Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
November 29th, 2022

Apples and Oranges. Night and Day. And NANPA Tidbits

San Diego IPT #1 Late Registration Discount

Please shoot me an e-mail if you would like to the San Diego IPT #1 Late Registration Discount. Note that due to a cancellation, there is now a single opening on San Diego #2.

This all-new card includes images created on my JAN 2022 visit to San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The 2022/23 San Diego Brown Pelicans (and more!) IPTs

San Diego IPT #1. 3 1/2 DAYS: WED 21 DEC thru the morning session on Saturday 24 DEC 2022. $2099.00. Deposit: $699.00. Limit: 6 photographers/Openings: 5.

San Diego IPT #2. 4 1/2 DAYS: SAT 7 JAN thru the morning session on WED 11 JAN 2023: $2699.00. Deposit: $699.00. Limit: 6 photographers/1 Opening.

San Diego IPT #3: 4 1/2 DAYS: THURS 19 JAN thru the morning session on MON 23 JAN 2023: $2699.00. Deposit: $699.00. Limit: 6 photographers.

Please e-mail for information on personalized pre- and post-IPT and In-the-Field Sessions.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (nesting) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Ducks; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Northern Shoveler and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heermann’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others are possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions (both depending on the current regulations and restrictions). And as you can see by studying the IPT cards, there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Not to mention a ton of excellent flight photography opportunities and instruction.

Please note: where permitted and on occasion, ducks and gulls may be attracted (or re-located) with offerings of grains or healthy bread.

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Learning Exposure, Whether You Like It Or Not

Whether you like it or not, we will be beating the subject of exposure like a dead horse. In every new situation, you will hear my thoughts on exposure along with my thoughts on both Nikon and Canon histograms and SONY Zebras. Whether you like it or not, you will learn to work in manual mode so that you can get the right exposure every time (as long as a bird gives you ten seconds with the light constant). Or two seconds with SONY zebras … And you will learn what to do when the light is changing constantly. What you learn about exposure will be one of the great takeaways on every IPT.

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT, there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

It Ain’t Just Pelicans

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography as well, often with 70-200mm lenses! And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You will be guided as to how to make the best of those opportunities. Depending on the weather, the local conditions, and the tides, there are a variety of other fabulous photo chances available in and around San Diego.


san-diego-card-neesie

Did I mention that there are lots of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter? Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The San Diego Details

These IPTs will include four or five 3-hour morning photo sessions, three or four 1 1/2-hour afternoon photo sessions, and three or four working brunches that will include image review and Photoshop sessions. On rare cloudy days, we may — at the leader’s discretion, stay out in the morning for a long session and skip that afternoon. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. And so that we can get some sleep, dinners will be on your own as well. In the extremely unlikely event that Goldfish Point is closed due to local ordinance (or whimsy) — that has never happened in the past fifty years, I will of course do my very best to maximize our photographic opportunities.

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Deposit Info

A $699 deposit is required to hold your slot for one of the 2022/23 San Diego IPTs. You can send a check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART”) to us here: BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855, or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, is due three months before the trip.


san-diego-card-b

Variety is surely the spice of life in San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Getting Up Early and Staying Out Late

On all BIRDS AS ART IPTS including and especially the San Diego IPT, we get into the field early to take advantage of unique and often spectacular lighting conditions and we stay out late to maximize the chances of killer light and glorious sunset silhouette situations. We often arrive at the cliffs a full hour before anyone else shows up to check out the landscape and seascape opportunities.

What’s Up?

I did not make it down to the lake yesterday morning because I had many hours of work to do on the NANPA/ASMP non-merger. I hope to get down this morning as it is slated to be the first clear sunrise in weeks.

Today is Tuesday 29 November 2022. This blog post took about 90 minutes to prepare and makes two hundred forty-seven days in a row with a new, educational post just for you. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon links that are found on most blog pages and to use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout when purchasing your new gear from Bedfords to get 3% back on your credit card and enjoy free second-day air FedEx. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!

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 earn 3% cash back 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.

