Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
July 6th, 2020

Quick Mask Flower Magic. Canon Macro Lens Choices (and more). And On Shading Flowers on Sunny Days ...

What’s Up?

I headed out early this morning — Monday 6 JULY 2020. It was clear and sunny. I stopped on the way down to the lake to photograph some large yellow flowers; I am going to try to learn whether they are a native species — there is one, Wild Allamanda, but after some online research I suspect that it is one of the non-natives …

I did OK down by the lake with several adult Sandhill Cranes including one in a very nice studio setting ๐Ÿ™‚

BIRDS AS ART

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

SONY e-Guide Discount Program

Purchase a (new) qualifying SONY camera body (a7r iii, a7r iv, a9, a9 ii) from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $40 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 200-600mm G lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $25 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a free SONY e-guide with one or two videos.

Please send your Bedford’s or B&H receipts to me via e-mail to receive your discount and your ordering instructions. Folks purchasing from Bedfords and using the BIRDSASART code will save $50. Folks sending their B&H receipts may need to wait a few days to have their purchases confirmed. Folks using Bedfords will have their purchases confirmed immediately.

99 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

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

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

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

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

Money Saving Reminder

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



Gear Questions and Advice

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

A Macro Lens Question

Left as a comment by Norm Sskliar:

Art, question, โ€“ is the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 HSM macro lens compatible with the Canon EOSS 7D Mark II? If not, what macro lens would you recommend ?

Hey Norm, Good question. The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Canon EF is perfectly compatible with all Canon EF bodies including the 7D Mark II. I have never used it but it generally receives very good reviews. Compare it with either the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens or the newer Image Stabilized (IS) version, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens. Note: the Sigma version offers an Optical Stabilizer system that enables folks to create sharper images when shooting handheld.

Sigma also offers a Nikon mount version, the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Nikon F.

Most of the 90, 100, and 105mm macro lenses do not come with a tripod collar so if you are planning to work on a tripod as I do most of the time, you will need to explore the tripod collar options.

We are however, not quite done ๐Ÿ™‚ When I used Canon, I owned the 100 IS macro and the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM Lens. For flowers, especially cultivated flowers like dahlias and tulips, the 100 macro was great. But for generally smaller wildflowers, frogs, bugs, and butterflies, I loved the longer focal length of the 180 macro. That brings us to the last alternative, the Tamron Telephoto SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di LD IF Macro Autofocus Lens for Canon EOS. Here again, the off-brand Tamron 180 has a great reputation. Do understand that the Sigma and Tamron lenses will save you considerable money while producing excellent results …

All in all, it is your call. Do let me know if you have any additional questions and please remember to use my affiliate links for this and other purchases.

This image was created on 2 JULY 2020 down near the end of Lakeview Drive about a mile from my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. I used the Induro GIT 404L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sigma APO Macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens for Nikon F with the Vello Select Nikon F Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera Auto Lens Adapter (Firmware Ver. 6) and the 61-MP Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 400. Exposure determined by experimentation with the best exposure determined by RawDigger: 1/60 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:01am on a sunny morning. I was not able to completely shade the background with my torso so I simply pulled my Sequoia up to do the job.

Picked and Plamped from an ocassionally mowed roadside median. Manual Focus using techniques from the SONY e-Guide. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Photo Mechanic Screen Capture for Partridge Pea (Camaecrista fasciculata)

Partridge Pea: a Difficult Subject!

Though a common species, I found my first batch of Partridge Pea just a few days ago, and a second batch yesterday at a different location. As the flower is quite distinctive and there are no similar species, I am 100% sure of my identification. (Unless and until proven otherwise!)

The flowers are sort of curled and twisted making them difficult to photograph; with this and all of the other blossoms, one of the five petals was curved in as you with the petal at the 10:30 position (just to the right and above the letter A). This means that you need some extra depth-of-field. As stopping down with the rig I was using is problematic, the simple solution was to move the tripod back a bit and photograph the blossom with some extra leaves and a pod or two rather than trying to shoot the single flower full frame. Remember, at a given aperture, the greater the distance to the subject the greater the depth-of-field.

If you enlarge the image you can see the second big problem: the sepal (?) on our left just below the letter A is flattened against the petal below the A. Compositionally, this left an empty hole in the area around the A. After cleaning up the dark crud spots on some of the compound leaves, I created and saved a version true to the RAW file. But I was not at all happy with the image design as noted above. A day after working the image, I re-did it with a new plan. I painted a Quick Mask of the sepal (?) at the 4:30 position (just our left of the B) and placed it on its own layer. I moved it into position with the Move Tool (V) and then, using the Transform command I rotated it, flipped it vertically, and re-sized and warped it a bit so that it did not match the source sepal perfectly.

