January 17th, 2017

Fun in the Rain in San Diego: Part III. And ID and Image Settings Quiz Answers ...

What’s Up?

Patrick Sparkman and I enjoyed another wonderful morning with the pelicans and then moved down the coast a bit to do more gulls in flight. We returned to the Whimbrel site only to find no Whimbrels. But we did have some great chances with California Gulls of various ages, several Willets, and some very colorful and cooperative rock formations. Image coming soon.


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.

The Streak: 431!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 431 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

Brown-Pelican-breeding-plumage-in-rain-_W5A8982-La-Jolla,-CA

This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1000. Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Cloudy WB.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point just caught the lower right part of the bird’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: -1.

Brown Pelican in rain with black BKGR

Photographing Birds at La Jolla in the Rain: Part III

At my rainy/windy day pelican spot, it is easy to line the birds up with very dark even black backgrounds. Be sure to underexpose to keep from toasting the highlights; as always, after making a test image make, sure that you have some data in the rightmost box of the histogram while avoiding any blinkies on the subject.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment Note

Eagle-eyed readers might have noted that with previous images made with the 500 II/1.4X III/5D IV combination that the micro-adjustment was +2. With today’s image, it was -1. As the lens and the camera body were the same in each case and I have not redone the LensAlign/FocusTuning, what is the only possible explanation?

cormorant-&-gull-feeding-spree-_W5A8974-La-Jolla,-CA

This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/60 sec. at f/4 in TV mode. Cloudy WB.

Three AF points to the right and two rows up from the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point was just in front of and just below 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.

Cormorant feeding spree

ID and Image Settings Quiz Answers

In the Photographing Birds at La Jolla in the Rain: Part II blog post here, I posted with regards to the image above:

ID Quiz

Where in the frame are the three Heerman’s Gulls? Where in the frame is the probable 1st winter Glaucous-winged Gull?

Krishna Prasad Kotti was the first to reply with the correct answers: All three Heerman’s Gulls are on the right side of the frame, one to the edge of the frame, one right side bottom, and another left of the first one.

The 1st winter Glaucous-winged Gull is on the left side bottom.

Note: there are a few adult Western Gulls scattered about along with a first winter pretty much dead center.

Well done Krishna.

Image Settings Quiz

1-Why TV mode?

TV mode allows for absolute control of shutter speed.

2-Why 1/60 sec.?

I know that I could make a sharp image at 1/60. sec.

3-Why +2 EC?

When the scene averages to much lighter than a middle tone the meter is stupid.

4-How’s the histogram?

The histogram is perfect.

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.


fort-desoto-card

DeSoto in spring is rife with tame and attractive birds. From upper left clockwise to center: breeding plumage Dunlin, dark morph breeding plumage Reddish Egret displaying, breeding plumage Laughing Gull/front end vertical portrait, breeding plumage Laughing Gull with prey item, Laughing Gull on head of Brown Pelican, screaming Royal Tern in breeding plumage, Royal Terns/pre-copulatory stand, Laughing Gulls copulating, breeding plumage Laughing Gull/tight horizontal portrait, Sandwich Tern with fish, and a really rare one, White-rumped Sandpiper in breeding plumage, photographed at DeSoto in early May.

Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/April 19-22, 2017. (meet & greet at 2pm on Wednesday April 19 followed by an afternoon session) through the full day on Saturday April 22. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1599. Limit 10. To save your spot, please call and put down a non-refundable deposit of $499.00.

I will be offering small group (Limit 3) Photoshop sessions on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning if necessary. Details on that TBA.

Fort DeSoto is one of the rare locations that might offer great bird photography 365 days a year. It shines in spring. There will Lots of tame birds including breeding plumage Laughing Gull and Royal and Sandwich Terns. With luck, we will get to photograph all of these species courting and copulating. There will be American Oystercatcher and Marbled Godwit plus sandpipers and plovers, some in full breeding plumage. Black-bellied Plover and Red Knot in stunning breeding plumage are possible. There will be lots of wading birds including Great and Snowy Egrets, both color morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue, Tricolored and Little Blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, and killer breeding plumage White Ibis. Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork are possible and likely. We should have lots of good flight photography with the gulls and terns and with Brown Pelican. Nesting Least Tern and nesting Wilson’s Plover are possible.

