April 21st, 2015

One to One (1:1) 100 percent Crop Tutorial by Michael Tapes with Arthur Morris

Stuff

Honest. I would have gotten up early and went out photographing on Tuesday but for the crappy weather forecast (that for a change happened to be quite accurate).

Tuesday morning involved more relaxing while creating this blog post and watching Golden State win a tough game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Then my core exercises.

This blog post, the 104th in a row, took about 2 1/2 hours to prepare. It was published at about 3:40am on Wednesday. I got up at oh-dark-hundred to make my 6:40am flight from ISP to MCO. If everything goes as expected Jim will be picking me up at about 9:45am on Wednesday morning.

St. Augustine IPT Late Registration Discount Info

Please see below and/or call the office at 863-692-0906 for St. Augustine IPT Late Registration Discount info.



Canon’s Huge Megapixel Bodies

Canon’s two new huge megapixel bodies are available for pre-order. If you want to get your hands on one, please pre-order by clicking on the logo-link above. They will surely be difficult to get; shoot me your B&H receipt via e-mail and I will be glad to do my best to expedite your order. Learn more about the two new bodies here.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links :)

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

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


turkey-vulture-front-end-horz-_y8a3698-indian-lake-estates-fl

This image was created down by the lake at ILE on the morning of April 16, 2015 from my SUV with the BLUBB-supported Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB. At +2/3 in early morning light I was getting a few blinkies on the bill tip so I went 1/3 stop darker.

One AF point above and one to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best if possible when working off the BLUBB). The active AF point was on the bird’s neck just below and forward of the bird’s eye. This put the active AF point right on the same plane as the bird’s eye. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Down By the Lake

When I was home, I was getting down to the lake pretty regularly each morning. I fly home on Wednesday morning and will get to sleep in my own bed for just one night as I head over to St. Pete on Thursday for the long sold out Fort DeSoto IPT. I hope to get down to the lake again on Thursday morning as last Thursday is was pretty good. And, I found a new, very pretty crane nest that I want to check out. I am hoping that it is a viable nest.


turkey-vulture-front-end-1-to-1-crop-horz-_y8a3698-indian-lake-estates-fl

One to One (1:1) 100% Crop Tutorial by Michael Tapes with Arthur Morris

Michael Tapes of LensAlign has visited twice recently helping me out with micro-adjusting some of my gear. With his help I will be creating a written tutorial that will detail the use of LensAlign and a new version of FocusTune to be released early this summer. This tutorial will be for serious photographers who want to get the most out of their gear in terms of sharpness. I must admit to having been intrigued by FocusTune early on as it can really open your eyes about all things AF. And most importantly, It will enable you to set up all of your camera lens combinations so that you will on average be creating the absolute sharpest images possible

I have assembled nearly all the gear that I need to do the micro-adjusting to perfection; right now I am only lacking a cable release.

In any case, on his last visit I mentioned my confusion with creating 1:1 or 100% crops when I needed to show folks how sharp or how unsharp a given image is. He opened my eyes to the fact that I had been doing most everything wrong. Most notably, he explained that the percentage view had nothing at all to do with creating a 1:1 crop, a fact that I had been happily oblivious to before his last visit. In other words, if you view an image a 200% and then simply use the Crop Tool the resulting JPEG will be comprised of re-sampled (read “mangled”) pixels.

Here is how Michael taught me to do it.

1: Bring either your converted TIFF or your optimized image file into Photoshop. Using a previously un-cropped image will give you the truest representation of the sharpness of the file.

2-Activate the Rectangular Marquee Tool.

3-In the Style box select Fixed Size from the drop-down menu.

4-Type in the size in pixels that you want your JPEG to be. For today’s image I went with Width: 800 px and Height: 800 px. Note that if you use larger values (like 1200 X 1200) you will have a wider view. With smaller values (like 400 X 400) you will have a much tighter view. But no matter, you will be looking at a 1:1 representation.

5-Now click anywhere on the image and your 1:1 crop symbol will appear. Grab the crop symbol with the cursor and position it as desired.

6-To execute the crop go Image > Crop. (I use my personal keyboard shortcut, Command C.)

7-Optional: hit Command D to lose the marching ants.

