Which One is the Phony? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Which One is the Phony?

What’s Up?

My Mom’s memorial service was quite lovely. It was presided over by, Aaron Benson, the wonderful young rabbi of the North Shore Jewish Center. For me, it was great re-connecting with family and friends of family. The message of the day was the same as I shared in yesterday’s blog post: Hazel Morris spent most of her life taking care of others.

Strangely for me, many family members including and especially my two sisters, talked a lot about me, who I was, and who I have become since attending the School for the Work. According to them I am much more in the moment, much more connected, and much more compassionate and loving. I am not sure that I see these changes as clearly as they do, but it was nice to hear that someone has noticed them in me. I do know that I still have lots of Work to do.

I fly back to Orlando with older daughter Jennifer tomorrow on the 12:15pm Southwest nonstop Islip to Orlando flight.

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: 24!

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, 24 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.

Gatorland In-the Field Instructional Meet-Up Sessions

Join me in Kissimmee, FL next weekend to photograph Great (with chicks in the nest) and Snowy Egrets in breeding plumage, Cattle Egret and Tricolored Heron in breeding plumage, Wood Stork, American Alligator (captive), and more. We should get to make lots of head portraits of all the bird species and to photograph them building nests, displaying, copulating, and flying. Learn to see, find, and make the shot in cluttered settings. Learn exposure and how to handle WHITEs. Learn fill flash and flash as main light techniques. All of the birds are free and wild.

Next Weekend’s Gatorland Schedule

  • Saturday April 15, morning (early entry): 7:30 till 10:30am: $100. Lunch and Image Review: $75. Saturday afternoon till closing (late stay): $100.
  • Sunday morning, April 9, (early entry): 7:30 till 10am: $75.

Cheap Canon lens rentals available: 600 II, 500 II, 400 DO II, or 200-400.

To pay for one or more sessions in full via credit card, call Jim or Jen in the office weekdays at 863-692-0906. You will be responsible for the cost of your Gatorland Photographer’s pass or passes. Please shoot me an e-mail if you have any questions.

This image was created on my Saturday afternoon April 9th busman’s holiday at Gatorland. I used the the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 238mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at about -1 1/3 stops as framed 1/1600 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

Center Large Zone/AI Servo/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system selected four AF points that were squarely centered on reflection of the bird’s breast.

Image #1: Great Egret soaking


I was up on the tower at Gatorland when I spot this bird lowered down into the water. I knew what was coming, the same splashing bath that I had missed two weeks before so I hustled down and got right on sun angle. The bird had splish-splashed once as I approached. What proof is there in Image #1 that proves that the bird had already bathed once? As the bird was still lowered down into the water, I knew that more good stuff was coming. And it did.

This image was also created on my Saturday afternoon April 9th busman’s holiday at Gatorland. I used the the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 189mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at about -1 1/3 stops as framed 1/1250 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

Center Large Zone/AI Servo/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system selected a cluster of three AF points that fell right on the big splash.

Image #2: Great Egret — whole lotta shaking going on bath

The Head-Up-Action Bath

In this frame the bird is splashing violently while holding its head above the water. As with all three images, Center Large Zone AF yielded an image that was sharp where it needed to be.

Like the first two images here today, this one was created on my Saturday afternoon April 9th busman’s holiday at Gatorland. I used the the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 189mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at about -1 1/3 stops as framed 1/1250 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

Center Large Zone/AI Servo/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The system selected three AF points on the water just in front of the bird’s neck; this worked out just perfectly.

Image #3: Great Egret bathing with head outstretched in the water

The Head-In-the-Water Action Bath

In this frame the bird is splashing violently while holding its head under water.

Image Optimization Question

One of today’s featured images underwent a significant operation in Photoshop. If you think that you know which one it is, leave a comment and be sure to state your proof clearly. Please be specific when doing so.

Your Favorite?

Which one of the today’s featured images is your favorite? PLese

2017 in San Diego was a very good year ….

2018 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT: Monday, JAN 15 thru and including the morning session on Friday, JAN 19, 2018: 4 1/2 days: $2099.

Limit: 10: Openings: 4

Meet and Greet at 6:30pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Sunday, Jan 14, 2018.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (usually nesting and displaying) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Wood Duck and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seal (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lion; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Please note: formerly dependable, both Wood Duck and Marbled Godwit have been declining at their usual locations for the past two years …


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….

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You can do most of your photography with an 80- or 100-400 lens …

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


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.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, four lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. Dinners are on your own so that we can get some sleep.

A $599 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 9/11//2016. 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.

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 :).

34 comments to Which One is the Phony?

  • Artie,

    Marylee’s and my sincere condolences–gratifying to hear you’re doing OK.

    I prefer # 2 (due to the head and neck). As to Photoshop alterations, I can’t deal with that–I have a suffocating head cold 🙂

  • avatar Gary Spicer


    Firstly sorry to hear of your loss…

    I think the image has had a complete head replacement above the water. The long head plume is missing in the reflection and the eye has 2 white spots in front of the eye above water and only one below the water. I also would think that there should be water splashes and droplets from the bill from a bird that had just dived below water, but I might be wrong. One last observation is the angle of the head compared to the angle of the diving body, not sure on that.

    Having said all that its been very well done and at first glance it looks like another one of your excellent shots..

