF f/5.6L USM lens in excellent condition for $999. The sale includes the original box, the tough fabric case, the front and rear lens caps, the instruction CD, and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses only. Your new gear will be shipped only after your check clears unless other arrangements are made. You can contact Bob via e-mail or by phone at 781-275-5230 EST.

Original owner. The lens was purchased in 2012 and used infrequently. It was recently returned from Canon Professional Services where it received a clean and check. Images of the lens are available upon request as are images made with the lens.

The 400 f/5.6, my old “toy lens” is an ideal flight or starter lens for younger folks with a steady hand. It will AF with a 1.4X TC with the new 7D II….

Used Canon EOS-1D Mark III Digital Camera Body

Michael Zajac is offering a Canon EOS-1D Mark III professional digital camera body in Excellent condition for $1250. The sale includes the battery charger, one battery, the original paperwork, the camera strap, the original box, and shipping to the continental US.

Please contact Michael via e-mail or by phone at 732-979 -6644. Photos are available upon request.

Some EOS-1D Mark III bodies originally had AF problems. Michael’s did not. I have seen his great flight images made with this camera. This body features a 1.3X crop factor sensor and is a great step-up for someone who wants to take a big step up from a 7D. It’s powerful battery drives AF much faster than the pro-sumer bodies especially with either a 1.4X or 2X teleconverter in place.

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 or errors. Just be right :).

October 16th, 2014

Canon EOS-7D Mark II/An In-depth Look at ISO 800

The Streak Continues: 320

I spent a full day in the office yesterday and got back to my usual routine: swim, healthy eating, and ice bath. Today and tomorrow I will be working on getting the DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide ready to send to Arash. I hope to get the final PDF from him no later than Monday. Exciting times.

This blog post, the 320th in a row, took me about 2 1/2 hours to prepare. It was published just after 7:30am from my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL.

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, 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.

You can find the following items in the store: Gitzo tripods, Mongoose M3.6 and Wimberley heads, plates, low feet, and accessories, flash brackets, , Delkin e-film Pro Compact Flash Cards, LensCoat products, and our unique line-up of educational materials including ABP I & II, Digital Basics, Site and Set-up e-Guides, Canon and Nikon Camera Users and AF e-Guides, and MP-4 Photoshop video tutorials among others.


great-egret-iso-800-7-dii-_36a9460-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This image was created just before sunset on the afternoon of October 12, 2014 on day 2 of the recently concluded Fort DeSoto IPT. I used the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop as framed: 1/200 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode.

Central Sensor/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Great Egret in pink reflections

One Problem With the EOS-7D Mark II

One problem with the EOS-7D Mark II is that you will often find yourself with too much reach. To fit the whole bird in the frame with a nice border for this image I needed to back up about fifteen yards. Here is a tip on moving back safely: turn around and walk back or at least turn sideways otherwise you might trip on something and wind up flat on your back with damaged gear…. The situation is even more dangerous when you are working in a foot or two of water so use extreme care when doing so. And that applies whether you are backing up or getting closer.

Having too much reach is a nice problem for most bird photographers. Those who go over to the 7D II will like want one on their big tripod-mounted lens and another on a Black Rapid RS-7 Strap on their shoulder with a 70-200 II or the promised 100-400 II….

A Note on the Image Optimization

I painted a Quick Mask of the sandy triangle at the bottom of the frame, put that on its own layer, and applied a 100 pixel Gaussian Blur to give the sand the same dreamy quality as the rest of the background. In addition, some distracting shells and pebbles disappeared as well.

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. The current guide will teach you how to best convert all of your Canon images in all 3 point something versions of Canon Digital Photo Professional including the current v.3.14.41.0.

Coming very soon: The DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris. The more that I use DPP 4.0 for my 1D X and 5D III RAW conversions the more I learn about it. And the more I learn about it the more I am impressed with it. Note: at present, DPP 4.0 will work only with 1D X, 5D III, and 6D images. I am hoping against hope that at some point Canon will release a new version of DPP 4 that will support 7D II images.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize 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 (including Surface Blur settings), 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, Digital Eye Doctor, using Surface and Gaussian Blurs, 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 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.



