It is Hard to Believe: So Much To Learn From a Single Image… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

It is Hard to Believe: So Much To Learn From a Single Image...


Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2015.

The Streak Continues: 240

This post was published just before 6:00am from Gull Island where it is cloudy and drizzling this morning with lightning. I slept late till about 6am this morning and it looks like wind against sun so I am not sure whether I will be doing much photography this morning with lightning and drizzle. And a big thunder clap just shook the 118 year old headquarters building to its foundation. Fort Michie was built in 1896 as part of the Harbor Defense of Long Island Sound.

I enjoyed a great day of photography on GGI yesterday with the afternoon really shining in the late afternoon light. Though it had been overcast for much of the day I took a 2nd swim (as there is no running water on the island….) For my first swim it was clear and sunny and the visibility was great. Yesterday the water had gotten much colder, probably about 75 degrees, and there was no visibility. Everything was going great until I swam face first into a jellyfish and was stung on the face and the shoulders. I got out of the water as quickly as possible but the stinging was mild and dissipated within about 40 minutes.

This post, which took me 3 hours to prepare, marks 240 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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This image was created at 4:18pm just as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 as framed before the wingstretch and before the fun came out: 1/2500 sec. at f/5 in Manual mode.

61-Point/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF activated an array of 5 sensors on the base of and the leading edge of the wing and were of course active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Situation

It was a mostly cloudy afternoon. I had set up on the triangular tip of a handsome rock, the perfect spot for a tern to land. And what should land there right off the bat but a lovely juvenile Roseate Tern. I photographed it first with the 600 II and the 2X TC and then, hoping that an adult would fly in with a big sand eel to feed its young, I removed the TC and went wide with the 600 alone. As I say here often, the tighter that you work the less chance that you have to create great images of action or behavior. Well, neither of the parents ever came in but I was rewarded by the lovely double overhead wingstretch that you see above.

The problem was twofold: 1-just as the bird began to stretch the sun came out at full force. 2-like most sandpipers, the underwings were a bright white, much brighter than I expected. I was worried that I had toasted the WHIEs beyond saving. And there were plenty of blinkies….


The BreezeBrowser Main View Screen Capture

BreezeBrowser Main View Screen Capture

Above is the BreezeBrowser Main View screen capture for today’s image. Note that the illuminated red squares shows the AF points that had been selected by 61-Point AF. They indicate which AF points were active at the moment of exposure. I have been using 61-point more and more in recent weeks, even for flight photography. Note also the clipping of the red channel on the right edge of the histogram….

Note: in Breezebrowser you need to check “Show Focus Points” under View to activate this feature. To see the focus points in DPP check “AF Point” under View or hit Alt L. Hit Alt M to see Highlight Alert. To learn how and why I use DPP (Canon Digital Photo Professional) to convert my RAW files, see the info on our DPP RAW Conversion Guide here.

Regular readers know that I use and depend on BreezeBrowser every day of the year. It allows me to sort my keepers and delete the rejects faster than any other Windows browsing program. We use it on the main computer in the home office to catalog our images file-drawer style. And the companion program, Downloader Pro allows me to download my images quickly and conveniently. It automatically adds my IPTC data and the shooting location. I have it set up to create a folder named by the Month/date/year. The Breezebrowser/Downloader Pro combo saves me many hours each week. To learn more or to purchase this great PC only program, click here. As far as the BreezeBrowser/Downloader Pro Combo goes, if you are using a Windows platform and are not using these two great programs you are at best, wasting your valuable time. My understanding is that Photo Mechanic is best for Mac-users who do not opt to run Parallels or VM Ware fusion on their Macs so that they can enjoy the many advantages of BreezeBrowser. See BreezeBrowswer on a Mac for details.


Opening the image in DPP

Bringing the Image Into DPP

The highlight alerts in DPP are set to show red. I was glad to see only a very few right where I expected them. Chances were that they could be easily recovered. If you enlarge the image by clicking on it, you can see them just above the upward pointing black arrow. Take a look at the the RBG numbers in the lower left corner of the frame note, just below the downward facing white arrow; they read 255, 255, 253. Those were less encouraging as totally blown WHITEs will read 255, 255, 255. In addition, there was very little detail to be seen in the brightest areas of WHITE. But knowing digital as I do I knew that the chance to recover detail in the WHITEs and save this image were high.

