My Top Two Tips for Photographing Birds in Bright Sun… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

My Top Two Tips for Photographing Birds in Bright Sun...


I spent much of Monday answering e-mails and planning the January 2016 San Diego IPT (dates TBA soon). I enjoyed a nice 60-lengths of the pool swim and an ice bath. I watched Rickie Fowler’s incredible 8 under par on the last ten holes playoff victory at the Player’s Championship and the NY Rangers amazing, heart-stopping, game-seven-forcing victory over the Washington Capitals, both on Tivo. In the evening I helped Denise Ippolito edit a great Warp Tool tutorial she is posting today on her blog and caught up on some NBA playoff games; right now LeBron James and the Cavaliers are in deep trouble against the Chicago Bulls….

This blog post, the 124th in a row, took about 2 1/2 hours to prepare. It was published automatically at 4:00am on Tuesday morning.


Gerbera Daisy Warp Tool Creation: Image courtesy of and copyright 2015: Denise Ippolito/A Creative Adventure

Warp Tool Tutorial

You can check out denise’s Warp Tool tutorial here.

Important Notes

I responded to all the comments on the Extreme Focal Length/High Contrast Chicks blog post here.

In addition, I responded to all the comments in the Flash Not Possible for the Two Chicks in the Nest Image blog post here. In answer to the question about why I chose my perspective so carefully David Peake of New Zealand nailed it when he wrote, It’s all about getting the chicks in front of that dark background.

Do understand that reading, studying, and checking back on the comments can heighten your learning experience.

New Used Photo Gear Listing

You can see the complete Used Photography Gear For Sale listings here.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

Lowest-ever price on this item; this one should sell instantly!

Owen Peller is offering a used Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens excellent plus condition for $799.00. The sale includes the front and rear lenses caps, the tripod collar, the original box, the original case with strap, and insured shipping to US addresses. You can call Owen at at 954-882-1480 (eastern time) or shoot him an e-mail. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

I owned and used this great lens for well more than a decade and created hundreds of published images with it. Denise Ippolito owned and loved hers for years.

Canon’s Huge Megapixel Bodies

Many of you have read about the two new Canon 50+ megapixel bodies, the Canon EOS 5DS DSLR and the Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR. The two cameras look, sound, and pretty much are quite similar. I have withheld commenting until now because I did not have a good–heck, I did not have any–understanding of the single difference between the two bodies, that being the Low-Pass Filter Effect Cancellation.

If you missed the hugely popular “Canon’s Two New 50+ Megapixel Camera Bodies/You Must Read This Before You Buy,” you can click here to catch up and learn a ton to boot.

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This image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X . ISO 800: 1/160 sec. at f/8 (was more than a one stop underexposure; not sure how that happened….)

Fill flash at -3 stops with a Better Beamer on the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT.

One AF point to the right of and one row below the center AF point/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was just above the bird’s right eye; the AF point just below that one was surely assisting as it fell squarely on the bird’s eye. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Snowy Egret in full breeding plumage displaying in a shady spot

My #1 Tip for Photographing Birds in Bright Sun

On the recently concluded IPT there were dozens of folks (not on the IPT) who spent whole mornings photographing 90 degrees off sun angle from 8:30 to 10:30am for two reasons:

#1: They liked being close to lots of birds.
#2: They did not know any better. See my #1 tip for photographing birds in bright sun immediately below.

My #1 tip for photographing birds in bright sun is to point your shadow at the bird. That means that the sun should be coming right over the top of your head. Working no more than 15 degrees off sun angle can be effective if you are careful about how the sunlight hits the bird’s face. And that has everything to do with opening your eyes with regards to head angle.

My #2 Tip for Photographing Birds in Bright Sun

My #2 tip when facing the prospect of photographing birds in bright sun is to look for subjects in the shade.

And that is just what we were doing when we found the gorgeous male Snowy Egret that is the subject in today’s featured image.


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15 comments to My Top Two Tips for Photographing Birds in Bright Sun…

  • L.J.

    thank you for your wonderful posts, I have a question(s). I have a Canon 5D Mark III and a 7D mark II and recently got two speedlites (the latest ones). I know I can use both flashes to fill flash my photo’s I just don’t know how to do that exactly. What resources would you recommend for my learning curve? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. Also what light set up do you use?


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi L.J., Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. Everything that I do with flash is detailed in the section on Flash Simplified in The Art of Bird Photography II (ABP II: 916 pages, 900+ images on CD only). My flash set-up for telephoto lenses is also detailed in ABP II. I only use one flash at a time. What lens will you be using yours with?

      • L.J.

        Thanks for your reply I’ll check it out tomorrow. I have the new 70-200 2.8 L series and the Tamron 150-600 5.6 lens.

        • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks for getting back to me. I should have asked, what tripod and tripod head are you using? As for the latter, a Mongoose M3.6 would be perfect for those two lenses. artie

  • David Peake

    Hi Artie ,
    Thanks for the credit.
    I can’t comment on the golf or the Rangers game but both the images posted here are spectacular…..
    So much so I started saving them on my iPad in a file labelled Arties images. I go back every few days and just look at them all,again.
    Q Is it ok to do this?
    Denise that flower is amazing!
    As always

  • Ted Willcox

    I have been waiting for Rickie Fowler to win a big one, I knew he would one day, but the way he won was incredible!!

  • Ted Willcox

    Denise’s photo creation is amazingly beautiful!!

  • Denny

    Hi Artie. Thanks for the tips on photographing birds in bright sun; just a coincidence, I was out last evening photographing Mountain Bluebirds on fence posts and barbed wire, and Red-wing and Brewer’s Blackbirds in bright sun. In many cases I was compromised because I won’t trespass on private ranch property. However, last night I studied my images and along with your advice and what I can see in my shots, I think I’ll have a better idea next time.