Tough Conditions, Great Images « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Tough Conditions, Great Images

When we set sail in the pitch dark from Gibsonton on the Hooptie Deux we could tell that it was a bit foggy.   When we got out to Alafia, it was quite foggy.   When things are not great, do not fall into the habit of wishing things were better.  Think outside the box and try to make soup from a stone.  Become a lover of what is. (Byron Katie:  Right off the bat, I decided to try and create some pleasing intentional blurs. 

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After we got out of the boat, I created this image with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark III after adding 2 2/3 stops of light to the exposure off the sky and setting it manually: 1/60 sec at f/5.6. ISO 400.

As it was blowing pretty good and the tide was too high for the spoonbills to land on the mud flats or in the shallows as they usually do, we headed around to the lee side of the island.   I got lucky and caught this spoonbill just before it landed on a snag.

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Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens with the EOS-1D Mark III handeld. ISO 400. 1/2000 sec at f/4. In situations when the sun is getting brigher one second, and then being blocked by a fog bank, getting the right exposure is tough. I worked in manual mode here, changing the shutter speed and aperture almost instinctively as the sun went in and out.

There were lots of White Ibises flying overhead so I added the flash to light their undersides.  One thing that folks need to realize is that with birds in flight, I am gonna be deleting well more than  90% of the images that I create.   I get rid of dozens and dozens of sharp flight images because the pose and/or the wing position are just not right. The image below worked well for me.

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Canon 400mm IS DO lens handheld with the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering + 2/13 stops (it was pretty foggy): 1/640 sec. at f/5.6. Fill flash with the Better Beamer at -1 stop.

We had some good chances with Brown Pelicans carrying nesting material once the fog burned off.  Tip:  Don’t quit making images when the bird gets really close; you might get lucky as I did here.

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Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens handheld with the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 400: 1/1600 at f/8 confirmed via histogram check.

2 comments to Tough Conditions, Great Images

  • Artie–the spoonbill is a killer shot! I definitely have to get out on the Hooptie Deux sometime. Also, I really like your blog–a perfect format for you and the information and images are terrific. I check it every day!

    All the best, Keith.

  • Artie – that first shot is absolutely fantastic. I’m a sucker for blurred wingtips on flight shots and that one takes it to an all new level. 1/60th and sharp on the eyes = sick, sick, sick!!!