Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
May 13th, 2019

Loving the a7R iii. Learn about heron and egret binocular vision …

What’s Up?

I woke very early on Sunday May 12 and met retired Boeing materials engineer Terry Tsuchiyama — visiting from Seattle, WA — for a morning of instruction at Gatorland. As on my last visit, I found fewer birds than in any year in recent memory. But again, the photography was very good to excellent for those able to spot the good situations. We had a great time and Terry particularly enjoyed our working lunch. He had wanted to learn the NeatImage noise reduction techniques that I use, those detailed in Arash Hazeghi’s The Professional Post Processing e-Guide Based on NeatImage V 8.2. As this is an advanced technique, I created a six-minute Camtasia MP.4 video just for Terry. To introduce folks to our MP.4 videos I’d be glad to send all a free copy. Simply shoot me an e-mail to get your free copy.

We had so much fun that I did not get home from the “morning session” until 3:30pm. (I-4 was standing still from Orlando seemingly to Tampa so I had to take the scenic route. After my nap I was greeted by an afternoon of thunder and lightning so I wound up having dinner first and then getting in the pool when it was just about dark for a quick 50 lengths. On Saturday I did an even 100. 88 lengths is one mile. But I swim very slowly.

For sure I was the only person on the planet (aside from Steve Kerr and the rest of the Golden State Warriors) to believe that the Warriors without their injured superstar Kevin Durant but with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and Draymond Green would vanquish the Houston Rockets (can you say James Harden and CP3?), their bitter rivals, from the NBA playoffs in Game 6 (at Houston no less!) But that is exactly what they did to the tune of 118 to 113. Hooray.

Like Puffins?

Scroll down to save a ton of money.

FlexShooter Pro Update

By first leveling the tripod platform and then leveling the FlexShooter Pro via the large silver ball, I was able to reposition my tripod on the boardwalk at Gatorland with impunity and was ready to go instantly with everything square to the world.

Not surprisingly, we have sold all twenty FlexShooter Pros that we received with our first shipment. Another twenty are on the way as we speak.Two of those are already accounted for. Folks are encouraged to place their orders now by phone; your card will not be charged until your head ships. Once folks have a chance to play with a friend’s FlexShooter Pro, or run across me in the field with my 600 VR, I expect sales to boom. Think that I am full of it? Do you remember when everyone used Gitzo tripods? Today, all that you see in the world of nature photography are Induro tripods. Folks always gravitate to gear that is better, well made, more efficient, and less expensive …

I do have one barely used FlexShooter Pro head, the one with the very slightly smaller knob (11/16″ vs 7/8″) for sale. If I had not mentioned the difference in the size of the knobs, nobody would have noticed. In any case, if you would like to save $50, I’d be glad to sell it for $549.00. Phone orders only: 1-863-692-0906 Saturday or Sunday afternoon or any weekday.

BIRDS AS ART

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

Lessons-from-the-Field

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style is a 1 hour, 15 minute, 314 image,
click and play MP4 video

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style: $10.00

Click here to order or see the Save $10 Bundle offer below.

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style is a 1 hour, 15 minute click and play MP4 video. It is available here in the BAA Online Store, by phone order, or by sending a Paypal for $10.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net. As the file is a large one, be sure to upload it when you have a good internet connection.

The video features 314 of artie’s best images, educational and otherwise. Based on his 35 years of in-the-field experience, it covers all the basics along with many fine points. Are you making mistakes that give you no chance to create a great image? Learning to avoid those and learning to think like a pro will make you a better photographer. If you purchase and study the video, it will surely prove to be the best ten dollars you’ve ever spent on photography.


e-bookcover

birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100:

Save Ten Bucks!

Order the Lessons From the Field MP4 video and add a copy of the birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100 (via convenient download — normally sells for $20.00) for an additional 10.00.

Order the bundle for $20.00 by clicking here.

bedford-logo-w-code

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, 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 currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

Booking.Com

Many IPT folks have been using the Booking.Com link below to get great rates and save 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.

Airbnb

I enjoyed another great inexpensive AirBNB on the recently concluded 2019 Fort DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. For the past year, I have been using AirBNB for all of my travel lodging needs. Everyone on the Fort DeSoto Spring IPT stayed at AirBNB properties in Gulfport. Airbnb lists more than 4.5 million homes across 200 countries; you’ll find spacious, affordable options for every occasion. With Airbnb you will travel with confidence as reviews from past guests help you find the right fit. Once you do, their secure messaging makes it easy to coordinate with your host. And Airbnb support teams are available 24/7. And this morning, I made a 17-day reservation for an Airbnb condo for San Diego, 2020. I am staying with Rick again: his place has lots of room, a full kitchen, two bedrooms, and great WiFi. All for a lot less than the price of a chain hotel.

