Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
October 11th, 2021

Jim Miller Made My Day. Again. The Great Tern Flight Photography Slaughter. And Tips ... And 30fps Notes

What’s Up?

Today is Monday 11 October 2021. Jim Miller made my day early on. When I checked e-mail, I was delighted to find one from him:

Dear Artie, I write to thank you again for the many opportunities, lessons, experiences, and results on the Ft. DeSoto IPT last week. I would happily do it again next week for the third IPT of the fall session, if it was at all possible. I never thought I would experience a double rainbow at sunrise over the Gulf in my lifetime, but to be led to the spot, with the proper equipment, the best instruction, and the chance to capture that wonder … I am still trying to process that experience. It was a great pleasure to be with the group, and I was impressed how much was taught and how much was learned. There were so many great situations for different species and conditions, but most important, the chance to create great photos of all types.

I guess this was my 5th DeSoto trip with you. They are something that I treasure and anticipate all year, so I thank you for spreading the joy and knowledge of bird photography with such commitment and enthusiasm.

Do consider joining me for the sure-to-be-fantastic third Fort DeSoto IPT: 3 1/2 Days: Tuesday 19 October through the morning session on Friday 22 October. $1999.00 includes three working lunches. Limit six photographers/Openings 4. Scroll down for complete details.

Thanks to the many who e-mailed asking about the Rainbow Color Magic Trick offer in the Rainbow Image Optimization & Color Magic Trick blog post here.

I will likely head down to the lake at sunrise to see what’s up. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took well more than two hours to prepare including the time spent on the image optimizations and screen captures. You can learn a ton by studying the images and the captions, by considering the Image Question below and leaving a comment.

Remember that you can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!) on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-folks who, like me, spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

Please remember that if an item — a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head — for example, that is available from B&H and/or Bedfords, is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great, and greatly appreciated, if you would opt to purchase from us. We will match any price. Please remember also to use my B&H affiliate links or to save 3% at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout for your major gear purchases. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And always earns my great appreciation.

If You Are On The Fence About Joining the Third DeSoto IPT …

Click the play button above.

YouTube Channel Subscription

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Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the lighter 600 III. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

As used gear sales have slowed just a bit in recent months — especially with dSLR bodies, there are lots of great buys right now both below and on the Used Gear Page.

New Listings

Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

BIRDS AS ART Record-Low Price
Free SONY Camera User’s e-Guide and Video!

BAA-friend Anke Frohlich is offering a Sony a9 Mirrorless Digital camera body in excellent-plus to near-mint condition for the BAA Record-low price of $1799.00. The sale includes the original box, the strap, a copy of the SONY Camera User’s e-Guide and Video, and insured UPS ground shipping to lower-48 US addresses. (No battery, no charger, no USB-to-camera cable.) Your new camera will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Anke via e-mail or by phone or text to 1-917-701-5278 (Eastern time zone).

From the moment I tracked that first incoming Brandt’s Cormorant, I knew that SONY a9 series bodies featured the world’ then-best autofocus system. I upgraded to the a9 ii as soon as it was released for the slightly larger body size. If you can find a new a9, it sells for $2,999.00 so you can save a very nice $1,200.00 by grabbing Anke’s a9 and get started with SONY’s great AF system. Not to mention that the new Sony A1 sells for $6498.00 … artie artie

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

Mark Baity is offering a Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for $3,798.00. The sale includes the original tough front lens cover, lens hood, front and rear lens caps, hard carrying case, the original box and packaging, and Insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

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

Please contact Mark via e-mail at e-mail

The 300mm f/2.8 autofocus lenses have long been the first choice of the world’s best hawks-in-flight photographers with and without a 1.4X TC. When teamed up with either the 1.4X or 2X TC, they make a great hand-holdable walk-around lens. For folks with an EOS R5 or R6, the 300 II would make a great workhorse lens for bird photography (with both TCs) and an incredible flight lens. Grabbing Mark’s lens will save you an incredible $2,700.00 as new ones are going for $6099.00 from B&H. I owned and used several versions of the 300 f/2.8 lens for many years until finally replacing my 300 f/2.8 II with the 400 DO II several years ago. That said, the 300 f/2.8 II represents a great value as the 400 DO II now sells new for $6,899.00. artie

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now close to zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a Walmart greeter and will not cost you a single penny more. And if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes, are invited to help out by clicking here to leave a blog thank you gift if they see fit.

