Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
May 20th, 2020

Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal and Canvas Expanded as Suggested ...

What’s Up?

Photography-wise, foggy and then cloudy Monday was close to a bust … On Tuesday morning (more unsettled weather), I thought as I headed down to the lake, “I might be getting bored photographing the two utterly dependable little crane chicks.” But I was wrong. More crane magic unfolded right in front of me even before I made it to the circular parking lot at the base of the pier. V-log coming soon.

Thanks to the many who ordered the SONY ee-Guide yesterday!

Free Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal Video Offer

Those who purchase the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) today or tomorrow will automatically receive a free copy of the Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal Video. Only those who place their order before midnight on Thursday 21 MAY 2020 are eligible.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Used Gear Page Sales

After somewhat of a COVID-19-induced lull, action has picked up a bit on the Used Gear Page.

Jim Lewis sold his Canon EOS-1D X in near-mint condition with extras for a BAA record-low $1,500.00 (was $1,895.00) in early MAY 2020.
Kevin Spencer sold his Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $6,799.00 to a local buyer in early MAY 2020.
BPN friend Ravi Hirekatur is sold his Canon EF Extender 1.4X II (the 1.4X II teleconverter) in excellent condition for the ridiculous, you-might-as-well-give-it-away price of $89.00 (was $179.00) in early MAY.
Gary Meyer sold his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6 VR lens in like-new condition for a BAA record-low $3096.95 and a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III in like-new condition for a BAA record-low $226.95, both on the first day of listing in early MAY 2020.
Jerry Barrack sold his Canon EF 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 L IS USM zoom lens (the white version) in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $459.00 (was $699.00) in early MAY 2020.

Sony a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

BAA Record-low Price!

Used Gear page regular Charlie Curry is offering a Sony a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera body in like-new condition (971 shutter releases) and the Sony (VG-C3EM) Vertical Grip a BAA record-low $2598.00. The sale includes the original battery and charger, the USB cable, the instructional manual, the front lens cover, the a9 camera strap, a rear LCD glass protector, the latest firmware update, and insured ground shipping via major courier (to lower-48 US addresses only). Your item will not ship until your check has cleared the bank unless other arrangements are made. Photos are available upon request.

Please contact Charlie via e-mail (preferred) or by phone at 1-407-448-7797 Eastern time zone.

The SONY a9, the original AF king, offers superb autofocus that absolutely kills for flight photography. Virtually every image is sharp on the eye. Many feel that the AF system on the a9 ii is no better. And the vertical grip gives this body a pro-body type feel. As the a9 II sells new for $4498.00 and the VG-C3EM goes for an additional $348.00 for a total of $4,846, you can save an incredible $2248.00 by grabbing Charlie’s a9 right now! (Note: the a9 sells for $3498.00.)artie

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

SONY 200-600 Update

Steve Elkins now has four SONY 200-600s in stock; one of them surely has your name on it. Contact Steve as below to save $50.00.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

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

Click on the composite to see a larger version.

Before/After Sandhill Crane one-day old chick standing near adult on the nest

Before and After Sandhill Crane one-day old Chick

In the Sandhill Crane Chicks One-a-Day Images. Which Lens is Best for the Tiny Chicks? And the One Negative of the SONY 100-400mm GM … blog post here, many folks liked Image #1 the best. Several asked if I had thought about eliminating the two blades of grass above the chick’s head. I had. Others suggested that the grass should have been removed or that they would have removed it. I originally left the two blades of grass as they only bugged me a little and the image was so endearing with the chick looking up at the adult, actually wanting to get fed. One person wished for a bit more room on our left.