On Shading Flowers on Sunny Days …

I’ve consistently said after looking at way too many terrible flower images lit by harsh light in full sun (mostly in field guides), that the best and simplest way for folks to improve their flower photography would be to shade their subjects. That can be done in many ways — with a large diffuser, with the photographer’s body, with a large piece of cardboard or a cardboard box, with a blanket thrown over a spare tripod, or as here, with my vehicle.

This image was created on 2 JULY 2020 down near the end of Lakeview Drive about a mile from my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. I used the Induro GIT 404L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sigma APO Macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens for Nikon F with the Vello Select Nikon F Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera Auto Lens Adapter (Firmware Ver. 6) and the 61-MP Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 400. Exposure determined by experimentation with the best exposure determined by RawDigger: 1/60 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:01am on a sunny morning. I was not able to completely shade the background with my torso so I simply pulled my Sequoia up to do the job.

Picked and Plamped from an occasionally- mowed roadside strip. Manual Focus using techniques from the SONY e-Guide. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Optimized version of Partridge Pea (Camaecrista fasciculata)

The Optimized Version

Considering the difficulty of the subject and the image optimization, I was quite happy with the results. Now I need to find a perfect blossom with the leaf just above A oriented just like the leaf above B and I will be in business … Your thoughts?

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. Be sure to specify Digital Basics II.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If In Doubt …

If you are in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.







Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the BAA Online Store ๐Ÿ™‚

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog or Bedfords, for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would, of course, appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links or Bedfords for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who regularly visit the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

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 :).

July 5th, 2020

An Insta-Delete for Me. Mis-understanding Perspective Changes and Sun Angle. And a Flash Card Sale ...

What’s Up?

On Saturday morning I found a nearby home with extensive flowering plantings. I have close to zero interest in photographing non-native flowers, but there was a gorgeous tropical heliconia species and I could not resist doing some abstracts. There were some neat wildflowers across the road near a drainage ditch but by the time I spotted them it had gotten breezy. I returned this early morning — Sunday 5 JULY 2020 — and spent a solid hour with the Sigma 150mm/Vello adapter/a7r IV combo.

I headed down to the lake by 7:30am and found and photographed the Mother’s Day crane family. I saw the surviving chick, hatched on 9 or 10 May, fly about 15 yards. More good news: Old Gnarly’s surviving colt is alive and well. The family must have crossed the canal a few weeks ago to Avocado where they have been happily dining in a corn-feeder-equipped backyard. Thanks to my new neighbor/friend Ron who alerted me to the family’s location.

BIRDS AS ART

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

Flash Card Sale

San Disk Extreme Pro 128GB Compact Flash Card

I am offering a brand new in the unopened sleeve San Disk Extreme Pro 128GB Compact Flash Card (Up to 160 MB/s: 1067X) for a very low $89.99. Save $30.00 as these sell new for $119.00. The sale includes insured UPS Ground Shipping. PayPal plus 4% or credit card plus 4% is preferred to a check so that we can ship your card on Monday. To pay with a credit card plus 4% call 863-692-0906 after 9am on Monday.

Please contact artie via e-mail or on his cell at 863-221-2372 before 4pm Eastern time. Please leave a message or text if no answer.

Delkin 240GB Premium XQD Memory Card

Sold 2nd day of listing

I am offering a brand new (out of the sleeve but never used) Delkin 240GB Premium XQD Memory Card for a very low $299.00. Save a cool $136.00 as these sell new for $435.00. The sale includes insured UPS Ground Shipping. PayPal plus 4% or credit card plus 4% is preferred to a check so that we can ship your card on Monday. To pay with a credit card plus 4% call 863-692-0906 after 9am on Monday.

Please contact artie via e-mail or on his cell at 863-221-2372 before 4pm Eastern time. Please leave a message or text if no answer.

SONY 128GB XQD Memory Card

Sold 2nd day of listing

I am offering a lightly used SONY 128GB XQD Memory Card (R:440 MB/s, W: 400MB/s) USB for a very low $89.99. Save $89.00 as these sell new for $169.99. The sale includes insured UPS Ground Shipping. PayPal plus 4% or credit card plus 4% is preferred to a check so that we can ship your card on Monday. To pay with a credit card plus 4% call 863-692-0906 after 9am on Monday.

