Dip-Sticking/A Nearly Impossible Stuation « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Dip-Sticking/A Nearly Impossible Stuation

Hand Upate

Thanks to all for the good wishes. Do know that I am a wuss, a pansy, and a really bad crybaby patient. That said the infection apparently continues to abate but exercising the middle finger is excruciatingly painful. 🙂 Nothing much to do at this point but grin and bear it.

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The image above was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 2X III teleconverter (hand held at 310mm), and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400: 1/2000 sec. at f/8, my super bright white ISO 400 exposure, set manually.

Dip-Sticking/A Nearly Impossible Stuation

The sun is still quite bright at 5:45 pm in late April at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. There were several Snowy Egrets dipping into the water to grab tiny twigs for their nests. Most of them were dip-sticking away from us. Their movements were fast and unpredictable. And for the most part they sat on low perches just above the gators and stared at the black water, doing nothing. Most of the backgrounds were horribly cluttered. With my 70-200/2XIII TC combo offering rather slow initial focusing acquisition, I was up against it big time. I made about 40 images. Most were out of focus. But at least I got the exposure right on all of them. At ISO 400 in bright sun I started with 1/1600 at f/8 but that yielded some significant blinkies so I went to my super bright white settings, 1 /2000 sec. at f/8. In situations like this it is mandatory to work in Manual mode as the proper amount of exposure compensation varied from -2/3 stop to -2 full stops depending on the framing and the amount of white in the image.

Of the few sharp ones, several had the bird cut in half. I kept only three with this one the best by far.

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This is the converted RAW file.

As you can see, I cropped a bit from the rear and below, did quite a bit of clean-up in the water(With the Patch Tool and the Spot Healing Brush), and darkened the BLACKs with a Levels adjustment. A 70% Linear Burn on the brightest WHITEs (using Select Color) restored density and detail to the WHITEs. All of course as desribed in detail in Digital Basics.

Interesting comment

David Shertzer wrote in response to yesterday’s post here:

“Simply amazing skills…wishing I had them. And you did all this with one hand! I agree, that the natural history was maintained.”

I wrote back:

“Thanks David! You can learn those skills easily with Digital Basics (and some practice). And yes, all with one hand except for holding down the Control key occasionally with the thumb on the bad hand But that made my wrist hurt a bit; it is very stiff and sore from being in the cast. . And all on the laptop with the mouse pad :). Which I am gonna take off right now for an ice job and a round of finger stretching.

More on Photoshop skills: get yourself a copy of Digital Basics and first learn to convert your RAW images properly. Then every few days work on adding one or two tools or techniques. In a month or two you will be right there!”

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the image above. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our recently revised Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot with the 1.4X III TC.
2X III teleconverter. This new TC is noticeably sharper than the 2X II TC.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My workhorse professional digital camera body. i own two.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable. Clicking on the link below will bring you to the Delkin web site. There is lots of great stuff there. If you see a product that we do not carry let us know via e-mail; we will be glad to have it drop-shipped to you and save you a few bucks in the process.

I pack my 800 and tons of other gear in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag for all of my air travel and recommend the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 for most folks. These high capacity bags are well constructed and protect my gear when I have to gate check it on short-hops and puddle jumpers. Each will protect your gear just as well. By clicking on either link or the logo below, you will receive a free gear bag with each order over $50.

6 comments to Dip-Sticking/A Nearly Impossible Stuation

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Roger, I will make a blog post of your question today :).

  • George Cottay

    This week’s bulletin has a bad link to the blog. Rather that the correct https://www.birdsasart-blog.com/baa it is coded with a missing “s” as http://www.birdasart-blog.com/.

    My compliments, by the way, for soldering through your painful hand problem. The example of discipline is just as helpful as the more explicit instruction you provide.

  • Roger Williams

    Alright, I’d like to try the linear burn process described in this and other posts. I use PhotoShop CS-4, and reading your instructions on pages 88/89 in the 2011 update to Digital Basics, I find no Linear Burn option. Clicking on Layers/layer style/blending options (the closest series of clicks to your method) produces no linear burn option. What I can do is use Select/color range to highlite areas for improvement, create an adjustment layer – for example brightness/contrast, and darken areas that way. How does this differ from a linear burn?

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks guys!

  • cheapo

    Ok, you’ve got me! The original certainly does look messy and distracting. I love how water can sometimes seem totally black, so the adjusted image is not unrealistic. The bird just looks spectacular. A full reflection of the Egret would have made this super special.


  • Alan Lillich

    First off, I own all of your ebooks and ABP I on paper. But what I really appreciate in the after & before posts like today’s egret is an insight into the vision of what you did. The after egret is very moody and almost surreal, I can only hope to someday see these opportunities on my own. In so many ways the notion to “optimize” photos is spot on. Keep em comin.