So I opened the master file in Photoshop, expanded canvas just a bit left and above using unframed Content-Aware Crop. Then I eliminated the dark, circular smudge just in front of the chick’s bill. Next, I used the Divide and Conquer technique along with the Patch Tool to eliminate most of the two offending grasses. Then I used a series to small Quick Masks to cover the spots where the grasses intersected the chick’s fuzzy head. Each Quick Mask was warped and shaped using the Transform command and then refined via the addition of a Regular Layer Mask. As working on this area left things just a bit smudged, I used my background blurring technique to smooth everything nicely. That involves adding a layer of heavy Gaussian Blur, covering that with a Hide-all (Inverse or Black) Layer Mask, and then painting in the effect as desired. All in all, not too time consuming, and not bad at all.

I also like that with the canvas expanded, the bird has a bit more room in the frame.

This image was created on 10 MAY 2020 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. I used the Induro GIT 404L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4xteleconverter, and the 61-MP Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 1000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 12:321am on a (wonderfully) cloudy day.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection.

Version II: Sandhill Crane one-day old chick standing near adult on the nest

Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal Video

Sit next to me in Photoshop as I created the second version of the re-optimized image that is featured in today’s blog post. Learn to expand canvas using unframed Content-Aware Crop, to use Divide and Conquer, to create, transform, and refine Quick Masks, and to selectively blur the background with a layer of Gaussian Blur fine-tuned with the addition of a Hide-all (Inverse or Black) Layer Mask. Just $5.00 here in the BAA Online Store.

Super-Bonus Question

The first person to answer this question by leaving a comment will receive a free copy of the Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal Video:

What did I miss while doing the image clean-up? Note: there is only one correct answer and I am the only judge 🙂

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

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

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

All the techniques mentioned above and tons more (with the exception of Capture One RAW Conversions) — along with all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — are covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. While the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here. Note: all of the videos are now priced at an amazingly low $5.00 each.

You can learn how and why I converted all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here. More recently, I became proficient at converting my Nikon RAW (NEF) files in Adobe Camera Raw. About two years ago I began converting my Nikon and Sony RAW files in Capture One Pro 12 and continue to do so today.

To purchase Capture One, please use this link. Then you can learn more about Capture One in the Capture One Pro 12 Simplified MP4 Video here. The next step would be to get a copy of Arash Hazeghi’s “The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide” in the blog post here.

You can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and edited by yours truly. Please use this link to purchase NeatImage.

To introduce folks to our MP.4 videos and the basics involved in applying more NeatImage noise reduction to the background and less on the subject, I’d be glad to send you a free copy of the Free Noise Reduction Basics MP.4 Video. Simply click to shoot me an e-mail to get your free copy.

If In Doubt …

If you are 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 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 or Bedfords, 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 or Bedfords 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 regularly visit the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

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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 :).

May 19th, 2020

How Well Do You Know Your SONY Camera Bodies? The Publication of the Sony Camera User's e-Guide and Videos

What’s Up?

It feels really good to get this done. Most telling is that we have sold 58 pre-publication guides and have not received a single query from a confused purchaser or a single “this guide is over-priced!” e-mail. Patrick and I are quite proud of this e-Guide. New stuff that we continue to discover will be published here as Free-to-all SONY e-Guide Updates.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Wow, talk about a long time coming … The more Patrick and I worked on the guide, the more we learned. And that continues to this day.

It is hard to believe that we sent out an early draft of the guide for review in early December 2019 after we had been working on it for several months. We thought that it was pretty good at that point but Ellen Anon and her son Josh both commented to this effect: not so fast!. Both took us to task by asking lots of good questions and making dozens of excellent suggestions. They did that for several versions of the guide and for that we are very thankful.

At one point Josh wrote, Remember there are free resources competing with your guide; you need to ensure your paid guide is above and beyond these and worth the money!

Here are the links that he provided:

Sony Alpha Focus Masterclass by Mark Galer, (Sony Ambassador) here.

Sony a7R IV Tips & Tutorial by Tony Northrup here.