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, by using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free second-day air shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order to save 3% and enjoy free 2nd-day air shipping. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs (remember those?) 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.

I created this image on 6 October 2021 on the second morning of the 2nd DeSoto IPT. I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 478mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 640. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/3200 sec. at f/7.1 (stopped down 1/3 stop) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that this image was 1/3 stop under-exposed; that knowledge helped me to set the exposure slider correctly during the raw conversion in ACR. AWB at 11:47am on dead-clear morning.

Tracking: Zone/AF-C Bird/Eye Detection AF was active at the moment exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to view a hi-res version.

Image #1: Royal Tern coming in for a landing

A Slaughter

With the wind and sun behind us, a dark storm cloud background, and almost all of the birds taking the same flight path (like jets coming into JFK on a busy afternoon), our last hour on the beach was a tern flight photography slaughter.

The Situation

Having observed the tern flocks the previous day, I knew exactly where we needed to be late in the morning. We sat on the flock, and picked off the incoming terns one at a time. We were actually so close to the flock that some of the participants (and I) added a 1.4X TC to their rig and worked on head portraits. We had many dozens of great chances.

That the birds were consistently landing about halfway deep into the flock made framing the images easier. With the smaller Sandwich Terns, I advised folks to zoom to their longest focal length. With the larger royals, I suggested that zooming out in advance (esti-zooming) to about 450mm would help them avoid clipping wings. I did the same. See more from that amazing morning in the YouTube video here.

I created this image on 6 October 2021 on the second morning of the 2nd DeSoto IPT. I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 600mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 640. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/3200 sec. at f/7.1 (stopped down 1/3 stop) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that this image was 1/3 stop under-exposed. Though slightly less than ideal, that knowledge helped me to set the exposure slider correctly during the raw conversion in ACR. AWB at 11:52:36am on dead-clear morning.

Tracking: Zone/AF-C Bird/Eye Detection AF was active at the moment exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to view a hi-res version.

Image #2: Sandwich Tern coming in for a landing

SONY 200-600/Alpha 1 Versatility

As seen here consistently, the SONY 200-600 G lens is supremely versatile. On two of the fort Second DeSoto IPT mornings, I left the 600 f/4 in the car and headed out with “just” the 200-600. I was never disappointed at not having the faster lens along, even for an instant. The ability to zoom in and out for flight photography is a huge plus. With many of the birds — including most of the shorebirds — at DeSoto so tame, 600mm was often more than enough focal length. It’s light weight and relatively low cost make it hugely appealing to many bird photographers, especially those new to SONY and those who simply cannot afford to plunk down $13K.

And the a1 is beyond the beyond. Soft flight images are now an extreme rarity. I was shocked to see that the head of the bird in Image #2 (immediately above) needed a bit of Topaz Sharpen AI Motion Blur.

Adding to the 200-600/a1 versatility is the lens’s amazing performance with the SONY 1.4X TC. Not only I did I use that combo for handheld shorebird photography at 840mm, but I did lots of flight photography with it as well. The results were amazingly stunning. Or stunningly amazing. Images soon.

While the 200-600 remains tough to get — Bedfords is your best bet as usual, Steve Elkins finally got a nice shipment of Alpha 1 bodies last week and filled most of the orders on his wait list. If you can afford an a1 and finally decide to get the best-ever camera for bird photography, remember that using either of my links gets you free membership into my Sony a1 Info and Updates e-Mail group.

Important Note

Please note that each of today’s featured images represents the full frame original capture … Which is your favorite? Why?