Please contact artie via e-mail or on his cell at 863-221-2372 before 4pm Eastern time. Please leave a message or text if no answer.

Delkin 128GB XQD Premium Memory Card

Sold 2nd day of listing

I am offering a near-mint Delkin 128GB XQD Premium Memory Card for a very low $99.99. Save $90.01 as these sell new for $190.00. The sale includes insured UPS Ground Shipping. PayPal plus 4% or credit card plus 4% is preferred to a check so that we can ship your card on Monday. To pay with a credit card plus 4% call 863-692-0906 after 9am on Monday.

Please contact artie via e-mail or on his cell at 863-221-2372 before 4pm Eastern time. Please leave a message or text if no answer.

Delkin 128GB XQD Premium Memory Card

Sold 2nd day of listing

I am offering a lightly used Delkin 128GB XQD Premium Memory Card for a very low $69.99. Save $120.01 as these sell new for $190.00. The sale includes insured UPS Ground Shipping. PayPal plus 4% or credit card plus 4% is preferred to a check so that we can ship your card on Monday. To pay with a credit card plus 4% call 863-692-0906 after 9am on Monday.

Please contact artie via e-mail or on his cell at 863-221-2372 before 4pm Eastern time. Please leave a message or text if no answer.

SONY e-Guide Discount Program

Purchase a (new) qualifying SONY camera body (a7r iii, a7r iv, a9, a9 ii) from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $40 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 200-600mm G lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $25 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a free SONY e-guide with one or two videos.

Please send your Bedford’s or B&H receipts to me via e-mail to receive your discount and your ordering instructions. Folks purchasing from Bedfords and using the BIRDSASART code will save $50. Folks sending their B&H receipts may need to wait a few days to have their purchases confirmed. Folks using Bedfords will have their purchases confirmed immediately.

99 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

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

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

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

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

This image was created on Wednesday 1 July 2020 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Working down the slope near the canal, I handheld the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (at 181mm) with the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 800. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:09am on a morning with aa few clouds in the eastern sky.

Wide AF-C was active at the moment of exposure; the system picked an AF point halfway down the colt’s long neck right on the same plane as the eye.

Click on the image to view a larger version.

Image #1: Sandhill Crane adult and colt

Keep or Delete? Why

In the Keep or Delete? blog post here, I posted:

The image above is a Capture One Screen Capture. After enlarging the image, please leave a comment letting us know whether you would keep this one or delete it. And let us know why you made your decision. If it is a keeper for you, consider letting us know your plans for the image optimization.

Several folks responded stating that they would keep the image and shared reasonable plans for the image optimization.

Image #2: Crop of Sandhill Crane adult and colt

An Insta-Delete for Me

For me, this one is an insta-delete as the colt’s head is turned about two degrees away. BTW, that does not mean the my answer is right for everyone. As someone mentioned, I have a nice collection of about one zillion Sandhill Crane image.

For a complete treatise on head angles, visit the Head Angle Fine Points thread on BPN here. There have been 392 replies and 151,314 views. Who knows, you might learn something. From the Educational Resources Forum (the ER).

Money Saving Reminder

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



Gear Questions and Advice

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

This image was created on 21 JUNE 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my SUV I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 248mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/1250 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:58am on a sunny morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot M AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed superbly.

Image #3: Great Egret immature standing on dock

Mis-understanding Perspective Changes and Sun Angle

In the Behaviors on the Dock of the Bay. Working a Subject. Eye Replacement. And An H-V AF Tip for All Systems blog post here, I wrote:

I stopped my SUV about a foot or two short of being on sun angle. Note that the shadows of the birdโ€™s legs (and the pole) are angled about 10-15 degrees to the left. Before you scroll down to see todayโ€™s four featured images, try to figure out why I did not get right on sun angle and leave a comment.

It seemed like such a simple question, but many folks struggled. Below are some relevant conversations from the Comments section.

With Gary Prestash:

I think that there are 3 reasons why you stopped short of sun angle. (1) the post on the opposite side of the dock would constrain your shooting view of the bird;

(1) is incorrect. As I said elsewhere here, if I pulled forward to get right on sun angle there would have been nothing between the bird and me. And since I was working at 1200mm I would not have been constrained in any way!

(2) that same post would cast a shadow that might cover part of the bird;

(2) is incorrect. As I said elsewhere here (and above!), if I pulled forward to get right on sun angle there would have been nothing between the bird and me.

and (3) you wanted the blue water behind the bird as your b/g, not the darker shadowed water.