8-Then go File > Save for Web (or hit Shift + Alternate + Command + S). It is mandatory that you save the JPEG at Quality 100%.

9-Hit OK and you are done.

For most accurate viewing it is best to display the final image at its pixel dimensions. In this case that would be 800 X 800 px.

Many thanks to Michael Tapes for his help with these concepts that were previously confusing to me. More on LensAlign, the new ruler, and the next version of FocusTune some time in June.

The Image Optimization

The primary challenge in optimizing this image involved deal with the RED color cast that was due to the quality of the early morning light. To restore detail to the Turkey Vulture’s red head I selected it with the Quick Selection Tool and then added 35 points of CYAN to the REDs in Selective Color. Next I selected all the BLACK feathers, again with the Quick Selection Tool and then went to Hue-Saturation, chose the RED channel, and reduced the RED saturation about 30 points. As a result of these two steps, the light still looked sweet but the color looked far more natural.

Next was clean-up of the face and the feathers with my favorite cast of friends, the Spot Healing Brush (J), the Clone Stamp Tool (S), a small Quick Mask or two, and the Patch Tool (my personalized keyboard shortcut P). I applied a 50% layer of my NIK 50-50 pre-set and refined that with a Regular Layer Mask. I varied the opacity of the brush to leave the full effect on the face and bill tip but reduced it substantially on the black feathers.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize today’s image is covered in detail in our Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Digital Basics File is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, Contrast Masks, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, the Surface Blur (background noise reduction) settings, 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 either with phone orders or here in the BAA Online Store. For phone orders, call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 weekdays.


dpp-4-guide

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

The DPP 4 eGuide (PDF)

The Ideal Companion to the 7D Mark II User’s Guide

Learn how and why I and many other discerning photographers choose and use only DPP 4 to convert their Canon RAW files in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly. The latest version supports all of the newer Canon camera bodies and several older models including the EOS-7D and the EOS-1D Mark IV. A free update that will cover most of the newly added cameras will be sent as soon as I get it from Arash.


st-aug-horzscard

Clockwise from upper left to center: Snowy Egrets/breeding plumage pair, American Alligator with egret feather on head, Cattle Egret in breeding plumage (with fill flash), large Snowy Egret chicks, displaying gator, Wood Stork in flight carrying nesting material (fill flash), begging Snowy Egret chick, another Cattle Egret in breeding plumage (with fill flash), and Great Egret chick.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Short-Notice Spoonbill and Wading Bird Chicks IPT: May 4-6, 2015. TWO FULL and TWO 1/2 DAYS: $1099. Limit 8/Openings 5.

Call on Monday to learn of the Late Registration Discount: 863-692-0906

St. Augustine in early May is a bird photographer’s paradise. With any luck we should have chicks of all sizes in the nests ranging from newly hatched Snowy Egrets and Tricolored Herons to nearly fledged Great Egrets. More than a few pairs of Roseate Spoonbills have nested at the Alligator Farm for the past several years. Photographing the spoonbill chicks in the nest is a huge challenge…. With any luck we will encounter a few Snowy and Cattle Egrets in stunning breeding plumage. We should have lots of flight photography ops especially late in the day. We will enjoy extra early entry on our three mornings. Folks who will need a photographer’s pass need to get us $89.95. This fee includes full season early entry and late stay and submission fees for up to 5 photos in their annual contest. This works out to cheaper than four separate entry tickets. We pick up the passes on our first afternoon.


st-aug-verts-card-1

Clockwise from upper left: flash-as-main light Great Egret chick begging, breeding plumage Cattle Egret w/fill flash, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret chick in nest begging, Cattle Egrets copulating, Wood Stork with nesting material, another Wood Stork with nesting material, and breeding plumage Snowy Egret displaying.

What You Will Learn

On this IPT you will the learn the basics and fine points of digital exposure and how to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure. You will learn to understand and predict bird behavior and to see and understand the light. You will learn to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system and how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it). Most importantly, you will learn to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective. Rookeries are crowded, cluttered, white-washed places. Most folks who visit have no clue as to the difference of an image with tons of distractions and one with a clean line of sight and the best possible distant background. Join me and I will teach you to see like a pro.