Brand-New and As-Good-As-Ever Bedfords BAA Discount Policy

Folks who have fallen in love with Bedfords can now use the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout to enjoy a post-purchase, 3% off-statement credit (excluding taxes and shipping charges) on orders paid with a credit card. The 3% credit will be refunded to the card you used for your purchase. Be sure, also, to check the box for free shipping to enjoy free Second Day Air Fed-Ex. This offer does not apply to purchases of Classes, Gift Cards, or to any prior purchases.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would like to enjoy getting 3% back on your credit card along with free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex 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 check the box for Free Shipping. That will automatically upgrade to free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The waitlists 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 a 1, 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.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the Amazon links on the blog (including the logo-link on the right side of each blog post page). My affiliate link works fine with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂



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. And the same is true in spades when ordering new camera bodies or lenses. My advice will often save you some serious money and may help you avoid making a seriously bad choice. Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. If you are desperate, you can try me on my cell at 863-221-2372. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up.

Apples and Oranges. Night and Day

Today’s two featured images are as different as night and day. Selecting your favorite image is like comparing apples and oranges, not to mention Canon versus Nikon.

This image was created on 16 January 2018 on a San Diego IPT. I used the handheld Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 338mm) and the EOS-1DX Mark II. The exposure was determined via histogram and blinks review. ISO 800. 1/500 sec. at f/10 (stopped down 1 2/3 stops). AWB at 8:40:29am on a partly sunny morning.

AF Method unknown. Click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1 — Brown Pelican — non-breeding Pacific-race resting

The Image Clean-up

As this image was created after an over-night rain, very little clean-up was needed. There were two tiny bits of bird poop that were eliminated.

A Color Mixer Video

I absolutely need to begin assembling images so that I can prepare a Color Mixer Video, not only for the BLUEs, but for all colors. This powerful tool allows you to fine-tune the color in your images. In Image #1, using the BLUE Saturation and Luminance sliders brought the ocean background to life.

Color Question

Do the dark tones of the belly feathers have a red color cast?

Depth of Field Question

Considering that I was stopped down almost two full stops, why is there no detail at all in the ocean background???

This image was created on January 28 at La Jolla, CA on a San Diego IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 500mm) and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. Shutter Priority Mode +1.7 stops. AUTO ISO set ISO 30 sec. at f/6.3. AWB at 7:15:34am just before the sun came over the hill to the east/northeast.

Center Group/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Photo Illustration: Brandt’s Cormorant pre-dawn blur.

Your Call

Which of today’s completely different featured images do you like best? Why?

Today’s NANPA/ASMP Tidbit

538 NANPA members have voted Yes on the Referendum. NANPA leadership is, of course, stalling.

NANPA is conducting a Town Meeting for members only today. I am on record as believing that it will be a complete sham and that none of the questions below, the questions on everyone’s mind, will not be answered honestly.

Questions for the NANPA Town Meetings

1- When will NANPA be sharing a signed copy of the agreement with the membership? This simple step would enable everyone involved to know the truth, to know exactly what is going on and what they might expect in the future.

2- By what authority did the board enter this agreement without the approval of this agreement (or whatever it is)?

3- What provisions are there in NANPA’s Articles and Bylaws permitting the board to take such action.

4- Why has NANPA hidden and refused to share the Board Meeting minutes for the last six months, the minutes that supposedly approve the NANPA/ASMP deal and the alleged Non-disclosure agreement?

5- Why did the President, the Executive Director, and the board attempt to do this deal in complete secrecy? Why did they choose darkness over light?

Typos

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

November 28th, 2022

My Sunday Morning No Vulture Trees Pledge

Today’s NANPA/ASMP Tidbit

An e-mail from NANPA Member Jerry Bauer

27 November 2022
RE: NANPA-ASMP Merger

Arthur:

I thank you for letting members know about the merger situation between NANPA and ASMP. I do not want to take sides until I have more detailed information. But it bothers me a great deal that:

1) as a long time NANPA member the association did not consult with or notify membership about discussions with ASMP and merging into one organization. I did not know anything about this situation until I received an Email from you (Arthur Morris) on 18 November 2022.

2) in a recent email I read an attachment titled, “Some Important Facts from the NANPA President”. This fact sheet slammed you and clearly stated that this agreement is “not a merger”. I believe that if NANPA was operating in a clear, transparent manner they would not badmouth members who state their opinion and write an open letter to other members.