Yikes. I almost forgot the best part: Airbnb rates average less than half of even the least expensive chain hotels and motels. If you would like to save $40 on your first booking sign up by using this link: Airbnb. Airbnb does charge clean-up and service fees that make short stays less attractive bargains than long stays.

Those who prefer to stay in a motel or hotel are invited to use the Booking.com link above to save $25.00.



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.

Great-Blue-Heron-eyeballs-from-below-_A7R0609--Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Tierra-Verde-FL-1

This image was also created on the 2019 DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 560mm) and the mega-high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 640: 1/500 sec. at f/16 in Manual mode. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial … AWB at 9:27am with some light clouds in play. Expand Flexible Spot on the bird’s right eye.

Image #1: Great Blue Heron head and neck portrait from below

Binocular Vision in Herons and Egrets

I first came up with the concept for this image while lying on my back on the Sanibel Fishing Pier shooting up at a Great Egret. That was with film on a Southwest Florida IPT about a zillion years ago with friend Ellen Anon co-leading. Such images are possible whenever you find a situation where the bird is perched above you. I was standing at full height for this one.

Adapted from the Nature Watch blog here, posted by Greg Dodge on January 25, 2012

What’s the last thing a fish sees?

Image #1 above clearly illustrates the fact that herons have binocular vision and can see objects beyond and below their bills, helpful if you make your living plucking fish out of the water. Among land or air based predators binocular vision is the norm. Herons’ (and egrets”) eyes are placed on the sides of their heads allowing them to see potential trouble heading their way from the side. They are however, far enough forward that both eyes can be used to peer down into the water at their prey. Two eyes are better than one when trying to gauge position and distance.

Birds such as mallards, and mammals like rabbits, have their eyes placed high and laterally dead center on their heads allowing them a 360 degree view of the world. It’s tough to sneak up on either. Although herons can’t see directly behind themselves, a simple turn of that long flexible neck lets them quickly check out anything sneaking up from behind. They give up some of their ability to see potential predators approaching from the rear in order to have binocular vision, but you still have be be on your tippy toes to sneak up on them.

Sandwich-Tern-dbl-overhead-wing-stretch-_A7R1139--Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Tierra-Verde-FL-1

This image was also created on May 7, 2019 on the 2019 DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. Again I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 560mm) and the mega-high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 500: 1/2500 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial … AWB at 6:27pm on a sunny afternoon. Center Zone AF.

Image #2: Sandwich Tern double-overhead wing stretch

Loving the SONY a7R iii with the 1.4X FE Teleconverter

Though it has taken me a while to embrace the SONY a7R iii, I have become increasingly happy with the images and the image files made with this 42MP Mirrorless Digital camera body. Though neither the AF system nor the frame rate with the a7R iii are as fast as with the Sony Alpha a9, the more I use the a7 R iii the more I like it. I killed with it at Gatorland yesterday morning. Images soon.

I love the fine feather detail, the ability to withstand even large crops, and especially the color. The fact that it is eminently effective with the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter is a huge plus. With the TC you get accurate AF across 93% of the frame.

That Image #2 is slightly sharper on the near wing than on the bird’s head is due to operator error. I was not able to properly frame the image when the bird unexpectedly jumped forward … Selectively sharpening the face with a Contrast Mask helped for web presentation.

Royal-Tern-in-flight-_A7R0746--Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Tierra-Verde-FL-1

This image was also created on the 2019 DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. Again I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 560mm) and the mega-high mega-pixel Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 640: 1/2500 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial … AWB at 5:38pm on a sunny afternoon. Center Zone AF.

Image #3: Royal Tern in flight

The SONY a7R iii with the 1.4X FE Teleconverter for Flight Photography

I was glad to see that the a7R iii/FE 1.4X TC, SONY 100-400 OSS combo is viable for photographing birds in flight. I am not quite sure what is so different about doing flight with this SONY gear, but with practice, I am getting better and better with each session. I created lots of flight keepers on the afternoon of May 7. I am liking the SONY a7R iii with the 100-400 OSS combo that my seller’s remorse over my Nikon 80-400 VR is fading quickly … And we will see in a future blog post that it is deadly for close work as well.

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s three featured images is your favorite? Be sure to let us know why.