(3) is 100% correct and is the answer that I was looking for.

with love, a

With David Policansky

Artie: Thanks for these, and happy Fourth of July.

Thanks and ditto, David. But it’s Groundhog Day here; every day is pretty much the same.

The temperature might have reached 70 here on Nantucket today.

It was 104F in some places in Ontario in the past few days! I’d rather be on Nantucket!

I have two favorites, the scratching egret and the one with the open mouth.

Thanks for sharing those.

The scratching one would be my favorite alone except for the eye; I think, most animals, including birds, close their eye when scratching their face like that, so the wide-open eye looks just slightly odd. I might not have noticed if you’d not mentioned it.

David, David, David. Yes, many animals and birds protect their eyes when scratching. But if you go back and read carefully you will see that I replaced the eye in Image #4 … So at times, they keep their eyes wide open, unprotected by the nictitating membrane. That is one of the reasons that I have no qualms about replacing nictitating-covered-eyes. If you think that I am pulling your foot, I’d be glad to send you the RAW file ๐Ÿ™‚

As for why you were off sun angle, first, let me say to Gary Prestash that moving your point of view cannot affect the shadow of a post, so if the post isn’t casting a shadow on the bird from the viewpoint where you took the photo, moving wouldn’t make it cast a shadow on the bird.

First off, changing one’s point of view does affect the shadow cast by the post. If I moved my vehicle forward so that the sun was right behind me and pointed at the post, the shadow of the post would disappear behind the post. If I moved my SUV backwards, the angle between the post and its shadow would increase. As for the second part of your statement, I was confused at first but I believe that if I moved the car back far enough, the shadow of the right hand post would have fallen on the bird (even if our view of the bird would have been blocked by the left-hand post. Whew! That taxed my brain cells ๐Ÿ™‚

But it would wreck the composition, I think, by putting the post on the right too close to the bird.

I am confused again ๐Ÿ™‚ Please understand that when framing Image #1 I was thinking of it only as an educational image: I was not at all concerned with any compositional or artistic aspects of the photograph.

with love, artie

With J Marr Miller (who almost hit the nail on the head):

Artie, You chose to be slightly off sun angle because you wanted to avoid the tree reflections in your water backgrounds.

My Reply:

Yes sir! More simply put, I wanted the blue water background. Notice that in Images #s 2 & 5 that a some dark reflections crept into the sides of the frame.

Starting from Scratch for Better Understanding

Scroll up and take a good look at Image #3. Put yourself in the driver’s seat. Note that if you pull the car up a foot or two that instead of a blue water background — my heart’s desire for this series of images — you would have had a darker background consisting of the reflections of a tree on the far shore (as stated above by J Marr Miller).

Now try the same exercise while noting what happens to the shadow of the post as you pull forward or move the car back …

Questions are of course quite welcome.

If In Doubt …

If you are in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.







Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the BAA Online Store ๐Ÿ™‚

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog or Bedfords, for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would, of course, appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links or Bedfords for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who regularly visit the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

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 :).

July 4th, 2020

Behaviors on the Dock of the Bay. Working a Subject. Eye Replacement. And An H-V AF Tip for All Systems

What’s Up?

On Friday morning, I worked on preening adult Sandhill Cranes in early morning light but did not come up with anything memorable.

It’s amazing how well relatively small price drops can work when selling used gear. I was glad to learn yesterday of the sale of Anita North’s 80-400 VR, the two high-shutter-count D850s, and her two teleconverters — the TC-E17 and the TC-E20. It is a buyer’s market and there are lots of great buys on the Used Gear Page here.

The forecast for today –Saturday 4 JUNE 2020 — is for partly to mostly cloudy with a blessedly and relatively low high temperature of 90 degrees. With scattered thunderstorms of course. I will be concentrating on flowers this morning.

You will need to scroll down below Image #1 to see the four featured images. If you are not too busy barbecuing, please leave a comment and let us know which is your favorite image and why.

BIRDS AS ART

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

SONY e-Guide Discount Program

Purchase a (new) qualifying SONY camera body (a7r iii, a7r iv, a9, a9 ii) from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $40 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 200-600mm G lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $25 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a free SONY e-guide with one or two videos.

Please send your Bedford’s or B&H receipts to me via e-mail to receive your discount and your ordering instructions. Folks purchasing from Bedfords and using the BIRDSASART code will save $50. Folks sending their B&H receipts may need to wait a few days to have their purchases confirmed. Folks using Bedfords will have their purchases confirmed immediately.

