Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
June 7th, 2019

Just Some Stuff ...

What’s Up?

My 17 1/2 hour travel day was relatively uneventful except for the exhaustion. My first morning in northern Ontario was filled with a mother and baby Moose, Walleye, Northern Pike, nesting Herring Gull, and fishing Bald Eagles. Only nine 1/2 more days to go.

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 (on weekdays) at 863-692-0906.

FlexShooter Pro Comments

Via e-mail from Peter Llewellyn

Hi Artie,

I received a FlexShooter Pro head from the first batch and must tell you it is the best tripod head I have ever used. It is way better than Wimberley V2 and the RRS gimbal (both of which I have used in the past). It will now be the only tripod head I will ever use. I’m looking forward to getting the Setting up a Tripod in Your Vehicle video. Thanks so much for offering that free to the folks who have purchased a FlexShooter Pro from you.

As a professional photographer for over 35 years (like yourself), primarily in sports photography but more recently wildlife and natural history subjects, I have used many types of tripod heads, including the Wimberley, RRS PG-02 gimbal, and the original Arca Swiss ballhead to name a few. Since having the FlexShooter for a little over two weeks I am completely blown away for the following reasons:

  • It is easy to set up and use the Nikon 600mm and 500mm and the Nikon 200-400 f4 VR zoom as well.
  • Now I only need one head – there is no need for a second unit for short lens work; that is great when traveling by air.
  • It is light in weight – especially as compared to the RRS Gimbal (and that’s much appreciated by us older folks).
  • There is no creep after setting up on a subject. No head that I have ever used before stays exactly where you point it while you are locking it down. With the Arca Swiss ballhead, it would often take several tries loosening and tightening the unit before my subject would actually be framed as I wanted.

I am sure that as people try my head more orders will be coming from north of the border.

All the best, Peter

If you are among the first on your block to be using this great new head we would love to hear from you. Positives and negatives and questions are all welcome via e-mail.

FlexShooter Pro Updates

A very few FlexShooter Pro heads are still in stock here in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store. We have sold 36 of the first forty that we received — all to positive reviews — and are expecting 20 more next week. We have the correct BigFoot plate available for all lenses but for the Nikon 600mm f/4 VR lens. — see below for info on that. If you try to place an order in the BAA Online Store and it shows as back-ordered, please call Jim on Monday at 863-692-0906 to place your order and ensure getting one from our third batch.

As most of you know, I am now using the FlexShooter Pro for 100% of my tripod-mounted photography. See here and here to learn more. Or see the video here.

My plan is to do a second informational FlexShooter Pro video in Ontario with additional tips.

Last week I got my hands on the prototype for the new FLN-60 Bigfoot for the Nikon 600 VR. It is long enough to balance the 600 alone with any Nikon camera body and the best news is that the Wimberley F-1 Flash Bracket fits perfectly and mounts easily. I will post a photo here soon. We will have them in stock in about three weeks.

D-Day

D-Day by Robert Capa

Warning

Do NOT click on the link below unless you have some time to do some serious surfing and a willingness to be moved by the incredible photos and stories.

D-Day by Robert Capa/from TIME — 100 Photographs — The Most Influential Images of All Time

Below is an excerpt from the the amazing collection here. Many of the images are accompanied by entirely captivating, interesting, moving, and amazing accounts. More than a few — including the image above — are accompanied by powerful videos.

