Achoo is the Answer! And Stumped You All on the Cormorant in Daisies Image « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Achoo is the Answer! And Stumped You All on the Cormorant in Daisies Image

What’s Up?

We dodged another bad weather bullet and made hay while it did not rain. We had a second great morning with the pelicans and then decided on a late lunch to allow for more photography as long as the weather held. We made a wiggle and spent an hour photographing a pair of Black Oystercatchers. Then lunch again at Islands Restaurant on Balboa Avenue. Then an hour break followed by a three hour workflow/Photoshop session when the rains finally came.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak: 427!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 427 days in a row with a new educational blog post. 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. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

This image was created at The Neck on Saunders Island, The Falklands with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AWB.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point was below and in front of the penguin’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Rockhopper Penguin in late afternoon light


In the Rockhopper Penguin Behavior Quiz; Bring Your Imagination blog post here, I asked, “What was this Rockhopper Penguin doing when the shutter button was pushed?”

Eleven folks tried and eleven folks failed.

Believe it or not, the honest to God truth is that this Rockhopper Penguin was sneezing. Achoo! Achoo! It was the second time that we had seen this new behavior. New to us at least.


This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop in cloudy dark conditions: 1/500 sec. at f/4. Daylight WB.

One AF point to the left and four rows up from the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point just missed the bird’s eye.

Double-crested Cormorant in daisies

Stumped You All on the Cormorant in Daisies Image

In the It Took Me Months to Figure This One Out blog post here, I posted this:

Does Anything About This Image Bug You?

Though I love almost everything about todayโ€™s featured image, there is one thing bugs the heck out of me. If you think that you know what it is, please leave a comment.

About a dozen folks commented on stuff that bugged them. But not one of those things bugged me at all. The bit of the bird’s right wing peeking out did not bug me. And I thought that the out-of-focus foreground daisies balanced perfectly with the sharp cormorant. So just what did bug me so much? Check out the re-optimized image immediately below to find out.

Double-crested Cormorant in daisies/repost

How About Now?

If you can see the difference between the original image and the repost (immediately above) please leave a comment detailing the change to eliminate the thing that bugged me.


Palouse 2016 Horizontals Card

Why Different?

Announcing the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour

In what ways will the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour be different from the most other Palouse workshops?

There are so many great locations that a seven-day IPT (as opposed to the typical three- or five-day workshops) will give the group time to visit (and revisit) many of the best spots while allowing you to maximize your air travel dollars. In addition, it will allow us to enjoy a slightly more relaxed pace.

You will be assured of being in the right location for the given weather and sky conditions.

You will learn and hone both basic and advanced compositional and image design skills.

You will learn to design powerful, graphic images.

You will visit all of the iconic locations and a few spectacular ones that are much less frequently visited.

You will learn long lens landscape techniques.

You will learn to master any exposure situation in one minute or less.

You will learn the fine points of Canon in-camera (5D Mark III, 5DS R, and 7D II) HDR techniques.

You will be able to share a variety of my exotic Canon lenses including the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens and the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens, aka the “circle lens.”

You will learn to use your longest focal lengths to create rolling field and Urbex abstracts.

You will learn when and how to use a variety of neutral density filters to create pleasing blurs of the Palouse’s gorgeous rolling farmlands.

As always, you will learn to see like a pro. You will learn what makes one situation prime and another seemingly similar one a waste of your time. You will learn to see the situation and to create a variety of top-notch images.

You will learn to use super-wide lenses both for big skies and building interiors.

You will learn when, why, and how to use infrared capture; if you do not own an infrared body, you will get to borrow mine.

You will learn to use both backlight and side-light to create powerful and dramatic landscape images.


Palouse 2016 Verticals Card

The 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour
June 8-14, 2017. Seven full days of photography. Meet and greet at 7:30pm on Wednesday, June 7: $2,499. Limit 10/Openings: 7.

Rolling farmlands provide a magical patchwork of textures and colors, especially when viewed from the top of Steptoe Butte where we will enjoy spectacular sunrises and at least one nice sunset. We will photograph grand landscapes and mini-scenics of the rolling hills and farm fields. I will bring you to more than a few 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 me for this trip. 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.

Over the past three years, with the help of a friend, we found all the iconic locations and, in addition, lots of spectacular new old barns and breath-taking landforms and vistas. What’s included: In-the-field instruction, guidance, lessons, and inspiration, my extensive knowledge of the area, all lunches, motel lobby grab and go breakfasts, and Photoshop and image sharing sessions. As above, there will be a meet and greet at 7:30pm on the evening before the workshop begins.

