August 24th, 2014

A Big Little Baby

The Streak Continues: 267

This blog was published just before 4:30am from my Mom’s home at Holbrook, Long Island, NY. I am meeting four clients soon at my old stomping grounds, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, NY. I will be teaching them the shorebird ropes at the East Pond. It took me about 1 1/2 hour to put this post together. It makes 267 consecutive days with a brand new effort. 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.

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.

Nickerson Beach Short-Notice In-the-field Workshop Morning Sessions

Please see below for details.


black-skimmer-chick-blog

This image was created on Thursday morning past at Nickerson Beach in cloudy bright conditions 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 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops as framed: 1/250 sec. at f/13 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo-Expand/Rear Focus AF just forward of the bend of the wing was active at the moment of exposure. When you add the 2X TC to an f/4 lens with the 1DX or the 5D III hit the MFn button once to toggle to AF Expand and enjoy 4 extra AF sensors. Learn everything there is to know about the 1D X and 5D III AF systems including how to manage the various AF Area Selection Modes, when to use which one, and several ways to move the AF sensor around in the 1D X AF Guide and the 5D Mark III User’s Guide. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version. .

Ten-day Old Black Skimmer Chick

In the Zone

I was really in the zone on my first morning at Nickerson. Having believed the weatherman I missed an hour of nice light. But then the clouds came which is always fine with me. I picked a spot that I thought would be productive and withing 15 minutes I was surrounded by skimmers and skimmer chicks of all ages and sizes. Though the skimmers at Nickerson nested atypically late this year, it was a productive season for them. The question remains as to what percentage of the smaller chicks like the one in the image above will survive until its time to head south…. Food (in the form or baitfish) has been relatively scarce this year, especially for Nickerson’s Common Terns, a species that nested atypically early; they suffered high chick mortality (John Zarudsky/personal comment).

Back to photography: not having to worry about sun angle was a huge boon as much of the action was inside the ropes which would have been about 70 degrees off sun angle had it been a clear morning.

Image Questions

What is wide open with the 600 II/2X III combo?

Why f/13?

Confession

I did so well on Thursday that I was planning on a really long blog post. But I did not get back to my Mom’s till well after 1pm. Then I napped, did my seven-tenths mile slow swim, napped, and visited my younger daughter Alissa’s family for plov, a traditional Uzbek dish that I love. And right now (7:46pm as I type this) I am so exhausted so that all you are getting on Sunday is the one big little baby. Good night; I will be climbing into bed (on Saturday night of course) before 8pm.

Your Help Is Needed

Sales for the first half 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

nickerson-card

Nickerson Beach Short-notice Weekday Beach-nesting Birds In-the-Field Workshop Morning Sessions

Please note the new schedule: Tuesday & Wednesday mornings, AUG 26 or 27; $299 with lunch and image review.

Join me on Long Island, NY soon to photograph Black Skimmers with chicks and young of all sizes and American Oystercatchers with grown young. The skimmers will be the stars of the show. Mid- to late August is prime time for photographing young skimmers. Parking in the morning is free.

If you would like to join me on Tuesday or Wednesday morning please call my cell at 863-221-2372 and leave a message if I do not pick up. In addition please shoot me an e-mail. Or, you can Jim on Monday or Tuesday in which case payment in full is due when you register and is non-refundable. Otherwise it will be cash on the barrelhead at the beach. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot us a scanned copy via e-mail or bring a hard copy with you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via e-mail or by phone this weekend at 863-221-2372 and leave a message.

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. :)

August 23rd, 2014

Last Chance...


least-sandpiper-fresh-juvenal-plumage-_y7o5546-east-pond-jamaica-bay-wr-queens-ny

This image was created this morning, 8/23/2014, at 7:49am in cloudy bright conditions 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 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops as framed: 1/500 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo-Expand/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s upper breast where the brown meets the white was active at the moment of exposure. When you add the 2X TC to an f/4 lens with the 1DX or the 5D III hit the MFn button once to toggle to AF Expand and enjoy 4 extra AF sensors. Learn everything there is to know about the 1D X and 5D III AF systems including how to manage the various AF Area Selection Modes, when to use which one, and several ways to move the AF sensor around in the 1D X AF Guide and the 5D Mark III User’s Guide. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version. .