It was the invasion to save civilization, and LIFE’s Robert Capa was there, the only still photographer to wade with the 34,250 troops onto Omaha Beach during the D-Day landing. His photographs—infused with jarring movement from the center of that brutal assault—gave the public an American soldier’s view of the dangers of war. The soldier, in this case, was Private First Class Huston Riley, who after the Nazis shelled his landing craft jumped into water so deep that he had to walk along the bottom until he could hold his breath no more. When he activated his Navy M-26 belt life preservers and floated to the surface, Riley became a target for the guns and artillery shells mowing down his comrades. Struck several times, the 22-year-old soldier took about half an hour to reach the Normandy shore. Capa took this photo of him in the surf and then with the assistance of a sergeant helped Riley, who later recalled thinking, “What the hell is this guy doing here? I can’t believe it. Here’s a cameraman on the shore.” Capa spent an hour and a half under fire as men around him died. A courier then transported his four rolls of film to LIFE’s London offices, and the magazine’s general manager stopped the presses to get them into the June 19 issue. Most of the film, though, showed no images after processing, and only some frames survived. The remaining images have a grainy, blurry look that gives them the frenetic feel of the action, a quality that has come to define our collective memory of that epic clash.

June 6th, 2019

Bad Luck and Trouble: A Tiny Meteorite Appeared to Have Struck the Mirror of My Main D850 Body ...

What’s Up?

Me. Early. Very early on Thursday June 6. I fly to Toronto at 7:00am today. After a nearly five-hour layover, I continue on to Thunder Bay, Ontario (YQT) and then finally and hopefully board the one hour flight to Dryden (YHD). I am scheduled to arrive at 5:10am Central time. Total time in the air will be less than six hours but this will be a very long travel day. I should have good internet every day and will be back in the office on June 18. Jim and Jen will be around for those who need help with their orders or with IPT deposits.

My Active Release Therapy chiropractor TJ McKeon, told me about a nice Northern Mockingbird nest in his neighbor’s azalea bush. While I rarely if ever photograph songbird nests, I did visit twice. For close work, the SONY rig is unmatched. Photos soon.

Bad Luck and Trouble

Bad Luck and Trouble is the eleventh book in the Jack Reacher series written by Lee Child. It was published in 2007 and is written in the third person. The title is derived from the song lyrics by singer Albert King “Born Under a Bad Sign”. As I have long been a huge Jack Reacher fan, I thought that the book title would make a good title for today’s blog post.

Do understand that when the tiny meteorite struck, it had been a very long time since I pointed a long lens at the sun … As you will learn below, the accident was a total fluke. The lens was repaired quickly by NPS and has been back in action for a while.

My Final Offer: Huge Late-registration UK Puffins, Gannets, and Red Kites Instructional Photo-Tour Discount Increased Again!

The late-registration discount has been increased to $4,000.00.

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

In an effort to fill a single remaining slot, I have increased the late-registration discount for this great IPT from $3,000.00 to $4000.00. Click here and scroll down a bit for complete details. Please e-mail for additional information.


BIRDS AS ART

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

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 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 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.

Very Recent Sales

After being patient for many months, Allen Dale sold his Canon 300mm f/4 L IS USM lens in near-mint for a BAA record-low $624.00 in early June, 2019.

Peter Noyes sold his Sony Alpha a9 (ILCE 9) Mirrorless Digital Camera Body in like-new condition for the crazy low price of $2698.00 the first day of listing.

Eric Chen sold his Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM with internal Extender 1.4X lens in like-new condition for the BAA record-low price by far of $6999.00 within days of listing.

Top BAA Used Gear page seller Jim Keener sold his Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 IS L II lens in excellent plus condition for $899.00 and the Canon 1.4X III/2X III/Extension Tube Bundle for $598.00 both shortly after these items were listed in May 2019.

New Listings

Sigma Contemporary 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG Lens for Canon

Sheldon Goldstein, multiple IPT participant, is offering a Sigma Contemporary 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG Lens for Canon in like-new condition for $725.00. The sale includes a Wimberley P-30 plate, the lens cap, the rear cap, the protective case, carrying straps for the lens and case, the Sigma USB Dock UD-2 for firmware updates, and insured Fed-Ex Ground shipping to lower 48 US addresses. Your lens will ship after your check clears unless another payment method is used.

Please contact Shelly via e-mail or by phone at 1-646-423-0392 (Eastern time).