These two actions by NANPA leadership make me very suspicious about this agreement between NANPA and ASMP and what exactly is going on. Thus, I ask:

1. Why is NANPA so defensive when a member states their opinion?

2. Why was the general membership not involved or notified of discussions with ASMP. This is very suspicious to me.

3. Why is NANPA saying this is not a merger? If it is not a merger then what is it?

4. What authority did leadership have to make this decision without member knowledge or involvement?

5. This letter from NANPA President is more of a defensive justification to members than a notification. This also makes me very suspicious.

6. Also this letter from NANPA President states that the agreement is all ready approved, she is not asking for member approval, it sounds like a done deal. So now they will hold a town hall meeting, but for what? To justify the already made decision?

7. The paragraph “Why not negotiate this openly with the membership?” Is particularly bothersome to me. Basically it is telling membership to take a hike, we know what is best for you so we make decisions.

8. The paragraph “Why not negotiate this openly with the membership?” States that “What potential partner organization would ever want to subject themselves to being attacked and torn apart in uncivil ways?” I do not feel that your (Arthur Morris’s) letter to members was uncivil or attacking. So I am confused as to what NANPA President is trying to convey here. Is there an hidden agenda that members are not aware of? As a NANPA member I am concerned that our President says such thing about another member, I am sure many may members to do feel this way.

9. My personnel opinion is that NANPA is controlled by a small ”clique” of friends and associates. And has been for quite some time. I am not well-known in NANPA, although I am very well-known for my photography in the region where I work (mostly Central America and Caribbean where I have raised millions of dollars to support conservation and sustainable development through photography). For a long time, I have wanted to become more involved in NANPA. In 2010 I was awarded the NANPA Mission Award (for which I am very grateful). I thought this might create an opening for me to become more involved. But I was very disappointed at how I was treated at the Summit, basically ignored. It was evident that I was not part of the click. I volunteered to help with the student committee and I was asked to do a few reviews and work with some High School students. I did, just one time. Then I was just dropped. Again, I felt that I not part of the clique. At one time I saw an announcement of a discussion to hold a Summit in Puerto Rico. I live in PR and I think at that time I was the only NANPA member living in PR. I reached out to NANPA to volunteer to work on this Summit, but never received a reply. I guess this idea was never advanced as no Summit was held in PR.

So these are some of the reasons why I am not involved more in NANPA and not all that surprised at NANPAs actions today in this “merger” that is not a merger. I do not think NANPA leadership is being honest with members or working in best interest in all members.

So as I stated, I am trying not to take sides, but I do want to know more about what is going and why, and I think all members have this right to know. I think it is very unprofessional for a NANPA President to write a “fact sheet” (Some Important Facts from the NANPA President) such as she did. This fact sheet will divide and not bring together members. This is not leadership.

So again, thank you for making members aware, and so very sorry for the way the President and Board is reacting to your opinion. Feel free to share this note to any NANPA member.

Regards,

Jerry Bauer
NANPA Member No.: 11212124
NANPA Mission Award 2010

My Reply, In Part

Thanks Jerry, you are a hard man to convince. But you sure ask a lot of questions that need to be answered. Way to go on your conservation work. FYI, I too was cast aside by NANPA after attending Summits (and taking a table) for 14 of 15 years, working with the Scholarship Students at nearly all of those, and receiving two major awards from NANPA.

with love, artie

What’s Up?

I did make it down to the lake yesterday morning. As it was a somewhat foggy, the sun was peeking out every so often. It was not a very productive morning until the last minute.

Today is Monday 28 November 2022. This blog post took about 90 minutes to prepare and makes two hundred forty-six days in a row with a new, educational post just for you. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon links that are found on most blog pages and to use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout when purchasing your new gear from Bedfords to get 3% back on your credit card and enjoy free second-day air FedEx. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!

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 earn 3% cash back 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.

