Viewpoint: 2 miles « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Viewpoint: 2 miles

An Amazing Morning

After getting to bed on the late side (for me) after my long east to west travel day I woke up at about 3:30am Pacific time. Still on eastern time, I guess. For surely the first time in 44 years of visiting San Diego, I “slept in.” I felt a tiny bit of sore throat on Wednesday evening and did not want to get sick again so I did some work, listened to lots of You Tube music, and read a bit. As I said “Amazing.” At least for me.

On You Tube:

They’re Playing Our Song [Original Broadway Cast recording/full album). I saw this twice on the Big White Way, once with Robert Klein and Luci Arnaz.

“They’re Playing Our Song” from the 1979 Tony Awards here. Robert Klein is crazy nuts and lovable but the irrepressible Luci Arnaz steals the scene with her dancing, her engergy, and her smile. And her dress.

LES MISERABLES 10th Anniversary Dream Cast. After the finale, 17 Jean Valjeans from various worldwide productions come on stage and sing snippets from One Day More before joining together for a last, moving, powerful rendition. I was privileged to see Les Mis three times on Broadway.

This blog post took about 1 1/2 hours to assemble. It was published at 10:08pm PT, 1:08am ET on Friday from my hotel room in San Diego. I still have many exciting new images, tales, and lessons from my recently concluded Southern Oceans trip to share with you here over the course of the next few weeks and am looking forward to doing just that. Do consider joining me in South Georgia next October for the trip of a lifetime. See here for the complete details.

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This image was created on January 29, 2015 at 5:36pm at the Southbound Interstate 5 Camp Pendleton Viewpoint with the hand held Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (at 200mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/30 sec. at f/2.8 in Av mode. WB = 8800K.

Central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF 1/2 way into the frame and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Situation

I drove from San Diego up to Santa Ana, CA and spent three hours with exercise physiologist Melvin Tann. Melvin works regularly on more than a dozen NFL players and many other notable professional athletes from a variety of sports. I pulled off Interstate 5 and stopped for a short nap before heading south again. It had been cloudy all day. At one point I glanced to my right and was shocked to see that the entire western sky was a glowing yellow-orange. I thought about getting off, driving west, and trying to get out to the beach. But alas,I kept driving. As I drove, the colors were becoming more and more intense. And I was more and more wishing that I had headed for some unknown beach.

As I-5 jogged west and then south the Pacific came into view on my right. And a spectacular view it was. The vast orange sky had dissipated but a swath of light sky just above the distant horizon left the ocean blood red. And then finally: Viewpoint: 2 miles. I parked, grabbed the 70-200, could not find my glasses, and used the camera’s lamp to set Av wide open. Plus 1/3 stop left some blinkies in the brightest portions of the sky so I went down to 0. I braced the lens against a signpost to make the images in this series as sharp as possible at 1/30 sec. The image above was the best of that lot.


This image was created at 5:38pm on January 29, 2015 at the Southbound Interstate 5 Camp Pendleton Viewpoint with the hand held Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (at 200mm) and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/6 sec at f/4.5 in Av mode. WB = 8800K.

Central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF 1/3 of the way into the frame, re-compose, and pan left to right. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Pan Blur

I wanted a slower shutter speed so I simply dialed in a smaller aperture without bothering to note the new shutter speed. Due to the blend blur effect I was able to go 2/3 stop lighter without getting any blinkies. I tried to pan as smoothly as possible. I made about a dozen images. Only one worked. In retrospect I should have been on a tripod with the Mongoose M3.6, locked the vertical pan, and then panned left to right. This would have assured the distinct streak lines that I got only in this image. Excuses: I was in a big rush as the light was fading fast and the colors were so beautiful that I was not thinking clearly.

Your Favorite?

Which image do you like best, the sharp one or the pan blur? Be sure to let us know why.


Learn the secrets of creating contest winning images in our “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs.”