UK-puffins-2018-CARD-

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 1

Please e-mail to learn about the very large late-registration discount

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the White Horse Inn in Cranswick, about twenty minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best.

UK-Puffins-2017card

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip.

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

I truly hope that you can join me on this exciting venture.

May 11th, 2019

A Mega-Underexposed RAW File Rescue along with the Answers ...

What’s Up?

I have not been down to the lake since I got home from the last DeSoto IPT. I will be headed down this morning, Saturday, May 11, 2019 after I finish this blog post and have breakfast. I spent many hours yesterday working on our next two publications, Andrew McLachlan’s Frog Pond Adventures/A Guide to Photographing Frogs and Toads, and The BIRDS AS ART Middle of Florida Photography Site Guide that I am doing with BPN-friend Joseph Przybyla. Joe posts in the Avian Forum most every day and his skills have improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years.

I did enjoy a slow one mile swim on Friday afternoon.

Last Gatorland In-the-Field Session of the Season: Sunday May 12, 2019.

Join me at Gatorland tomorrow and learn a ton. It will be prime time for Cattle Egrets in breeding plumage, we might even have a shot at some Little Blue Herons, and there will still be lots of chicks of all sizes. There were still some nests with eggs on my last visit. Learn to shoot in the shade on sunny days! Most folks who visit Gatorland simply have no clue. Join me to learn how to photograph at easily accessible rookeries. An intermediate telephoto lens is all that you will need. I will have two of those and my 600 VR. Learn to think and see like a pro. A loaner FlexShooter Pro will be available.

Morning Session — 7-10am: $200.00
Morning Session with a 90-minute working lunch including image review and Photoshop: $300.00.

Flexshooter-Pro

FlexShooter Pro

You can order your FlexShooter Pro from the BAA Online Store right now for $599.00 plus the shipping by clicking here, or by phone at 863-692-0906.

FlexShooter Pro Update

Not surprisingly, we have sold all twenty that we received with our first shipment. Another twenty are on the way as we speak.Two of those are already accounted for. Folks are encouraged to place their orders now by phone; your card will not be charged until your head ships. Once folks have a chance to play with a friend’s FlexShooter Pro, or meet me in the field with my 600 VR, I expect sales to boom. Think that I am full of it? Do you remember when everyone used Gitzo tripods? Today, all that you see in the world of nature photography are Induro tripods. Folks always gravitate to gear that is better, well made, more efficient, and less expensive …

I do have one barely used FlexShooter Pro head, the one with the very slightly smaller knob (11/16″ vs 7/8″) for sale. If I had not mentioned the difference in the size of the knobs, nobody would have noticed. In any case, if you would like to save $50, I’d be glad to sell it for $549.00. Phone orders only: 1-863-692-0906 Saturday or Sunday afternoon or any weekday.

BIRDS AS ART

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

Lessons-from-the-Field

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style is a 1 hour, 15 minute, 314 image,
click and play MP4 video

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style: $10.00

Click here to order or see the Save $10 Bundle offer below.

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style is a 1 hour, 15 minute click and play MP4 video. It is available here in the BAA Online Store, by phone order, or by sending a Paypal for $10.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net. As the file is a large one, be sure to upload it when you have a good internet connection.

The video features 314 of artie’s best images, educational and otherwise. Based on his 35 years of in-the-field experience, it covers all the basics along with many fine points. Are you making mistakes that give you no chance to create a great image? Learning to avoid those and learning to think like a pro will make you a better photographer. If you purchase and study the video, it will surely prove to be the best ten dollars you’ve ever spent on photography.


e-bookcover

birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100:

Save Ten Bucks!

Order the Lessons From the Field MP4 video and add a copy of the birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100 (via convenient download — normally sells for $20.00) for an additional 10.00.

Order the bundle for $20.00 by clicking here.

bedford-logo-w-code

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, 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 currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

Booking.Com

Many IPT folks have been using the Booking.Com link below to get great rates and save 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.

Airbnb

I enjoyed another great inexpensive AirBNB on the recently concluded 2019 Fort DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. For the past year, I have been using AirBNB for all of my travel lodging needs. Everyone on the Fort DeSoto Spring IPT stayed at AirBNB properties in Gulfport. Airbnb lists more than 4.5 million homes across 200 countries; you’ll find spacious, affordable options for every occasion. With Airbnb you will travel with confidence as reviews from past guests help you find the right fit. Once you do, their secure messaging makes it easy to coordinate with your host. And Airbnb support teams are available 24/7. And this morning, I made a 17-day reservation for an Airbnb condo for San Diego, 2020. I am staying with Rick again: his place has lots of room, a full kitchen, two bedrooms, and great WiFi. All for a lot less than the price of a chain hotel.