We will, weather permitting, enjoy 7 shooting sessions. As above, our first afternoon session will follow the meet and greet at 2pm on Wednesday April 19. For the next three days we will have two daily photo sessions. We will be on the beach early and usually be at lunch (included) by 11am. We will have three indoor sessions. At one we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me choose my keepers and deletes–why keep this one and delete that one? The second will be a review of your images so that I can quickly learn where you need help. For those who bring their laptops to lunch I’d be glad to take a peek at an image or three. Day three will be a Photoshop session during which we will review my complete workflow and process an image or two in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. Afternoon sessions will generally run from 4:30pm till sunset. We photograph until sunset on the last day, Saturday, April 22. Please note that this is a get-your-feet and get-your-butt wet and sandy IPT. And that you can actually do the whole IPT with a 300 f/2.8L IS, a 400 f/4 ID DO lens with both TCs, or the equivalent Nikon gear. I will surely be using my 500 II as my big glass and have my 100-400 II on my shoulder.


fort-desoto-card-b

DeSoto in spring is rife with tame and attractive birds. From upper left clockwise to center: Laughing Gull in flight, adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, copulating Sandwich Terns, Roseate Spoonbill, Great Egret with reflection, Short-billed Dowitcher in breeding plumage, American Oystercatcher, breeding plumage Royal Tern, white morph Reddish Egret, and Snowy Egret marsh habitat shot.

What You Will Learn

You will learn to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to understand the effects of sky and wind conditions on bird photography, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you are scared of it).

The group will be staying at the Red Roof Inn, St. Petersburg: 4999 34th St. North, St Petersburg, FL 33714. The place is clean and quite inexpensive. Please e-mail for room block information. And please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 to register. All will need to purchase an Annual Pass early on Tuesday afternoon so that we can enter the park at 6am and be in position for sunrise opportunities. The cost is $75, Seniors $55. Tight carpools will be needed and will reduce the per person Annual Pass costs. The cost of three lunches is included. Breakfasts are grab what you can on the go, and dinners are also on your own due to the fact that we will usually be getting back to the hotel at about 9pm. Non-photographer spouses, friends, or companions are welcome for $100/day, $350 for the whole IPT.

BIRDS AS ART Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Workshop (ITFW): $99

Fort DeSoto Spring In-the-Field Cheap Meet-up Workshop (ITFW) on the morning of April 22, 2017: $99

Join me on the morning of April 22, 2017 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive morning workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place one week before the event.

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 :).

January 16th, 2017

Amazing Red Light District Whimbrel ... Photographing in the Surf Along a Rocky Coast, and the Big Wave!

What’s Up?

The 2017 San Diego IPT ended in fine fashion. On a cloudy morning we had lots of good pelican flight chances and then headed to the low cliffs. There we found Black Turnstone, Willet, Least Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, and lots of Sanderlings. With cloudy very bright skies and an east wind we finished up with an exciting gulls in flight session. Whole wheat bread was on the menu.


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.

The Streak: 430!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 430 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

Photographing in the Surf Along a Rocky Coast

Photographing in the surf along a rocky coast is often a tricky proposition. You can get smacked from behind and surprised by a bigger than usual wave. Even more dangerous is stepping into one of the holes made on the ocean side of decent-sized boulders. With breaking waves and turbulent surf, both the rocks and the holes are often unseen. To prevent stepping in an invisible whole, simply hold your position and wait for the water to clear before moving to a new position. At all times, use your tripod as a three-legged walking stick when changing your position and use it as a brace when your back is to the waves. Though not dangerous, an additional difficulty is that when you have a nice shot lined up and you put your tripod down, it often takes five or ten seconds for your tripod to settle down into the sand as the waves advance and recede.

As you saw in yesterday’s blog post and will see below, the photos can be great. But be sure to be careful out there; nobody wants to go down in saltwater with $10,000+ worth of photo gear …

The Big Wave!

Despite my cautions, several folks in the group opted to wear boots or Neos rather than surf booties. Pretty much all of us were in the surf photographing the tame Whimbrels atop various rocks being careful to avoid the deep holes between us and the rock piles. Then wham! A big wave hit me from behind. Though I grabbed my tripod for support, I came very close to going down. The folks who opted not to wear surf booties took gallons of water into their boots. It was a close call for most of us but everyone survived without any damage.

Whimbrel-in-last-light_W5A4443-La-Shores-Beach,-CA

This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mountedCanon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering -1 1/3 stops: 1/60 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

One AF point to the right of and three rows up from the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point just caught the lower right part of the bird’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: +2

Whimbrel on rock in last light

Amazing Red Light District Whimbrel

Most of the afternoon was cloudy but it had long been clear on the horizon. I theorized that it was too clear below the clouds for a great sunset and as things turned out, I was right. But when the sun dropped below the cloud layer the light turned amazingly red. I did not have to move much to get into perfect position with a shaded black rock as my background. I was as thrilled when I saw the image on my MacBook Pro with Retina Display as I was when I saw it on the back of my camera.

