Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
February 16th, 2018

A Friend in High Places; Thanks Patrick! A Popular Lunar Compositional Suggestion. And Great Tripod News Times Two.

Stuff

We had time on Thursday morning for a short visit with the beach-nesting boobies along the south shore of Cayman Brac before our flights. And we did well. As a last second bonus, several White-tailed Tropicbirds flew right over us. All in all it was a great trip. Lots more photos and lessons coming soon. I woke at 3:55am. We flew to Grand Cayman at 10:55am, then on to Miami at 1:40pm, and finally made it to Orlando at 6:30pm. After a stop at Publix for veggies we made it home to ILE at 9:15.

Thanks to the many for the fun titles folks offered up for the angelic Brown Booby image in the blog post here. My favorites were by Randal Jaffe who wrote, “All together now “YMCA” and Rodney Flowers’ “Air Ballerina” as the pose reminded him of a ballerina with her arms stretched up and toes pointing down.” And there were lots of other clever ones.

I needed to add a room for three different hotels for the UK Puffins and Gannets pre-trip. Booking.com was amazing. I went to the first two bookings and there was a “Add a room to this reservation” button. I clicked on it and my reservation was now for the seven rooms I needed. The third reservation did not show the “Add a room to this reservation” button so I messaged the Booking.com agent who contacted the property that was showing sold out. Bingo. The next day I got an e-mail stating that the Newcastle hotel reservations were now for seven rooms. Hooray; what service and so, so easy. Do not try that with Hotels.com.

Booking.Com

If you’d like to try Booking.Com, click on the link below to get great rates and save a handsome $25.00 on your first booking in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

The Streak

Today makes two hundred days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about an hour minutes to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.

Great Tripod News Times Two

Induro tripods trash the more expensive Gitzos. They are more efficient, they stand up far better to salt water, and their customer and repair services are superb.

#1: I recently discovered the Induro GIT 204, the smaller, lighter cousin of the GIT 304L. The 204 folds down to 21 inches for easy packing and at 4.2 pounds (but rated to hold 44 pounds of gear) makes an ideal travel tripod for folks using intermediate telephoto lenses like the Canon 100-400 II, the Canon 300mm f/4L IS, the Nikon 80-400mm VR, and the Nikon 200-500. All of those and the rest of the versatile intermediate telephoto lenses available today do best when your tripod is topped by a Mongoose M3.6. And the GIT 204 is priced at only $525.00, $124 less than its larger six-inch taller cousin, the GIT 304L. I brought the 204 to Cayman Brac and used it with the 200-500 most often with the TCE-14III and always once the sun had disappeared behind the taller houses each afternoon. The booby chicks were so cute that we often stayed to photograph them until well after sunset. I will be bringing the 204 on my next Southern Oceans adventure, (October 2018) for the Emperor Penguin chicks. We hope. B&H does not carry the GIT 204; you can order yours by clicking here right now; there are only five left in stock.

#2: The Induro GIT 304L, perfect for folks using super-telephoto lenses, is back in stock here after being on backorder for forever. If you need the super-tall super-sturdy GIT 404XL, please shoot me an e-mail.




Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

lunar-ecplise-1-31-2018-five-forty-seven-am-_DSC4269--La-Jolla,-CA

This image was created on January 22 at La Jolla, CA with the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 350mm), and the blazingly fast professional digital camera body, the Nikon D5 DSLR camera body with dual XQD slots). ISO 12,800 1/4 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AWB at 5:47am on a clear night.

Live View: focused manually and then turned off AF with the switch.

Lunar eclipse, January 31, 2018

A Friend in High Places: Thanks Patrick!

In addition to being a fine photographer who hand held the Canon 600 II for a decade often with the 2XIII TC in place, Patrick is technically brilliant. He knows a lot about a lot of photographic stuff that is foreign to me. One of those is photographing the night sky. As Patrick is off on Saturdays we decided to meet early to photograph the eclipse right at max and invited the entire group to join us in the dark. Most did. If it were not for Patrick, nobody would have made a single good image. Mr. Sparkman knew the right ISO and the minimum shutter speed needed to keep the stars and the moon sharp. And he helped me a ton as I did not even know how to turn on Live View 🙂 Once I had that down, I was unable to manually focus the magnified edge of the moon accurately so I asked Patrick for help. As you can see, he focused perfectly.

