Old Dog, Great New Trick, Thanks a Stack Nick! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Old Dog, Great New Trick, Thanks a Stack Nick!

What’s Up?

I wrote this blog post on Monday morning. I spent most of Sunday watching the US Open Golf and game 7 of the NBA finals. Congrats to Dustin Johnson on prevailing in the Open despite the stupidity of the USGA officials. And congrats to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on their amazing down three games to one comeback. Congrats also to the Golden State Warriors on their amazing season. Steph Curry and coach Steve Kerr lost with class.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, ‘incomprehensible, makes-no-sense, 226 days in a row with a new blog post. And I still have dozens of new topics to cover; there should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. Please remember that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.

The 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour June 8-14, 2017: $2499.

Seven full days of photography. Meet and greet at 7:30pm on Wednesday, June 7: $2,499

If you would like to learn more about or join the 2017 Palouse IPT, click here.

Interesting Reads

From the Washington Post online: A rare, risky mission is underway to rescue sick scientists from the South Pole and from the NY Times online, Worker at South Pole Station Pushes for a Rescue After a Stroke.


This image was created on the morning of Day 3 on the first Palouse IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (at 110mm) and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/8 sec. at f/8. WB = K8000.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF one-fourth of the 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.

Rolling farmlands with pink skies redone

Old Dog, Great New Trick, Thanks a Stack Nick!

In the “Exposing to the Right: what would you do with this perfectly exposed but very boring RAW file?” blog post here, several objected to the overdone colors.

Kerry Morris wrote:

I like photo #1 in general. I don’t like #2; it is too saturated for my taste. The green looks fake to me.
So, what to do with the photo? Take some of the pink sky from #2 and add to #1 to see how it looks.The Dehaze filter that Nick is mentioning sounds promising. Dehaze plus some pink sky.

Nick Clayton had left this comment:

I also do all my RAW conversions in DPP4 as per your and Arash’s guide. You can use the Dehaze filter once the file is converted. In Photoshop go to Filter > Camera Raw Filter; this opens the Camera Raw interface. Then click on Effects (fx). The Dehaze effect is the top slider.

After converting the RAW file in DPP 4 I followed Nick’s directions. Note: the Effects tab is the seventh tab in the row just under the RGB histogram upper right in the Camera Raw dialogue box. I move the Dehaze slider to +60.

Still in Photoshop I cleaned up a few tiny white buildings and applied a layer of my NIK 25/25 recipe. Then I did something that I had not done with the first image: I used the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select the sky above the mountains, hit Control T for the Transform Tool, squished the sky down by dragging the crop love handle down, and then cropped away the rest of the original sky. This left a much more pleasing 1/3rd sky, 2/3 land design rather than the 50-50 in the original image capture (as seen in the original post).

Next I added a Regular Layer Mask and painted away the effect on the land at 50%. Last was a small Curves adjustment. Thanks a stack to Kerry for her honest critique and to Nick for prompting me to try the Dehaze filter. The images as presented above is much more natural. In fact, the improvement is hard to believe… What do you think?

Thanks also to Jackie and to Jim Amato for sending me their versions of the boring RAW file.

Digital Basics

Everything detailed above is covered in detail in my Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Digital Basics File is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, Contrast Masks, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, a variety of ways to make selections, how to create time-saving actions, the Surface Blur (background noise reduction) settings as taught to me by Denise Ippolito, and tons more.


You can order your copy of “The Photographers’ Guide to Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.0” (aka the DPP 4 Raw Conversion eGuide) by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris by clicking here.

The DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide Updated

Thanks to lots of hard work by Arash Hazeghi, the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide has been updated. There were quite a few changes in the basic set-up and in the preferences in the latest version, and Arash covered those in fine fashion. Most importantly, the Chrominance and Luminance NR value tables have been updated to include the 5DS (R) and the 1D X Mark II.

If you already own the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide, please click here to send Jim an email and be sure to cut and paste page 1 of the current guide or your receipt into the body of the e-mail to serve as proof of purchase. Your update will be sent from Hightail, so please watch for that.

Learn how and why I and many other discerning photographers choose and use only DPP 4 to convert their Canon RAW files in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly. The latest version supports all of the newer Canon camera bodies and several older models including the EOS-7D and the EOS-1D Mark IV. The DPP IV Guide is the ideal companion to the 7D Mark II User’s Guide, a runaway best seller.