A Guide to Pleasing Blurs

In our A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Denise Ippolito and yours truly, we discuss just about every technique ever used mankind to create pleasingly blurred image. Ninety-nine point nine percent of pleasing blurs are not happy accidents. You can learn pretty much everything that there is to know about creating them in this instructive, well written, easy to follow guide.


Card and design by Denise Ippolito. Scroll down here to see lots more of Denise’s Palouse images.

Palouse #1. The Palouse A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)/Eastern Washington State. May 29-June 2, 2015/5 Full Days: $1699/Limit 12 photographers/Sold Out with a wait list.


Card and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Palouse A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)/Eastern Washington State. June 5-9, 2015/5 Full Days: $1699/Limit 12 photographers/Openings 3.

Rolling farmlands provide a magical patchwork of textures and colors, especially when viewed from the top of Steptoe Butte where we will likely enjoy spectacular sunrises and possibly a nice sunset or two. We will photograph grand landscapes and mini-scenics of the rolling hills and farm fields. We will take you to some really neat old abandoned barns and farmhouses in idyllic settings. There is no better way to improve your compositional and image design skills and to develop your creativity than to join us for this trip. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. Photoshop and image sharing sessions when we have the time and energy…. We get up early and stay out late and the days are long.

After 6 days of back-breaking scouting work in early June 2014 we found all of the iconic locations and, in addition, lots of spectacular new old barns and breath-taking landforms and views. We will teach you what makes one situation prime and another seemingly similar one a waste of your time.

What’s included: In-the-field instruction, guidance, lessons, and inspiration, our newfound but very extensive knowledge of the area, all lunches, motel lobby breakfasts, and Photoshop and image sharing sessions when possible.

You will learn and hone both basic and advanced compositional and image design skills. You will learn to get the right exposure every time. You will learn to develop your creative eye. You will learn the basics of HDR (high dynamic range) photography. You will learn a variety of in-camera creative techniques; Canon 5D Mark III bodies are a plus. And most importantly you will learn to see the situation and to create a variety of top-notch images. Do see both of our blogs for lots more on that in the coming weeks. You will learn how the quality and direction of light combine to determine the success of your images. And–please don’t gasp–we will be working quite a bit with sidelight when creating landscapes. Lastly, we will be touching on infrared photography.

A non-refundable $699 deposit is due now. The balance will be due on January 29, 2015. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Whether or not your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

With the unpredictable nature of the photography business, I have not said this often lately, but it seems quite likely that this one will fill up very quickly. Please let me know via e-mail that you will be joining us. Then you can either call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 during business hours or send us a check; the latter is preferred.

Please send your deposit check made out to “Arthur Morris” to us at Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


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10 comments to Viewpoint: 2 miles

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: Looking again at the two images. How critical and difficult was it to get the plane of your left-to-right panning exactly right? It seems you were able to pan exactly parallel with the waves so as not to blur their outlines, only the ripples. Amazing in any case.

  • I love them both but the blur more. Looks like a piece of art work. What a scene.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    I like the pan blur best, I love the black lines in the water!!

  • avatar David Policansky

    Gee, Artie, you know you can’t take landscape photos with the 7D Mark II. 🙂 I agree with the others, I love them both. If forced to choose, I’d choose the blur.

  • avatar Patrick Sparkman

    I was thinking of you when I saw that sunset last night and hoping you were somewhere shooting it. Bravo!
    I like the blur the best. It is abstract, but you can still tell what it is, and I love the horizontal streaks in the water.

  • avatar Jim Brown

    Love the blur. The water is spectacular. Thanks.

  • avatar Sharon Hallowell

    I like them both and think a mix of the top image’s sky and the water from the bottom would be really cool! Awesome color! How can people keep their eyes on the road with views like that!?

  • avatar Maggi Fuller

    Normally hate blurs, but the image is abstract enough that for once a ‘blur’ works for me and I prefer it to the sharp image!

  • avatar wtlloyd

    Man Artie, once in a while you put up a blur so compelling I just have to go out and shoot some the next day. That pan blur is stunning.