I have seen many sharp and wonderful images created with this versatile lens on several IPTs. artie

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Sheldon Goldstein, multiple IPT participant, is offering a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens in like-new condition, for $750.00. The sale includes a Wimberley P-30 mount, the lens cap, the rear cap, the protective case, and insured Fed-Ex Ground shipping to lower 48 US addresses. Your lens will ship after your check clears unless another payment method is used.

Please contact Shelly via e-mail or by phone at 1-646-423-0392 (Eastern time).

I put the 400 f/5.6 lens on the map back in the mid-1990s. I affectionately called it my “toy lens.” It is lightweight and super sharp. I created many 100s of saleable images with it including my best early flight shots. I used it on a tripod to create Blizzard in Blue. With Fuji Veliva 50 pushed one stop to ISO 100. 🙂 . artie

Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM Lens for Canon

Sheldon Goldstein, multiple IPT participant, is offering a Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 DG HSM lens for Canon in like-new condition for $850.00. The sale includes the lens cover, the rear cap, the protective carrying case, and insured Fed-Ex Ground shipping to lower 48 US addresses. Your lens will ship after your check clears unless another payment method is used.

Please contact Shelly via e-mail or by phone at 1-646-423-0392 (Eastern time).

This lens is designed for use with full-frame Canon digital cameras; it offers a dramatically ultra-wide coverage with field-of-views ranging from 122° to 84.1° making it ideal for dramatic landscape photography. It is a superb architectural lens that is great for creating images of the tightest of interiors. Using Canon bodies with APS-C sensors (like the 7D Mark II) will give you an effective zoom range of 17-35mm. B&H

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.


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.

d850-wide-view-of-the-mirror

This image was also created on my pool deck on May 2, 2019. I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sigma APO Macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens for Nikon F and my back-up Nikon D850 . ISO 800. Matrix metering at about 1 2/3 stop: 1/8 sec. at f/16 in Manual mode.

Full frame image of the damaged D850 mirror assembly

Bad Luck and Trouble …

I love using long lenses and teleconverters to photograph the sun as long as it is muted by light clouds or mist or fog. I have heeded the warnings and not pointed my rig directly at the shining brightly sun. When the accident described below happened, I could not remember the last time that I created a large-in-the-frame sun.

At some point about six weeks ago, down by the lake near my home, I noticed a small black blob along the lower part of the frame as I looked through the viewfinder. My first thought was to check an image. As the blob was not present in any images, I knew that the problem had something to do with the mirror assembly. I removed the lens and saw a decent-sized smudge on the mirror and a tiny black circular blob that seemed to be stuck to the edge of the mirror.

When I got back home I took a look at the mirror box (after removing the lens and the front body cap of course). It looked as if perhaps there was a dead bug stuck to the edge of the mirror. I got a pair of tweezers and attempted to remove the “dead bug” only to find that it was something solid that was very solidly attached to the edge of the mirror. I was unable to remove it. Perhaps it was a screw?

I grabbed my Sigma APO Macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Lens for Nikon F, added my remaining D850, and mounted the rig on the FlexShooter Pro. I framed up a tight image of the mirror box (above) and created a few images at f/16.

close-up-of-D850-mirror

This image was also created on my pool deck on May 2, 2019. I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sigma APO Macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens for Nikon F and my back-up Nikon D850 . ISO 800. Matrix metering at about 1 2/3 stop: 1/8 sec. at f/16 in Manual mode.

Enlarged image of the damaged D850 mirror showing the fused blob

When I viewed an enlarged image (immediately above) I was stunned. It looked as if a tiny meteorite had struck the mirror at high speed, left burn marks in its track (the aforementioned smudge), and then melded itself to the edge of the mirror. As it looked as if there was something metal fused to the edge of the mirror I immediately thought of something molten … I thought it possible that the sun had caused the damage, but again, I knew that I had never pointed my Nikon 600 at the sun in ages. At least intentionally …

I sent the photos here to Patrick who replied, That is definitely sun damage. Only the sun concentrated rays of the sun could melt the inside of a camera body.

