Special Handling Required « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Special Handling Required

The images for this 3-frame in-camera Art Vivid HDR were created with the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS EF USM AF lens hand held at 24mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: the base exposure was 1/800 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode (then +/- two stops).

Central sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the closest zebra and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Special Handling Required

Whenever I see a stormy sky, I immediately think HDR. In-camera Art Vivid HDR with my 5D III in particular. And when there is a herd of Burchell’s Zebras in the foreground, that goes double. With the 5D Mark III, the in-camera HDR feature is an attractive one especially for HDR-lazy folks like me. To create the image above I went with a relatively wide aperture in hopes that the resulting relatively fast shutter speed would prevent the out-lining that occurs when subjects move during the creation of the frames. Here that strategy worked.

There was one big problem with this image. In the out-of-camera JPEG, the brightest areas of the sky were over-exposed. Whether you are creating in-camera HDRs with your 5D Mark III or creating them in post processing with either Photomatix or NIK HDR Efex Pro, this is a common problem that makes zero sense to me. It would seem that since you have one image in the 3-frame HDR series that is severely under-exposed with no flashing highlights that either the camera or the software would do what it is supposed to do: combine the images to yield a single high dynamic range image with detail in both the deepest shadows and the brightest highlights. With the two well respected programs mentioned above, this can sometimes be achieved with careful tweaking. But again, it makes no sense to me that simply processing the three images in either of them yields an image with over-exposed highlights.

This is the darkest image in the series. It pays to set Save Source IMGs to All images and to save the three RAW files in each series when you are picking your keepers in case you need one or more of them as I did here….

Saving the Highlights

It would seem a simple matter to convert the dark image, drag the HDR image on a Layer on top of the dark image, add a Layer Mask, and use a soft brush at 50% opacity to paint in the properly exposed sky. If you think that as I did, you are over-looking one important fact: as noted many times on the blog and as covered in detail in the 5D Mark III User’s Guide, the final HDR JPEG is cropped from what you see in the viewfinder; you need to remember to frame wider when creating in-camera HDRs.

What to do? I did drag a layer with the HDR image on top of the darker image but then I had to re-size the top layer to match the bottom layer. I did this by activating the Transform Tool and reducing the size of the top layer. I made sure to hold the Shift key when I dragged in the corner love handles to make sure that the layer was not distorted. It took a few tries but by first reducing the Opacity of the top Layer and then setting it back to 100% and toggling the Layer visibility eyeball on and often success took only a few minutes. Then it was just a matter of using a soft brush at 50% opacity to paint in the properly exposed sky as needed.

All of the above as detailed in our Digital Basics File. Digital Basics is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips including Digital Eye Doctor techniques, several different ways of expanding canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, creating and using time-saving Actions, and tons more.

5D Mark III In-camera HDR Feature

I would keep my 5D Mark III for this feature alone as the EOS-1D X does not have it. It is way too much fun and offers lots of options. Of the 5 HDR styles, my favorite is Art Vivid. In the EOS-5D Mark III User’s Guide I share with you my preferred settings along with several ways to access and to utilize this great feature. Not to mention everything that I know about the great AF system including my customized AF Case for birds in flight. And my comments on every menu item and custom function that I use. If you own a 5D Mark III and do not own and study our User’s Guide you are really putting yourself behind the eight ball.

The Mini-Flower Photography Seminar, Friday, September 13: 8:30am till 12:30pm, Canby Oregon

As part of the Swan Island Dahlia Farm Instructional Photo-Tour, September 11-15, 2013 (sold out; see here for details), denise and I will be presenting a 1/2-Day Mini-Flower Photography Seminar. Folks wishing to register for the mini seminar only may do so for only $49.

Denise will begin by presenting her “Bloomin’ Ideas” program, an overview of the in-the-field and post-processing techniques that she has used and developed over the past few years to create her signature look. Artie will follow with a Photoshop session that will be geared towards all levels. He’ll be sharing some of his favorite techniques and tips while working on images from the first two days of the IPT. Denise will conclude the morning seminar with a Photoshop demo; she will share her creative workflow using a variety of Photoshop filters and effects. The entire morning is designed to give you a peek into the minds of two very skilled and creative folks.

To register for the Mini-Flower Photography Seminar call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

HVPN Fall Conference, Fishkill, NY

Both Denise Ippolito and I will be presenting at the Hudson Valley Photographic Network’s Fall Conference, September 28, 2013 at the Ramada Inn in Fishkill, NY. Here is the schedule:
9:00 -10:15am: Bloomin’ Ideas–Denise Ippolito
10:30am till 12:30pm: Choosing and Using Lenses for Nature Photography–Arthur Morris
1:30-2:45pm: Pleasing Blurs: artie and denise
3:00 to 5:00pm: The Art and Business of Fine Art Landscape Photography–Joe Brady

Click here for complete details. Click here to register. My portion of the program is free and open to the public thanks to Canon. The whole day including lunch is only $35.00.