I created this image on 6 October 2021 on the second morning of the 2nd DeSoto IPT. I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 600mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 500. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/3200 sec. at f/7.1 (stopped down 1/3 stop) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that this image was 1/3 stop under-exposed. Though slightly less than ideal, that knowledge helped me to set the exposure slider correctly during the raw conversion in ACR. AWB at 11:52:36am on dead-clear morning.

Tracking: Zone/AF-C Bird/Eye Detection AF was active at the moment exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to view a hi-res version.

Image #3: Sandwich Tern braking to land

Image Question

Should I have taken the time to re-position this bird in the frame? Why or why not?

30 Frames per Second Notes

That Images #2 and #3 were made in the same second should not at all be unexpected. Note however, that the file number for Image #2 is _A1B7457 while the file number for Image #3 is _A1B7465. That shows that seven additional images were created between the two keepers and gives you a good idea of just what 30 frames per second is capable of.

Typos

With all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

October 9th, 2021

Rainbow Image Optimization & Color Magic Trick

What’s Up?

As were the first two mornings, the third morning of the second DeSoto IPT was fantastic. Again, we photographed until well after noon so that you could enjoy more amazing flight photography with the incoming Sandwich and Royal Terns. With the wind behind us us, we employed the sitting on the flock technique that allowed for tons of action and gorgeous sky and/or Gulf backgrounds. The fourth morning? Not so great, but we did have many good chances. We started at Hidden Lagoon with a tame Green Heron in low light. Newbie Nancy Thornblad got to work on a real tripod with the Levered-clamp FlexShooter Pro for the first time.

Next were bright-sky/perched Osprey branch-scape silhouettes that allowed everyone to fine-tune their compositional and exposure skills. We spent the reminder of the session with lots of tame shorebirds that included Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers, adult Western Sandpiper, and Marbled Godwit. Nancy got to work off a Panning Ground-Pod for the first time. We said our goodbyes, and after a few shopping stops, I was home just before 6pm.

Do consider joining us for the sure-to-be-fantastic third Fort DeSoto IPT.

The Fall 2021 Fort DeSoto Instructional Photo-Tours

3 1/2 Days: Tuesday 19 October through the morning session on Friday 22 October. $1999.00 includes three working lunches. Limit six photographers/Openings 4.

Today is Saturday 9 October 2020. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post well more than three hours to prepare including the time spent on the image optimizations and screen captures.

Remember that you can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!) on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-folks who, like me, spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

Please remember that if an item — a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head — for example, that is available from B&H and/or Bedfords, is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great, and greatly appreciated, if you would opt to purchase from us. We will match any price. Please remember also to use my B&H affiliate links or to save 3% at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout for your major gear purchases. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And always earns my great appreciation.

Wanted to Buy

If you have a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II Lens and or a Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens that is sitting on a shelf and would like to sell one or both for a decent price, please shoot me an e-mail.

I created this image on 6 October 2021, the first morning of the DeSoto IPT. I used the hand held Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM lens Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM Lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 5000. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/640 sec. at f/6.3 (stopped down 2 1/3 stops) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that the raw file brightness was about 2/3 stop too dark. AWB at 7:31am on cloudy morning.

Tracking: Spot S (moved well down in the frame)/AF-C Bird/Eye Detection AF was active at the moment exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to view a hi-res version.

Image #1: Beach Vegetation and Rainbow, Version I

The First Miracle

As always, we were on the beach early. The sun was fighting its way through some clouds on the eastern horizon and some light clouds above the Gulf to the west. Here comes a rainbow, I called out. I had left my 24-105 in the car, but it would not have been nearly wide enough. And then the beginnings of a second rainbow began to appear …

The Beach Vegetation

If you can identify the beach vegetation, please leave a comment. It is very common at DeSoto, is low growing, and often spreads out like a huge spider web. It is quite beautiful; I have photographed it often with various 24-105mm lenses.

I created this image on 6 October 2021, the first morning of the DeSoto IPT. I used the hand held Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM Lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 5000. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/640 sec. at f/6.3 (stopped down 2 1/3 stops) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that the raw file brightness was about 2/3 stop too dark. AWB at 7:31am on cloudy morning.

