Thanks Bobby V! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Thanks Bobby V!

The Streak Continues: 161

This post marks 161 consecutive days with a new educational blog post. With so many folks getting in the habit of using our B&H links and our Amazon logo-links why quit now? April was a record month! To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we do ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. We sell only what I used, tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know the tools that you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

You can find the following items in the store: Gitzo tripods, Mongoose M3.6 and Wimberley heads, plates, low feet, and accessories, flash brackets, , Delkin e-film Pro Compact Flash Cards, LensCoat products, and our unique line-up of educational materials including ABP I & II, Digital Basics, Site and Set-up e-Guides, Canon and Nikon Camera Users and AF e-Guides, and MP-4 Photoshop video tutorials among others.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.

This post took 2 hours to put together. Enjoy!


This image was created at Matanzas Inlet, FL with the splayed Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/640 sec. at f/11 in Manual Av mode. AWB.

Central Sensor/AI Servo-Expand/Rear Focus AF as originally framed active at the moment of exposure. Learn everything there is to know about the 1D X and 5D III AF systems including how to manage the various AF Area Selection Modes, when to use which one, and several ways to move the AF sensor around in the 1D X AF Guide and the 5D Mark III User’s Guide. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version. .

Thanks Bobby V!

Denise and I met Bobby V (Robert van Mierop) on our recent trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Nice guy. Local guy. Makes lots of great images with the hand held Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens, the Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x Teleconverter for D-AF-S & AF-I Lenses ONLY, and the Nikon D300 (now replaced by the Nikon D300s SLR Digital Camera (Body Only). Doubt me? You can check out his images here. He shoots lots of birds, wildlife, people, sports, and family events.

Anyhoo, he asks us out of the blue if we would like to do some nesting Least Terns. Is the sky blue? We joined him on our get-away day, Thursday past, and had a ball. With my shoulder not getting any better I trotted my Beach Rolly onto the beach. As the sand was fairly hard, it worked very well. More on that soon including some Bobby V images of yours truly in action. That afternoon we drove to Fort DeSoto where we met newcomer Mary Anderson from Kansas City and old friend and multiple IPT veteran Brent Bridges for 3 days of fun and learning. Lots on that too soon.

Thanks Bobby!

The Image Optimization

The image optimization process here–done after lunch in the lobby of the Comfort Inn North in St. Pete was fairly straightforward. After converting the image in DPP, I brought it into CS-6 and dust spotted it. I did some beach clean-up and eliminated the large dark area of sand behind the base of the bird’s tail using Denise Ippolito’s protective cloning on a Layer and fine tuning that with a Regular Layer mask. Then painted in some Linear Burn on the whitest WHITEs with a 5% opacity brush strokes using a Black, Hide-all, or Inverse Layer Mask. I cleaned up the bill and then applied my NIK 50-50 layer at 50% and a Contrast Mask to the black cap and the bill after selecting them with the Quick Selection Tool.

Throughout the process I used my usual cadre of clean-up tools: the Clone Stamp Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, and the amazing Patch Tool. And even cleaned a group of dust spots with Content Aware Fill. Last was my artistic crop from below and the left. You can see all of the changes in the Animated Gif above.

The Beach Rolly

You can learn more about this great product or purchase one by clicking here. You can learn more about the Beach Rolly and various accessories here.

Digital Basics

Everything above is detailed in my Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Have you no clue as to how I optimized the image above? The Photoshop techniques mentioned above plus tons more are covered in my Digital Basics File, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, my killer image clean-up techniques, Digital Eye Doctor, creating time-saving actions, and lots more.

The DPP RAW Conversion Guide

To learn why I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to convert every image that I work on, click here.


Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS I. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount to either with phone orders only. Buy both APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only.


I hope that you can join us on this great trip. The vertical puffin image was created by David Tipling. The rest–almost all from the UK, are mine :).

UK Puffins and Gannets IPT July 2-9, 2014. 5 full days of puffins and two half-days of gannet boat photography: $4,999 USD. Limit 10 + the 2 leaders.

Desperately needed: 1 female roommate.

Fly to Edinburgh (say “ED-in-BUR-row”), Scotland on a red eye flight on July 1st arriving on the early morning of July 2 or certainly before 10am. UK folks who plan on driving please contact me via e-mail immediately.

