Happy Accidents: Sometimes When You Screw Up, You Wind Up Smelling Like Jellied Cranberry Sauce « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Happy Accidents: Sometimes When You Screw Up, You Wind Up Smelling Like Jellied Cranberry Sauce


This tight head and neck portrait of a Wild Turkey tom was created near my home at Indian Lake Estates way back when, on February 16, 2008 with the Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens (now replaced by the much lighter Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens), the 2X II YC (now replaced by the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the EOS-1D Mark III (now replaced by the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/11.

Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Happy Bird Day

I, my right-hand man Jim Litzenberg, and BAA Executive Director and my daughter, Jennifer Morris, would like to wish each and every one of you and your friends and families a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with food, friends, football, and hopefully, a few hours to get out and photograph birds.

I am thankful that I am celebrating my 20th straight Thanksgiving at the wondrous place that is Bosque del Apache NWR. And for lots more in my wonderful life.

The Streak Continues: 362

After a killer sunrise and some amazing blackbird action, Denise and I headed back to town to get some work done, that after six straight days of teaching a total of about 65 folks how to make better images at Bosque. That plus our two part seminar and my keynote program. Whew!

I spent a good part of my day getting photos to the team that is assembling the bird photography video for the Canon Digital Learning Center. I am only about 1/4 done so it is a good thing that I have a few more days off.

Coming soon: a free Bosque Site Guide update for all: The State of the Bosque…. Today’s blog post, the 362nd in a row, took 1 1/2 hours to assemble (including the time for the DPP 4 RAW conversions and the image optimizations). It was published from my hotel room in Socorro, NM at 3:29am. We will continue our busman’s holiday tomorrow. We meet the 4-Day Bosque IPT group on Saturday afternoon.

Bosque 2015

Denise and I will again be collaborating on two Bosque IPTs in 2015, one before Thanksgiving and one after. Dates and rates will be announced here soon. If you would like to receive early notice, please shoot me an e-mail with the words “Bosque 2015” in the Subject Line. We already have several interested folks.

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This image was created with the hand held Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens (at 150mm) and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering + 2/3 stop as framed: 1/200 sec. at f/2.8 in Tv mode.

Central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF as originally framed (this is a small crop to 16 by 9) was active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Sometimes When You Screw Up…

The light clouds in the east resulted in a glorious sunrise. I was working in the predawn with three rigs: the tripod-mounted 200-400 with a 1D X, the 70-200 with my other 1D X, and the 16-35mm with the 5D III. I had set all of them up in Tv mode +1 stop with a relatively slow shutter speed, ISO Safety Shift (the equivalent of Auto ISO for most of you), 8000 K, and rear focus AI Servo AF. I was doing some tree blurs with the hand held 70-200 when 20,000 geese came over the ridge and into the color. I quickly went to the 200-400, dis-engaged the internal TC, and made some nice images. Most of the birds were headed north but one large group turned around and headed through the color back towards the main impoundment, D-18.

At first I hesitated not sure whether to go for the 16-35 or the 70-200 and was wishing that the 24-70 in my coat pocket was on the 5D III…. Even a moment’s hesitation during those perfect seconds when everything is right can cost you. I eventually I picked up the 70-200 and concentrated on the birds coming back through the color (as above). I have no idea how I wound up at Av Mode and did not realize that I was working at a relatively high shutter speed of 1/200 sec. In any case, though I had no idea what I was doing I wound up with a very nice image. By the time I went for the 16-35 the show was over.


This image was created at 9:46am on the clear morning of November 25, 2014 at Bosque del Apache NWR. I used the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod), the Mongoose M3.6 head, Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering + 1 2/3 stops off the yellow grasses: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3 in manual mode:. AWB.

Shutter button AI Servo Zone AF was active at the moment of exposure. Click on the image to see a larger version.

What’s Up with this Image?

If you click on this image to enlarge it and take a good close look you will note that it is rather bizarre. If you think that you know how it was created, please leave a comment. Good guesses are appreciated.

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s images do you like best? Be sure to let us know why.

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28 comments to Happy Accidents: Sometimes When You Screw Up, You Wind Up Smelling Like Jellied Cranberry Sauce

  • avatar Kathy Graff

    I love the last image, which, for me, is quite unusual. The colors are subtle and most of the birds appear sharp. The photo is like a wallpaper–and I mean that as a compliment. Very, very nice. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and everyone else who reads this blog.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Many thanks. Love the image. When you view it as 200% it is astounding how sharp some of the individual male red-wingeds look. artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Denise and everyone who reads the blog. And thanks for your continuing stream of lovely images and insightful lessons. I’m taking the day off today, so no judging of images for me; I love all of them. 🙂


  • avatar Max Warner

    Studying a field of snow geese shot in a recent blog of yours I thought, in addition to seeing some gray juveniles, there were two or three blue morph individuals, as often happens there at Bosque. Hope this year you are able to get some shots of these birds, so different from their white brethren, and a worthy subject. You had a very nice one in the original BAA book.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      HI Max,

      There are about 3-5% Blue Geese at Bosque. Did get some nice stuff but when I see them flying at me I get nervous…. artie

  • avatar Henry

    Hi Artie,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
    And the same to all you followers of Artie’s site.

  • avatar Jeffrey Friedhoffer

    Happy thanksgiving to you, Denise and your family. The second picture was certainly confusing, at first I though there were skimmers due to the orange color, looking closer, realized they were red winged black birds.


  • avatar Raybel

    Hi Artie,

    This is Ray, I met you on the first day you arrived at Bosque, I was there with my girlfriend on the evening shoot. I posted the photo we took in BPN. You can check it out here.


    I’m still missing Bosque to this day, wish I was still there. Great images you are getting!


  • Love all your images! I will have to remember that ghosting affect in HDR. Cool technique, loved how it turned out. Happy thanksgiving, and thank you for all the lessons. I truly appreciate it.

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    Happy turkey day. We are truly blessed to live in this country! I never would have thought to use HDR in that situation. Very neat effect. On the first image I am sure you meant to say Tv mode.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I would never have though to do it either. It was a happy accident, left over from the day before though I do not remember when or why. artie

      ps: confused: the first image does sat Tv mode…

  • Happy turkey day, I got in at 12:30am last night. Loved the workshop at “The Bosque”, see you again soon.

  • avatar Ted Keltz

    How about in-camera HDR with ghosting?
    Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for all the education.
    Stay healthy and in the field.

  • avatar Paul Mckenzie

    You were set up for HDR. You get that ghosting effect if there’s subject movement during an HDR exposure.

  • Birds farther back are in fog?

  • Beautiful images! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. It has been nice working together over the years. 🙂

  • The goose jumble is an In-camera multiple exposure.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Art,

      Geese? Looks like blackbirds to me.

      Multiple exposure is close but wrong. If an ME than all of the birds would be of equal tonality. That is not the case here.