Tracking: Spot S (moved well down in the frame)/AF-C Bird/Eye Detection AF was active at the moment exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to view a hi-res version.

Image 1A: Beach Vegetation and Rainbow, Version II

The Second Miracle

Multiple IPT veteran Jim Miller said, I have the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM lens in my backpack. I usually have my 24-105 in my pack, and am not sure why I switched to the 12-24. I said, That’s really great. Get close to the beach vegetation to use it as a strong foreground element. He did, and — as the rainbow lasted about ten minutes, kindly shared the lens with the other SONY folks. Including me 🙂

Version I and Version II

Both versions are quite similar. With Version II, I used the Shadow slider to open up the beach vegetation a bit. Which version do you prefer? Why? Be sure to keep reading to learn about the image optimization.

The f/4 Version

If you love wide angle landscape photography and find the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM Lens a bit beyond your budget, do consider the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G lens priced more than $1200 lower. Like the 200-600 G lens, the image quality with the f/4 version will likely be astounding. Most folks cannot tell the difference in a sharp are file made with the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens and the far more expensive Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens. The 200-600 costs only $1,998.00 as compared to $12,998.00 for the big gun. And the zoom focuses closer and is a lot more versatile than the 600 f/4 GM.

All of the lenses above are available at B&H by clicking on the links or from Bedfords (with 3% savings plus free second day air Fed-Ex earned by using the BIRDSASART code at checkout).

Image 1B: The Topaz DeNoise screen capture for the Beach Vegetation and Rainbow, Version II image

The Topaz DeNoise Screen Capture

Folks often e-mail suggesting that this or that noise reduction program is probably better than Topaz DeNoise AI. I run DeNoise AI as the first step with every TIF file that I process. I use Standard with images made in sunny conditions, and Low Light for images made in low light. ISO 5000 qualifies. DeNoise is fast, the noise is completely eliminated, the details are enhanced, and the images are sharpened ever-so-slightly. With results like those seen above (be sure to click on the screen capture to view the hi-res version), why would I ever want to switch?

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plug-ins), will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. If the stuff is on sale (as it usually is), you save 15% off of the sale price! To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Those who purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or any other Topaz plug-ins using my link and then entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. Please include a copy of your Topaz receipt that shows the discount. Aside from the basics, the guide explains how to install the plug-ins so that they appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu.

Image 1C: The RawDigger screen capture for the Beach Vegetation and Rainbow, Version II image

RawDigger Screen Capture

I remember distinctly that the analog exposure scale on the a1 was showing +1 stop as I framed this image. I was getting some Zebras on the brightest parts of the sky so, out of fear of over-exposing, I did not want to push the exposure any further. Not to mention that rainbows always look better on the back of the camera when they are darker 🙂 In any case, checking with RawDigger helps me to set the Exposure slider correctly when I begin the raw conversion. In fact, this image was about 2/3 stop too dark. That, in part, led to the large amount of noise seen on the left (before) side of Image #1C above.

Dead-Solid Perfect!

Images where the G channel gets 2/3rds of the way from the 8000 to the 16000 line are perfect exposures. Images where the G channel gets right up to the line are dead-solid perfect. With 195 OvExp pixels out of 51,000,000 this is a dead-solid perfect exposure.

RawDigger — not for the faint of heart …

Nothing has ever helped me learn to create perfect exposures to the degree that RawDigger has. I think that many folks are reluctant to learn that most of their images are underexposed by one or more full stops and that highlight warnings in Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture One, and your in-camera histogram are completely bogus as they are based on the embedded JPEGs. Only your raw files tell the truth all the time. Heck, I resisted RawDigger for several years … Once you get over that feeling, RawDigger can become your very best exposure friend no matter what system you are using. On the recent IPTs and In-the-Field sessions, we have demonstrated that fact. Convincingly.