I will be bringing my flash to the Alligator Farm (gasp!) I have not used flash for at least a year. I will be teaching you how to use flash as fill and how to use flash as main light. In addition, I will be reviewing the flash flight techniques that I developed at St. Augustine more than a few years ago.


s-aug-spoonies-card

Clockwise from upper left: gator back, Great Egret returning to mate (with fill flash), Roseate Spoonbill with bill open, Roseate Spoonbill chick begging, Roseate Spoonbill 11am silhouette, large Great Egret chicks in nest, and bill of Roseate Spoonbill.

Whats the Rest of the Deal?

Afternoon session on Monday, May 4. Then two full days with a morning and afternoon session each day, May 5 & 6. Then our last morning on May 7. At lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday (included) we will review my images; folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one? If you opt to bring your laptop, we can take a look at five of your best images from the morning or another session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot. Your balance–$600, payable only by check, is due immediately. Please include a separate check for $89.95 so that we can purchase your pass in advance. Please click here to read our cancellation policy before committing. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork linked to here and get it to us. You can register by calling Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 and arranging for your deposit of $499. Balances are payable only by check. I hope to see you there.

From Pat and Stokes Fishburne

The Alligator Farm is quite good right now. Good spoonbill nests and lots of spoonbills. Also, Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, and a few Cattle Egrets along with more than a few Great Egret nests with chicks.

Facebook

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

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

…..

Amazon.com

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

Amazon Canada

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

Typos

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

April 21st, 2015

Lightroom. My Take. Denise's Take. Your Take? More on Photo Mechanic and My Digital Workflow

Stuff

Monday was another relaxing day. Am I losing it??? This blog post, the 103rd in a row, took about 1 1/2 hours to prepare. It should be published at one minute after midnight on Tuesday. Please call the office at 863-692-0906 for St. Augustine IPT Late Registration Discount info.



Canon’s Huge Megapixel Bodies

Canon’s two new huge megapixel bodies are available for pre-order. If you want to get your hands on one, please pre-order by clicking on the logo-link above. They will surely be difficult to get; shoot me your B&H receipt via e-mail and I will be glad to do my best to expedite your order. Learn more about the two new bodies here.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links :)

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

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

artie on Lightroom

Aside from what I understand to be superb key wording and search features, I cannot understand why anyone would use Lightroom. From the first day that I ever heard the word Lightroom, I have been hearing things like “I can’t find my images. Lightroom destroyed my Library.” And I still hear those comments to this day. I know that lots of folks use and love Lightroom (LR). And I am fine with that. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Especially if you have unlimited time waiting for your images to “render” so that you can pick your keepers from a folder with 1437 photo files.

Note: in today’s climate, where it is nearly impossible for most folks to sell images, LR’s key-wording features are not nearly as important as they were ten years ago. Furthermore, though I am not familiar with them at present, Photo Mechanic haas some pretty snazzy cataloging, keywording, and search features.

And always I ask, “What can LR do that I cannot do in Photoshop?” I have never gotten a good answer to that one. All are invited to chime in.

denise on Lightroom

As I knew that denise Ippolito had used Lightroom for several years when she began photography, I asked her to share her thoughts on LR. Here is what she said: “I liked it because of the cataloguing. But for viewing your images it was and still is way too slow. Once you introduced me to BreezeBrowser (BrBr) and Downloader Pro (DLP) there was no reason to use Lightroom anymore. BrBr is much faster.” Denise works on PCs.