I then came to the realization that at some point I had left my lens unattended on the tripod with the lens inadvertently pointed at the sun for at least a few minutes. Note the slight arc to the smudge; that was somehow caused as the sun followed its curved path through the sky …

The Lesson

Be Careful Out There

Remember. Be careful out there. That was the trademark phrase of Sergeant Phil Esterhaus (played by Michael Conrad — 1925–1983) that was in the opening of each episode of Hill Street Blues. The repairs for my sun-damaged D850 cost me about $325.

You can bet your bottom dollar that for at least the next thirty years I will remember to point my lens down and away from the sun when I take a break in the field …

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)

You will find roughly one zillion great Photoshop tips — including all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — 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. 🙂 RAW conversions with DPP 4 are straightforward once you enter the camera/ISO specific recipes (as detailed in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide). After using ACR to convert my Nikon (and more recently, my SONY) image for more than a year, I have begun converting all of my SONY and Nikon RAW files in Capture One Pro 12.

You can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II and save $15 by purchasing the pair.

Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and NeatImage Noise Reduction techniques in The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and 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 :).

June 4th, 2019

Photographing the Muted Ball of the Sun. A Great Capture One Pro 12 Tip. And the Setting up a Tripod in your Vehicle MP4 Video

What’s Up?

Lots.

Last night I went down to the lake as the wind was a gentle breeze from the northeast. There was an Osprey on the perch but the western sky was too, too clear. While I was tooling around, I found two medium-sized crane chicks that were surely hatched in May. Jim had told me about them. I saw them again this morning, Tuesday, June 4, 2019. Most of the crane nests here hatch in late February and March.

Several clutches of three Ospreys fledged about 10 days ago but the chicks had been hard to come by until this morning. I photographed one on the railing of the pier last week in a less than ideal situation. This morning I found two perched on 4X4 posts supporting a small dock. Not the greatest perches either but the birds and the light were gorgeous. Images and more soon.

I will start packing today for my trip to Northern Ontario on Thursday. I will have internet access the whole time. 🙂

My Final Offer: Huge Late-registration UK Puffins, Gannets, and Red Kites Instructional Photo-Tour Discount Increased Again!

The late-registration discount has been increased to $4,000.00.

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

In an effort to fill a single remaining slot, I have increased the the late-registration discount for this great IPT from $3,000.00 to $4000.00. Click here and scroll down a bit for complete details. Please e-mail for additional information.

FlexShooter Pro Updates

A very few FlexShooter Pro heads are now in stock here in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store. We have sold 36 of the first forty that we received — all to positive reviews — and are expecting 20 more next week. We have the correct BigFoot plate available for all lenses but for the Nikon 600mm f/4 VR lens. Please place a phone order if you would like the plate to go with your new FlexShooter Pro head; they should be in the store by next week.

As most of you know, I am now using it for 100% of my tripod-mounted photogtraphy. See here and here to learn more. Or see the video here.

Last week I got my hands on the prototype for the new FLN-60 Bigfoot for the Nikon 600 VR. It is long enough to balance the 600 alone with any Nikon camera body and the best news is that the Wimberley F-1 Flash Bracket fits perfectly and mounts easily. I will post a photo here soon. We will have them in stock in about three weeks.

tripod-in-car

i-Phone 8+ image in Portrait Mode by Jim Litzenberg

Setting the Tripod Up in the Vehicle/Best by far with the FlexShooter Pro

The Setting up a Tripod in your Vehicle MP4 Video

$10 here in the BAA Online Store or free with your purchase of the life-changing FlexShooter Pro Head.

This seven-minute video will teach you exactly how to set up a tripod in most vehicles. You can do this with pretty much any tripod that does not have a center post. It is just one of the many reasons that I do not like or use a tripod with a center post. As I did for more than two decades, you can use this strategy with any ballhead or with a Wimberley V2 head or a Mongoose M3.6 action head, but the FlexShooter Pro has several huge advantages. First and foremost you are able to level the large silver ball. This enables you to pan with moving subjects and shoot action and even flight from the driver’s seat of your vehicle all while the camera remains 100% square to the world, aka “level.” The second big advantage is the FlexShooter Pro has a lower profile than either of the other two heads mentioned so that you can be low enough to work subjects on the ground that are relatively close to your car.