Yikes. I almost forgot the best part: Airbnb rates average less than half of even the least expensive chain hotels and motels. If you would like to save $40 on your first booking sign up by using this link: Airbnb. Airbnb does charge clean-up and service fees that make short stays less attractive bargains than long stays.

Those who prefer to stay in a motel or hotel are invited to use the Booking.com link above to save $25.00.



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.

underexposed-1

This image was created on May 6, 2019, on the last afternoon of the DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering as framed: 1/640 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode was, as you can see by the histogram, close to three stops underexposed. AUTO1 WB at 8:06pm just after sunset.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Center Group (grp) AF/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) was active at the moment of exposure. See the Nikon Capture NX-D screen capture below to learn a ton.

Photo Mechanic screen capture

Click on the image if you would like to read the fine print.

Questions

In yesterday’s short blog post here, I asked, with regards to the image above:

#1: What is the bird?

##2: Would you keep this image? (There were no others in the series.) Why or why not?

#3: If you have any idea has to how I wound up so many stops under-exposed, please leave a comment?

Scroll down for the optimized image and the answers.

Least-Tern-with-fish-at-sunset-_BUP4962--Fort-DeSoto-Park,-Tierra-Verde-FL-1

This image was created on May 6, 2019, on the last afternoon of the DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering as framed: 1/640 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode was, as you can see by the histogram, close to three stops underexposed. AUTO1 WB at 8:06pm just after sunset.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

One down and one to the right of center Group (grp) AF/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) was active at the moment of exposure. See the Nikon Capture NX-D screen capture below to learn a ton.

Least Tern with fish at sunset

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The Optimized Image (above) and the Answers (below)

  • #1: The bird is clearly and unequivocally a Least Tern. Kudos to Ryan Sanderson who knows his terns. He commented: The structure of the bird suggests Least Tern.. Royal and Sandwich Terns are both much stouter. And Least has a distinctive, dainty jazz with slender, more pointed wings than Forster’s or Common Terns.
  • #2: I knew from the minute that I saw the sharp image on the read LCD that I would keep this one and be able to create a decent image during post processing. Several folks, including and especially Muhammad Arif, suggested the correct steps: lighten the imaged during the RAW conversion and crop from our right and below to get the bird out of the center of the frame. The image looked so good after the RAW conversion in Capture One that I did not even need to run any NeatImage noise reduction.

    Notes: I love the perfect wings-up position as well as the fish. During post-processing most of the crud in the water was removed using Content Aware Fill.

  • #3: I was trying to create some sunset scenics without a bird in the frame but with the sun in the frame and was trying (without success) to avoid toasting the sun. When I saw the tern, I acquired focus and made two frame, one in focus, one not. Both almost three stops underexposed. With help from blog regular David Policansky, Jeff Walters figured out that I had been working (in Manual mode) with the sun in the frame when I saw the bird against the colored sky and fired.

The Lessons

Digital capture is amazing. It is often possible even easy (as in this case) to save under-exposed or over-exposed RAW files and wind up with decent, usable image files.

Before deleting anything, check to see if there is a picture within the picture. And that goes double for those using high megapixel digital cameras like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, the Nikon D850, and the Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera Body.

DBII-cover

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)

Everything mentioned above (except for Capture One RAW conversions) and tons more — including all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — 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): Note: all of the videos are now priced at an amazingly low $5.00 each.

  • 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.

Though I have become more proficient converting my Nikon RAW (NEF) files in Adobe Camera Raw, I continue to optimize my old Canon images in DPP 4. You can learn how and why I converted (and still convert) nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here. And, yes, I still have many Canon images to work on. 🙂 The RAW conversions for all three of today’s featured images was straightforward once I entered my camera/ISO specific recipes (as detailed in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide).

More recently, I have begun converting my Nikon and Sony RAW files in Capture One.

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. Please use this link to purchase NeatImage.

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.

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 10th, 2019

Keep or Delete? Why?

What’s Up?

Back home and working hard. Swimming every day. If you have a moment, please check out yesterday’s blog post here and let us know which of the six featured images is your favorite and why? Only two folks left their opinions yesterday … The blog is designed to be interactive; the more folks who comment, the more everyone learns — including me.

Last Gatorland In-the-Field Session of the Season: Sunday May 12, 2019.