There are direct flights to Edinburgh from both Philadelphia and Toronto. If you learn of any others please advise via e-mail so that I may share with all the interested folks. Fly home mid-morning on July 9. UK locals and our many European friends are of course welcome.

With the needed 5 deposits in hand, this trip is a go; you can buy your flights now :).

What’s included:

5 full DAYS on the best UK puffin boat; trips to 2 different islands–all dependent on decent weather, i.e, no major storms. Seabirds including scads of Atlantic Puffin both in flight and perched, Razorbill, Great Cormorant, Shag, and others likely. The trip is times to maximize the opportunities for photographing the puffins bringing fish back to the nests. All boat fares and landing fees are included. The boat leaves at 9:30am. We have two hours on the first island. We are then picked up and head to the 2nd island for a 2+ hour session. The weather is typically cloudy bright.

One late-afternoon (2 July) and one early morning (probably 8 July) trip on a gannet photography boat where the birds are fed and dive very close to the boat. Both are dependent on good weather but we do have some flexibility. Boat fares and the cost of the fish are covered. Each will consist of a one hour outbound ride, two hours of diving Northern Gannet photography (with 6 boxes of fish) and the one hour return trip.

The tentative, weather-dependent itinerary:

July 2: airport pick-up no later than 10am UK time. Lunch on your dime. Drive to hotel. Afternoon gannet boat trip/time TBD.
July 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7: Full Day Puffin Boat trips as noted above.
July 8: early morning Gannet Boat trip. Afternoon: Small group Image review and Photoshop sessions. Pack for the trip home.
July 9: early morning departure for Edinburgh Airport (EDI).

The itinerary is subject to change to ensure the best possible photographic opportunities.

A super-telephoto lens is not required on this trip. The 300mm f/2.8s are ideal. I will be bringing one along with my 200-400mm with Internal Extender, my 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, and a shorter zoom lenses. Plus three 1.4X and two 2X TCs, a Gitzo 3532 LS Carbon Fiber tripod, and my Mongoose M3.6. I may go tripod-less on the puffin trips at times…. Or not…. All photography on the gannet boat will be hand held. It is likely that the 70-200s will be ideal for the gannets.

7 nights lodging in an older but excellent hotel just a few minutes from the puffin boat dock with about a 70 minute ride to the gannet boat. Double occupancy will be the rule though we might be able to offer a single supplement at an exorbitant price. See the hotel info here.

All breakfasts and dinner (at the hotel) from dinner on July 2 through dinner on July 8. And breakfast on our get-away day unless we need to leave earlier than they serve to make our flights home…

Airport pick-up until 10am on July 2–this should not be a problem as there are lots of red-eye flights from the US to Edinburgh.

All ground transportation. Airport return on the early morning of July 9. We may be getting up very early on July 9th.

Two great leaders; Denise Ippolito and yours truly will provide personalized and small group in-the-field instruction. As usual, the closer you stay to us and the more questions that you ask the more you will learn. We will of course point out the best situations. You will learn to see these great situations for yourself, to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, to work in Manual mode, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. You will learn the basics of photographing birds in flight and how the relationship between light direction and wind direction impacts the photography of both birds in flight and perched puffins. And tons more.

We will be conducting informal, small group image review and Photoshop sessions after dinner. All are invited to bring their laptops. Image critiques of your five best images will be done after the trip upon request.

Early morning castle photography right near the hotel is an option for the early risers. In the event of inclement weather or stormy seas there is the possibility of bird photography along the coast. Early evening bird photography along the coast is also optional.

Not included: all lunches–for the most part we will need to pack lunches for the puffin trips, or you may opt to skip lunch. Your round trip airfare from home to Scotland. Booze, wine, and any other beverages other than coffee and tea at breakfast.

A non-refundable deposit of $2,000 USD is required to hold your spot so please check on flights and your schedule before committing. The balance will be due on 15 May so you may wish to pay the whole thing at once. Overseas folks may e-mail for wire transfer info. Our $15 wire transfer fee will be added to your balance.

Trip insurance is highly recommended as your deposit (less a $200 cancellation fee) will not be refunded unless the trip fills completely. I, and my family, use Travel Insurance Services.

