The Question: Did Murphy’s Law Strike Again? Or Not? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Question: Did Murphy's Law Strike Again? Or Not?

The Streak Continues: 235

This post was published just before 6am from my Mom’s home in Holbrook, NY. I decided to sleep in this morning with clear skies and SW winds; wind against sun conditions make things very difficult as nearly all of the birds will be flying, landing, and facing into the wind. I am not a big fan of photographing bird butts. I should get back to the beach late this afternoon after a very busy day of work. Tomorrow afternoon I head out to Great Gull Island for a week as an invited guest. My main target will be recently fledged Roseate Terns. They are among the most exquisitely beautiful young terns.

This post, which took me 1 1/2 hours to prepare, marks 235 consecutive days with a new enjoyable and 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, May, June, and July have been fantastic as lots of folks are getting the message; using my affiliate links does not cost you a penny and helps support my efforts here. To show your appreciation, I do ask that you use our 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 have used and tested, and know that you 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.

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Used Mint Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II Lens for Sale

Aubrey Blalock is offering a used Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II lens in like new, near-mint condition–used only once, for $9,199. The sale includes the original leather front lens cap, the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, a LensCoat, and an Arca-Swiss compatible Really Right Stuff Low Foot. Seller pays insured shipping to continental US addresses. The lens will not ship until your check clears.

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Check out more great used lens options here. I have added lots of great new listings in the last several days including an 800mm f/5.6L IS, the close-focusing Canon 300mm f/4L IS that makes a great starter lens for beginning bird photographers, a very versatile Nikkor 28-300mm 3.5-5.6 G ED VR, and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, my favorite mid-range telephoto zoom lens. Lingering are a 400 DO, a Canon EOS-1D Mark III, and a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM lens, the “old six.” The latter would be a great lens for someone young and strong. Or old and strong.


This image was created on the early morning of July 21 in soft sunlight while seated behind the lowered Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 1000. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: off the white sky: 1/500 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AWB.

Central Sensor Surround/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the adult’s upper back was of course active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Question: Did Murphy’s Law Strike Again? Or Not?

Thanks again to Dr. Greg Gulbransen who recently has become quite addicted to bird photography. And quite good at it. He has been carefully monitoring the status of the eggs and nests at a local Least Tern colony and kindly shared images of the chick in this photo with me when–having just hatched–it was a wet mess of feathers. I then had the pleasure of photographing this fluffy blonde chick on consecutive mornings, the first alone, the second with Joe Senzatimore, a friend from BPN, and with old friend Tom Pfeiffer. Tom invited me to dinner at his home about a zillion years ago on the evening that I did a slide program (with real slides in a carousel!) for an out-east Audubon society. We have remained great friends ever since.

Did Mr. Murphy bite me in the butt again on this occasion? Did I do something drastic in Photoshop to salvage the optimized image above? Or is this, like the last few of which I have asked the same question, right out of camera? Be sure to click on the image to enlarge it before you put on your Photoshop Detective’s cloak. Another way to ask the same question is, “What could possibly have gone wrong in this wonderful situation?”


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10 comments to The Question: Did Murphy’s Law Strike Again? Or Not?

  • avatar Jim Brown

    Looks like the point of focus is closer to camera than bird’s eye. And tail of bird farther away from the camera than front part of bird. You could have positioned camera a little bit to right so the plane of focus was consistent with eye. But, it is one heck of a wonderful shot.
    P.S. Thanks for comment on “toy” lens.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW. Not sure what you are seeing but the head of both the adult and the chick are quite sharp and are nicely covered by the d-o-f. I have no interest in working at f/16 to get the tail sharp and bring up a ton of unwanted background detail. And I very much like my angle into the birds….

  • avatar David Rowe

    Would you give me the exact name and directions to where you go at Bosque del Apache. I am taking a 30 day road trip out west, and would like to visit the location where you have taken so many great photo’s. I have found 3 Bosque del Apachie’s on MapQuest, but I cannot determine which site is where you frequent.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Here you go: Bosque Del Apache NWR, 1001 Highway 1, San Antonio, NM 87832. The phone number is 1-(575) 835-1828.

      Better yet, get yourself a copy of our Bosque Site Guide here; all of our site guides tell you where to be and when and exactly what you need to know to make great images. See them all here.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    I would just like to say, what a wonderful image, it is neat to see new born chicks with either adult. The ground must slope to the viewers left or you would have given it a little clockwise rotation. Always enjoy your blogs!!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Ted. Going by the grasses I would agree that this one needs a bit of clockwise rotation. Good eye! I shall fix the original. artie

  • avatar Jim Brown

    Was your “toy” 400mm 5.6 a sharp lens ?

  • avatar Phil Bayley

    Very nice shot of the Tern and chick. Also thanks for all your posts which are more than educational. I understand your exposure compensation as shot terminology, but could you explain your ‘evaluative metering +XX stop as framed’ comment that you use occasionally?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Phil. Whether I am in Manual mode or in Av mode ‘evaluative metering +XX stop as framed’ means just that. When I push the shutter button the analogue scale will show the amount of + or -. Of course in Av that is the amount of the Exposure Compensation that I have set. In Manual mode it is the result of the shutter speed and aperture that I have chosen. Let me know if that makes sense.