Image #1: Exceptionally bright Least Sandpiper in fresh juvenal plumage

Last Chance to Join Me at JBWR Tomorrow

The mud is clean. There are no Mute Swan feathers. There are lots of shorebirds, more than I have seen at the refuge in a decade. With many juveniles, even the adults are silly tame. The weather is supposed to be perfect tomorrow morning. I can show you when, where, and how. Conditions have not been this perfect since I can’t remember when. I created 674 images and kept 92–shorebirds never stop moving. I got very good to excellent images of adult and juvie Semipalmated Sandpiper, juvie leasts like this one, juvenile Semipamated Plover, molting adult Stilt Sandpiper, and juvenile Short-billed Dowitcher.

I have been photographing juvie leasts for more than three decades; this one is my favorite by far.

From Greg Gulbransen via e-mail:

Hey I had a really really great time. Fascinating and productive!. Sign me up for tomorrow; I will likely be there a few minutes late. Greg

JBWR Short-Notice Shorebird Photography and ID In-the-Field Morning Workshop Session

Sunday August 24: sunrise till 10am followed by brunch and image review at a local diner: $299. Limit 6/Openings 3.

Join me at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, NY this coming Sunday a morning of shorebird photography in the mud. You will learn to age and identify the common shorebirds that we will encounter. You will learn the best times, tides, and locations to visit for the very best shorebird photography on the east coast and why only a very few days each year offer the best chances for success. I will teach you how to get close; we will either be sitting in or lying on the hard mud. This morning session offers you a chance to learn from someone who has spent more time studying and photographing the shorebirds of JBWR than anyone alive. Join me and you are invited to pick my brain; as is usual, I will share everything that I know. Some folks may wish to join me for a JBWR/Nickerson Beach double header. See below for Nickerson Beach details.

If you would like to join us on Sunday, please call my cell at 863-221-2372 and leave a message if I do not pick up. In addition please shoot me an e-mail with a call-back #. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and bring a hard copy with you.

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. :)

August 23rd, 2014

Nickerson Referendum/Nikon Does Not Suck.../Neither Does Mr. Dave

The Streak Continues: 266

This blog was published just before 3:30am from my Mom’s home at Holbrook, Long Island, NY. I am meeting two clients at 5:55am at my old stomping grounds, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, NY. I will be teaching them the shorebird ropes of the East Pond. It took me about 4 1/2 hours over the course of 3 days to assemble this post which makes 266 consecutive days with a brand new effort. I am in NY for a week of 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.

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.

JBWR and Nickerson Beach Short-Notice In-the-field Workshop Morning Sessions

Scroll down for info on both.

Your Help Is Needed

Sales for the first half 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


dwk4339-nickersonbeach-2014

This image was created by participant Dave Klein on the mid-July Nickerson Beach IPT that I co-led with Denise Ippolito. Dave used the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR lens (Black) (hand held at 500mm/digital zoom 1.5X = 750mm) and the Nikon D7100 DSLR . ISO 800. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f8 in Av mode. AWB.

Black Skimmer in flight. Image courtesy of and copyright 2014 Dave Klein

Nickerson Referendum

Today I present 7 images created by Dave Klein. Mr. Dave created all of them on the July Nickerson Beach IPT that I co-led with Denise Ippolito. I ask each of you to list your three favorites and rate them in order with 3 being the strongest image, 2 your second favorite, and 1 the next strongest. Feel free to let us know why you made your choices. Place the strongest image at the top of your list, and so on down the line. Tips: click on each image to see a larger version; cut and paste the titles of your three favorites.

Like this:

3: American Oystercatcher over-the-shoulder glance
2: Adult Common Tern fishing in the surf
1: Piping Plover running

Remember, the strongest images gets the 3 points and should be placed at the top of the list. Please do not let the list above influence your choices as they were selected arbitrarily.

At some point I will share the results of the referendum :), rank all seven images, and share my thoughts with you here.

