American Crow Original Revealed … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

American Crow Original Revealed ...


I finished this blog post at the gate at LAX for my flights home today. I learned a huge and valuable life lesson during my four days in Carpinteria, CA, and for that I am thankful. My plan is to get a lot of work done on the Current Workflow e-guide … I hope to have both that and the LensAlign/FocusTune e-Guide/Tutorial finished before I head to the UK for the Puffins and Gannets IPT on Sunday, July 2. If you are seriously interested in a four-figure late regisrtation discount on the puffin IPT please shoot me an e-mail.

I was glad to learn yesterday that the sale of Stuart Hahn’s Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens is pending.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV

Price reduced $101

IPT veteran Stuart Hahn is offering a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV in very good plus condition: was $1300, now, $1199, the latter a record-low BAA price. The body is in perfect mechanical condition but does show signs of use: some scratches on the finish. The LCD screens have been covered with protectors since day one so they are without scratches. Photos are available upon request. The sale includes the original box and everything that came in it and insured ground shipping via UPS to U.S. addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Stuart via e-mail or by phone at 916-485-1630 (Pacific time).

Two dependable, rugged 1D Mark IVs served as my workhorse professional bodies for several years; I really enjoyed their 1.3X crop factors, the fast frame rate, and the excellent image quality. artie

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 6 days in a row with a new educational blog post 🙂

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 5). The (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on is now part of the trip.

Please call 863-692-0906 for info on the substantial Late Registration Discount.

Here is some great info on the July 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT: I have finalized the cottage and vehicle rental arrangements. We have room for several additional folks, at least for a couple and single. And I am in position, as noted above, to offer a rather substantial late registration discount. Please call us at 863-692-0906 or get in touch via e-mail. Click here and scroll down for additional details and the travel plans.

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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great job for a long time now–please remember to use the BAA B&H links for your major and minor 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.

My Choices

In yesterday’s Chew on This For a While … blog post here, I liked both the Snowy Egret images equally well. The egret for the sharpness, the perfect EXP,and the water droplets, the crow for the open bill and the amazing detail in the black feathers.

This is the DPP 4 Screen Capture for yesterday’s featured American Crow image

The DPP 4 Screen Capture

As you can see in the DPP 4 screen capture above, and as suggested in yesterday’s blog post, the bird was much too far forward in the frame because I did a poor job of selecting the correct AF point. Note the active AF point illuminated in red. In addition, note the plethora of specular highlights on and around the base of the bill. Continue reading to learn how I moved the bird well back in the frame and did the image clean-up.

This image was also created on the morning of Friday June 16 on the beach at Carpinteria, CA with the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -1.

Three AF points to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure as originally framed (should have been one of two AF points to the right of the center AF point; more on that tomorrow).

Image #2: American Crow foraging

Image Design/Perspective Question

To create the American Crow image immediately above, I sat on the wet sand and used the knee-pod technique. Aside from getting wetter, would I have been better off getting flat on the ground? Why or why not?

The Image Optimization and Clean-up

After entering my 5D Mark IV/ISO 400 recipe, the only thing that I did of consequence during the RAW conversion in DPP 4 was to move the Shadow slider to +1. Once the image converted TIFF file was in Photoshop I had lots of work to do. First I moved the bird back in the frame using techniques from APTATS II. Then, working large, I did lots of image clean-up work on the beach using my usual cadre of tools, the Spot Healing Brush, the Patch Tool, Content Aware Fill, the Clone Stamp Tool, and a small Quick Mask or two. Next note the load of specular highlights on the base I the bill — they were a result of a slightly wet bill and the perfect head angle. I eliminated all but a few those small specular highlights, again by working large and using all of the tools and techniques noted above. Cleaning up the disturbed mud, especially where I added canvas on the right, was the most difficult task. All in all I spent about 30 minutes on this image. But, good images of American or Fish Crows are very difficult to obtain despite the fact that crows are among the most abundant and widespread birds on the continent.

Most everything above plus tons more is detailed in my Digital Basics File, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete (former PC) 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, the basics of Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro, Digital Eye Doctor techniques, using Gaussian Blurs and Dodge and Burn, a variety of making selections, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.

The Curves on a Layer Color Balancing technique will be included for the first time in the all-new Current Workflow e-guide that better reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. It will include a section on ACR conversions, DPP 4 BASICS, and a simplified method of applying Neat Image noise reduction. Along with all of the Photoshop stuff from Digital Basics that I still use. Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here.

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.

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7 comments to American Crow Original Revealed …

  • avatar Bill Goodhew

    Hi Artie,
    I would love to see just how & why you used each of your “cadre” of tools on this image, & would gladly pay $10 – $20 for an e-file.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Bill, It is Thursday morning. I am working on your MP 4 video in one minute 🙂

      with love, artie

  • Hi Artie, I really like this image of an otherwise overlooked family. Getting lower would have changed it in that; the clear reflection of the legs (which I like) would have been lost, the dark blue band would be cutting through the bird’s head which would not be ideal (because it would be more distracting), it may make it feel as if the crow’s head (which seems to be pointing slightly downward) was tilted down to the lens (possibly creating a better connection), it would have required more raising of the shadows on the underside of the bird because more of that would be visible.

  • avatar chuck

    Now that Google has discontinued NIK, what is your suggestion for a good product for a replacement.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Are they not still giving it away for free? It is working fine on my Photoshop CC.

      with love, artie

  • Getting lower would eliminate some of the sand, but i feel that adds to the image. The dark spot strip in the background would probably be higher in the frame. I think it looks good the way it is.

  • avatar Dane Johnson

    Hi Artie, I like your image of the crow and I do not think that going lower would have improved it. Going lower would have raised the dark band of water behind the crow to the point where it might have intersected the head. To me that would have lessened the impact of the image by partially blending the head into the water.