A Strange Night’s Sleep/How Did I Miss This One? & Sensor Cleaning/Lens Pen Mini Pro News « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Strange Night's Sleep/How Did I Miss This One? & Sensor Cleaning /Lens Pen Mini Pro News

The Streak Continues: 281

This blog was published at about 6:30am from my home in Indian Lake Estates, FL after a strange night’s sleep. I was in bed by 10:00pm, a bit on the late side for me. I awoke at midnight to persistent but strong dull aches in both my right shoulder and my left knee, surely the body’s response to Wednesday’s stem cell/PRP/Prolozone injections. PRP stands for platelet rich plasma. My understanding is the the injections, especially the PRP, inflame the joint tissue which then heals by re-growing new tissue, the end result being a stronger pain-free joint. Thus last night’s pain–a small price to pay for healing.

I slept well for more than five hours until I woke from a traveler’s nightmare. I got to the airport for a bit photo trip aghast to see only my tripod and my hiking boots in the trunk. Zero checked bags. I do not know if I made it home and back in time to make my flight as I awoke feeling quite unsettled :).

This post, which took me about 2 1/2 hours to prepare, makes 281 in a row. 365 is well within sight….

As always, I would appreciate your using the BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases, using our Amazon logo-link for all of your household purchases, and visiting the BAA Online Store for your tripod, tripod head, LensCoat, miscellaneous, accessories, and eGuide purchases as well. Please remember, web orders only. 🙂


This striking image was created at Kuekenhoff Gardens in Lisse, Holland on last April’s Tulips and a Touch of Holland IPT with the with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens , the Canon Extender EF 2X III (at 400mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6 in Av Mode. AWB.

Central Sensor Surround/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the near-center of the tulip and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Worth a Second Look…

While looking through various trip folders on Saturday evening in search of an image or two for Sunday’s blog post I came across the image above and thought, “How did I miss this one?”

I remember the situation. I was walking back from the Beatrix Pavilion towards the car park in search of a lost couple from the group. I learned later that they had inadvertently walked across the whole of the gardens following signs to the wrong exit. 🙂 When I saw this single tulip I added the 2X TC to the tripod-mounted 70-200 to take advantage of the isolating power of the 400mm focal length and set up the gorgeous red background. I never shy away from adding the 2X III TC to any of my L series Canon lenses; many folks do over concerns with image sharpness….

In retrospect it is possible that the late afternoon back light is what steered me away from optimizing this image long ago.

There is a section on using long lenses for flower photography in The Art of Flower Photography eGuide; scroll down for details. And of course folks who join us in Holland will get daily doses of the same. And tons more. Again, scroll down here for dates, rates, and details. You only live once 🙂

Speaking of the Image Optimization…

The key to the success of this image was managing the incredible REDs while at the same time controlling noise during the RAW conversion. DPP 4.0 to the rescue. I made lots of small changes to Hue, Saturation, and Luminance in the RED, YELLOW, and ORANGE channels on the Adjust image colors tab. I used the incredible Chromiance and Luminance Noise Reduction tables that Arash painstakingly developed for our new DPP RAW Conversion Guide. His suggested values worked like a charm.

The New 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. Coming soon: The DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris. The more that I use DPP 4.0 for my RAW conversions the more I am impressed with it. I put in several more hours of work on the guide on Saturday editing and adding to the new eGuide and augmented that with two lengthy phone sessions with Arash. My time-consuming, meticulous work on the guide has proven to be a great way to master DPP 4.0. We hope to have the guide finished before the end of the month if not sooner.

Note: at present, DPP 4.0 works only with 1D X, 5D III, and 6D images.

Lens Pen News

Lens Pen offers several types of small pens that can be used effectively to clean the sensors of digital cameras safely and efficiently. For almost a decade we offered the Lens Pen combo kit for $20 recommending that folks use the smaller of the two Lens Pens to clean their sensors and keep the larger one in their photo vests or fanny packs to clean the front and rear elements of their teleconverters and to remove troublesome thumbprints or spots of unidentified gunk from the front elements of their lenses.

About a year ago I learned that the Lens Pen combo kit had been discontinued and that the manufacturing of the small Lens Pens had been discontinued as well. I told Jim to take the Combo Kit out of the store and save the last 20 kits for my personal use. One of the two major Camera manufacturers purchases 30,000 Lens Pens each year to be used by their repair centers to clean the sensors of folks who send their cameras in for service….