You can order your copy of this MP4 video here in BAA Online Store. It is free with the purchase of a FlexShooter Pro head. Those who have previously purchased the FlexShooter Pro from us can e-mail to request their free copy.

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 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 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 Listing

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Kit with the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5 – 5.6 IS STM Lens

IPT veteran Dane Johnson is offering a Canon EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition (with a low shutter count of < 4700) with the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5 - 5.6 IS STM lens (in mint condition) for the crazy low price of only $999.00 (with extras!). The sale includes the front body cap, a BG-E16 battery grip (a $209.00 value), a RRS BGE16-L L-plate (a $125 value -- no longer available new from RRS), an extra LP-E6 battery, the charger, the strap, the original product box with user documents and all cables, the front and rear caps and the original box for the 135 along with the EW-73B lens hood, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US lower 48 addresses only. Your kit will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Dane via e-mail or on his cell phone at 1-559-593-0989 (Pacifc time).

I loved my 7D II and to this day I am often amazed by many of the images that I created with it. It is the first choice camera body of highly skilled bird photographer BPN Avian Moderator Dan Cadieux (whose work has been featured here often — do a search in the little white box top right of each blog post for “Cadieux”), and more recently Ravi Harekatur (see the recent blog post here if you missed his great macro shots). The 18-135mm, made especially for Canon crop-factor bodies, is a great travel lens that with its 1.3 foot minimum focus distance offers macro capabilities. It alone sells new for $599.00. This is a truly great buy on an ideal starter kit for someone just getting into nature photography. Add the 100-400 II and you are good to go! artie

Osprey-in-sun-ball-_BUP8872-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

This image was created on the very late afternoon of May 27, 2019 down by the lake near my home. Working while seated in the front seat of my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 800. Matrix metering at about zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode was perfect with the red channel clipped a bit. AUTO1 WB at 8:07:06pm with some thin clouds on the western horizon.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: a very significant +9. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Three down and four to the left Single Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The single AF point was placed squarely on the bird’s neck.

Image #1: Osprey centered in the ball of the muted sun

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Photographing the Muted Ball of the Sun

I have enjoyed photographing the muted ball of the sun with long telephoto lenses and teleconverters for several decades. Unless you take extreme measures and use a complex technique to ensure eye safety, it is simply not a good plan to photograph the sun in a clear sky after it has been up for more than a very few minutes. I am pretty sure that I have covered that topic somewhere at some point … Or at least taught it on a Bosque IPT. (Note: my plan is to be leading two Bosque workshops this year, one just before and one just after Thanksgiving with an option for the whole nine yards. I will be announcing the dates and rates once I am able to secure my Special Use Permit.)

Whenever there are some light clouds or mist or fog near the horizon it is safe to photograph the sun without risking damage to your eyes (or as we will see in a blog post soon), to your camera. In years past I often worked at 1200mm when photographing muted suns in the early mornings or late afternoons, often with a crop factor camera body. It was easy to produce relatively huge in the frame suns. With Nikon, however, I pretty much max out at 840mm, the 600 VR plus the TCE-14.

While it is fun making images of muted suns, it is a lot more fun when you can include a bird in the frame and even more fun when you can silhouette the bird in the ball of the sun. The big challenge here is that the sun is effectively moving in the sky as the earth rotates; this makes positioning the bird exactly inside the sun very difficult — though the movement of the sun through the sky is very slow you do not have all day … Working from the car as I was with both of today’s images (photographed 19 seconds apart), means that you will be moving the vehicle every minute or so. In the late afternoons that means that I am moving the car backward as the sun moves to my right and in addition, maneuvering the car slightly higher on the slope that goes down to the lake so that I can keep the bird lined up with the sun …

Note that I increased the exposure 1/3 stop from Image #1 to Image #2 by decreasing the shutter speed from 1/2000 to 1/1600 second. As stressed here often on the blog it is imperative that you burn (over-expose) the RED channel (and actually the YELLOW channel as well when photographing vivid sunrise and sunsets. If you do not, the rest of the image will be rendered as underexposed mud. Proper technique also includes exposing so that you have significant blinkies on the brightest parts of the sun. That was the case with both of today’s featured images.

