The Fatal Flaw and Lots More… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Fatal Flaw and Lots More...

BAA Bulletin #440

BAA Bulletin #440 is online and can be accessed here.

Here is a list of the features:

  • Improving Flock Flight Image Design
  • More Short Notice, Dirt Cheap, In-the-Field Nickerson Beach Photographic Instruction with Arthur Morris
  • The Blog is the Bomb!
  • Japan in Winter
  • Time is Running Out! New York City–On Location with Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris
  • Affiliate Links
  • Used Camera Gear
  • IPT Highlights
  • IPT Info

Be sure to check out the “Improving Flock Flight Image Design” feature.

More Short Notice, Dirt Cheap, Small Group, In-the-Field Nickerson Beach Photographic Instruction with Arthur Morris. May 27 (am & pm), May 28 (am & pm) and May 29 (am only). All 2013 of course. Morning sessions: 5am sharp-9:30 am. Afternoon sessions: 4pm til whenever. These are priced so low that you need to e-mail for the rates. Limit 5/session.

If you e-mail, please include all phone numbers. Payment in full due immediately via credit card after calling the office on a weekday: 863-221-2372. If you would like to join me, please get in touch via e-mail. Breeding American Oystercatcher (chicks likely) and Piping Plover (chicks possible). Common Tern and Black Skimmer/courtship behaviors. Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls. Breeding plumage Sanderling and other shorebird species. Lots of flight photography when the wind is right. Learn digital exposure and creative image design. Learn to create pleasing blurs at 5am.

This image was created at Nickerson Beach on Wednesday morning past while seated behind my tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/10 in Manual Mode.

Central sensor (by necessity) Expand/AI Servo/Rear Focus on the side of the bird’s breast just below the neck active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

So What’ the Fatal Flaw?

In the May 17th blog post here, I posted the image above and asked:

Does this image have a fatal flaw? Is there something about it that spoils it for me? If you think that it’s perfect, leave a comment and let us know. If there is a fatal flaw, do the same and let us know.

The Fatal Flaw

For me the head angle of the adult is the fatal flaw. Kudos to Brooke; at 9:12 am on May 17, 2013, she was the first to answer correctly as follows, “It’s the angle of the head of the parent oystercatcher. To be ‘perfect’ the bird’s head needs to be at a slight angle (I forget this moment just what the angle is) towards us. With the adult bird’s body angled toward us, it would have been ideal for its head to have been parallel to its body. In such situation no additional turn towards us is needed as it is when a bird is perfectly parallel to us. I am always supremely aware of head angle when photographing. In those cases 2 or 3 degrees towards the viewer is ideal.

Several folks felt that the fact that the two birds were standing behind a ridge of sand was the fatal flaw. Though I would of course prefer that both birds were standing on top of the ridge rather than behind it, I am fine with that aspect of the image as is. In no way is that a fatal flaw for me. While others came up with the correct answer many folks were fishing without bait if you get my drift. 🙂

It is interesting that Bob Boner commented, “It may not be a fatal flaw, but I would like to see some interaction between the adult and baby. The baby has been fed, but the adult seems no longer interested.” Why might that be? Because the adult’s head is turned away from the chick….

On BPN I am known for good reason as the captain of the head angle police. If you really want to learn about head angle study this BPN thread carefully. Warning: it will take several days.

On Language

In the blog post referred to above, I wrote, “If worse comes to worse.” Jack Breakfast kindly pointed out that that was incorrect and that the proper phrasing should be “If worse comes to worst.” I love learning about language so just to make sure that Jack was correct I tracked down an On Language article in a New York Times Sunday Magazine section on the subject.

I learned that Jack was indeed correct, but the earliest form of the idiom was actually “if the worst come to the worst.” Ben Zimmer, the author–I used to read this feature regularly when I lived in NY and it was authored by the late William Safire–explained that the original idiom had a completely different meaning than the currently correct usage. He explained, that “if the worst come to the worst” describes “the worst thing in theory turning into the worst thing in actuality.” The modern form, “if worse comes to worst,” clearly indicates a situation where something already bad turns into something even more bad.

