Big BAA Blog News & The Vertical Without the Black Crud MP4 Photoshop Video « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Big BAA Blog News & The Vertical Without the Black Crud MP4 Photoshop Video

Big BAA Blog News

For the next few weeks, my plan is to publish a new, educational blog post every other day or thereabouts so that I will have some time to finish up two important projects that have been on the back burner for too, too long: the BAA Current Workflow Guide and the LensAlign/Focus Tune Micro-adjustment tutorial. If I forgot something else please leave a comment and remind me.

Please remember to use the BAA B&H affiliate link(s) on my days off 🙂

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 Current Streak Ends at 32!

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, 32 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.

Important Notice

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 5). All who register will be required to join the (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on. See below for details.

I will likely need to close registration for the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT/Bass Rock Add-on ($1499) on May 1 as I need to finalize the cottage reservations.

Lightroom Offer

As you may know by personal experience, many photographers have made a mess of their catalogs in Adobe Lightroom. (Please note: those are Tim Grey’s words not mine. 🙂 Tim Grey is offering a video course that can help! BAA blog folks can enjoy a 40% discount on his “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” bundle of video training courses. There are more than five hours of content in the “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” video course, plus more than four hours of additional video content in bonus courses that are included in the bundle. We are also producing a series of webinar presentations exclusively for those enrolled in this bundle. The normal price is $99 for the full bundle, but you can get the bundle for only $59 by clicking here or on the logo-link above.

With this course you’ll learn how to:

  • Merge multiple catalogs into a single “master” catalog
  • Locate (and reconnect) missing folders and photos
  • Consolidate and reorganize your folders
  • Resolve metadata mismatches

Learn my thoughts on Lightroom here. Be sure to read all the comments. As most of you know, I have never used Lightroom …

This image was created at Gatorland on March 26, 2017. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my very favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. AWB.

Manual fill flash at 1/8 power with the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT with a Better Beamer on the Mongoose Integrated Flash Arm via the Canon OC-E3 Off Camera Shoe Cord (2′).

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

Upper Large Zone/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The AF system activated a line of three AF points dead-centered on the bird’s eye; you cannot ask for better than that.

Cattle Egret, breeding plumage, vertical front-end portrait

Why the Vertical Cattle Egret?

In the “Horizontal or Vertical From the Same Spot? And Black Crud or No Black Crud?” blog post here, I asked, Which of today’s featured images is your favorite? Be sure to let us know why as each image has its strong points.

My favorite was the vertical. It has a more evenly-toned background and it shows the complete tract of lovely, buff-colored breeding feathers on the breast. As you might have guessed, I am not a big fan of the black crud … Today’s featured image (above) is the cleaned-up vertical version.

The Vertical With the Black Crud MP4 Photoshop Clean-up Video

In the vertical original it might seem to many that the clean-up for this image would be a snap, but to do it well requires time, a bit of knowledge, and some practiced skills. In this just-released MP4 video, “The Vertical With the Black Crud MP4 Photoshop Clean-up Video,” I take you through the whole process from soup to nuts. Along the way, I learned something cool about Gaussian Blurs. You can work with me step by step as I use the Patch Tool, the Spot-healing Brush, the Clone Stamp Tool, the Divide and Conquer technique, several small Quick Masks refined by Regular Layer Masks, to clean up the black crud (and a bit more). You will learn about the Align Box as well as something new about using Gaussian Blur on a small area. You will see me use my NIK Color Efex Pro 30-30 filter to bring detail to the WHITEs and then add a Regular Layer Mask to reduce the effect in varying degrees as needed and to taste. Lastly I introduce the Simplified Neat Image v7 techniques to reduce the noise in the background. Lastly I take you through the steps of saving the optimized TIFF and creating and sharpening a JPEG for sharing on the web.

You can purchase your copy of the Black Crud MP4 Photoshop Clean-up Video for only $15 by clicking here.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 5).
All who register will be required to join the (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on. See below for details. See below for details.

Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on July 2 and arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday July 3 no later than 10am (or simply meet us then at the Edinburgh Airport–EDI, or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe). Stay 7 nights in one of three gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are five days of planned puffin/seabird trips and one morning of gannet photography, all weather permitting of course. In three years we have yet to miss an entire day because of weather… In addition, we will enjoy several sessions of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will get to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet; Arctic, Sandwich, and Common Terns, the former with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks. We will be staying in upscale country-side lodging that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the limited single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared by you in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day.