Use the BAA Affiliate logo link above to pre-order your 7D II, shoot me your receipt via e-mail,
and I will do my very best to have your order expedited once the camera begins shipping.


great-egret-100-percent-_36a9460-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 100% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 100% Crop

Note here especially the virtual lack of noise in the black legs. The dark areas are always most susceptible to noise. If you are familiar with viewing your images at 100%, please feel free to let us know what you think of the noise and the image quality here at ISO 800.


great-egret-200percent-_36a9460-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 200% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 200% Crop

With the relatively huge crop here we are beginning to see some significant noise in the darker yellow tones and for those with excellent close-up vision, in the pupil. To my eye, the noise in the background and the white feathers is minimal. With all three images here a dose of Filter > Blur > Surface Blur applied to the backgrounds only would render them smooth as a baby’s tush.

If you are familiar with viewing your images at 200%, please feel free to let us know what you think of the noise and the image quality here at ISO 800.


reddish-egret-iso-800-7d-ii-_36a8823-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This image was created at 6:42pm on the clear afternoon of October 11 on day one of the Fort DeSoto October IPT 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 a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/800 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

One sensor to the right and one row up from the central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF fell on a spot just below and behind the bird’s eye and 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 #2: Non-breeding plumage Reddish Egret

Light Makes Right

I’d much prefer to photograph this species in its loverly breeding plumage in early spring but the sweet light of late afternoon got me to overcome my reluctance. Part of the key to success here was making images when the bird was perfectly parallel to the back of the camera. F/8 and working at 1.6 crop factor distance yielded more than enough depth-of-field while still leaving the image with a pleasingly blurred background.


reddish-egr-100-percent-_36a8823-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 100% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 100% Crop

Note the incredible sharpness achieved with an equivalent focal length of 1344mm. This represents 26.88X magnification. Image quality on the bill and the eye looks fine, less so on the bird’s feathers, the latter in part due to mild over-saturation of the REDs from the rich late afternoon light.

If you are familiar with viewing your images at 100%, please feel free to share your thoughts on the noise and the image quality here at ISO 800.


reddish-egret-200-percent-_36a8823-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 200% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 200% Crop

With the relatively huge crop here we see some loss of fine feather detail and the appearance of some background noise as well. The latter is easily dealt with by applying Filter > Blur > Surface Blur to the background only. I am confident that if DPP 4 eventually does support 7D II images that controlling the noise during the RAW conversion will yield improved results as DPP 4 allows photographers to deal with both chrominance and luminance noise. In DPP 3 we recommend never using any luminance noise reduction.

If you are familiar with viewing your images at 200%, please feel free to let us know what you think of the noise and the image quality here at ISO 800.

Noise Primer

Here is a small excerpt from the DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide that I added last night while putting the final polish on the text:

Your digital camera’s sensor is made up of millions of tiny pixels. Each one of those pixels is incredibly small. The tinier they are, the less surface area there is to collect light. Smaller amounts of light mean less information to work with and less information to work with leads to errors. Some of the pixels might register the wrong color (resulting in color or chrominance noise). Others wind up with the wrong quantity of light (resulting in luminance noise). As the amount of light diminishes, both types of noise increase with the darker tones being more susceptible than the lighter tones.


great-blue-heron-iso-800-7d-ii-_36a9444-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This image was created at 5:57 pm on the afternoon of October 12, 2014, day 2 of the recently concluded Fort DeSoto IPT. I used the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/320 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode.

65-point Automatic Selection Rear Focus/AI Servo AF selected an array of three sensors on the base of the bird’s neck that 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 #3: Great Blue Heron neck, close-up of torso, neck, and legs

The Torso Shot

Many Great Blue Herons have ratty-looking faces in summer, late fall, and winter. What to do? Concentrate on making close-up images of their necks and chests which always feature a collection of beautifully colored and detailed feathers and patterns.


great-blue-heron-100-percent-_36a9444-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 100% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 100% Crop

Here again we see a smattering of noise in the darker feathers but not much background noise. If you are familiar with viewing your images at 100%, please feel free to share your thoughts on the noise and the image quality here at ISO 800.


great-blue-heron-200-percent-_36a9444-fort-desoto-county-park-pinellas-fl

This unsharpened JPEG represents a 200% crop of the TIFF created by converting the RAW file in DPP v3.14.41.