The RawDigger (pink) Adapted Histogram

In the RawDigger e-Guide, you will learn exactly how to set up the Adapted “pink” RawDigger Histogram and how to use it to quickly and easily evaluate the exposure or raw file brightness of images from all digital cameras currently in use. RawDigger was especially helpful to me when I struggled with R5 exposures and when learned my new camera body, the Sony Alpha a1.

RawDigger e-Guide with Two Videos

The RawDigger e-Guide with Two Videos

by Arthur Morris with Patrick Sparkman

The RawDigger e-Guide was created only for serious photographers who wish to get the absolute most out of their raw files.

Patrick and I began work on the guide in July 2020. At first we struggled. We asked questions. We learned about Max-G values. We could not figure out why the Max G values varied by camera system. IPT veteran Bart Deamer asked lots of questions that we could not answer. We got help from RawDigger creator Iliah Borg. We learned. In December, Patrick came up with an Adapted Histogram that allows us to evaluate the exposures and raw file brightness for all images created with all digital camera bodies from the last two decades. What we learned each time prompted three complete beginning to end re-writes.

The point of the guide is to teach you to truly expose to the mega-Expose-to-the-Right so that you will minimize noise, maximize image quality, best utilize your camera’s dynamic range, and attain the highest possible level of shadow detail in your RAW files in every situation. In addition, your properly exposed RAW files will contain more tonal information and feature the smoothest possible transitions between tones. And your optimized images will feature rich, accurate color.

We teach you why the GREEN channel is almost always the first to over-expose. We save you money by advising you which version of RawDigger you need. We teach you how to interpret the Max G values for your Canon, Nikon, and SONY camera bodies. It is very likely that the Shock-your-World section will shock you. And lastly — thanks to the technical and practical brilliance of Patrick Sparkman — we teach you a simple way to quickly and easily evaluate your exposures and raw file brightness using an Adapted RawDigger histogram.

The flower video takes you through a session where artie edits a folder of images in Capture One while checking the exposures and Max-G values in RawDigger. The Adapted Histogram video examines a series of recent images with the pink histograms and covers lots of fine points including and especially how to deal with specular highlights. The directions for setting up the Adapted Histogram are in the text.

If we priced this guide based on how much effort we put into it, it would sell it for $999.00. But as this guide will be purchased only by a limited number of serious photographers, we have priced it at $51.00. You can order yours here in the BAA Online Store.

Image 1D: This is the raw file processed at the default settings in ACR

The Straight-Up Raw Conversion

This is the raw file processed at the default settings in ACR. The purpose of sharing it here was to show how light I shoot. Remember that this image was actually about 2/3 stop under-exposed; a properly exposed image would have looked even lighter and more washed out …

Image 1E: This is the raw file processed with my settings

The Straight-Up Raw Conversion

This is the raw file converted after I adjusted the relevant sliders. It is beginning to show some life, but still looked nothing like what I saw on the beach; the sky was much bluer and the colors of the rainbow were greatly enriched, at least as I remembered things.

Rainbow Color Magic Trick

So how did I get from the sickly, much-too-yellow version seen in Image 1E to the spectacular color seen in 1A and 1B? I used a quick and dirty photoshop trick that improves many of the images that I process. It is always the last step in my workflow.

If you own Digital Basics II, please e-mail us some form of proof of purchase by clicking here to open an e-mail. Proof of purchase would include a copy of your e-mail with the link or a cut and paste of page one of the guide.

Folks who do not own Digital Basics II (DB II) are invited to purchase a copy and then send their request for the Rainbow Color Magic Trick as above. DB II includes dozens of great Photoshop Tips and Techniques along with all of my Keyboard Shortcuts. Learn more by clicking on the preceding link. Folks who do not wish to purchase Digital Basics II are invited to send a PayPal for $20 to us at birdsasart@verizon.net and include the words Rainbow Color Magic Trick in the e-mail. Be forewarned that you might feel cheated as the tip is a simple (but very powerful) one. Your call 🙂

Typos

With all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

October 7th, 2021

Miracle Rainbow and Amazing Flight Photography!

What’s Up?

