Was I Unlucky? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Was I Unlucky?

Sandhill Crane running display, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonion, NM. With the the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop off the grasses: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode (early morning light at 7:22am).

Central Sensor (by necessity) Rear Focus/AI Servo AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Lens/TC/camera body Micro-adjustment: +4. For a greater appreciation of the image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

Was I Unlucky?

As you can see in the BreezeBrowser screen capture below I did everything perfectly. I had a perfect exposure–see the histogram. The framing was perfect; I had the central sensor on the base of the bird’s neck, right where I wanted it. The image is very sharp. In addition, I was lucky to be in the perfect position with the bird running towards me and winding up right down light angle. And amazingly there were no other birds in the background…. Was I unlucky at all? (Note: there was nothing that I could do about the far shoreline cutting the bird….)

Image Clean-up

You can see the image clean-up in the animated GIF above. Some of the clean-up was done with the Patch Tool and the Spot Healing Brush but most was done with a series of small Quick Masks that were used to cover the various bits of weed and grasses. All as described in detail in Digital Basics, an e-mailable PDF.

If you missed Digital Manipulation and Nature Photography Competitions you can find the post here.

artie is traveling 🙂

artie is traveling in the Southern Ocean (Falklands, South Georgia, & Antarctica) and will unable to respond to your questions and comments until after his return on 26 January 2012.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images talked about in his blog post. 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 Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon 1.4X III Teleconverter. Designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Be sure to check out our camera body User’s Guides here.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV User’s Guide. Learn to use your Mark IV the way that I use mine. Also available for the 7D and the Mark III here.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program. All of my MAC friends in the know even find away to run BreezeBrowser…. I could not live without it.

18 comments to Was I Unlucky?

  • Agree wholeheartedly with some of the folks..the clean-up diminishes an already wondrous photograph. Naturally (no pun intended, I think) all of this is subjective…

  • cheapo

    Very unlucky! Unlucky that the Crane was an amateur and didn’t choose a professionaly featurless backdrop. ;¬) As a representation of the natural history of the moment, the original was ideal. And in fact I will criticize your ‘clean up’. A bird running through water with one dry foot??

  • The only thing I could see…at 1:30am…is the pupil position. When
    looking at the animated image of the before/after, it seems like the
    eye is a little more forward in the before. In the after, the pupil
    was moved back a tiny bit.

    If I’m wrong, I blame it on my bi-focals 🙂


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Great eyes. I am pretty sure that I moved the pupil back a tiny bit–one pixel or so, in an effort to negate the poor head angle.


    Nice capture. Unlucky? I’m not fond of how the legs show. Looks like his right leg is cutoff. Obviously it’s doing work below the water line but it doesn’t make the image enticing or flattering.

  • Head angle seems dodgy?

  • Julian Mole

    Well, I will only hazard a guess, but for me the head angle is a little too side on. As I have read from you many times you prefer it when the bird’s head is slightly angled towards you a few degrees. Apart from that I would have preferred the bird slightly further back in the frame, but you have already said that you were happy with the framing. So I’ll guess at that old chestnut; head angle. 🙂

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The bird’s head is actually turned a bit away from me. That’s why I was unlucky…. I did everything right but the results were less than ideal.

  • Bob Allen

    I like your minor cleanup of plants in the back but prefer to leave the water droplets in place.

  • Jon

    I like the original, a first class shot, the rework is fine but from my point of view not necessary, it begins to look a little too clean for me, I quite like the weeds and droplets.

  • In what way could you possibly have been unlucky? It’s a great shot.