Once the sun dropped below the horizon we made the trek back to the vehicles, headed to the motel, and grabbed a quick shower. Then it was my pleasure to treat the group to dinner at Casa Machado Restaurant in Kearny Mesa. Great food and a good time was had by all. And I really enjoyed the two margaritas that I had. I felt nothing from the first one but after the second I could barely stand. No worries, Patrick Sparkman was driving. I did wind up sleeping very well.


galapagpscardbnew2015_0

Tame birds and wildlife. Incredible diversity. You only live once…

GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. August 8-22, 2017 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $12,499. Limit: 13 photographers plus the leader: yours truly. Openings: 4.

Same great trip; no price increase!
This trip needs nine to run; in the unlikely event that it does not, all payments to BAA will be refunded in full.

My two-week Galapagos Photo-Cruises are without equal. The world’s best guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), and two great leaders with ten Galapagos cruises under their belts. Pre-trip and pre-landing location-specific gear advice. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea!

The great spots that we will visit include Tower Island (including Prince Phillips Steps and Darwin Bay), Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world’s only nesting site of Waved Albatross, and Gardner Bay)—each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway. We will also visit Fernandina, Puerto Ayora for the tortoises, Puerto Egas—James Bay, and North Seymour for nesting Blue-footed Boobies in most years, South Plaza for Land Iguanas, Floreana for Greater Flamingoes, and Urbina Bay, all spectacular in their own right. We visit every great spot on a single trip. Plus tons more. And there will be lots of opportunities to snorkel on sunny mid-days for those like me who wish to partake.

It is extremely likely that we will visit the incredible Darwin Bay and the equally incredible Hood Island, world home of Waved Albatross twice on our voyage. The National Park Service takes its sweet time in approving such schedule changes.

We will be the first boat on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island every afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast skies, we will often spend 5-6 hours at the best sites. And as noted above, mid-day snorkeling is an option on most sunny days depending on location and conditions. On the 2015 trip most snorkeled with a mega-pod of dolphins. I eased off the zodiac to find hundreds of dolphins swimming just below me. Note: some of the walks are a bit difficult but can be made by anyone if half way decent shape. Great images are possible on all landings with either a hand held 70-200mm lens and a 1.4X teleconverter or an 80- or 100-400. I sometimes bring a longer lens ashore depending on the landing. In 2017 I will be bring the Canon 400mm IS DO II lens. In the past I have brought either the 300mm f/2.8L IS II or the 200-400mm f/4 L IS with Internal Extender.


galapagos-card-a2015

Do consider joining me for this once in a lifetime trip to the Galapagos archipelago. There simply is no finer Galapagos photography trip. Learn why above.

An Amazing Value…

Do know that there are one week Galapagos trips for $8500! Thus, our trip represents a tremendous value; why go all that way and miss half of the great photographic locations?

The Logistics

August 6, 2017: We arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador a day early to ensure that we do not miss the boat in case of a travel delay.

August 7, 2017: There will be an introductory Galapagos Photography session and a hands on exposure session at our hotel.

August 8, 2017: We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2015 trip some people made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!

August 22, 2017: We disembark late morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; most will overnight there.

Most will fly home on the early morning of August 23 unless they are staying on or going elsewhere (or catching a red-eye flight on the evening of the 22nd).

$12,499 includes just about everything: all transfers, guide and park fees, all food on the boat, transfers and ground transportation, your flights to the archipelago, and three nights (double occupancy) in a top notch hotel in Guayaquil. If you are good to go, a non-refundable deposit of $5,000 per person is due immediately. The second payment of $4,000 is not due until 11/1/16. The final payment of $3449 per person will be due on 2/1/17. A $200 discount will be applied to each of the balances for couples or friends who register at the same time.

Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On two fairly recent cruises a total of 5 folks were forced to cancel less than one week prior to the trip. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same.

Not included: your round trip airfare from your home to and from Guayaquil, beverages on the boat, phone calls, your meals in Guayaquil, personal items, and a $600/person cash tip for the crew and the guide—this works out to roughly $40/day to be shared by the 7 folks who will be waiting on us hand and foot every day for two weeks. The service is so wonderful that many folks choose to tip extra.

Please e-mail for the tentative itinerary or with questions. Please cut and paste “Galapagos 2017 Tentative Itinerary Please” into the Subject line.

