Falling in Love Late in the Game « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Falling in Love Late in the Game

What’s Up?

Down to the lake with the Fujifilm gear again on Saturday morning and then worked on blog posts and did some exercising and stretching. Same old same old.

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: 436!

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, 436 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–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 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 on Bleaker Island, The Falklands with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: +7.

Three AF points up from the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the right side of the neck band, right on the same plane as the subject’s eye.

Magellanic Penguin braying display at burrow

Falling in Love Late in the Game

Having spent almost four full weeks on The Falklands I had seen lots of Magellanic Penguins on Sea Lion, on Saunders, and on Bleaker. While I did enjoy photographing this species at a small pond on Sea Lion where they liked to hang out, they were not my favorite bird by any means. That seems easy to understand considering that there is a plethora of nesting Rockhopper and Gentoo Penguins around along with many hundreds of nesting Black-browed Albatross. By December most of the penguin pairs had chicks and the albatross nests had begun hatching just before mid-month. In most of the locations the magellanics were a bit on the skittish side as compared to most of the other Falklands’s species.

There is a large concentration of nesting burrows just up from the gentoo landing beach on Bleaker. On my second from last afternoon there I saw lots of Magellanic Penguins displaying at or near their burrows. So I went to work. As it turned out, the birds at this particular location were silly tame. I sat for two hours trying to get some great stuff on the braying birds–they really do sound like donkeys. And while getting in position I noticed some really cute young of the year birds. By the end of that first afternoon I had fallen in love with the magellanics.

This image was also created on Bleaker Island, The Falklands, this one with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 176mm) and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at -1 1/3 stops: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was just past the end of the base of the bird’s bill quite near and thus on the same plane as the curious penguin’s eye.

FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: +2.

Magellanic Penguin at burrow entrance

Curious George

As I walked by the bird pictured in the image above in its burrow, it began staring at me while rotating its head, even turning its head completely upside down. It cracked me up. I set the tripod with 500 II on the ground and grabbed the 100-400II that hung from my shoulder by the Black Rapid Curve Breathe Camera Strap. I figured the exposure and made lots of images. When I was done, I walked on still laughing.

Exposure Question

Why -1 1/3 stop EC?

The Black Rapid Curve Breathe Camera Strap

The new Black Rapid Curve Breathe Camera Strap replaces the RS-7 that I used and loved for many years. Some may like the Integrated Underarm Stabilizer; I tried it for a while and then removed it and tossed it in the trash. Once you adjust the length to your taste, the new strap makes it easy to grab your intermediate telephoto lens in short order, just as the old one did.

The BAA Online Store

Thanks to all of you who patronize the (relatively) new BAA On-line Store. January was a record month. Apparently, folks like the new design, the ease of shopping, the fact that you can pay by credit card or by Paypal, the improved and virtually snafu-free process for getting your stuff shipped properly, and lastly, that you can access the new store via computer, cell phone including Android and iPhone, and iPad. Bad on me for sticking with the old store for so long; it was a frustrating nightmare at times for us too … Good on Jim for finding, creating, and stocking the new store; it surely was a lot of work.

Please remember, if B&H sells an item and we also sell it — for the same price or cheaper, we would greatly appreciate your purchasing from us. It takes a bit more time to order your cameras and lenses using the BAA B&H affiliate link and then switch over to the BAA On-line Store. But doing the blog takes up a bit of my time as does answering your photography and gear questions via e-mail. The latter is actually becoming a huge time burden …


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 🙂

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 :).

15 comments to Falling in Love Late in the Game

  • avatar Guido Bee

    Nice shots.
    With the dark surrounding the chick’s head, the meter would try to open up toward the neutral gray and, as others have said, blow out the whites. Your exposure is very near the “sunny 16” for iso 400, and the grass that is visible appears to be in pretty full sunlight. Nice shots. As was mentioned by someone earlier, using a grey card should have rendered the same results.
    Thanks for the efforts at expanding our knowledge and taking us where we could not be at the times you were there.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Guido,

      You are correct on the underexposure. Your reference to “sunny 16” is way off base for many reasons, mainly because the bird was in the shade :). The same for using a grey card as the birds would not have been in the same light as the card.

      All in all YAW but need to be more careful about your facts 🙂

      later and love, artie

      • avatar Guido Bee

        I’m not sure I have facts in this matter, but I do have opinions.
        We’ll have a talk about it over a beer someday.
        All the best. Later.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. A few months ago I spent an afternoon photographing African penguins near Cape Town. They are extremely similar to Magellanics and also very charming, like every penguin species I’ve seen. I don’t really understand the concept of EC in manual mode, but because of the extensive dark background the meter reading would have given you too much light so you reduced the exposure.

  • avatar Matthew B

    I’m going to go another route on why you went – on the EC. I think the scene would have exposed the darks too bright at middle meter, wanting to go to 18% gray. And dialing the EC down gave you the blacks you wanted. The end result gives you that white patch by the eye white and not blown out.

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Agree with Richard on the exposure compensation.
    Both photos are adorable – look forward to seeing more.
    also, will you be showing us more of your photos from Peru?

  • avatar Bob Allen

    Why -1 1/3 stop EC? To keep the blacks, er, black. Since black dominates the image, the meter will try to lighten toward medium-tone. Also -1 1/3 would help keep whites from blowing out.

    Love both photos! Behavior images tell such a story.

  • avatar Jackie Milburn

    I meant to mention, I love both the images of the Magellanic Penguin. The top image looks 3D, like those old postcards from the 60’s, that looked like you could reach right in and touch the subject and curious George made me laugh too… You’re Amazing!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Tanks. I like them both too. And I have lots more good ones from those two afternoons 🙂


  • The bottom was is a very different penguin photo. Really like it. Suspect without minus adjustment the whites would be overexposed and you would lose the neat featureless black surrounding its’ head.

  • avatar Jackie Milburn

    Why -1 1/3 stop EC? To keep from blowing out the whites on the bird.

    Question: When using a Black Rapid Curve Breathe Camera Strap does it keep the gear from swinging about and where is the correct spot on your body for the gear to hang, properly? I’ve wanted to try one but I climb, jump streams and rocks and wondered how securely the straps keeps the gear against your body.

    Thanks for your help….I’ve been infrequent these past few months, I’m back 🙂

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The lens will move on a Black Rapid strap. I will have the perfect solution for you here soon. Wlecome back.