A Lightroom Conversation with BAA Blog Subscriber John Patton via e-Mail

AM: Hi John, re:
JP: Thanks for the fast response. That is much appreciated.
AM: YAW.
JP: The problems I’ve had with Lightroom are many. They include missing images, EXIF data changing seemingly by itself, and cumbersome file renaming; I live in Vero and photograph a lot of birds.
AM: Ah, we are practically neighbors.
JP: When I rename osprey for example, I need to highlight every one of the osprey files and rename them from the first file to the last. After a good day at Vierra Wetlands it can take more than an hour to go through all the files… And I get somewhat cryptic warnings when moving a file from Lightroom to Photoshop and back.
AM: That sounds like insanity to me unless you are doing something seriously wrong. Even then, it would be nice if the program were somewhat intuitive. Folks should not need a degree in nuclear physics in order to work with their images.
JP: The healing brush works much better in Photoshop than in Lightroom, but others disagree. Tech support from Adobe has been great but I shouldn’t need to call them as often as I do.
AM: Denise agrees with you on the LR healing brush. Agree on calling tech support. I called PM tech support once or twice to get started and they were great.
JP: Before I started using Lightroom I asked why I should and was told it was faster and easier to import, catalog and add keywords than any other program for a Mac. Prior to that I was happily using Bridge and Photoshop.
AM: Photo Mechanic is blazingly fast. If you select the first file in a folder, hit the space bar to see the image large, and hold down the right arrow key it is like watching a movie. BreezeBrowser is fast, but PM has no equal for speed. Of course even I do not edit at full speed :). If you decide to purchase, remember to contact Jim to learn the BAA discount price. We are not permitted to advertise that.

Your Take on LR?

If you own, use, or have used Lightroom we would love to hear your opinion. I would especially love to hear what (aside from the keywording etc.) LR can do that Photoshop cannot do. If you love LR, do let us know what you consider the strong points to be. If you hate it, please be specific as to why.

If you would like to cut the time you spend editing your image files (selecting your keepers) by 80% or more, try Photo Mechanic. You can download a free trial version here. If you love it–no doubt that you will, please remember to call or e-mail Jim or Jennifer and save a few bucks by purchasing your license from BIRDS AS ART. Thanks for that


discountpm-promo

You can purchase a copy of Photo Mechanic in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store here. Be sure to e-mail Jim or to call as below for discount info.

Photo Mechanic

Learn lots more about how I use PM here. Purchase Photo Mechanic from BIRDS AS ART and your license code will be sent to you via e-mail within 1-7 business days (usually within 1-3 business days). Your copy of Photo Mechanic will be delivered to you via electronic download from the manufacturer’s website.

Best News

Folks who subscribe to the blog can call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 weekdays before 2pm to receive a small PM discount. Or, if they wish to purchase Photo Mechanic in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store here, they can e-mail Jim for a discount code.

Integrating Photo Mechanic and Digital Photo Professional 4 (PM & DPP 4)

An e-Mail Conversation with Bill Hill

BH: One more thing if you have time. In your workflow, you “ingest” the files in Mechanic and then do you open the file in DPP4 for edit and transfer to Photoshop?

AM: Bill, please go back and read what I wrote here.

You gotta read what I wrote here. Actually, I will save you some time; here is the important stuff:

Photo Mechanic Editing (Picking Your Keepers) Tips

I set the default so that the images are arranged by Capture Time when I open a folder. Before you sit down to your first PM editing session be sure to go to Preferences > Preview and then–under “Automatically advance to the next photo when:”– uncheck the “tag is changed box.” That way when you tag a keeper it does not automatically advance to the next frame. You need to do that only once.

I view my images in Photo Mechanic by simply selecting the first image in the folder and then hitting the spacebar to enlarge the image. After that, I hit the right arrow key to advance to the next slide. I hit letter “T” to tag my keepers. You can hit “T” again if you change your mind; this untags the image. When I am done editing the folder I set Filter view by to Untagged. Then I hit Command A (select all) and Command delete to delete all the rejected images. Done deal.

Here’s the best part: the folder in DPP will update automatically when you delete the rejects in PM. Then I go to DPP—both programs are open all the time–and do my RAW conversions for selected files.

To summarize, I Ingest and pick my keepers using Photo Mechanic and then convert my RAW files in DPP (Shift + Command + P). Fast and smooth. Again, the folder structures and the contents of each folder will be identical without your having to lift a finger. No libraries. No importing. No exporting. In other words, a piece of cake. With the icing.

For more than a decade I have been saying “If you are on a PC and are not using BreezeBrowser and Downloader Pro to download and edit your images you are nuts.” To that I can now add, “If you are on a Mac and not using Photo Mechanic to Ingest and edit your image you are nuts. Note: PM works on both PC and Mac platforms.


bear-boat-bearscatchingsalmoncard

All of the images in the bear boat card above were created in Katmai National Park during the month of September.

Due to a recent cancellation there are once again three slots open.