Sony a9 Bird In Flight/Wildlife Photography Setup and Usage Guide by Mark Smith here

Now, ask yourself why I would be sharing these free resources with you? Some of the advice is halfway decent, some of it is confusing, some of it just plain wrong, and some of it is beyond insane. Good luck trying to figure out which is which … Highlights (lowlights?) include using back-button focus (and release!) and suggested Zebra values that ensure that you will never get anything close to a good exposure. Regular readers here already know that there is never any need to use back-button focus with SONY. If you missed that, the guide clearly explains why.

Later on in the process, Josh sent me another link (one that I can no longer find). IAC, I followed it and found that the creator took you through and explained all the SONY menu items exactly as detailed in the Help Guide, but never once told you what settings he used and why he used them.

In our new guide, we explain virtually every SONY menu item in detail that might be useful in bird, nature, or wildlife photography. And then we explain your options and state clearly which setting we use in different situations and why we go that route. This invaluable advice is based on many hundreds of hours in the field photographing birds and other natural history subjects.

In short, the SONY e-Guide is incredible. While I am proud of all the previously published Camera User’s Guides, my feelings about the SONY guide go far beyond that. The stuff on using Zebras with ISO on the Rear Wheel to get the right exposure every time is all Patrick Sparkman. Without his technical brilliance, this guide would not be nearly as valuable as it is. And like my good friend Dr. Cliff Oliver, Patrick is a superb researcher — if he does not know something, he will find it online very quickly, check it out, and draw his own conclusions. Not only are the SONY menus complex, but they offer a zillion options, many of which are hidden in sub-menus and Custom Settings. Patrick figured many of those out, I discovered a few, and blog regular Craig Elson came up with some incredibly helpful little menu tricks, tricks that solved some thorny problems. Thanks also to the eagle-eyed Dane Johnson who spotted a zillion typos and type-setting errors.

The longer and harder we worked on the guide, the more I wanted to price it at $200.00. But I did not want anyone to faint. The cost of the SONY Guide is $100.00. Your purchase includes the e-Guide itself and one of the four camera-specific videos. Extra camera videos cost $25.00 each. In each video, Patrick and I take you through all the relevant menu items. We urge you to follow along with your camera in hand. Here is short and timely excerpt from the guide:

Before You Begin

With the a7r iv, the a9, and the a9 ii, the last page of My Menu allows you to turn Display From My Menu on and off as needed. It is best to keep this On so that whenever you hit the Menu button on the camera, the last-viewed My Menu page will display. When you are setting up a new camera or working on your settings while following along with this guide, you should turn Display From My Menu to Off so that you do not have to scroll through endless menu items to find what you are looking for. With My Menu Off, hitting the Menu button will return you to the last viewed Menu screen.

Once you have read this far, we urge that you watch the video for your SONY body with the camera in hand while following all the instructions before consulting the remainder of this guide.

SONY Image Galleries with Educational Captions: page 48

The e-Guide is 103 pages. The guide contains 13 sections:

The Introduction — This section contains a bit of the back-story on how the guide came to be.

Important Stuff — This section contains some important stuff 🙂

SONY Help Guides — Here you will find active links to the Help Guides for each camera body. Note: the Camera Manuals are pretty much useless.

Points of Emphasis — In this section, we reinforce and expand upon many of the important concepts that are covered in the video.

Additional Info — Here we cover tons of new stuff that we discovered in the 3 1/2 months after we created the four videos.

Clarifications In this section we detail nineteen fine points and sticky situations.

SONY Workflow In this very short section we outline our SONY workflow. No great shock there!

SONY Image Gallery with Educational Captions (77 images.) This collection of stunning images is meant to inspire, educate, and show folks what is possible with SONY gear. There is tons of AF info in the captions. And lots more.

SONY Zebras Coaching Gallery (14 images.) Here we explain exactly what we did with the Zebras to come up with a perfect exposure.

Tracking Flexible Spot Gallery 8 images.) The images here demonstrate the use of SONY’s most valuable AF Area Mode.

Thanks! Here we thank the many folks who helped us to improve the guide.