To Sign Up

Your non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold your spot. Please let me know via e-mail that you will be joining this IPT. Then you can either call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 during business hours to arrange for the payment of your deposit; if by check, please make out to “BIRDS AS ART” and mail it to: 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: artie.

Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options. You can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store ๐Ÿ™‚

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 please remember that I am 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, 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 :).

30 comments to Achoo is the Answer! And Stumped You All on the Cormorant in Daisies Image

  • avatar Kent Downing

    Suggest revealing more of the bird in profile and less daisys. Place the daisys below the body or near to the feet. Too much conflict as framed with soft daisys and beautiful feather detail. I want to see all the bird and its’ beauty.
    All the best to you Artie-

  • Well, the image is fine. However, it’s not a “Brown Pelican (Pacific race) in rain”.

  • avatar Jack D Waller

    Happened to me with a moose’s belly in tall grass. Once you notice it, it drives you crazy. On the other hand maybe we all can be just a little too picky sometimes. (:>)


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Funny thing is that once I got rid of the hard edge of the breast the hint of the leg bothered me! Thanks for commenting.


  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie.
    After saving both images, I swapped between them looking for what you had changed. The lower breast which is partly obscured in the daisies has been covered fully in the re-optimised image and I think it looks just a hair better.
    Never realised a Penguin could sneeze.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for commenting David. See my response to Jack D Waller above. Good job by comparing the two.


  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: The biggest difference I see is the eye, which is clearer and brighter in the second image. I also notice, as others have, that in the second image a few bits of bird that were showing through the vegetation are now hidden. Which of those bugged you? I dunno. You changed both of them. I didn’t notice either of them in the first post and neither of them, or anything else about this image, bugs me.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Same eye unchanged ๐Ÿ™‚


      • avatar David Policansky

        Hmmmm. It really does like quite different to me; the little white dots around the eye are much more visible in the second image.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          I figured out why. Because we are using a new method of displaying the images the second images is presented larger than the first ๐Ÿ™‚

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    It looks to me like there is more bird and less daisies in the second photo.

  • avatar Jim Brown

    Looks like a Cormorant to me.

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    You covered, with a clone stamp tool I suppose, the lower front part of the bird showing thru the daisies. Took me a bit to notice that so to me it didn’t seem so distracting. Did you get that shot last year, considering you were using the 5DSR? Love the plumage and I don’t recall seeing any cormorants showing off like that last year.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      When I stayed for my prostate surgery there were a few benefits ๐Ÿ™‚ I have seen some like that in JAN but not this year.

      later and love, artie

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    I had to read the posts to find that you covered a bit of the bird’s lower breast which does look better to me. First thing I saw today though was the cormorant is now called a brown pelicanโ€”which I know you didn’t mean.

    • avatar Elinor Osborn

      I’m going to change my mind. Since I now see the bird’s legs thru the daisies, (thanks to Maggi’s post) I think I like seeing that bit of lower breast after all. I like the OOF daisies as they make the very sharp bird stand out.

  • avatar Maggi Fuller

    I agree with Wilfred, however you can still see the bottom half of the bird’s legs through the daisies…. I wonder why you left them as they were if the glimpse of the top part of the leg that you have now masked, bugged you so much?

    I still don’t like the blurred daisies though, certainly the amount of them! I find them distracting and would have bugged me far more! I’d have cropped at least an inch off the bottom, leaving it mostly green apart from the LH corner. Maybe even a square crop?

  • avatar Penelope

    I agree with Wilfred about the edit but I think you did it to eliminate the apparent discontinuity between the bird’s lower breast and (faint) leg in the first image.
    In the second image the leg is still there but appears to merge more smoothly with the rest of the bird’s body.

  • The edge of the bird showing through the daisies…..

  • avatar David Hughes

    Hello, It appears that the daisies in front of the bird’s breast/ legs are less transparent thereby breaking up the sharp line of the upper leg/breast in the first picture. Similarly to what Wilfred suggested.
    ——David H.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Used the Clone Stamp Tool and the Patch Tool to lose that hard edge. Thanks for commenting.


  • I’d say the thing that bothered you the most was the subject being
    to back in the frame, making him a little small. By cropping a bit
    you made him a little larger.


  • avatar Wilfred Marissen

    Hi Artie,
    Not sure if it is the right thing that bothered you but only difference I noticed is just below the bird’s right wing. It seems you eliminated the straight downward edge of the bird towards the leg and covered it with some daisies. I guess the original post seems a bit unnatural for a bird’s posture.

    All the best, Wilfred