Brand-New and As-Good-As-Ever Bedfords BAA Discount Policy

Folks who have fallen in love with Bedfords can now use the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout to enjoy a post-purchase, 3% off-statement credit (excluding taxes and shipping charges) on orders paid with a credit card. The 3% credit will be refunded to the card you used for your purchase. Be sure, also, to check the box for free shipping to enjoy free Second Day Air Fed-Ex. This offer does not apply to purchases of Classes, Gift Cards, or to any prior purchases.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would like to enjoy getting 3% back on your credit card along with free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex 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 check the box for Free Shipping. That will automatically upgrade to free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The waitlists 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 a 1, 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.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the Amazon links on the blog (including the logo-link on the right side of each blog post page). My affiliate link works fine with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂



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. And the same is true in spades when ordering new camera bodies or lenses. My advice will often save you some serious money and may help you avoid making a seriously bad choice. Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. If you are desperate, you can try me on my cell at 863-221-2372. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up.

My Sunday Morning No Vulture Trees Pledge

As I drove down to the lake on Sunday morning, I thought, “Enough vulture soup already.” So I promised myself to look for other subjects and head down to the end of Banyan Drive. There were no birds on The Perch (despite repeated checks). There were lots of Great Egret fishing in the marsh. I deleted all of those, more than 200. I kept two Sandhill Crane images out of about 100. It had not been a very good morning for bird photography.

This image was created on 27 November 2022 down by the lake near my home. Working from the driver’s seat of my SUV with the window completely lowered, I used the BLUBB-supported Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. ISO 640. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/1250 second at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that the exposure was a bit brighter than dead-solid perfect. AWB at 9:23:32am on a mostly sunny morning.

Tracking: Spot S/AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #1:Crested Caracara holding shell of long dead turtle — slightly crouched posture<

Long Distance Spotting

About to head home, I decided to drive north on the North Field. When I turned right, I spotted a raptor about 400 yards away flashing black and white as it landed near the base of a large Cabbage Palm. I knew instantly that it was an adult Crested Caracara, surely worthy of investigation.

As I got closer, I saw that the bird was on a slight rise and that once positioned correctly, my car would be in a light depression. By lowering the window, I was as low as I could get without exiting my SUV.

When working off a BLUBB or any (inferior) beanbag, it is important to have the lens in place before you approach a leery subject. If you approach first and then put the lens on the beanbag, that movement will scare away many shy subjects. With my rig in place, I approached very slowly and angled the car to the right so that I was square to both the bird on the sun angle.

I was bummed to see that in addition to the old turtle shell, the bird was holding a 3-inch-long piece of bright aqua-green electrical wire in its bill. I snapped a few images and was glad when the bird dropped both items. Then I got lucky as it picked up only the turtle shell, posed for a few seconds, and then flew off.

The Image Optimization 🙂

After converting the raw file for Image #1, I applied Topaz DeNoise/Clear on a new layer. Next, I created a second new layer for the image clean-up. Using my usual cadre of clean-up tools, I eliminated some tiny, out-of-focus white flowers (while leaving the tiny, out-of-focus yellow ones) and removed some distracting grass stems. Last, I painted in some Gaussian blur at varying increments to cover my tracks. That clean-up took about ten minutes.

This image was created on 27 November 2022 down by the lake near my home. Working from the driver’s seat of my SUV with the window completely lowered, I used the BLUBB-supported Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. ISO 640. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/1250 second at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that the exposure was a bit brighter than dead-solid perfect. AWB at 9:23:35am on a mostly sunny morning.

Tracking: Spot S/AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #2:Crested Caracara holding shell of long dead turtle — more erect posture<

The Second Image Optimization

Once I opened the second image in Camera Raw, I Control-clicked on the image and selected Apply Previous Settings from the drop-down menu and then ran DeNoise on Clear as above. To avoid another ten minutes of clean-up work, I went back to image #1, created a new layer, dragged it atop Image #2, lined it up, and then, used a large, soft brush, to paint in the bird with the more erect posture. Bingo.

Your Call

Which of today’s two featured images do you like best, Image #1 with the slightly crouched posture, or Image #2 with the bird standing more erect? Please leave a comment and let us know why you made your choice.

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 great Photoshop tips and techniques — along with my complete digital workflow, Digital Eye Doctor Techniques, and all 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. 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: most 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 three years ago I began converting my Nikon and Sony RAW files in Capture One and did that for two years. 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 Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide” in the blog post here. Today, I convert my Sony raw files in Photoshop with Adobe Camera Raw.