About the Authors Learn a bit about artie and Patrick.

The “If-the-World-Does-Not-End” BIRDS AS ART 2020/2021 IPT Schedule. Just in case …

SONY Zebras Coaching Gallery: page 89

So What Does the SONY Guide Cover?

Under Points of Emphasis

Note: items without comment are self-explanatory.

Using Zebras to Get the Right Exposure in Manual Mode Patrick’s technique allows you to make perfect or near-perfect exposures quickly and consistently.
Using Zebras to Get the Right Exposure in Manual Mode Illustrated Thanks to an amazingly cooperative crane, this item shows how Zebras are set in an actual shooting situation.
A Final Word on Zebras We explain the fine points of using Zebras in bright sun versus using Zebras in the shade.
Using Zebras to Get the Right Exposure in Shutter (or Aperture) Priority This technique is used by artie at times when creating pleasing blurs.
Mechanical vs Electronic Shutter It is important to know which to use with each camera …
Silent Shooting Silent Shooting is closely linked to Mechanical vs Electronic Shutter.
Slots 1 & 2
Auto Review Really valuable info here.
Focus Areas and Focus Area Limit Along with Zebras, the info here is the meat of the guide.
a7r iv vs. a9 ii Comparing these two great bodies.
My Menu Learning how and what to place on your My Menus helps folks operate their SONY bodies more efficiently.

SONY Image Galleries with Educational Captions: page 66

Additional Info

Enlarge Initial Position Explains how to see the area of sharpest focus in an image; it only works before the images are downloaded.
Telephoto Lens Focus Range Limiter Switch Explains how and why to set this important switch.
Initial Focus Acquisition Problems With Telephoto Lenses The tips here and in DMF below might be worth the price of the entire guide.
Pre-AF The jury is still out on this one but artie likes it.
Direct Manual Focus (DMF)
Camera Direct Manual Focus (DMF)
An Important AF Note for a9 ii Users Learn about a problematic dial on the a9 ii.
Optical Steady Shot (OSS)
Optical Steady Shot (OSS) on Telephoto Lenses
Diopter-adjustment Dial
Firmware Updates
Touch Operation
Naming Your Camera Bodies Can save you lots of hassles.
Saving/Loading Settings
Sensor Cleaning
Anti-dust Function New to the a9 ii only.
Reg. Custom Shoot Set
Function Menu Set & the Fn Button Learn to customize the screen that comes up after pushing the Fn button.
More on Face/Eye Priority in AF Super-important if you want to use the fabulous Tracking Flexible Spot (M).
The SONY Histogram Our comments here will likely surprise you.
Display Quality/a7 Series Bodies
Saving Settings to the Mode Dial
Compressed vs. Uncompressed
Image Review with the Control Wheel This was a “duh” moment for artie.
When to Turn Off Zebras. Super-important.
SONY US Repair Advice Also super-important.
Vertical Grip

Tracking Flexible Spot Gallery: page 96

Under Clarifications

Power Save Start Time
AEL Button
Using SONY with an Adapter
The Eye Sensor (Tiny Window Above the Viewfinder). Valuable stuff here …
The Mysterious Viewfinder Blackout Problem Dealing with SONY’s most annoying problem.
Assigning Finder/Monitor to a Custom Button
Another Possible Finder/Monitor Solution
Return to Center
Bright Monitoring A must for astrophotography.
e-Front Curtain Shutter
Manual Focus Toggle A fabulous tip for macro photographers (often combined with Focus Magnifier below).
The Top Wheels
If You Use Rear Button Focus
Focus Magnifier Fabulous tips for macro photographers (combined with Manual Focus Toggle above).
The Viewfinder Level
Changing the Focus and Drive Modes
AF Illuminator
AF Sensitivity
Focus Peaking
Shutter Priority for Video