Osprey-with-wings-spread-sun-ball-_BUP8885-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

This image was also created on the very late afternoon of May 27, 2019 down by the lake near my home.19 second after the image above. Working while seated in the front seat of my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 800. Matrix metering at about zero: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode was perfect with the red channel clipped a bit. AUTO1 WB at 8:07:25pm with some thin clouds on the western horizon.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: a very significant +9. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Three down and four to the left Single Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The single AF point was placed on the base of the bird’s neck.

Image #2: Osprey was wings raised in front of the ball of the muted sun

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Understand …

That neither of today’s featured images would have been possible with the usual southwest winds in the afternoons. Wind against sun is what you need for silhouettes, in addition to a somewhat muted sun.

Which?

Which of the two images do you like best? Why? In what way or ways is Image #1 stronger than Image #2? In what way or ways is Image #2 stronger than Image #1?

A Great Capture One Pro 12 Tip

As mentioned above, the RED and YELLOW channels were toasted in the two RAW (NEF) files. Rather than decreasing the Exposure during the RAW conversion in Capture One, I tried moving the Highlight Slider to the right. (It is under the High Dynamic Range tab.) As I moved the slider farther and farther to the right, the RED (over-) Exposure Warnings diminished just as I got to 100. If you convert in ACR you might give this a try in similar situations. You will find Exposure Warning under View; the keyboard shortcut is Command E. It sometimes turns itself off without reason …

C1-Simplified-MP-4-VideoB

The Capture One Pro-12 Simplified Video
Click here to order.

The Capture One Pro-12 Simplified Video

$15.00 via electronic download

As below, Capture One did a great job of converting the RAW (NEF) files for today’s featured images.

When I first heard about doing RAW conversions in Capture One Pro 12 I purchased the somewhat pricey program and tried to figure it out on my own. I was totally lost. So I did some reading online and was still very confused. Then I consulted Arash Hazeghi’s comprehensive The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide and while Arash does a great job of covering the fine points, I still had some difficulty getting started. I thought Who needs Sessions and who wants to have to Import images? So I consulted Patrick Sparkman, the BAA technical advisor. Patrick had been using C-1 Pro 12 for a while. We spent a good deal of time on FaceTime simplifying things. That video is a direct result of those conversations.

You can purchase your copy in the BAA Online Store here.

If you are new to Capture One Pro-12, please click here to order. Understand that C-1 Pro 12 is expensive for good reason … Are your photos worth it?

Here are some of the things you will learn in this 33+ minute video as we convert nine different RAW files (eight Nikon and one SONY) from soup to nuts, from Photo Mechanic through the RAW conversion in Capture One to Photoshop:

  • 1-How to quickly and easily find your images while working in a simple file folder format.
  • 2-How to customize your Exposure and Details tabs to streamline your workflow.
  • 3-How to set the White and Black points using Levels.
  • 4-How to adjust set the values for the relevant sliders including Exposure, White Balance, High Dynamic Range (the Highlight and Shadow sliders), and Clarity and Structure.
  • 5-How to work at 100 or 200% and fine-tune your settings for Noise Reduction and Sharpness.
  • 6-How to work with the Color Editor

If you are trying to get a handle on how to use this great RAW conversion engine for your Nikon and SONY images, this video is just what you have been looking for. It is meant to serve as an adjunct to Arash’s comprehensive The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide. For Canon shooters, Arash and I both recommend using DPP 4.

If In Doubt …

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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.

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Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).