Join me at Gatorland this Sunday and learn a ton. It will be prime time for Cattle Egrets in breeding plumage, we might even have a shot at some Little Blue Herons, and there will still be lots of chicks of all sizes. There were still some nests with eggs on my last visit. Learn to shoot in the shade on sunny days! Most folks who visit Gatorland simply have no clue. Join me to learn how to photograph at easily accessible rookeries. An intermediate telephoto lens is all that you will need. I will have two of those and my 600 VR. Learn to think and see like a pro. A loaner FlexShooter Pro will be available.

Morning Session — 7-10am: $200.00
Morning Session with a 90-minute working lunch including image review and Photoshop: $300.00.

Flexshooter-Pro

FlexShooter Pro

You can order your FlexShooter Pro from the BAA Online Store right now for $599.00 plus the shipping by clicking here, or by phone at 863-692-0906. We started with twenty units and expect the rest of those to be gone quickly as we have sold four already by word of mouth …

More on the FlexShooter Pro

We have already sold 19 of the 20 heads that we received in our first shipment. We have re-ordered and should have them in stock by the very end of next week (or the following Monday at worst). Folks are encouraged to place their orders now by phone; your card will not be charged until your head ships. Once folks have a chance to play with a friend’s FlexShooter Pro, or meet me in the field with my 600 VR, I expect sales to boom. Think that I am full of it? Do you remember when everyone used Gitzo tripods? Today, all that you see in the world of nature photography are Induro tripods. Folks always gravitate to gear that is better, well made, more efficient, and less expensive …

This Just In!

We are now officially sold out. I do have one barely used FlexShooter Pro head, the one with the very slightly smaller knob (11/16″ vs 7/8″) for sale. If I had not mentioned the difference in the size of the knobs nobody would have noticed. In any case, if you would like to save $50 I’d be glad to sell it for $549.00. Phone orders only to 863-692-0906 between 10:15am and 1:00pm Friday or any time on Monday (if it lasts that long). Again, if you want to be assured of getting one from our next shipment it would be to place a phone order as above. Your card will not be billed until your item ships.

A Comment by Daniel Gomez-Ibanez

I’ve had a chance to try the FlexShooter Pro that I ordered from BAA a few times during the last week. I am using it in place of my 4th Generation Design Mongoose 3.6. I really like the new head, not only because it maintains the level but especially because it is much, much easier to adjust the tension than on the Mongoose. It is easy to find and set exactly the right amount of tension on the rig — in my case a Canon 800mm f/5.6 or a 300mm f/2.8 (sometimes with 2x extension) and the 1D-X Mark 2. I think the smoother tension makes it easier to keep the rig perfectly steady when photographing with the FlexShooter (as compared to the Mongoose). Sometimes the Mongoose jiggled a bit even when I was using your good bracing (sharpness) techniques, but that doesn’t seem to happen with the FlexShooter. I’m wondering if you’ve experienced the same advantage with the FlexShooter’s tension adjustment. It is nice also having the FlexShooter’s single tension knob rather than two as on the Mongoose. Has that been a factor aS FAR AS using the new ball head for flight photos?

Thanks for making this good ballhead easily available in the U.S. — and at no greater cost than ordering it from Hungary.

My Reply

Thanks for your purchase Daniel. Yes, the tension settings on the FlexShooter are mega. And I agree that the single control is a big plus; as I’ve been saying, the Silver Bullet Knob is our best friend! I used the Mongoose for well more than a decade because it was the best and lightest available, and it was and is a lot, lot better than some of the crappy knock-offs, and a lot, lot lighter than the Wimberley V2. And yes again — both the smooth, easily adjustable tension and the ease of operation were factors that I considered before deciding to go to the FlexShooter Pro full time.

YAW, and thanks again for your purchase. I hope to see you on an IPT one of these days.

with love, artie

ps: Please note that we are able to sell them for less than if you had to have them shipped from Hungary . 🙂

underexposed-1

This image was created on May 6, 2019, on the last afternoon of the DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering as framed: 1/640 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode was, as you can see by the histogram, close to three stops underexposed. AUTO1 WB at 8:06pm just after sunset.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

One down and one to the right of center Group (grp) AF/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) was active at the moment of exposure. See the Nikon Capture NX-D screen capture below to learn a ton.

Photo Mechanic screen capture

Click on the image if you would like to read the fine print.

Questions

#1: What is the bird?

##2: Would you keep this image? (There were no others in the series.) Why or why not?

#3: If you have any idea has to how I wound up so many stops under-exposed, please leave a comment?

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.

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 :).