99 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

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

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

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

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

This image was created on 21 JUNE 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my SUV I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 248mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/1250 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:58am on a sunny morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot M AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed superbly.

Image #1: Great Egret immature standing on dock

Working off Sun Angle …

I stopped my SUV about a foot or two short of being on sun angle. Note that the shadows of the bird’s legs (and the pole) are angled about 10-15 degrees to the left. Before you scroll down to see today’s four featured images, try to figure out why I did not get right on sun angle and leave a comment.

Money Saving Reminder

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



Gear Questions and Advice

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

This image was created on 21 JUNE 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 204/FlexShooter Mini-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the blazingly fast Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body). ISO: 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with exposure compensation on the rear wheel: 1/800 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:45:05am on a sunny morning …

Tracking Flexible Spot (S) AF-C. The AF point tracked the upper left corner of the bird’s eye.

Image #2: Great Egret immature head and shoulders portrait

Young-of-the-Year Great Egret

You can tell that this is an immature bird that hatched a few months ago by the dark mark along the distal end of the upper mandible. Analyzing the situation reveals that this is not the world’s most beautiful young Great Egret; note the sort of dirty brown smudges on various parts of the plumage, especially on the chin and the surrounding area. But …

This image was created on 21 JUNE 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 204/FlexShooter Mini-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the blazingly fast Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body). ISO: 500. Exposure determined by Zebras with exposure compensation on the rear wheel: 1/1000 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:54:06am on a sunny morning …

Wide AF-C. The system grabbed the upper center of the upper mandible, right on the same plane as the bird’s eye.

Image #3: Great Egret immature preening a neck feather

But!

The bird, however, was doing all sorts of neat stuff so I stayed with it for a good half hour. The trick with tall preening-the-neck images like this is to have the bird’s face and bill perfectly parallel to the back of the camera (and the sensor). And the icing on the cake for all preening images is getting a frame or two showing the bird with a feather or two in its bill. The SONY a9 ii’s amazing 15 frames per second makes that a lot easier to do than when working with slower frame-rate bodies.

This image was created on 21 JUNE 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 204/FlexShooter Mini-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the blazingly fast Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body). ISO: 500. Exposure determined by Zebras with exposure compensation on the rear wheel: 1/1000 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:55:17am on a sunny morning …

Wide AF-C. The system grabbed a spot just in front of the base of the lower mandible.

Image #4: Great Egret ???

???

I am not sure if this image shows the bird yawning or jerking its head around while trying to eject a pellet or bolus. Herons, egret, gulls, shorebirds, and raptors will often be seen coughing such balls of indigestible materials made up of small bones, teeth, shells, feathers, fur, etc. I did not see this bird regurgitate anything.

Eye Replacement

In this frame — my favorite from a sequence of about 15 images, the nictitating membrane covered the bird’s eye. I grabbed a fully open eye from another frame via a small Quick Mask. Then I placed the new eye layer on this image by reducing the opacity to 50%, rotated, resized, and warped the layer, and refined it to perfection all as detailed in The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) and in APTATS I & II — can save $15 by purchasing the pair!

This image was created on 21 JUNE 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 204/FlexShooter Mini-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the blazingly fast Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body). ISO: 500. Exposure determined by Zebras with exposure compensation on the rear wheel: 1/1000 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:55:24am on a sunny morning …

Center Zone AF-C. Here, the system grabbed a spot an inch in front of the base of the upper mandible.

Image #5: Great Egret scratching

Horizontal/Vertical (H-V) AF Area Modes

Noting how quickly the behaviors changed — Images #3, 4, & 5 were created in a span of just 78 seconds — folks might wonder how I was able to change the AF Areas as needed to best keep up with the action. First off, as with Canon and Nikon, you can set your SONY camera to remember one AF Area for horizontal shooting and one other for vertical shooting! Actually, with SONY, the camera can remember two AF Areas for vertical shooting depending on whether you rotate the lens in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Your camera may or may not offer this feature.

To change the AF Area quickly, Patrick and I use the default button: C2. One of the great strengths of the SONY e-Guide and Videos is the lengthy discussion of the numerous and varied SONY AF Areas and dozens of examples in the various galleries.

If In Doubt …

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Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the BAA Online Store ๐Ÿ™‚

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog or Bedfords, for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would, of course, appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links or Bedfords for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who regularly visit the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

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Typos

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