SONY Image Galleries with Educational Captions: page 73

What They’ve Been Saying

From Fred Innamorato via e-mail

Hi Artie, I want to thank you for making the Sony e-Guide and videos available and for the work you put into the blog as well as for your books that teach us how to photograph birds and also for your camera User’s Guides. There is just no possible way I would have been able to get my Sony a9 ii camera settings so technically correct for doing birds in flight on my own without this guide. in my opinion, Sony should pay you for taking on the task of educating their customers. Sony has created an amazing camera but they fail to explain to their customers how to take full advantage of it. I appreciate that you know and have access to some very competent people with the technical backgrounds to assist you in your field experimentation to come up with the best and most practical and useful Menu Settings for bird photography. We all will benefit from your unique ability to pull this together. I am especially happy with your instructions on how to use the Zebra Settings for getting proper exposures. I really can’t thank you enough Artie for making my bird photography hobby so much more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise. My photography brings me great satisfaction. Sharing quality photographs with my family and friends has generated lots of interest in my hobby and why I do it. Life is good!

I highly recommend the purchase of your Sony e-Guide and Video(s). This information is just not available anywhere else. Even from Sony …

Fred Innamorato

Via e-Mail from Jerry Barrack

Hi Art,

I want to thank you again for your help with selling all of my Canon gear. Your advice on pricing was right-on as most items sold very quickly. As much as I loved my Canon equipment, the advances made by Sony with regard to autofocus made it a no-brainer for me to switch.

And thanks also for the SONY e-Guide, the Sony a9 video, and your Capture One Simplified video. After resisting using manual exposure for many, many years, I switched over to Patrick’s and your Zebras system with ISO on the rear wheel. I cannot believe how easy it is. It just shows that you can teach an old dog new tricks! My only complaint is that it now takes a lot longer to edit because nearly all of the images are properly exposed and in focus. The SONY focusing system along with the stuff I learned in the guide continues to amaze me. I just finished shooting Purple Martins and the percentage of sharp ones is unbelievable.

Thanks again for all your help. Stay safe and well.

Jerry

Blog comment by IPT veteran Barry Barfield

I have been actively using the set up from artie’s Sony e-Guide now for about four weeks. With my a9 ii and the 200-600 rig is easy to get the right exposure 99% of the time. I could never have figured out the settings suggested on my own, so thank you artie and Patrick. If you have Sony A9, A9ii, or one of the A7r bodies covered – you should get this guide today. Barry, Australia

From Peter Noyes via e-mail

Artie, In March, I purchased your e-Guide and Camera Set Up Video for the SONY a-7r iv mirrorless camera body. Both were great saving me a lot of time allowing me to spend more time outside enjoying my camera. The guide is surely worth a lot more than the purchase price to me.

Peter

From Thomas Bourne via e-mail

Artie, You and Patrick have done an outstanding job. Even though I own the a7 ii with its limits, I can see how you think and work. The guide was quite helpful to me. At 79 – and in great health, I may have enough time left to get another camera. Stay healthy!

Tom

May 18th, 2020

Amazing Front-Yard Discovery! It Ain't Just Crane Chicks: Dayflower. More on SONY Exposure ...

What’s Up?

The two crane chicks are doing quite well and are getting bigger every day. They continue to amaze me with their tameness; I created some nice head portraits of the chicks with the 100-400. Though they were the stars of the show, I had some good Great Blue Heron flight chances in the morning and enjoyed an indigo black/blue thunderstorm sky in the afternoon.

The forecast for today is cloudy with SW wind; I will be heading down to the lake at about 7am.

The SONY e-Guide and videos will be in the BAA Online Store tomorrow.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera e-Guide (PDF) and Videos Info

Yesterday I prepared the final PDF for the Sony Camera e-Guide. It will not be available in the store until early next week but you can order yours right now. The cost of the SONY e-Guide is $100.00 US and will include one of the four (4) camera set-up videos — we offer one video each for the a7r iii, the a7r iv, the a9, and the a9 ii — and the written guide with the galleries. Additional camera videos are $25.00 each The guide is now done.