Again, all of these images were created by Dave Klein. The inevitable comments praising me for my great photographs will be deleted. :) Yeah, you gotta actually read what I write….


dwk4370-nickersonbeach-2014

Another Dave Klein image from the IPT with hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR lens (Black) (1000mm/digital zoom 1.5X with 1.3Xcrop) and the Nikon D7100 DSLR . ISO 800. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f8 in Av mode. AWB.

Piping Plover running. Image courtesy of and copyright 2014 Dave Klein

Nikon Does Not Suck…

As regular readers know, it ain’t the lens and it ain’t the camera body. “It” is the heart, soul, determination, creative vision, and skill of the guy or gal holding the lens. Many folks incorrectly assume that I have a problem with folks who use Nikon gear. Nothing could be further from the truth. Two of my very best friends, Todd Gustafson and James Shadle, have been using Nikon for as long as they have been photographing. And both are amazingly skilled at capturing images depicting dramatic behaviors and frantic action. About 20-30% of the folks who attend IPTs use Nikon Gear. Denise knows a lot more about the camera bodies than I do but that may change in the future. I am working with B&H on a plan that would put some of the best Nikon lenses and camera bodies in my hand for my nearly 3-week stay at Bosque: mid November through the first week of December. We shall see how it goes. And if it does you will be seeing some of my Nikon images here. Along with my thoughts on the system.

As you can see in this blog post, Nikon gear does not suck, and neither does Dave Klein….


dwk5216-nickersonbeach2014

This image was also created by Dave Klein on the mid-July Nickerson Beach IPT, this one with the
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (hand held at 400mm/digital zoom 1.5X = 600mm) and the Nikon D600 (now replaced by the Nikon D610 ).
ISO 640. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/10 in Av mode. AWB.

American Oystercatcher over-the-shoulder glance. Image courtesy of and copyright 2014 Dave Klein

An E-mail From Dave

Hi Artie,

I am following up with you with some images from Nickerson and my contact information for the prizes won from the international photo contest, I hope this e-mail finds you well with minimal issues with your shoulder or any other joints for that matter :) I wish I were able to turn around again and head to New York for the JBWR and Nickerson IPTs but work and my boys’ schedules call. That said I want to thank you again for the time spent with you and Denise, particularly the first night I arrived and you guys graciously took me to dinner. When I first learned of you in the 1990′s through your books I never thought I would be fortunate enough to sit at a table and dine with you on Long Island. I have heard it said that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. As always, I hope to find time again to work with you and learn from you. I will look for such an opportunity when circumstances allow. Included is my best skimmer copulation image. Be well and safe travels. Best. Dave


dwk6236-nickersonbeach2014

Like all of the images in this blog post, this one was also created by Dave Klein on the mid-July Nickerson Beach IPT, this one also with the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (hand held at 400mm/digital zoom 1.5X = 600mm) and the Nikon D600 (now replaced by the Nikon D610 ).
ISO 500. Matrix metering -1 stop: 1/4000 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode. AWB.

Least Tern double overhead landing wingstretch. Image courtesy of and copyright 2014 Dave Klein

Hand Holding Can Save the Day

I was mounting my 600 II on the tripod when this bird landed in right front of the group. Both Dave and denise who were hand holding and nailed it. You snooze, you lose. Hand holding is great for flight and action….


dwk6474-nickersonbeach2014

More by Dave from Nickerson, this one created with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR lens with a Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x Teleconverter for D-AF-S & AF-I Lenses ONLY (at 700mm/Digital zoom 1.5X = 1050mm) and the Nikon D600 (now replaced by the Nikon D610). ISO 500. Matrix metering -2/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 in Av mode. AWB.

Fresh juvenal plumage Least Tern. Image courtesy of and copyright 2014 Dave Klein

Getting Lucky

I photographed this same bird; that image was featured in the “Three Tern Species/Three Fledged Young” blog post here. We were photographing an adult Least Tern on sitting on one egg when this bird walked right up to us. It is very possible that it was a bird from an earlier clutch with the same parents….


dwk6855-nickersonbeach2014

This image was also created by Dave Klein on the mid-July Nickerson Beach IPT, this one with the
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (hand held at 400mm/digital zoom 1.5X = 600mm) and the Nikon D600 (now replaced by the Nikon D610 ).
ISO 1000. Matrix metering +1/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/8 in Av mode. AWB.