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

Typos

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

November 27th, 2022

Photoshop Ethics and Morality Discussion & Answers

What’s Up?

I spent an hour down by the lake on a foggy Sunday morning. And photographed only vultures.

Today is Sunday 27 November 2022. As I have five tons of work to do, I may not have time to head down to the lake. This blog post took about 90 minutes to prepare and makes two hundred forty-five days in a row with a new, educational post just for you. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon links that are found on most blog pages and to use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout when purchasing your new gear from Bedfords to get 3% back on your credit card and enjoy free second-day air FedEx. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!

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 earn 3% cash back 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.

Photoshop Ethics and Morality Discussion & Answers

What should you do or not do in Photoshop? As far as I am concerned, you can do whatever you like to create an image that makes you happy. You are the artist and there are no rules or laws governing what you do with your images. Period.

That’s about it for the discussion segment. Now I will address several of the comments in the Eliminating the Orange Bill Blur. And More Eye Doctor Work blog post here.

Bob Eastman/November 25, 2022 at 2:07pm

BE: While it is a nice improvement in my mind, I ask myself how in the world does one get to be sharp on the eye and face and the beak area and with the the rest of the bird all blurred out as shown without some sort of Photoshop skills.

AM/BAA: On rare occasion, really skilled folks can get the head and eye sharp with shutter speeds as slow as 1/15 second. I’ve done it on occasion. To accomplish that, you need to match the speed of the bird in flight with your panning speed. That done, you need a bit of luck. In the Western Gull flight blur, the eye was relatively sharp but the bill and the hind neck were blurred significantly. As there are no laws on the books that prohibit repairing such blurs, I opted to eliminate the orange blur above the bill and re-shape the back of the head. Not to mention re-crafting the eye skin and then adding back the color. Why did I go that route? Because the final image was much stronger and made me happy. Several folks agreed strongly that the final REDO was a big improvement. As you know, I would never enter this image in most of the major contests where such image clean-up is prohibited.

In addition, you do need some Photoshop skills to process your images. And that is equally true for those who consider themselves purists.

BE: It’s like a composite or doctored photo.

AM/BAA: It surely is a doctored image. But it is not a composite. You create a composite by adding a part of one image to another. And again, there are no laws that prohibit either doctoring and image of creating a composite. By the way, I prefer to use the work “optimizing” rather than “doctoring.”

BE: One could say that about every photo shot in raw in a way as you need to move the sliders to create what you saw in your mind and to please you. (All sic).

Still love ya Artie, Always with love b

AM/BAA: Remember that when creating raw files you want to expose well to the right and thus, many of your raw files will appear washed out. Thus, even purists need to move the sliders in order to create a decent looking image. The major contests all permit adjustments to brightness, contrast, and color as long as they are done globally (to the whole image) rather than selectively (to part or parts of the image). Personally, I think that the “global only” restrictions are ridiculous. Folks who truly understand exposure theory as detailed in the Art of Bird Photography would agree. They understand that WHITEs require one stop less light than Middle-tones and that BLACKs and Dark tones need 2/3- to 1-stop more light than Middle-tones (to be properly exposed).

Thanks as always for leaving a comment. See you in Anchorage!

with love, a

Jeff Walters/November 25, 2022 at 2:35pm

JW: I like your corrected version much better and now enjoy this blur.

AM/BAA: Thanks, Jeff. I agree.

JW: I totally agree with Bob’s observations about the blur shot and his overall comments. The “where do you draw the line?” Should we capture nature/life unaltered? How much technical stuff is fair game? And, who sets those rules or guidelines? To each his own, I suppose.

AM/BAA: You hit the nail on the head when you wrote, To each his own, I suppose.. As noted above there are no laws and there are no rules except when you enter a contest.

Here is a good spot for my comments on purists. Purist nature photographers state that they never change anything in their photographs, that they are depicting exactly what they saw in nature. Purists shooting properly exposed raw files that look good right out of the camera are usually under-exposing their images by 1/3 to two or more full stops. Purists shooting JPEGs, however, can achieve their goal.

But here is the rub: once you remove even a speck of a cigarette butt from your grand landscape you are no longer a purist. The line there is very sharp, once you remove anything you are on the slippery slope and I do not want to hear a peep from you. It’s like being pregnant, either you are or you aren’t.