Bear Boat/Bears Catching Salmon IPT: September 1-8, 2015 from Kodiak, AK/6 FULL & 2 1/2 DAYS: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 8/Openings: 3. Plus the leader: Arthur Morris.

Join me in Katmai National Park, AK for seven days of photographing Coastal Brown Bears (grizzlies) catching salmon, fattening up for the long winter. Other subjects will include Mew and Glaucous-winged Gulls in flight and dip-feeding on salmon roe. Did I mention that we live on a boat and that the food is great? Most of our photography will be done in a variety of famed locations: Geographic Harbor, Kinak Bay, and Kukak Bay. We once had 39 bears fishing the creek at Kukak….

It is mandatory that you be in Kodiak no later than the late afternoon of August 31, 2015 September to avoid missing the float planes to the boat on the morning of September 1. With air travel in AK being what it is, with the chance of fog or other bad weather–being on Kodiak on August 30 is an even better plan). I will be on Kodiak on August 30 to avoid any potential disaster. That said in my nearly a dozen bear boat trips I was delayed only once but since I was day early as noted above there was no harm, no foul.

We will take one or more float planes to the boat mid-morning on September 1. We will photograph bears fishing that afternoon and every day for the next six days (weather permitting of course). We should have bears catching salmon every day. In addition, we will get some nice stuff on Mew Gull and Glaucous-winged Gulls dining on roe and the remains of predated salmon. We may–depending on where the concentrations of bears are–get to photograph Harbor seals and some hauled out Steller’s Sea Lions (an endangered species). Halibut fishing (license required) is optional. On September 8, our last morning on the boat, those who would like to enjoy one last photo session will do so. The group returns to Kodiak via float plane midday. Most folks will fly to Anchorage and then continue on red-eye flights to their home cities.

The eight days will consist of six full days (Sept 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7) of photography featuring lots of Coastal Brown Bears catching salmon as above plus a variety of other natural history subjects plus some nice scenic photography that I forgot to mention above. Plus the first afternoon and the last morning.

What’s included? 8 DAYS/7 NIGHTS on the boat as above. All meals on the boat. (The food is quite excellent.) National Park fees. One night’s double occupancy lodging on Kodiak; arrive: Sept 1/depart: Sept 2. The thank-you-in-advance dinner on Sept 1. In-the-field photo tips, instruction, and guidance. An insight into the mind of a top professional; I will constantly let you know what I am thinking, what I am doing, and why I am doing it. Small group image review, image sharing, and Photoshop instruction on the boat.

What’s not included: Your round trip airfare to and from Kodiak, AK (almost surely through Anchorage). All necessary lodging other than the cost of your double occupancy room on the night of August 31 should you opt to arrive early–we can arrange that in advance for you. We will let you know the cost of a single supplement for the one night if so desired. The cost of the round-trip float plane to the boat on September 2 and back to Kodiak on September 9. The cost of a round trip this year was $500. The suggested crew tip of $210.

Is this an expensive trip? Yes, of course. But with 6 full and two half days, a wealth of great subjects, and the fact that you will be walking with the bears just yards away (or less….) it will be one of the great natural history experiences of your life. Most folks who take part in a Bear Boat IPT wind up coming back for more.

A $2,000 per person non-refundable deposit by check only made out to “Arthur Morris” is required to hold your spot. Please click here to read our cancellation policy. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us.

Your deposit is due immediately. That will leave a balance of $4699. The next payment of $2699 will be due on February 15, 2015. The final payment of $2000 is due on May 1, 2015.

I hope that you can join us for this wondrously exciting trip.

Facebook

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

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

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

…..

Amazon.com

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

Amazon Canada

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

Typos

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

April 20th, 2015

Mandatory Lesson: Checking Your Camera Settings Before You Begin a Photo Session/Lousy Photographer Excuse & Osprey Wing Position Explanation

Stuff

Aside from writing this blog post Sunday was a very relaxing day of doing nothing but watching NBA and NHL playoff games…. This blog post, the 102nd in a row, took about 1 1/2 hours to prepare. It should be published at one minute after midnight on Monday. Coming tomorrow: my and your Lightroom Comments….