About two months ago I was working with the Lens Pen rep to see if I could come up with an adequate replacement to the small Lens Pens that I loved, valued, and depended on for a decade. I do not like the Lens Pens with the tiny triangular cleaning surfaces. The next thing that I know Gary tells me that his brother-in-law recently discovered that he had 5,000 small Lens Pens in stock. We ordered 1,000 of them immediately. Jim has been after me for several weeks to mention this in the blog….

If you visit the BAA Online Store you can purchase one or more of my favorite Lens Pen Mini Pros here for $9.99 today only, Sunday, September 7, 2014. There will be a price increase of $2.00 as soon as Jim gets to work on Monday morning.

The Lens Pen Mini Pro

  • Will not scratch or damage your sensor.
  • Outperforms all other sensor cleaning devices.
  • The unique LENS PEN tip is self-replenishing.
  • The cleaning compound will not spill or dry.
  • It is safe for all optical lens surfaces including multi-coated ones.
  • NOTE: You will need more than one Lens Pen if you plan to use one on your lenses and teleconverters; you must set aside one Lens Pen for sensor cleaning only.
  • Your purchase includes a detailed Sensor Cleaning tutorial that will be sent via e-mail.
  • For best results, use in conjunction with the Delkin Sensor Scope.

Click here to learn about all of our sensor cleaning supplies.

Coming Tomorrow

In tomorrow’s blog post I will share a great new Giottos Rocket-Air Super AIR Blower sensor cleaning tip.

Your Help Is Needed

Sales for the August, 2014 via our BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate links have been microscopically abysmal at best. If you need to purchase some new camera gear, please remember to use either our B&H logo link below or one of the product-specific links in the blog or the Bulletins. All should feel free to write me via e-mail for gear advice.


The Art of Flower Photography, a 203 page eBook/a link to the PDF will be sent via e-mail: $29.00.

The Art of Flower Photography

Click here if you missed the recent eBook announcement.

Ken Kovak: I have been working my way through the “Art of Flower Photography” and it is both a feast for the eyes and quite informative.

Art Buesing: Artie and Denise have outdone themselves with “The Art of Flower Photography.” Gorgeous photos with careful explanations of the production techniques for camera and computer. A valuable addition to my photography library!


Denise and artie hope that you can join them next spring in Holland and learn to improve both the technical and creative aspects of your flower (and street) photography.

7 1/2-Day/8-Night: A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART/Tulips & A Touch of Holland Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)

Keukenhof—Delft—Amsterdam–Flower Fields—Kinderdijk
April 9 -April 16, 2015: $4995. Limit: 12 photographers/Openings 10. Four more to make the trip a go.

This trip needs 6 registrants to run so please do not purchase your plane tickets until you hear from us that the trip is a go.

Join Denise Ippolito, the author of “Bloomin’ Ideas,” and Arthur Morris, Canon Explorer of Light Emeritus, for a great trip to Holland in mid-April 2015. Day 1 of the IPT will be April 9, 2015. We will have a short afternoon get-together and then our first photographic session at the justly-famed Keukenhof. Our last day, Day 8, April 16 will be a full day of photography.

The primary subjects will be tulips and orchids at Keukenhof and the spectacularly amazing tulip, hyacinth, and daffodil bulb fields around Lisse and points north. We will spend one full day in Amsterdam. There will be optional visits to the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House and/or the Rijk’s Museum. Street photography and sightseeing will be other options. We will spend a half day at Kinderdijk where we will be photographing the windmills and doing some creative photography. We will spend an afternoon in the lovely Dutch town of Delft where we will do some street photography and shopping. There is an optional church tower tour/climb. We will also enjoy a superb fine dining experience in a traditional restaurant.

Other than the arrival date: April 9, Day 1, and the date of our last day of photography on April 16, Day 8, there is no set itinerary. We will check the weather and play everything by ear to maximize the photographic opportunities. We will try to do Amsterdam, Delft, and especially Kinderdijik, on cloudy days.

There are several huge pluses to this trip. First off, denise is an amazingly skilled and caring instructor. Both her creativity and her willingness to share and to help beginning and intermediate photographers are unmatched. And though artie has learned a ton about flower photography from denise, their styles and techniques do vary considerably. You will have a chance to be counseled by and to learn from both of them. While denise will hunt you down to help you, artie’s teaching style is more “the closer you stay to me, the more you will learn.” Both leaders consistently inspire the participants. And each other. The sky, of course, is the limit.