My Popular Compositional Suggestion …

There were six or seven of us in a fairly tight group photographing the eclipse. Everyone was placing the moon in the center of the frame for easier focusing. Patrick mentioned that you could check for sharpness by magnifying the image and checking the visible stars. I had not even noticed the stars. Once I saw them I realized that by moving the moon out of the center of the frame, you could use the pattern of the stars as a powerful compositional element. I mentioned it to the group and within a minute everyone was doing it. The position of the stars changed as the setting moon moved lower in the sky and to our right and thus we moved the moon around in the frame to create a variety of image designs. Today’s featured image was my favorite.

Once the sky began to brighten ever-so-slightly the moon lost the red color and our session was over.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my (stupendous) efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.





Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, 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 please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

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, and for everything else in the new store, 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 those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

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

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 :).

February 15th, 2018

Astronomy Riddle/Quiz ... And Booby Silhouette-Facing Direction Answer.

Stuff

Well, we thought that Tuesday morning was bad, but Wednesday was worse. The wind was practically lifting us off the cliff and there were very few birds in flight. I created only a few Brown Booby images and deleted them all. I did keep a very few landscape photos. The afternoon was great. I started off doing some wind against sun flight and had a few good chances with birds banking back toward their nests. Then we photographed two different chicks in nests just ten feet apart; one was quite large, the other quite small. Then a nice dinner at Captain’s Table. We fly tomorrow to Grand Cayman and Miami arriving in Orlando at 6:30pm.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred ninety-nine days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 90 minutes to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM Lens (the “old five”) with extras!

New BAA Record Low Price!
Reduced a total of $253 on 15 FEB 2018.

Greg Morris is offering a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens in very good plus condition for $3447 (was $3700). The lens was cleaned and checked by Canon in December 2017 and the lens mount was replaced. The sale includes a Canon Extender EF 1.4X II, a Canon Extender EF 2X II (both in like new condition with caps and pouches), the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the leather front lens cover, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only.

Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Greg via or e-mail by phone at 1-580-678-5929 (Central time).

The 500mm f/4 lenses have been the world’s most popular telephoto lenses for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. I owned and used and loved my “old five” for many years. If you don’t have the cash for the 500 II and can handle the additional 1 1/2 pounds, then this is your best super-telephoto option. Most everyone can produce sharp images with this lens and a 1.4X TC. Folks with good to excellent sharpness techniques can do the same with a 2X TC. With the new 500 II selling for $8,999 you can save a neat $5552.00 by grabbing Greg’s lens (plus the two TCs!) artie

ps: The Series II TCs work perfectly well with the older super telephoto lenses; the series III TCs are best when working with the newer Series II lenses.



Booking.Com

Several folks on the Spoonbill IPTs used the Booking.Com link below and got great rates and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

Western-Gull-A-and-setting-full-moon-in-pink-purple-blue-pre-dawn-sky-_DSC4303--La-Jolla,-CA

This image was created on the second San Diego IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 290mm) and the Nikon D850. ISO 2800: Matrix metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/250 sec. at f/5.6 in S mode (Shutter priority in Canon). AWB at 6:39am in the pre-dawn on a dead-clear day.

Center d-25/Shutter Button AF on the bird; locked focus with the AF-ON button and recomposed. Five-second timer with Live View (for mirror lock-up).

Western Gull and setting full moon …

Astronomy Riddle/Quiz …

The sky was perfectly clear. The blue strip in the sky is caused by the shadow of the earth. The full moon was setting at the moment this image was made. As we all know, a full moon is round. Why does the moon appear crescent-shaped in today’s featured image? If you are 100% sure that you know the correct answer please do not post it until Thursday after 6pm to give others a chance to consider the riddle. Or, you can shoot me your answer via e-mail.

Answer tomorrow.

Image Question

How would this image been stronger if it had been made 15 minutes earlier (with the gull sitting in the same spot of course)?

Brown-Booby-landing-w-nesting-material----silhouette-_DSC6458--Cayman-Brac

This image was created on our second morning on Cayman Brac with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 500mm) with the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering -1.3 stops: 1/1000 sec. at f/22 in S (Shutter priority mode, Tv in Canon). K7690 at 7:18am after a foggy/cloudy sunrise.

Center Group (grp) shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. AF micro-adjustment: -1.

Brown Booby wheeling in flight with nesting material; silhouette.

Booby Silhouette-Facing Direction Answer

In the blog post here, with regards to the image above, I asked, “Is the bird facing us or is the bird facing away? As stated there, the wind was in my face. Now I will be the first to admit that it looks very much as if the bird is facing me and that we are seeing the dorsal (top) surfaces of the feet. I remember the bird banking but could not for the life of me understand how it possibly could have been facing me at the moment of exposure.