The second morning of the second Fort DeSoto IPT began with a double miracle and then slowed down. But we stuck it out and were rewarded with some incredible flight photography with the terns set against dark storm cloud backgrounds. Scroll down to see the highlights. Today is Thursday 7 October 2021. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took about two hours to prepare including the time spent on the creating the video.

Remember that you can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!), on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-folks who, like me, spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

Please remember that if an item — a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head — for example, that is available from B&H and/or Bedfords, is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great, and greatly appreciated, if you would opt to purchase from us. We will match any price. Please remember also to use my B&H affiliate links or to save 3% at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout for your major gear purchases. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And always earns my great appreciation.

Wanted to Buy

If you have a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II Lens an/or a Canon 100mm macro lens that is sitting on a shelf and would like to sell one or both for a decent price, please shoot me an e-mail.

Via e-mail From Marina Scarr

Please do your due diligence when choosing a workshop leader or guide. Don’t simply rely on name recognition and/or assumed reputation. Check the reviews closely and obtain referrals from other photographers. Closely read the fine print of all cancellation and refund policies. Finally, remember that travel insurance can act as a safety net.

I would add that I have personal knowledge of at least one well-known, highly skilled bird photographer and photo tour leader who arbitrarily cancelled a trip last year because of Covid but refused to return any payments. I consider that despicable.

DeSoto IPT #2. Second Morning Highlights with Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

At 9am, I was thinking that even after our miraculous start, Wednesday was one of the worst-ever mornings at DeSoto. Then things changed for the better and it turned out to have been one of the best days ever. Check out the video to learn why.


desoto-fall-card-b

Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or very early October. I hope that you can join me there this fall. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Caspian Tern, Great Egret, Sandwich Tern with fish, Willet, Black-bellied Plover threat display, Snowy Egret, 2-year old Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron.

The Remaining Fall 2021 Fort DeSoto Instructional Photo-Tour

Fall 2021 Fort DeSoto Instructional Photo-Tour #3

3 1/2 Days: Tuesday 19 October through the morning session on Friday 22 October. $1999.00 includes three working lunches. Limit six photographers/Openings 4.

Fort DeSoto in Fall

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, and gulls that winter on the T-shaped peninsula. With any luck at all, we should get to photograph one of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher is pretty much guaranteed. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. And we will get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. In addition, Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork might well be expected. And we will be on the lookout for a migrant passerine fallout in the event of a thunderstorm or two.

On this IPT, all will learn the basics and fine points of digital exposure. Nikon and Canon folks will learn to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and SONY folks will learn to use Zebras so that they can be sure of making excellent exposures before pressing the shutter button.. Everyone will learn how 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 choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. Most importantly, you will surely learn to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it). The best news is that you will be able to take everything you learn home with you so that you will be a better photographer wherever and whenever you photograph.

There will be a Photoshop/image review session during or after lunch (included) each full day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time.

These IPTs will run with only a single registrant (though that is not likely to happen). The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Once you register, you will receive an e-mail with Gulfport AirBnB information.

A $500 deposit is due when you sign up and is payable by credit card. Balances must be paid by check after you register. Your deposit is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with six folks, so please check your plans carefully before committing. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand, or by sending a check as follows: make the check out to: BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, clothing, and gear advice. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.


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Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, juvenile Tricolored Heron, Marbled Godwits, Great Blue Heron, juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, Wood Stork, smiling Sea Scallop, Ruddy Turnstone scavenging needlefish, Great Blue Heron sunset silhouette at my secret spot, and southbound migrant tern flock blur.

Up Early, Stay Out Late!

Obviously folks attending an IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of the sweetest light and sunrise and sunset colors (when possible). The good news is that the days are relatively short in early fall. I really love it when I am leaving the beach on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers are arriving. The length of cloudy morning sessions will often be extended. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now close to zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a Walmart greeter and will not cost you a single penny more. And if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes, are invited to help out by clicking here to leave a blog thank you gift if they see fit.

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, by using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free second-day air shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order to save 3% and enjoy free 2nd-day air shipping. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs (remember those?) 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.

Typos

With all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.