See below for St. Augustine IPT Late Registration Discount info.



Canon’s Huge Megapixel Bodies

Canon’s two new huge megapixel bodies are available for pre-order. If you want to get your hands on one, please pre-order by clicking on the logo-link above. They will surely be difficult to get; shoot me your B&H receipt via e-mail and I will be glad to do my best to expedite your order. Learn more about the two new bodies here.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links :)

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

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


lousy-camera

This image was created down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop off the blue sky: 1/5000 sec. at f/3.5. in Manual mode.

Center AF point/Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Badly out of focus Osprey
Enlarge the image & note that the EXIF clearly indicates Focus Mode: One-Shot AF; third from the bottom of the visible list.

“Lousy Camera or Lousy Photographer?

In the “Lousy Camera or Lousy Photographer?” blog post here, many folks noted that I was in One-Shot AF (Single Servo or AF-S in Nikon). For flight photography, you need to be in AI Servo AF (Continuous or AF-C with Nikon) so that the system can track a moving subject.

And the Answer Is:

Lousy Photographer

AF Primer

When working in in One-Shot AF (Single Servo or AF-S in Nikon) you have press the shutter button (or engage rear focus) to set and lock focus. Both the subject and your rig–the camera and lens–<em>must not move once focus is locked or else the resulting image will not be sharp.

AI Servo AF (Continuous or AF-C with Nikon) was designed to track moving subjects. Not only do these amazing systems track a moving subject but they actually determine the speed and direction of the subject and predict accurate focus at the moment the shutter is released.

Some AF systems offer an AF mode that is designed to switch between the two AF modes when either a still subject or a moving subject is detected. This mode is called AI Focus AF in Canon and AF-A in Nikon. These AF modes rarely works properly. Do not use or depend on them.


oofosprey

My Excuse

My excuse (I do understand that there are never any legitimate excuses in photography :)) is that I had been micro-adjusting that very camera body lens combination with Michael Tapes the day before I went down to the lake and created the badly o-o-f Osprey image. One of the first steps in doing an accurate micro-adjustment with LensAlign/Focus Tune is to set One-Shot AF. Whether I am using Rear Focus or Shutter Button AF I pretty much never use One-Shot AF so I never thought to check that setting….


osprey-blacker-bw-normal-sep-w-eye-paiinted-back-in-_y8a3038-lake-blue-cypress-fl

This image was created Lake Blue Cypress with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 2/3 stops off the white sky: 1/2000 sec. at f/2.8.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best for flight photography). The active sensor was on the left side of the bird’s face. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Osprey black & white NIK Silver EFEX Pro Neutral

Osprey Wing Position Lesson

In the “NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 Osprey” blog post here, I asked, “Which wing position is far less than ideal, the near wing or the far wing? What would have been better?” Two folks left a comment, asked some good questions, and eventually understood that the image would have been a lot stronger if the near-wing had been raised higher with the wings fully up. This would have evened out the exposure, given us a better look at the underwing surface, and added more tension to the image. Good on Deirdre Sheerr-Gross and David Peake for sticking with it. As is often the case, you can learn a ton by reading and following the comments on each blog post.

BTW on the B&W

Of the two versions, I far preferred the Neutral treatment. The High Structure image was overdone for my taste. Several disagreed. How boring would life be if we all thought or liked the same things.

The Big Payoff

Checking Your Camera Settings Before You Start

I do make it a habit of checking my settings before I am in position to start making images. And we teach that on IPTs as well. Here is my mental check list: ISO setting, Shooting Mode, AF Area Selection Mode, selected AF point, Evaluative Metering, rear focus or shutter button AF, White Balance, and Highlight Tone Priority (those last 3 by hitting the Q button). When I do not know what to expect, I will set the ISO according to the light, ISO 400 if it is bright or sunny, or ISO 800 or higher if need be. I usually choose Aperture Priority (at or close to the wide open aperture) so that I am ready for anything simply by dialing in exposure compensation. Once I am in the ballpark I will usually switch to Manual mode. Most recently I have been setting center point Expand shutter button AF. I keep Highlight Tone Priority on. (Do not do that unless you convert your images in DPP 4 as doing so will give you a false sense of security as far as your WHITEs go. Only DPP can read the HTP info.) I set the White Balance to either AUTO or to CLOUDY. As I never use anything but Evaluative Metering the only way I might change that is accidentally but as we have seen here, it never hurts to check. At this point I know my starting points, and if you know where you are in terms of camera settings, you have a much better chance of getting to where you want to be.