Most folks thought as I did, that the bird was facing me. Some stated definitively that the bird was facing the camera and they knew because of the feet. Others stated definitively that the bird was facing away from the camera and they knew because of the feet. So I decided to find out for sure.

clearly-facing-away

The Clear Answer!

The Clear Answer!

I brought the image into Photoshop and pulled the curve up to lighten it considerably. The result was a really lousy photograph that proved that contrary to popular opinion, this Brown Booby was flying into the wind and facing away from the camera. I have seen this type of illusion before with silhouettes of landing birds, especially Sandhill Cranes; you eyes tell you that the bird was flying toward you when you know for a fact that the bird was facing away, into the wind.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my (stupendous) efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.





Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, 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 please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

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, and for everything else in the new store, 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 those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

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

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 :).

February 14th, 2018

Got a Title?

Stuff

The last time that I asked for an image title the group as a whole pretty much came up empty. Put your thinking caps on and see what you can come up with for today’s unusually lovely and graceful featured image.

Tuesday morning was the worst of the trip so far. It was so windy when we got to the lighthouse cliffs that we decided to head back to the beach. After a short walk there I attempted to photograph a bird in flight but my D-850 would not fire. I decided that we should go back to the cliffs as things were not looking too good. On the drive back I tried to get the camera to work. At some point I was in the menu and I saw this: “no card in camera.” With Canon digital, if you have set the idiot proofing on your camera and press the shutter button it lights up in big letters “No CF card.” I am not sure why Nikon never figured that out …. Advantage Canon.

In any case, once I put the card in my pocket into the camera it worked just fine. I am not sure why but — unlike the last four mornings — we had very few good flight chances. That said we both got some killer flight images.

We went back to several of our favorite beach nests late in the afternoon and made a very few nice images.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred ninety-eight days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 45 minutes to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.



Booking.Com

Several folks on the Spoonbill IPTs used the Booking.Com link below and got great rates and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.


Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

not-too-level

This image was created on the morning of February 12 on Cayman Brac with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 290mm) and the Nikon D850. ISO 400: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:44am on a sunny morning with just slight edge off the sun.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Brown Booby in flight with wings raised looking at cliff

Save-able?

Is the image above save-able?

Exposure Stuff

I learned very quickly when photographing the Brown Boobies in flight that I could always get the perfect exposure by creating a test image of the super-bright limestone on the promontory in the lower left corner. I work in Manual mode so all that I would do was adjust the shutter speed as the sun came in and out so that my test image showed some blinkies on the rocks (as seen by the red highlight alert splotches above in the Photo Mechanic screen capture). It did not matter if the sun was blasting bright or if a nice cloud covered the sun.

Photo Mechanic

Most everyone who attends an IPT winds up purchasing Photo Mechanic after they see me picking my keepers using this lighting fast program. If you purchase a Photo Mechanic license, please remember that you can save a few bucks and help support the blog with phone orders only by calling Jim in the office on weekdays at 863-692-0906. Learn all that you need to know about Photo Mechanic by scrolling down here

Brown-Booby-angel-pose--_DSC8482--Cayman-Brac-2

This image was created on the morning of February 12 on Cayman Brac with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 290mm) and the Nikon D850. ISO 400: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:44am on a sunny morning with just slight edge off the sun.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Brown Booby in flight with wings raised looking at cliff

Got a Title?

If you can think of neat, clever, or catchy title for this image, please leave a comment.

The Optimized Image

After converting the image in ACR that first thing that I did was level it. Then it was the usual stuff: fill in the big empty triangles using with John Heado Content Aware Fill, use a large flopped Quick Mask — refined by the addition of a Regular Layer Mask as per APTATS– to cover the limestone rock, Eye Doctor work, my NIK 40/40 recipe on the bird only, and a Contrast Mask on to quasi-sharpen the face.

DBII-cover

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac or PC/Photo Mechanic/Photoshop workflow that will make it easy for you to make your images better in Photoshop (rather than worse). That true whether you convert your images in DPP 4 or ACR. See the blog post here to learn lots more and to read a free excerpt.

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

Your guessed it, everything mentioned above and tons more is covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. While the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

You can learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of their Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here. Yes, I still have many Canon images to work on. 🙂 And you can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my (stupendous) efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.





Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, 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 please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

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, and for everything else in the new store, 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 those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

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

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 :).