After letting us know via e-mail that you will be coming, please send your deposit check made out to “Arthur Morris” to us as follows:

Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
PO Box 7245 (US mail) or 4041 Granada Drive (if by courier).
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855

My friend David Tipling, with multiple BBC honored images and the author of dozens of photo illustrated books, helped with the planning and arrangements for this trip.

If you have any questions, please contact me via e-mail.

Used Nikon Super-Telephoto Lens for Sale

A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART friend Kitto Kono sold her Nikon 500 yesterday to a Blog subscriber!

Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8G ED VR AF Lens

The first is a used Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR AF lens for $5999.00. This lens sells new from B&H for $8999.00. The price includes UPS insured Ground shipping to the continental US. The lens comes with just about everything that came with the original purchase including the lens trunk, monopod collar, front lens cover, rear lens cap, slip on HK 33 Lens Hood, Slip-in Filter Holder, 52mm screw-in NC Filter, and LN – 1 Strap. The lens is in excellent condition with some minor blemishes and scratches on the exterior body and lens hood. Photos upon request. Potential buyers can contact Kitty via e-mail or by phone: 610-995-2339. Your check must clear before the lens is shipped.

The 400 f/2.8 is superb for large mammals, for birds at close range, and for work at bird feeders. Priced at $3,000 less than new this one should sell quickly.

Used Canon Gear for Sale

Janet Horton’s 7D sold this morning after a $100 price reduction. Denise Ippolito’s 100-400 and her 100 macro sold in one day. Peter Kes sold his 70-200 f/2.8L IS II and his 400 DO through BAA in just more than one week. In the past two months we have sold a Canon 800, a Canon 500 II, 3 400 DO lenses, a Nikon 500mm, and lots more. If you are interested in using our services, please e-mail.

Used Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens for Sale/Price Reduced $100!

Multiple IPT veteran Bill Wingfield is offering a Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $1325! The glass is clean and the lens is in perfect working condition. The sale includes the lens hood, the fabric case, and insured shipping by UPS Ground to US addresses only. Personal checks only; your new lens will be shipped after your check clears.

For more than a decade I used the 100-400 to create hundreds of sharp, sale-able image. It is a very versatile lens.

You can reach Bill via e-mail or by phone at 843-729-6670.

Used Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS Lens for Sale

Multiple IPT veteran, the too-kind Jim Bicket, is offering a Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $8750. The lens is like new except for some wear on the bottom of the lens hood near the forward edge when the hood is reversed. The sales includes the LensCoat that has protected the lens since day 1, the leather hood, the original hard case and key, and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses only. Personal checks only; your new lens will be shipped only after your check clears.

This great lens, my favorite for 3 years, sells new at B&H for $13,999.00. A month ago B&H was offering one in mint condition for a ridiculous $10,249.90; it sold overnight. Go figure. Jim’s lens will save you a ton of dough and you will have a great lens with lots of reach.

Interested folks can contact Jim via e-mail or try him at 501-915-9336.

This sale will be made through BAA. Please call Jim at 863-221-2372 (weekdays) or shoot me an if you have any questions.

Used EOS-5D Mark II for Sale/Price Reduced $100!

Doug Bolt’s 400 DO sold early last week. Doug is offering a used EOS-5D Mark II in very good to excellent condition for $1099! There is a shallow scratch on the body and a faint smudge on the top LCD. The sale includes a RRS L-plate, an off-brand vertical grip, and the original box and all the stuff that came in it. The seller will pay shipping to US addresses only. This one is a great body for flowers and landscapes. Mine saved me on a Southern Oceans cruise when I trashed two EOS-1D Mark IV bodies in a rainstorm; it was a great back-up camera body. The item will ship only when the check clears.

Please contact Doug for a link to photos of the camera and for additional info via e-mail or try him by phone at home: at 301-937-3112 or on his cell at 301-537-8073.

Used Canon EOS-7D for Sale

Doug Bolt loves his 5D Mark III so much that he is also offering a used EOS-7D camera body for $799. The sale includes a RRS camera body plate. The seller will pay shipping to US addresses only. This one is a great starter body. The item will ship only when the check clears.

Please contact Doug for additional info via e-mail or try him by phone at home: at 301-937-3112 or on his cell at 301-537-8073.


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

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