Lying Down on the Job « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Lying Down on the Job

Sandhill Crane, colt lying on grass, Indian Lake Estates, FL. With the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III supported by a BLUBB on the door frame with the window lowered. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/8 in Av mode–early morning light at 7:39 am.

Lying Down on the Job

We had a house guest last night, Dan Cadieux, crack Avian Forum moderator at BPN. He arrived yesterday for two photography sessions, an afternoon and a morning. And dinner. This morning was particularly good with lots of cranes, Cattle Egrets, Limpkins, and Wild Turkeys.

Let’s call the image above Image 1. We opted to stay in the vehicle and make a few images as the resting cranes will often stand up if you get out of the car.

Sandhill Crane, colt lying on grass, Indian Lake Estates, FL. With the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III supported by a BLUBB on ground. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode–early morning light at 7:45 am.

We both exited the vehicle slowly. I was surprised when the young crane in Image 2 remained on the ground snapping at an occasional mayfly.

Sandhill Crane, colt lying on grass, Indian Lake Estates, FL. With the hand held Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/8 in Av mode–early morning light at 7:45 am.

While Dan remained on the ground, I grabbed my 300 and walked towards the birds. Image 3 above was created while I was kneeling.

Sandhill Crane, adult head portrait, Indian Lake Estates, FL. With the the hand held Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS II lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +-1/3 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode at 7:57am.

To create Image 4, I stooped over to get the green background that I wanted.

Which Do You Like Best?

Which of the first three images do you like best? And why? Which of the four images do you like best? And why?

Short Notice/Individual or Very Small Group Instruction near Olando, FL this Weekend

Join me at a killer central Florida rookery either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, April 27, 28, or 29 for a morning, afternoon, or a whole day of photographic instruction. Morning sessions: 7-10am/$300 single. $200 each for two. Limit 2. Afternoon sessions: 3:30pm to 6:30pm/$300 single. $200 each for two. Limit 2. Full day: $550 single. $375 each for two. Limit 2. The full day includes lunch and image review. In all cases I reserve the right to add a second photographer unless you wish to pay the difference :).

Learn to see and think like a pro, to evaluate various photographic situations, and to use light properly. I will be letting you know what I think of your gear set-up, your sharpness techniques, and your shooting style. And sharing the very best nests with you and explaining why they are the very best nests :). Though a minimum of a 500mm f/4 lens with both teleconverters is ideal, folks with lenses as short as a 70-200 will benefit greatly. Please e-mail for additional details if you are seriously interested in joining me. Or try me at 863-692-2806 or on my cell at 863-221-2372. artie

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images 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 Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS II lens. The 300 f/2.8 L IS II with the 1.4X III TC is a killer flight combination.
1.4X III TC. The new Series III 1.4X was designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon EOS-5D Mark III. Man, I am in love with this camera body. Both the files and the AF system are superb.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

BLUBB. I personally designed the Big Lens Ultimate BeanBag and have it made in the good old US of A. This large beanbag is ideal when working with super-telephoto lenses from your vehicle. Beware of cheaper and much inferior copycat rip-offs; you get what you pay for just like your Daddy said.
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.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
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.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

19 comments to Lying Down on the Job

  • avatar Gaurav Mittal

    I Think the second image is the best. Eye level images are always more intimate and I feel that getting on eye level with your subject really helps connect with them. Also the shallow DOF in front creates a nice frame with the shallow DOF in the background, drawing the viewer right in.

    Of the four images I like the Crane portrait as the strongest. A closeup offers a more intimate connection with the bird. The details and textures of the feathers are attractive and leaves me looking at the bird for a long time.

    Fantastic images Guru Artie 🙂

  • avatar Chris Callahan

    Numbers 2 and 4 are my favourites! Number 1 looks a wee might like an insurance shot. Number 3 is good, but number two is the strongest image, in my opinion. The bird is well separated from the background, and he is looking at you with his eye!

    As for number 4, there can never ever be too many head shots of Sandhill cranes! I love the green background; it goes quite well with the red in the bird’s hed.

  • The head shot (#4) is my favorite. I like the angle of #2, but I agree with Lea about the large out-of-focus area in the foreground. I find it distracting. I like the angle of the bird in #1, so it gets my second place vote.

  • avatar Geoff

    I like #2 and then #3. #2 has a nice low level but I don’t like the OOF foreground. #3 has good bokeh but I find the shooting angle is not as good as #2. #2 also has good HA.

  • avatar Jay

    I like the head shot best. While I would love to get a shot of a colt like that, they don’t seem inspiring. The portrait, with the nice bokeh, gives a real feel for the bird.

  • avatar Frank Kratofil

    Number 2 and 4. Love the low angle of number 2

  • avatar Charles Scheffold

    #2 and #4 are my favorites by far – that head shot is killer!!

  • avatar Karl Egressy

    I like the second ( low angle) shot. It is outstanding.

  • #4…Love the neck coming out of the bottom right hand corner.

    I do have a question…are the times you posted correct? Maybe its me,
    and I apologize if I missed something, but the sequence doesn’t seem
    to fit…

    #1 – Shot from the door frame – 7:45
    #2 – Exit car – 7:39
    #3 – Grab 300 – 7:45

    I guess I’d expect #1’s time to be 7:39 (the earliest) since
    that was snapped first from your vehicle.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Doug. You are correct. Not sure how I screwed that up :). I have corrected the times.

  • The large blurry area on #2 kills it for me. It’s the first thing I see. I like the look on the face and the detail and saturation in the bird on #1.

  • avatar Gerald Kelberg

    Here’s another vote for the low angle! Also like the portrait of the adult.

    Over here, the cranes will be gone if you get out of the car in the same county!


  • avatar cheapo

    Of the first three and of all four No2 is my fave. The ground level shot not only makes the most sense artistically, it also tugs at the mind of the viewer, giving a feeling of intimacy. Absolutely super!

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    I like #2 . The viewer and the subject are eye to eye giving the image drama and of course the
    neat out of focus colours. All images are razor sharp.

  • avatar David Policansky

    I love the background of #2, including the green vegetation and blue sky. I’m less fond of the blurry foreground. I guess # 2 still is my favorite of the three. #4 is a fine tight portrait.

  • didn’t know Daniel was down there. Looks like you guys had a great time.

    #2 for me. I am a big super-low-angle fan.

  • I’m a sucker for a blurry background and foreground so number 2 for me. When I saw the first image I was surprised that you weren’t lower. I should have known what was coming!. 🙂