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 :).

January 15th, 2017

I've Never Seen Anything Like It: Patrick's Pet Whimbrel Flock!

What’s Up?

The weather forecast for La Jolla was rain till 10:30am. We enjoyed our first clear blue sky sunrise. There were lots of pelicans but, with the weekend, probably more photographers. But it was the groups first chance on the pelicans with early morning sun on them and we had some gorgeous birds. I made one of my all time favorite tight preening pelican bill images ever. The bird had the reddest bill you could imagine and the image design and sharpness were right-on. I will share it with you here soon.

With my insane recent travel schedule–can you say 10 1/2 weeks in South America?, the San Diego IPT, an upcoming visit to my Mom on Long Island, and the Japan IPT, I regret that I will not be able to complete the FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment Tutorial until I get back from Japan in early March. But I like to do things right and do not want to send out something done half-heartedly. I firmly believe that if you are gonna do something you might as well do it right.

Some great news: three folks have already up signed up for the DEC 2018/JAN 2019 Falklands Land-based IPT so there are just four spots left. Learn more here.


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.

The Streak: 429!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 429 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

Whimbrel-striding-A-_W5A4326-La-Shores-Beach,-CA

This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mountedCanon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1000. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as originally framed: 1/400 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB.

One AF point up from the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The active AF point was just forward and above the bend of the wing on the same plane as the bird’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: +2

Image #1: Whimbrel striding

Patrick’s Pet Whimbrel Flock!

A few days before I got on the plane to San Diego Patrick Sparkman sent me an e-mail with some great images from one of my favorite San Diego beaches. Several featured Whimbrel a usually tough to photograph species. Over the decades, I’ve had a few nice Whimbrel images from Morro Bay, San Diego, and even Fort DeSoto. But this large shorebird is usually quite skittish.

On Friday afternoon at the beach we encountered a ridiculously tame flock of six individuals. The were so tame that I could have photographed them with the 100-400 II. Patrick almost always uses the 600 II hand held/5D Mark IV combo and he did just that when he joined us on Friday. One of his big advantages is that he can easily get lower by kneeling. Kneeling does not work for me because I get cramps in my left hamstrings. I did not want to lower my tripod and sit behind it because I did not want to get my butt soaked with cold saltwater and because sitting and then getting up really slows me down. Though the birds were tame they were almost constantly on the move. As a compromise, I simply pulled out the locking tab on the front leg of my Induro tripod and lifted the front leg out as well. This got me about two feet lower in just a few seconds. Working this way at 700mm reduced my angle of declination to the subject while allowing me to follow the flock up and down the beach.

I love the utter simplicity of Image #1: shorebird walking on clean sand with raised foot.

Whimbrel-A_W5A4233-La-Shores-Beach,-CA

This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mountedCanon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1000. Evaluative metering +1 stop off the gray sand: 1/400 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB.

One AF point to the left and two rows up from the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The active AF point was on the side of the bird’s upper breast just below the neck on the same plane as the bird’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: +2

Image #2: Whimbrel posing on seaweed covered boulder

Great Situation!

Whimbrels rarely stand still. And on open beaches, they rarely stand on rocks. And when the stand on a rock, they might stay for 3 seconds. If you are lucky. So when I glanced to my right and saw this bird about 20 yards from where I stood teed up for several members of the IPT group I decided to go for it and hope for a miracle. I remember praying, “Please stay. Please stay” as I got into position. Prayer answered, but just barely. After I made this frame the bird

Whimbrel-A-with-tail-fanned-_W5A4403-La-Shores-Beach,-CA

This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mountedCanon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering probably about +1 stop as originally framed: 1/50 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Cloudy WB.

One AF point to the left of the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The active AF point was on the side of the bottom of the bird’s neck just below the bill, again on the same plane as the bird’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: +2

Image #3: Whimbrel with tail fanned

Slow Shutter Speed Miracle!

I had this bird teed up as a vertical and was fiddling with the practically no-light exposure when the bird fanned its tail. I fired off two frames. I thought that I had clipped the tail on both of them. And when I saw that I had had ended up with a shutter speed of 1/50 sec. I figured that I had zero chance of success. Needless to say, I was thrilled with this one.

Coming Soon …

Stay tuned for the Red Light District Whimbrel image. Coming soon.

The San Diego Site Guide and the Whimbrel Beach

If you are coming to San Diego the San Diego Site Guide teaches you where to be on what winds and what sky conditions, and what tides if you are going to the beach. Folks who own the San Diego Site Guide and would like specific info on the Whimbrel beach are invited to shoot me an e-mail with the word’s Whimbrel Beach Info in the Subject Line. Patrick and I are going back this afternoon unless is rains. The easiest way to prove purchase is to cut and paste the first page of the guide.