    Regards Gary

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Well done on the head replacement. I am not sure that I agree with or understand all of your reasons but I still tip my hat to you. Let me know what you think when you see the animated GIF in tomorrow’s blog post.

      later and love and thanks,


  • avatar MR

    Hi Art, I agree with Sarah that the reflection of #2 doesn’t match what is above water. Initially I thought that the angle of the head/neck of the original (above water) and reflected image don’t match up – but that could be due to any small wave/ripple in the water I guess. However, I definitely see a feather across the eye in the reflected image that is not there in the above water image. You seem to have removed the tip part of the feather. Also, the feathers on the top of the bird’s head look very different. In the reflected image the feathers are very distinct and “spiky”. For the above-water image the feathers are much flatter/blunt. Admittedly, you need view an enlarged version to see this.

    I also pass on my condolences for the passing of your Mother.
    All the best.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi MR,

      As far as the feather across the eye, appearances can be deceiving. But you are in good company as once I read her comment I was fooled too. When you watch the animated GIF in tomorrow’s blog post you will see that we were both wrong … I think.

      You are onto something as far as the feathers on top of the head go but the spot I did work on is much too cluttered with feather reflections to be definitive.

      See you tomorrow 🙂


  • avatar Warren H

    OK, I think the one that was changed is Number 2. I believe you removed a significant amount of “flying water dropplets” that were blocking the bird.

    The proof is in looking at the water droplet rings on the water surface. There are small and large rings, so droplets were still hitting the surface, but you do not see many/any droplets in the air above the rings.

    The removal of those droplets could have caused the reflection to not be quite right, as indicated by Sarah below.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Nope– at the least, I am not seeing the proof at all. But thanks for trying.


  • avatar Jim Amato

    Heads up Bath # 3.

    The application of the oil paint filter to give the water and ripples more definition and texture.
    And a mask to remove the oil paint filter from the Great Egret. And possibly your 25/25 mix.

  • avatar Frank Sheets


    Laurie and I loved the “before” Artie and I am sure we will like the Artie of “now” even better!

    Trust you are doing well.


  • avatar pk

    Well, Artie – I think you’ve used a separate reflection in #1 and layered it with the topside of another shot. The eyes and bill of the reflection don’t match the angle, the white on the bill is on opposite sides and the shadows in the water don’t match to the top side. Also, the water line seems too severe between the bird and the reflection.
    Or maybe it’s just too late in the evening to see clearly.
    You’ll let us know soon enough, eh?

  • avatar pk

    Well, must be too late here Artie, but to my eyes the reflection in image one doesn’t match up with the topside of the beautiful bird. Could you have done a wild and crazy and taken a reflection from another shot and PS’d it to the upside image. I mean that really would give a new dimension to Photo Shopping/shooting in the wild.
    For one thing the white under the bill in # 1 is on the opposite side in the reflection.
    Mask and layering techniques perhaps?
    and I think instead of ‘I dissipated, you meant ‘it dissipated in response to Guido Bee
    and that scum… 😉

  • avatar Sarah Sterling

    I think it’s #2 as the reflections don’t match. The feathers are crossing in different places.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Wow, you are amazing. I totally missed that. I am 99% sure that your reasoning is correct. So what did I do?

      with love, artie

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Upon closer examination you would up with the correct phony image but with the wrong proof. Actually, I do not think that there is any visible proof. Answer on Thursday.

        with love, artie

  • avatar Rob Stambaugh

    I’ll guess Image 1 is the phony. For one, there is an unexpected black wedge with a linear right-hand edge where the breast meets the water.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Rob, The black wedge is present in the RAW file. Love to you both.


  • avatar Mike Sorsky

    Number 2 is my favorite. I like the action, and being able to see the water droplets.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Image #2 is my favourite, I just love the water droplets!

  • avatar Guido Bee

    I’m with Frank on the removal in the second image of the stream of whiteness (that is in the first picture). Nice shots with superb exposure.

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    Just a guess re: your question about proof the bird had already bathed. Could it be that the scum on the water surface is from the bird? Looks like the bird is the source.

    Interesting, isn’t it, that when people (including siblings) comment “my you’re changed” that you yourself respond “really”.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Frank,

      The scum is mostly oil washed from the bird’s feathers. You need calm water to see it. I have seen it before with night-herons and great blues as well.

      “Really” was not my exact response but close enough. I know that I have changed. I just did not think that it would be as evident as it turned out to be. I do see myself as a kinder, gentler, and certainly more compassionate person than I was before I attended The School for the Work. You can let me know what you think after the Galapagos trip 🙂

      with love to you both, artie

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Hi Artie,
    Can’t tell for sure which image was changed with photo shop, but i’ll guess #2: are the bird’s eyes closed in the original capture?
    love all 3 photos.
    #2 and #3 are my favorites: 3 because it’s so unusual, 2 because love the position of the bird.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Pretty good reasoning but I need to know what I did and then I need some sort of proof 🙂 That is, if #2 is the pony …

      with love, a

  • avatar Jay

    My condolences.

  • avatar Morris Herstein


    With my deepest sympathy to you and your family on the loss of your dear mother. Mama’s are always special and I know you will miss her, but while she is physically gone her precious soul will live forever in your heart.
    “May God console you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem (Ha’makom yenahem etkhem betokh she’ar avelei Tziyonvi’Yerushalayim).”

    Morris Herstein

  • avatar David Peake

    You might have added canvas at the top of image three. thats a guess. Plain and simple. reason being that the AF point used, may have caused you to lower the camera a tad , thus slightly clipping the feathers at the top of frame.