If you would like to order the e-Guide now, please send a Paypal for $100 US to birdsasart@verizon.net and be sure to include the words “SONY e-Guide” in the Paypal e-mail along with the name of your camera or cameras so that you can receive the correct video or videos. Note: please add $25 for each camera video after the first. And please be sure to type your e-mail address into your Paypal order. Then be sure to send a copy of the Paypal transaction to me via e-mail.

For your convenience, the SONY e-Guide and videos will be in the BAA Online Store tomorrow.

SONY 200-600 Update

Steve Elkins now has four SONY 200-600s in stock; one of them surely has your name on it. Contact Steve as below to save $50.00.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

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

This image was created on 3 MAY 2020. I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Mini-mounted Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at at 539mm) and the 61-mega-pixel monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless digital camera body. ISO 800. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/50 sec. at f/9in Manual mode. Shade WB at 10.03am on partly cloudy morning in the shade of a largee oak tree.
Manual focus.

Whitemouth Dayflower

Amazing Front-Yard Discovery! It Ain’t Just Crane Chicks: Dayflower

I was taking my SUV out of the driveway. I am not sure what made me look down but I did, and there, just to my right, were dozens of pretty blue blossoms. The next day was still, so after I got back from the lake I got out my quasi-macro rig — the SONY 100-400 with the 1.4X TC and the a7r iv — and went to work. After screwing up while photographing Yellow Canna flowers down by the lake, I went back to the SONY eGuide, studied the sections on Manual Focus Toggle and Focus Magnifier, and set up my a7r iv as per the guide. Now I was all set to focus manually when doing flowers. Once I had everything down pat and was able to focus with extreme accuracy, I went back to the guide and re-crafted the instructions under Focus Magnifier so that even a second-grader could follow the detailed instructions. Now I am a macro machine!

This blossom was photographed in situ, as it was growing naturally.

I’ve been Face Timing with my friend “Bug” Bob Allen with regards to propagating the salt and pepper bush in our butterfly garden. The butterflies love the small blossoms. I mentioned that it was hard to believe how many small wildflowers I had just started noticing. He said, There is a name for that, it’s called plant blindness.. I think that I will change Bob’s nickname (by one letter) to “Bud” Bob Allen.

RawDigger Screen Capture

More on SONY Exposure …

In the SONY e-Guide, in the SONY Zebras Coaching Gallery, there is a great tip on getting the right exposure for yellow and purple flowers. I followed the advice there and wound up with a pretty much perfect exposure: 3 under-exposed RED pixels and 2 under-exposed BLUE pixels out of 61,000,000. Not bad.

Note also that I went to Shade WB to create today’s featured image. I did that because the color on the rear monitor looked way off. Yes, you can always change the White Balance in post, but for me, it is comforting when what you are seeing on the back of the camera looks a lot like what you are seeing in life.


flower-guide-cover-1200-w

The Art of Flower Photography, a 203 page eBook/a link to the PDF will be sent via e-mail: $29.00.

The Art of Flower Photography by Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris

You can learn everything e about this e-book here, or order your copy here.

Video: The Art of Flower Photography

In this B&H Event Space video, two of the world’s premier photographers of flora and fauna — Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito — share the techniques they use to create dramatic, sharp, well-composed, properly exposed images of flowers and flower fields. Denise does great things with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 L IS lens, while artie often goes to longer focal lengths—he has been seen photographing tulips at Keukenhoff Gardens, Holland, with a 600mm lens and a teleconverter. In addition to standard techniques, the video ends with Ippolito and Morris showing a wide range of abstract floral images and describing a variety of creative artistic effects such as multiple exposures, sharp/soft blending, texture overlays, warping a flower, creating zoom/twirls, in-camera blurs, and many others.

Click here to see the video.

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Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the 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 or Bedfords, 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 or Bedfords 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 regularly visit the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

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Typos

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