Adult Common Tern fishing in the surf. Image courtesy of and copyright 2014 Dave Klein

Surf Fishing

Dave saw and created this wonderful habitat shot at Jones Beach. I made a few similar images but none were as successful as this one. The terns from Nickerson were fishing right in the wash. From Jones Beach back to Nickerson was probably about 2 1/2 miles as the crow flies. (Glad that I caught that typo: “about 2 1/2 miles as the cow flies.”)


dwk8035-nickersonbeach-2014

More by Dave from Nickerson, this one created with the tripod-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR lens (500mm full frame) with the Nikon D600 (now replaced by the Nikon D610).
ISO 400. Matrix metering -1 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/9 in Av mode. AWB.

Black Skimmers copulating. Image courtesy of and copyright 2014 Dave Klein

Kill Me Dave Why Don’tcha?

It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon with a nice south wind. (Southwest or west would have been better.) Dave was seated about 40 yards to my right doing flight. I saw the female skimmer sitting on the clean white sand and when the male landed behind her with a freshly caught needle fish I knew exactly what was going to happen. As I picked up my tripod–I need to get to sun angle and I would not photograph them from behind, the male fed its mate. Within seconds he mounted her and they copulated. I ran as fast as I could and got there just as they finished….


jbwr-card-a

For me, the coolest thing about learning to identify shorebirds is that once you learn the basics it is actually easier to age a shorebird, that is, to tell if it an adult or a juvenile, than it is to identify it as to species. And with a bit of experience, study, and practice, identifying the common North American migrant shorebirds is nowhere as difficult as it is reputed to be. Advice: get yourself a copy of my Shorebirds: Beautiful Beachcombers, study, and get out to local ponds, estuaries, beaches, and mudflats as much as possible for the next month. Mid-August through early September is the best time of year to see both adult and fresh juvenile shorebirds together on migration. Better yet, join me at JBWR for two great mornings of shorebird photography while honing your identification and ageing skills and learning a ton about my favorite bird family. See below for details.

For the correct ageing and ID of each of the birds in the composite above, see the comments here.

JBWR Short-Notice Shorebird Photography and ID In-the-Field Morning Workshop Session

Sunday August 24: sunrise till 10am followed by brunch and image review at a local diner: $299. Limit 6/Openings 4.

Join me at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, NY this coming Sunday a morning of shorebird photography in the mud. You will learn to age and identify the common shorebirds that we will encounter. You will learn the best times, tides, and locations to visit for the very best shorebird photography on the east coast and why only a very few days each year offer the best chances for success. I will teach you how to get close; we will either be sitting in or lying on the hard mud. This morning session offers you a chance to learn from someone who has spent more time studying and photographing the shorebirds of JBWR than anyone alive. Join me and you are invited to pick my brain; as is usual, I will share everything that I know. Some folks may wish to join me for a JBWR/Nickerson Beach double header. See below for Nickerson Beach details.

If you would like to join us on Sunday, please call my cell at 863-221-2372 and leave a message if I do not pick up. In addition please shoot me an e-mail. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot us a scanned copy via e-mail or bring a hard copy with you.

nickerson-card

Nickerson Beach Short-notice Weekday Beach-nesting Birds In-the-Field Workshop Morning Sessions

Please note the new schedule: Tuesday & Wednesday mornings, AUG 26 or 27; $299 with lunch and image review.

Join me on Long Island, NY soon to photograph Black Skimmers with chicks and young of all sizes and American Oystercatchers with grown young. The skimmers will be the stars of the show. Mid- to late August is prime time for photographing young skimmers. Parking in the morning is free.

If you would like to join me on Tuesday or Wednesday morning please call my cell at 863-221-2372 and leave a message if I do not pick up. In addition please shoot me an e-mail. Or, you can Jim on Monday or Tuesday in which case payment in full is due when you register and is non-refundable. Otherwise it will be cash on the barrelhead at the beach. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot us a scanned copy via e-mail or bring a hard copy with you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via e-mail or by phone this weekend at 863-221-2372 and leave a message.

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. :)