Furthermore, when considering the blurred Western Gull image, I would say that the raw file depicts a pleasingly blurred image of a Western Gull in flight, and that the optimized image epicts a pleasingly blurred image of a Western Gull in flight. The optimized image is just that much prettier.

JW: I know Art you usually point out your touch ups, but I’d guess not always, as your are loving (and we are too) your pursuit of art in your pictures and cleaning up an image or background, etc., makes an image more visually appealing to us all.

AM/BAA: Thanks, Jef. And you are correct. When image clean-up is minimal I will rarely mention it.

JW: If I had all the tools and your technical skills I’m positive I’d be doing the same and probably wondering just how far I could move the pyramids to make a striking shot.

AM/BAA: Understood Jeff. As far as moving the pyramids, I am guessing you are referring to a long ago National Geographic cover. I my memory is correct, the magazine got in trouble for actually moving the pyramids in a film image so that the image design would work as a cover. Many decades ago I had a film image of Canada Geese and the Twin Towers with pink sunset skies that was being considered as NG cover art to accompany an article on nature in NYC. It was rejected because it did not work as a cover vertical. 🙁

JW: Your standards are appreciated and well noted by almost all of your admirers.

AM/BAA: Many thanks and much love, Jeff.

JW: Artie — Happy Day after Thanksgiving. May His Blessings never cease to be poured out over you and all of the BAA community. Much love from the Walters family.

AM/BAA: Thanks, Jeff, and back at you. a

This image was created on 8 January 2022 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Standing at full height, I used the no-longer available Induro GIT 304L tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted BLUBB-supported Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with Exposure Compensation on the thumb dial. Shutter Priority +1.7 stops. AUTO ISO set ISO 400: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 (wide open). When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be dad-solid perfect. AWB at 5:28:11pm with a clear sunset.

Tracking: Zone AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed perfectly even at 1200mm. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1: the Camera Raw screen capture at the default setting for the Great Egret silhouette flaring in flight image

The Original

Image #1 accurately represents the unprocessed raw file. Sony Tracking Zone AF is quite remarkable even at 1200mm — it allowed me to create the composition that I wanted with the bird perfectly placed in the right side of the frame headed to our left. And the bird is as sharp as the proverbial tack.

The few sharp reeds in the lower right were distracting to me because distinctly sharp elements drag the viewer’s eye from the subject. The reeds were accidentally sharp as they were right on the same plane as the subject and the fast shutter speed prevented them from being blurred. In addition, I did not like the too-bright areas in the lake in the center of the image above the lower frame edge.

This image was created on 8 January 2022 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Standing at full height, I used the no-longer available Induro GIT 304L tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted BLUBB-supported Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with Exposure Compensation on the thumb dial. Shutter Priority +1.7 stops. AUTO ISO set ISO 400: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 (wide open). When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be dad-solid perfect. AWB at 5:28:11pm with a clear sunset.

Tracking: Zone AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed perfectly even at 1200mm. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1A: Great Egret silhouette flaring in flight

The Optimized Image

The colors and tones in the optimized image are pretty much identical to the colors and tones of the original. I used both the Patch Tool and Content-Aware Fill to eliminate the sharp reeds and and all of the blurred reeds that I felt were distracting. I used Tim Grey Dodge and Burn to darken the bright areas of water in the middle of the frame.

As most if not all prestigious photography contests prohibit removing anything from the original frame, I would never even think of entering the the optimized image in one of those. Not to mention that I gave up entering such contests many years ago.

Summing up what I wrote above, the raw file depicts a Great Egret flaring in flight at sunset, and the optimized image depicts a Great Egret flaring in flight at sunset. In almost all cases, I strive to maintain the natural history of an image no matter how much clean-up was done. And when I don’t, I make sure to let everyone know.

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 great Photoshop tips and techniques — along with my complete digital workflow, Digital Eye Doctor Techniques, and all 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. 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: most 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 three years ago I began converting my Nikon and Sony RAW files in Capture One and did that for two years. 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 Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide” in the blog post here. Today, I convert my Sony raw files in Photoshop with Adobe Camera Raw.

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

Typos

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