If you can read the fine print you will see that the settings shown in this screen capture are all at the defaults. Of note are the Brightness adjustment at 0.00, the White Balance on Auto, and the Highlight slider at 0.


Saving the WHITEs

Saving the WHITEs in DPP 3.14

Saving the WHITEs during the RAW conversion turned out to be easy. I reduced the exposure 1/2 stop by moving the Brightness adjustment slider to -0.50. I moved the Highlight slider to -2. And I used the great Click White Balance feature. Note the new RGB numbers in the lower left hand corner: 241, 240, 240. Though I generally prefer to bring my images into Photoshop with no RGB values greater than 235, I knew that the image had been saved. My 50/50 NIK Color Efex Pro pre-set did a great job of bringing up the detail in the WHITEs while keeping them WHITE.

Whether you convert your RAW files in DPP, in Photoshop or Lightroom with ACR, or in Aperture, you can use the methods detailed above to save the WHITEs in the event of accidental over-exposure. Providing of course that you use RAW capture….


Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The 2015 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

June 29 through July 5, 2015: $5499: Limit 10 photographers/Openings 8. Two great leaders.

Here are the plans for next year: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on 28 June arriving in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday 29
June (or simply meet us then either at the Edinburgh Airport (EDI) or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe. Stay 7 nights in two gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are 5 days of planned puffin/seabird trips—weather permitting, and 1 full day of gannet photography with 2 sessions on the boat.


Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day and a farewell fine dining thank you dinner. The cost of your National Heritage Trust is also included; that covers the twice a day landing fees.

Plan to fly home on the early morning of Monday 6 July or to continue your stay or travels.

We are planning this as double-occupancy only but we should be able to arrange for singles by renting a 3rd cottage. We would need to know well in advance, i.e., soon, and it would be pricey and would need to be paid with your non-refundable deposit of $2,000. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with two roomy single beds and a private bathroom. There are two king rooms available for couples. The upscale country-side cottages are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for image sharing and Photoshop lessons.

The single supplement is $1475. As we will be renting a third cottage the $1475 is due with your deposit and is also non-refundable.

If you are good to go please send your $2,000 deposit check now to save a spot. We do expect this workshop to sell out very quickly as we have already sold 2 slots even though the trip has not yet been formally announced till right now. Not to mention that everyone loves puffins. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

We do hope that you can join us.


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12 comments to It is Hard to Believe: So Much To Learn From a Single Image…

  • Charles Scheffold

    Ugh sorry to hear about the jelly fish incident – but I guess growing up in NY you are probably used to those things being everywhere!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      First time stung, and it really was not too bad–just uncomfortable for the better part of an hour. If I had known that the reaction would have been so minor I would have stayed in the water!

  • Loren Charif

    Yikes! Sorry to hear about your run in with the J-fish!

    A perfect example of what you always tell us about knowing how to be in the right place at the right time. Also a great example of composition and shapes; the line formed by the lower edge of the wing that continues down to the right upper edge of the rock and the mostly whites set against the dark, clean background make this image simply stunning! And your lesson about taming the whites make this post a trifecta! Thanks for sharing!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Al is fine and I will be heading down to the beach for a swim soon :).

      Thanks for your kind words, and yes, lots to learn. You need to get with us on an IPT 🙂 artie

  • Bobby Perkins

    Beautiful capture & excellent planning Artie. Also love the richness of the blue sky in the conversion. I’m curious Art, where did you click within the image using the Click White Balance feature. Did you click on the brightest white area, or? I think this is an excellent example of why ETTR pays off, and how well you where able to give a great recovery lesson. Thanks.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Bobby, Thanks for your kind words. The blue is the eastern end of the Long Island Sound! And good on you to notice the richer blues. In retrospect I might have backed off the BLUE SAT just a bit.

      Yes, I clicked on the brightest WHITEs for the Click White Balance. And yes, ETTR works. artie

  • David Policansky

    What a gorgeous image. Congratulations and thanks for sharing, and the tips.

  • The angles of the bird’s wing extension and the rock work so well together. They really make this image special. Glad you were able to recover the whites and offer up a wonderful image.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Many thanks. I love the triangular top of that rock… Though I have set up on light angle for the last two late afternoons the bird here is the only one to land on it for more than a second…. Conditions are looking good for this afternoon and I shall try again.