Flight Lesson: Creating Vertical Original Captures « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Flight Lesson: Creating Vertical Original Captures

What’s Up?

Everyone enjoyed the Old Car City seminar session on Sunday morning. And learned a ton. Including me. During the meet and greet sessions I stated that I wanted to learn to use HDR Efex Pro. I did in spades. Denise was superb as expected. Over the years she has become a skilled, effective, highly sought-after presenter.

Thanks a huge stack to all who responded with helpful information on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera. There is a lot to digest but I will be taking a careful look at everyone’s comments. This blog post was published automatically at 6:00am on Monday October 12, 2015.

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After a two-week lull, things have really heated up.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens (the “old five”) was sold by Dane Johnson for $4150 in early October 2015.
Sigma Zoom Super Telephoto 300-800mm f/5.6 lens (Canon mount) was sold by Beth Starr for $4,999 in early October 2015.
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And two more lenses sold on Wednesday past:

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Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS lens (the “old five”) was sold by Alan Walther for $3900 in early October, 2015.


This image was created on the San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) and the Canon EOS-1D X . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop off the sky: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB.

Center AF point (Manual selection)/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding and is always best with moving subjects). Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Brown Pelican in flight

Flight Lesson: Creating Vertical Original Captures

It is pretty much standard procedure to work in horizontal format when photographing birds in flight. If you find yourself in a good to excellent flight photography situation where the birds are banking but you are constantly clipping primaries or even whole wing tips there is a much better strategy: turn your camera on end and strive to create vertical original flight captures that look like the image above.

Folks with zoom lenses might think, “Just zoom out.” Yeah, you will get the whole bird in the frame but having to crop significantly to achieve a pleasing composition will leave you with a lot less pixels. It is far better to create vertical originals than to zoom out and crop or clip a wing and have to do a major reconstruction job. Creating vertical originals if far more satisfying and in addition, the images can be entered in any major contests.

Because most folks have been shooting flight horizontally forever it is much more difficult to work vertically. At first, it seems somewhat unnatural, but it does, however, become easier with practice (like everything else).

Image Question

Is today’s featured image an original vertical capture? Or is it a clipped-wing APTATS-repaired Photoshop creation? If the latter, which wing was repaired, the upper or the lower? What is your evidence?


San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

2015 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) JAN 8 thru the morning of JAN 12, 2016: $1899 (Limit: 10)

Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the day before the IPT begins
Two great leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito

Join us in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s and Double-crested Cormorants in breeding plumage with their amazing crests; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lions likely; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice landscape opportunities as well.

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, five lunches, after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions, and a thank you dinner. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 11/1//2015. 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. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.


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5 comments to Flight Lesson: Creating Vertical Original Captures

  • avatar Carolyn Peterson

    I love the vertical Brown Pelican. I don’t care whether it is the original composition or a clipped wing repair. It’s wonderful.

  • avatar David Peake

    Hey Artie,
    I zoomed in for a closer look.
    At web resolution it’s not that easy to see but looks to me like you repaired the upper wing tip feathers.
    Looks like a line through the base of the five wingtip feathers that’s a bit of a miss match. Kinda clunky repair work. Please forgive me, I can’t do a decent repair if my life were depending on it. So not a criticism. From the angle of the repair you would have had to do a major straighten and extend on the background to fill in the frame.

  • avatar Glen Graham

    Art, the “Leaf on Yellow Truck” image screams for B&W conversion. Overall though, I felt the image quality from the OLY was well below what you get from your DSLR’s. I guess size still matters at least when it comes to sensors;-) Gotta love that 4/3 weight though!

  • avatar Gary Axten

    I’m a fan of verticals & I’ll guess that it’s an original, no evidence whatsoever.