Whimbrel-A-low-light-head-portrait-_W5A4396-La-Shores-Beach,-CA

This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mountedCanon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +1 stop as framed: 1/60 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB.

Two AF points to the right and two rows up from the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The active AF point was just below the bird’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: +2

Image #4: Whimbrel low light head and neck portrait

Moving the AF Point

Note that I used a different AF point for each of today’s images. Folks do not realize that a good photographer is constantly selecting a different AF point, not only for each new situation but almost constantly even when photographing the same bird for an extended period of time. Regular readers know that if I am photographing a moving bird that I rarely work with a focus point designed to be placed on the bird’s eye. While that is usually ideal for a perched bird and is always ideal for a sleeping bird, the head of a moving bird is almost always in constant motion and the eye is a small target. The upper breast, the bottom of the neck, or the upper back just behind the head, however, make much larger targets, and they pretty much do not move around as much as a bird’s head. The trick is to find a spot that is roughly parallel to the bird’s eye. Review each of today’s featured images and note both the selected AF point and where it was positioned on the bird. And then practice …

The Best Image?

Which of today’s featured images is the strongest? Be sure to let us know why you made your choice or choices.


bearboatcubscard-1

Images and card copyright Arthur Morris/BEARS AS ART 🙂

2017 Bear Boat Coastal Brown Bear Cubs IPTs: July 18-24, 2017 from Kodiak, AK: 5 FULL & 2 Half DAYS: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 8/Openings 3.

Join me in spectacular Katmai National Park, AK for six days of photographing Coastal Brown Bears. Mid-July is prime time for making images of small, football-sized cubs. The cubs, and these dates, are so popular that I had to reserve them three years in advance to secure them. There are lots of bears each year in June, but the mothers only rarely risk bringing their tiny cubs out in the open in fear of predation by rival bears. In addition to making portraits of both adults and cubs, we hope to photograph frolicking and squabbling youngsters and tender nursing scenes. At this time of year, the bears are either grazing in luxuriant grass or clamming. There will also be some two- and three-year old cubs to add to the fun. And we will get to photograph it all.

We will live on our tour operator’s luxurious new boat. At 78 feet long its 24 foot beam makes it quite spacious as well. And the food is great. We will likely spend most of our time at famed Geographic Harbor as that is where the bears are generally concentrated in summer. On the odd chance that we do need to relocate to another location we can do so quickly and easily without having to venture into any potentially rough seas. We land via a 25 foot skiff that has lots of room for as much gear as we can carry.

Aside from the bears we should get to photograph Horned and Tufted Puffin and should get nice stuff on Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Harbor Seal, and Steller’s Sea Lion as well. A variety of tundra-nesting shorebirds including Western Sandpiper and both yellowlegs are also possible. Halibut fishing (license required/not included) is optional.

It is mandatory that you be in Kodiak no later than the late afternoon of July 17 to avoid missing the float planes to the boat on the morning of July 18. Again, with air travel in Alaska (or anywhere else for that matter) subject to possible delays, being on Kodiak on July 16 is a much better plan.

Barring any delays, we will get to photograph bears on our first afternoon and then again every day for the next five days after that, all weather permitting of course. On our last morning on the boat, July 24, those who would like to enjoy one last photo session will have the opportunity to do so. The group will return to Kodiak via float plane from late morning through midday. Most folks will then fly to Anchorage and to continue on red-eye flights to their home cities.

What’s included? 7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS on the boat as above. All meals on the boat. National Park and guide fees. In-the-field photo tips, instruction, and guidance. An insight into the mind of a top professional nature photographer; 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 informal Photoshop instruction on the boat.

What’s not included: Your round trip airfare to and from Kodiak, AK (almost surely through Anchorage). Your lodging and meals on Kodiak. The cost of the round-trip float plane to the boat and then back to Kodiak as above. The cost of a round trip last year was $550. The suggested crew tip of $200.

Have you ever walked with the bears?

Is this an expensive trip? Yes, of course. But with 5 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 “BIRDS AS ART” is required to hold your spot. Please click here to read our cancellation policies. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us by mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.

Your deposit is due when you sign up. That leaves a balance of $4699. The next payment of $2699 will be due on September 15, 2016. The final payment of $2000 is due on February 15, 2017. We hope that you can join me for what will be a wondrously exciting trip.

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.

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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 :).