Exhibition Opening, American Museum of Bird Art at Mass Audubon, Canton, MA

BIRDS AS ART/The Bird Photography of Arthur Morris

All are invited to the exhibition opening at the American Museum of Bird Art at Mass Audubon at 1pm on Sunday, September 28, 2013. (963 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021. 1-781-821-8853.) The exhibition, which is being sponsored by Canon USA/Explorers of Light, will run from September 29, 2013 – January 12, 2014. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

35 framed images. Denise Ippolito and I will be there and hope that you will be too. Click here for additional details.

Expanding Your Creative Vision Nature Photography Seminar

Sept 30, 2013 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Canton, MA.

Sponsored by Mass Audubon/Museum of American Bird Art

Non-members: $89.00/Members: $79.00

Click here to register

Spend an amazing day with Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito in a full day nature photography seminar. Learn more about Denise on her website; be sure to visit her beautiful image galleries. You know me. 🙂 If you live withing 3 hours of Boston and love photographing nature this experience is not to be missed. Artie will be doing a Tuesday night program for Mass Audubon. Both events will held be in conjunction with the opening of a 35-image exhibition of his work at the Museum of American Bird Art on Sunday, September 29, 2013. See details above.


9:00 to 10:45am: Choosing and Using Lenses for Nature Photography BIRDS AS ART Style – Artie Morris
10:45 to 11:00am: break
11:00 to 12:00 noon: Blooming Ideas – Denise Ippolito
12:00 to 1:00pm: Lunch
1:00 to 2:00pm: Refining Your Photographic Vision: Artie Morris and Denise Ippolito
2:00 to 2:30: Pro Gear Handling Tips – Artie Morris and Denise Ippolito
2:30 to 2:45: break
2:45 to 3:45: Creating Pleasing Blur – Artie Morris and Denise Ippolito s
3:45 to 5pm: Image Critiquing. Registrants will be asked to submit no more than three 1400 (wide) or 1050 (tall) sharpened JPEGs via e-mail 2-4 weeks before the seminar. At least one image from each participant will be selected for review.

Click here to register

Mass Audubon Special Event: A Bird Photographer’s Story

I will be presenting ” A Bird Photographer’s Story” on Tuesday, October 1, 2103 from 7:00-9:00pm for Mass Audubon. This event, which will be held at the auditorium, Canton High School, 900 Washington St, Canton MA 02021, is being sponsored by Canon USA/Explorers of Light and will be free and open to the public. The event is being hosted by The Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon.

Click here for additional details.

Coastal Carolina Camera Club Meeting : A Bird Photographer’s Story

I will be presenting ” A Bird Photographer’s Story” on Tuesday, October 8, 2103 from 7:00-9:00pm for the Coastal Carolina Camera Club. This event, which will be held in the Fellowship Hall, Shallotte Presbyterian Church, 5070 M H Rourk Drive, Shallotte, NC 28470, is being sponsored by Canon USA/Explorers of Light and will be free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Photographic Society of Chattanooga Seminar

Click here and scroll down to register

Scroll down here for details on the Saturday seminar that Denise Ippolito and yours truly are doing in Chattanooga on October 12, 2013 and the follow-up Old Car City In-the-Field Workshop. Blog folks who sign up for both are invited to join us at a secret Urbex location in Atlanta on Friday morning October 11. Feel free to e-mail me for details after you are registered for both. The Artie Morris presentation, “Choosing and Using Lenses for Nature Photography… BIRDS AS ART Style” (9:00 – 10:45am) is free and open to the public courtesy of Canon U.S.A.

Shooters Gallery Photography Program

October 20, 2013. Salem, CT

Click here to register.

Artie Morris & Denise Ippolito
Date: Sunday – October 20, 2013: Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Location: Salem Gardner Lake Firehouse Hall, 429 Old Colchester Road, Salem, CT 06420
Admission Fee: The Artie Morris presentation from 9:00am until 10:45am is free and open to the public courtesy of Canon U.S.A. The presentation by Artie and Denise from 11:00am until 4:00pm is $40.00 (Lunch & morning coffee included)
Host Organization: Shooters Gallery Photography Group

9:00 to 10:45 – “Choosing and Using Lenses for Nature Photography… BIRDS AS ART Style” – Artie Morris (Sponsored by Canon U.S.A.)
10:45 TO 11:00: Break
11:00 to 12:00 – “Blooming Ideas” – Denise Ippolito
12:00 to 1:00 – Lunch
1:00 to 2:00 – “Refining Your Photographic Vision” – Artie Morris and Denise Ippolito
2:00 to 2:30 – “Pro Gear Handling Tips” – Artie Morris and Denise Ippolito
2:30 to 2:45 – Break
2:45 to 4:00 – “Creating Pleasing Blurs” – Artie Morris and Denise Ippolito

Click here to register.


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2 comments to Special Handling Required

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks Bill. As you know, there are lots of ways to skin the same cat in Photoshop. artie

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    You may want to try making a selection of the highlihts using the Color Range selection tool set to highlights. Then convert that selection to a mask and feather/modify it as desired. An easy and precise way to blend in the highlights. The CS6 mask panel makes it easy to modify the mask too.