Now I just have to remember to add “Make sure to be in AI Servo AF” to my mental checklist.

There is nothing worse than coming upon a great situation and not having a clue as to how your camera is set up so be sure to make it a habit of going through your mental camera check list before you head into the field.


st-aug-horzscard

Clockwise from upper left to center: Snowy Egrets/breeding plumage pair, American Alligator with egret feather on head, Cattle Egret in breeding plumage (with fill flash), large Snowy Egret chicks, displaying gator, Wood Stork in flight carrying nesting material (fill flash), begging Snowy Egret chick, another Cattle Egret in breeding plumage (with fill flash), and Great Egret chick.

Date Change: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Short-Notice Spoonbill and Wading Bird Chicks IPT: May 4-6, 2015.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Short-Notice Spoonbill and Wading Bird Chicks IPT: May 4-6, 2015. TWO FULL and TWO 1/2 DAYS: $1099. Limit 8/Openings 5.

Call on Monday to learn of the Late Registration Discount: 863-692-0906

St. Augustine in early May is a bird photographer’s paradise. With any luck we should have chicks of all sizes in the nests ranging from newly hatched Snowy Egrets and Tricolored Herons to nearly fledged Great Egrets. More than a few pairs of Roseate Spoonbills have nested at the Alligator Farm for the past several years. Photographing the spoonbill chicks in the nest is a huge challenge…. With any luck we will encounter a few Snowy and Cattle Egrets in stunning breeding plumage. We should have lots of flight photography ops especially late in the day. We will enjoy extra early entry on our three mornings. Folks who will need a photographer’s pass need to get us $89.95. This fee includes full season early entry and late stay and submission fees for up to 5 photos in their annual contest. This works out to cheaper than four separate entry tickets. We pick up the passes on our first afternoon.


st-aug-verts-card-1

Clockwise from upper left: flash-as-main light Great Egret chick begging, breeding plumage Cattle Egret w/fill flash, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret chick in nest begging, Cattle Egrets copulating, Wood Stork with nesting material, another Wood Stork with nesting material, and breeding plumage Snowy Egret displaying.

What You Will Learn

On this IPT you will the learn the basics and fine points of digital exposure and how to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure. You will learn to understand and predict bird behavior and to see and understand the light. You will learn to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system and how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it). Most importantly, you will learn to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective. Rookeries are crowded, cluttered, white-washed places. Most folks who visit have no clue as to the difference of an image with tons of distractions and one with a clean line of sight and the best possible distant background. Join me and I will teach you to see like a pro.

I will be bringing my flash to the Alligator Farm (gasp!) I have not used flash for at least a year. I will be teaching you how to use flash as fill and how to use flash as main light. In addition, I will be reviewing the flash flight techniques that I developed at St. Augustine more than a few years ago.


s-aug-spoonies-card

Clockwise from upper left: gator back, Great Egret returning to mate (with fill flash), Roseate Spoonbill with bill open, Roseate Spoonbill chick begging, Roseate Spoonbill 11am silhouette, large Great Egret chicks in nest, and bill of Roseate Spoonbill.

Whats the Rest of the Deal?

Afternoon session on Monday, May 4. Then two full days with a morning and afternoon session each day, May 5 & 6. Then our last morning on May 7. At lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday (included) we will review my images; folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one? If you opt to bring your laptop, we can take a look at five of your best images from the morning or another session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot. Your balance–$600, payable only by check, is due immediately. Please include a separate check for $89.95 so that we can purchase your pass in advance. Please click here to read our cancellation policy before committing. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork linked to here and get it to us. You can register by calling Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 and arranging for your deposit of $499. Balances are payable only by check. I hope to see you there.

From Pat and Stokes Fishburne

The Alligator Farm is quite good right now. Good spoonbill nests and lots of spoonbills. Also, Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, and a few Cattle Egrets along with more than a few Great Egret nests with chicks.

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