You can read the entire article here. Thanks again to Jack Breakfast for the correction and for stirring my curiosity.

I own a copy of “On Language,” the book by William Safire and plan on ordering a copy of his “How Not to Write: The Essential Misrules of Grammar” asap.

Nickerson Baby Beach-nesting Birds IPT: July 23-25, 2013: $1099. Introductory slide program: Monday, July 22, 2013. Limit 12/Openings: 1. Co-leader: Denise Ippolito.

This IPT is now a go. Conditions at Nickerson are excellent. Join Denise and me on Long Island, NY this coming summer to photograph Common Tern chicks, baby American Oystercatchers, and just-hatched Black Skimmer chicks along with the adults. The opportunities will include chances to photograph a variety of breeding behaviors including courtship feeding, display flight and combat, and copulations. Car-pooling is recommended; if we opt to return to the beach before 5pm there is a $30/vehicle parking fee that is not included so it is best to share that expense. Parking in the morning is free.

Now that the trip is a go–we had been worried about the effects of Hurricane Sandy–I fully expect that this IPT will fill almost instantly. Payment in full is due by check upon registration.

IPT Info

For complete IPT info including schedule, cancellation policies, and the registration and release forms, click here.

New York City–On Location with Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris May 25 – 26, 2013, 2-day Workshop-$495

Just two slots open.

Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris for a two-day creative workshop in the Big Apple. This exciting adventure through the streets of NYC will begin with an informal get-together at our hotel on the evening of May 24th. This will give us all a chance to get to know each other before we hit the streets in the morning for our first exciting photo shoot. We will explore China Town, Little Italy, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station (tripod permit included) and much more during our two days together. The emphasis will be on street photography, seeing and capturing dynamic images, and expanding your creativity using a variety of in-camera techniques including HDR and Multiple Exposure.

Please contact me via e-mail for complete details and the itinerary.

Next Year In Holland

Despite a 100-year record cold spring with very few tulip fields in bloom this trip has been a spectacular success. The colors and variety of tulips at Keukenhof simply stun the mind and the senses. Denise and I are planning our Holland trip for next year: the Keukenhof Creative Tulip Photography IPT with a Touch of Holland. If you are a Happy Camper who is interested in joining Denise and me next spring, please shoot me an e-mail. Details will be announced soon.

We are currently fleshing out the details. The dates will be about the same, in mid April. In addition to the Keukenhof and the flower fields we will do an afternoon of windmills at Kinderdijk, a day in Amsterdam including a morning at the Rijks Museum and an afternoon visit to the Ann Frank House plus some street photography. We will do some street photography and fine dining in the little town of Edam. There will be about 7-9 days of photography in all. Those will include an afternoon option for a day or two of Purple Herons for those with long lenses.

Note: not surprisingly, early interest has been huge with several folks who want to sign up right now. The formal announcement of the dates and price is imminent.


On all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. 🙂

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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.
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5 comments to The Fatal Flaw and Lots More…

  • avatar Chris C

    I actually liked the adult head angle! But now that you mentioned it. it seems a bit odd… I must needs work more on head angles…

  • Thank you for the “Fatal Flaw” insight. I was one of those who thought the lack of feet behind the ridge, and the way the ridge blended into the background, was the “fatal” flaw. I wouldn’t have guessed the adult’s HA was the issue. I guess I still have a lot to learn about that! Good to know you’re always on the lookout for that over on BPN. I’ll have to upload some of my more recent shorebird photos there, and see what I learn! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your knowledge so freely! I really appreciate it!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW Jon. As I am looking through the viewfinder head angle is pretty much my #1 concern.

  • Little typo Artie…

    BAA Bulletin #400 is online and can be accessed

    You have 400 instead of 440.