If you wish to fly home on the morning of Monday July 10 we will get you to the airport. Please, however, consider the following tentative plans: enjoy a second Gannet boat trip on the afternoon of Monday July 10 and book your hotel room in Dunbar. If all goes as planned, those who stay on for the two extra days will make a morning landing at Bass Rock, one of the world’s largest gannetries. We will get everyone to the airport on the morning of Wednesday July 12.

Great News on the UK Puffins and Gannets/Bass Rock Extension

On the morning of Jul 10, 2017, we will sleep late and head up to Dunbar Harbor for lunch and an afternoon Gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. One gannet boat trip is included in the IPT but everyone always wants more.

Then, as a possible mega bonus — we are scheduled to make a Bass Rock landing on the morning of Tuesday July 12, 2017. I am hoping to go two for two! If not, we do another chumming trip for flying gannets.

Included will be two nights lodging at the wonderful Dunsmuir hotel, two fine dining meals there, any additional meals, all boat, guide, and landing fees, and all transportation including the early morning transfer to the Edinburg Airport on the morning of WED July 12.

So far all five sign-ups are maximizing their travel dollars by signing up for the extension in part because I priced it so cheaply at $1499 despite my greatly increased costs.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2016.

Deposit Info

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on March 29, 2017. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. 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. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Deposit Info

Single supplement rooms are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. 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. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. 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 of running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print careful 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 :).

12 comments to Big BAA Blog News & The Vertical Without the Black Crud MP4 Photoshop Video

  • avatar Kevin Hice

    Hi Artie I am looking forward to a video. I adjusted my lens Sunday. I have a hard time seeing the focus point . also not enough room in the basement . No way can I set up outside . Too much wind here in Nd. I was at about 25 ft for the 300 2.8 and went about 35 ft with the 1.4 converter and maxed out in distance at 45 ft with the 2x. The lens only needed plus 2. But converters needed plus 9 and plus 12. I also couldn’t get the graph to work just looked at the photos. Hope the video helps. Would like to do the graph.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      No video. Just a written tutorial with lots of examples. If you are not seeing a graph, you need hep 🙂

      later and love, artie

  • avatar John Haedo

    Artie, do you know when you’ll have the LensAlign/FocusTune Microadjustment Tutorial ready? You have a link to a tutorial in your blog but the images aren’t accessible (in my computer, anyway).
    I have to microadjust all my cameras and all my glass because I don’t think my images are as sharp now as they were when my equipment was new.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      There should be some older tutorial on line but the new one will be much, much better. Not sure when though. I am doing my best 🙂

      later and love, artie

      • avatar John Haedo

        Thanks, Artie, no pressure – no one works harder at this stuff than you do; I only asked because in your old tutorial there are images that illustrate your instructions, none of which appear in my monitor even though I’ve used 3 different browsers. I can wait until the new tutorial comes out, and then buy the LensAlign Mark II contraption from your store. What do you you think of the great big long ruler accessory for The Mark II with Focus/Tune they’re now selling (for more money, of course)? Have you tried it and if so, is it worth considering buying?
        I wish I could find the reasons you’ve already given on your blog why the 5D Mark IV is now your favorite bird photography camera, but that’s another subject…

  • avatar Warren Robb

    Thanks Artie! As soon as the M-A guide is ready, I’m eagerly ready to purchase it.

  • avatar David Peake

    Yep I second the M-A tutorial. Finally got mine to work and now my 5D3,100-400 lens, camera and TC combination are shooting sharp. But never managed to get the programme to show me the graph. Now enjoying the sharp images this great gear can make.

  • avatar Ralph Fletcher

    I am really looking forward to the LensAlign/Focus Tune Micro-adjustment tutorial.
    Thanks for doing that!

  • avatar Bill Goodhew

    I second Marvin’s suggestion, but maybe twice per week. And maybe 2 or 3 teaching images with the all-important details below. Just suggesting…

  • avatar Marvin Falk

    Your energy level is impressive and the number of things on your agenda seem super human. Why not do a well prepared weekly post instead of a daily hassle (I am not suggesting that your daily posts are not well prepared). I am only a few years older than you and I would find your pace impossible to maintain over time without some element suffering.