Folks who love the DPP 4 Guide will surely want to get themselves a copy of The Professional Photographers’ Guide to Post Processing.


Images and card copyright Arthur Morris/BEARS AS ART 🙂

2017 Bear Boat Coastal Brown Bear Cubs IPTs: July 18-24, 2017 from Kodiak, AK: 5 FULL & 2 Half DAYS: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 10/Openings 5.

Join us in spectacular Katmai National Park, AK for six days of photographing Coastal Brown Bears. Mid-July is prime time for making images of small, football-sized cubs. The cubs, and these dates, are so popular that we had to reserve them three years in advance to secure them. There are lots of bears each year in June, but the mothers only rarely risk bringing their tiny cubs out in the open for fear of predation by rival bears. In addition to making portraits of both adults and cubs, we hope to photograph frolicking and squabbling youngsters and tender nursing scenes. At this time of year the bears are either grazing in luxuriant grass or clamming. There will also be some two- and three-year old cubs to add to the fun. And we will get to photograph it all.

We live on our tour operator’s luxurious new boat. At 78 feet long its 24 foot beam makes it quite spacious as well. And the food is great. We will likely spend most of our time at famed Geographic Harbor as that is where the bears are generally concentrated in summer. On the odd chance that we do need to relocate to another location we can do so quickly and easily without having to venture into any potentially rough seas. We land via a 25 foot skiff that has lots of room for as much gear as you can carry.

Aside from the bears we should get to photograph Horned and Tufted Puffin and should get nice stuff on Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Harbor Seal, and Steller’s Sea Lion as well. A variety of tundra-nesting shorebirds including Western Sandpiper and both yellowlegs are also possible. Halibut fishing (license required/not included) is optional.

It is mandatory that you be in Kodiak no later than the late afternoon of July 17 to avoid missing the float planes to our boat on the morning of July 18. Again, with air travel in Alaska (or anywhere else for that matter) subject to possible delays, being on Kodiak on July 16 is a much better plan.

Barring any delays, we should get to photograph bears on our first afternoon and then again every day for the next five days after that, all weather permitting of course. On our last morning on the boat, July 24, those who would like to enjoy one last photo session will have the opportunity to do so. The group will return to Kodiak via float plane from late morning through midday. Most folks will then fly to Anchorage and to continue on red-eye flights to their home cities.

What’s included? 7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS on the boat as above. All meals on the boat. National Park and guide fees. In-the-field photo tips, instruction, and guidance. An insight into the mind of two top professionals; we will constantly let you know what we are thinking, what we are doing, and why we are doing it. Small group image review, image sharing, and informal Photoshop instruction on the boat.

What’s not included: Your round trip airfare to and from Kodiak, AK (almost surely through Anchorage). Your lodging and meals on Kodiak. The cost of the round-trip float plane to the boat and then back to Kodiak as above. The cost of a round trip last year was $550. The suggested crew tip of $200.

Have you ever walked with the bears?

Is this an expensive trip? Yes, of course. But with 5 full and two half days, a wealth of great subjects, and the fact that you will be walking with the bears just yards away (or less….), it will be one of the great natural history experiences of your life. Most folks who take part in a Bear Boat IPT wind up coming back for more.

A $2,000 per person non-refundable deposit by check only made out to “BIRDS AS ART” is required to hold your spot. Please click here to read our cancellation policies. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us by mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.

Your deposit is due when you sign up. That leaves a balance of $4699. The next payment of $2699 will be due on September 15, 2016. The final payment of $2000 is due on February 15, 2017. We hope that you can join us for what will be a wondrously exciting trip.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂

3 comments to Old Dog, Great New Trick, Thanks a Stack Nick!

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    David Kettles: well said! I agree!
    Also, in pushing us to critique the images it puts us more in touch with what we like and don’t like and will help us learn how to achieve it.
    Thank you Artie!

  • Art I salute you: in any field of endeavour it is only the true professionals who openly discuss their own shortfalls and highlight the need for continuous learning. This easily explains why you reach the heights that you do! I agree, the new processing style is vastly better, I am particularly struck by the higher levels of contrast in the foreground too, and the better sky detail. That dehaze switch does carry its own level of risk: it can be grossly overused!
    Dave Kettles.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Dave, I enjoy learning and I expose to the right all the time in low light so the Dehaze filter will become just another Photoshop tool. I have written often, “When you learn something new in Photoshop you tend to overuse it for the first month or so.” Being aware of that helped me with the re-optimization of this image.