The 200% Crop

With the relatively huge crop here we again see the somewhat expected loss of fine feather detail; background noise looks pretty good to me. Please realize that all of the the 100% and 200% crops here are straight out of camera with nothing but a tiny amount of capture-sharpening applied in DPP v3.14.41.0 during the RAW conversion. If you are familiar with viewing your images at 200%, please feel free to let us know what you think of the noise and the image quality here at ISO 800.

7D Mark II RAW File Offer

If you would like to receive a download link to the RAW file for one or more of today’s featured images for inspection and study only, please send a Paypal to us at birdsasart@verizon.net for $5.00 each, or $10 for all three, (to cover our handling costs) or give Jim or Jennifer a buzz at 863-692-0906 during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand. Whether by Paypal or phone be sure to specify exactly which image or images you want. We will send your link or links via Hightail. You can then download and save the RAW file. Note: you may need to download and install DPP v3.14.41.0 in order to view the images and you will surely need to have that on your computer if you wish to convert them. Thanks to all who ordered yesterday’s RAW file. I will be offering additional high ISO RAW files in the coming days and weeks. Please note that all rights remain with Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.


bosque-2014-ipt-card

Join Denise Ippolito and me for four great days of photography and learning at one of our soul places. Please click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Bosque del Apache 2014 BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). NOV 29 (afternoon photo session)-DEC 3 (morning session), 2014. Totaling 4 FULL-DAYS: $1449. Leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Saturday 11/29. Limit 16/Openings: 1

Long sold out, the 4-DAY Bosque IPT has a single opening due to non-payment of balance.

Tens of thousands of Snow Geese, 10,000 Sandhill Cranes, ducks, amazing sunrises, sunsets, and blast-offs. Live, eat, and breathe photography with two of the world’s premier photographic educators at one of their very favorite photography locations on the planet. Top-notch in-the-field and Photoshop instruction. This will make 21 consecutive Novembers at Bosque for artie. This will be denise’s 6th workshop at the refuge. Nobody knows the place better than artie does. Join us to learn to think like a pro, to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather, especially the sky conditions, the light, and the wind direction. Every time we make a move we will let you know why. When you head home being able to apply what you’ve learned on your home turf will prove to be invaluable.

This workshop includes 4 afternoon (11/29 through 12/2), 4 morning (11/30 to 12/3) photography sessions, an inspirational introductory slide program after dinner on Saturday, 11/29, all lunches, and after-lunch digital workflow, Photoshop, and image critiquing sessions.

There is never a strict itinerary on a Bosque IPT as each day is tailored to the local conditions at the time and to the weather. We are totally flexible in order to maximize both the photographic and learning opportunities. We are up early each day leaving the hotel by 5:30 am to be in position for sunrise. We usually photograph until about 10:30am. Then it is back to Socorro for lunch and then a classroom session with the group most days. We head back to the refuge at about 3:30pm each day and photograph until sunset. We will be photographing lots of Snow Geese and lots of Sandhill Cranes with the emphasis on expanding both your technical skills and your creativity.

A $449 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 7/25/2014. If 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. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Whether or not your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


bosque-creative-card-2014-1200-wide

Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris for two great days of photography, fun, and learning at one of our favorite soul places. We will surely be taking you out of the box on this workshop. Please click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Bosque del Apache 2014 A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART “Creative Photography Instructional Photo-Tour.” (IPT). NOV 24-25, 2014. 2-FULL DAYS: $729. Leaders: Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Sunday 11/23.

Get Out of Your Box!

The Creative Bosque IPT is perfect for folks who want to learn to think outside the box, to create new and different images. This workshop is the perfect add-on for folks who are planning on attending the Festival of the Cranes. Learn to unleash your creative juices at the wondrous Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, New Mexico with two great leaders including the amazingly talented and creative Denise Ippolito. In-the-field instruction will include tips on gear set-up, on creating a variety of pleasing blurs, on getting the right exposure, and on designing pleasing images. And lots more. From vertical pan blurs to subject motion blurs to zoom blurs to multiple exposures we will cover it all. If conditions are perfect, we will not hesitate to take advantage of them to do some traditional bird photography. This workshop will include an inspirational introductory slide program on Sunday evening, 11/23, after dinner on your own, two morning and two afternoon photography sessions, all lunches, a digital workflow and Photoshop session after lunch on Monday, and an image critiquing session after lunch on Tuesday.

A $329 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 7/25/2014. If 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. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. 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, 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 or errors. Just be right :).