You will learn to create tight abstracts, how best to use depth-of-field (or the lack thereof) to improve your flower photography, how to get the right exposure and make sharp images every time, how to see the best shot, and how to choose the best perspective for a given situation. And you will of course learn to create a variety of pleasingly blurred flower images. If you bring a long lens, you will learn to use it effectively for flower photography. Denise’s two favorite flower lenses are the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens and the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. Mine are the Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS macro , the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens ,and the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, all almost always on a tripod. Often with extension tubes and/or either the 1.4X or the 2X (with the 300 II) teleconverters. Denise hand holds a great deal of the time. For flower field blurs denise uses the same lenses mentioned above along with her new 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III lens. Artie’s favorite is that same 70-200 often with a 1.4X TC but he uses both the new Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens and the 300 II as well. Both of us use and love the Canon EOS 5D Mark III for all of our flower photography. The in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposure features are a blast.

One of the great advantages of our trip is that we will be staying in a single, strategically located hotel that is quite excellent. Do note that all ground transfers to and from Schipol Airport will be via the free hotel shuttle bus.

What’s included: Eight hotel nights. All ground transportation except for airport transfers as noted above. In-the-field instruction and small group image review and Photoshop sessions. All meals from dinner on Day 1 through dinner on Day 8. There is good food at the hotel and we will be dining there on occasion; whenever you order off the menu be it at the hotel or at another restaurant only the cost of your main course is included. On these occasions the cost of soups, appetizers, salads, sodas and other beverages, alcoholic drinks and wine, bottled water, and desserts are not included. Snacks, personal items, phone calls, etc. are also not included. The cost of bus or train transportation to and from Amsterdam (about $20 US), museum entry, and tower and church entry fees (optional) are likewise not included.

Beware of seemingly longer, slightly less expensive tours that include travel days and days sitting in the hotel doing nothing as part of the tour. In addition, other similar trips have you changing hotels often and needlessly. One final note on other similar trips: the instructors on this trip actually instruct. On other similar trips the instructors, though usually imminently qualified, serve for the most part as van drivers and van door openers.

A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 per person is required to hold your spot. The second payment of $2,000 due by October 30, 2014. The balance is due on January 15, 2015. Payments in full are of course welcome at any time. All payments including the deposit must be by check made out to “Arthur Morris.” As life has a way of throwing an occasional curve ball our way, you are urged to purchase travel insurance within 15 days of our cashing your check. Artie uses and recommends Travel Insurance Services. All payments are non-refundable unless the trip fills to capacity. In that case, all payments but your deposit will be refunded. If the trip does not run every penny will of course be refunded. Again, please do not purchase your air tickets until you hear from us that the trip is a go. We are very confident that it will.

All checks should be made out to “Arthur Morris” and sent to: Arthur Morris, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Call Jim or Jen in the BAA office with any additional registration questions: 863-692-0906.

For couples or friends signing up at the same time for the tulip trip, a $200/duo discount will be applied to the final payment.

When you send your deposit check, please print, sign, and include the paperwork here.

If you have any questions on the trip please contact artie by e-mail or denise by e-mail.


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10 comments to A Strange Night’s Sleep/How Did I Miss This One? & Sensor Cleaning/Lens Pen Mini Pro News

  • avatar Sharon Hallowell

    How can you not be sucked in by those reds? Beautiful! I like the waxy look on the left and front, and the nice details in the yellows. Hope your aches subside quickly! Sharon

  • avatar Sarah Mayhew

    Oh, I’ve done my fair share of flower photography. Spent time up in Washington in Skagit Valley photographing the tulip fields and gardens which were gorgeous. They just don’t call to me like birds do. 😉

  • avatar David Policansky

    Also thinking about your travel nightmare; I have a very rich variety of those! And yet things usually do work. I hope your knee and shoulder are good soon.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Wonderful image, Artie. For some reason, I love tulips as photographic subjects, and I like my 400 mm lens for them. As for the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, I can’t say enough good about it; its only drawbacks are price (now down to $2499) and weight. Do you need the series III teleconverters for it, or will it work well with the series II?

  • avatar Art Buesing

    Wonderful tulip shot. As a recent convert to Canon 5D Mark III, my next lens purchase should be a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. I did purchase your guide to the 5D Mark III which was a great help moving from Nikon. Thanks for all your work on the blog.

  • avatar Sarah Mayhew

    Stunning! One of the nicest Tulip photos I have seen. I don’t get all that excited about flowers, but this is a stand out.

  • That background is out of this world and makes the whole image a winner. I bet Denise is doing somersaults over it 🙂


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Denise was on top of a mountain yesterday; she needs to be careful is she is gonna do any somersaults…. I am not sure if she ever saw this one. artie