Puffling Exposures Questions … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Puffling Exposures Questions ...


Jim picked me up at Orlando Airport just after 6pm on Wednesday evening after my flights from Edinburgh and then Newark. We got home at 8pm and I was soon asleep. I got up at two, three, four, and five and felt like a zombie for most of Thursday — jet lag city! I did manage to micro-adjust my brand new 100-400 II after my second nap of the day.

I was glad to learn that the sales of multiple IPT veteran Brent Bridges’s Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens for Canon EF and his Sigma TC-1401 1.4x teleconverter for Canon EF (both in near-mint condition) for $999 and a ridiculously low $129 respectively are pending.

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 26 days in a row with a new educational blog post πŸ™‚ There may be few or no new blog posts for a week while I am in Alaska as we move the BAA Blog to a new server.

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

Priced to Sell!

Dwaine Tollefsrud is offering a Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens in excellent condition for the record-low BAA price of $3999. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the leather front lens cover, the lens strap, the original product box, a LensCoat, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Dwaine via e-mail or by phone at 1-605-716-0847 (Mountain time).

The 300 f/2.8 autofocus lenses have long been the first choice for the world’s best hawks in flight photographers with and without a 1.4X TC. When teamed up with either the 1.4X or 2X TC it makes a great hand holdable walk-around lens. Dwaine’s lens will save you an incredible $2,199! I owned and used several versions of the 300 f/2.8 lens for many years until finally replacing my 300 f/2.8 II with the 400 DO II about a year ago. artie


I could not secure the lodging that I needed for the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT in Dunbar, Scotland, so I went from Hotels.Com to Booking.Com and was pleasantly surprised. I found the rooms that I needed with ease at a hotel that was not even on Hotels.Com, and it was a nice hotel that I had seen in person. And the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward.

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.

These two baby puffin images were created late on our last landing on Inner Farnes after I got permission for our group to stay late. πŸ™‚ I used the
Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. For the left-hand image it was one AF point up and one to the left of the center AF point. For the right hand image it was simply one AF point above the center AF point. In both cases the selected AF point was on the bird’s face.

Atlantic Puffin “puffling” swimming in small pond

Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Another New Bird-word

Before this year’s trip a baby puffin was a baby puffin. But the Farnes Island researchers came through again for me by sharing the new word puffling to describe a young puffin. In prior years we had always seen a few puffin chicks poking their heads out of the burrows, but that never happened this year. The local fishing fleet is no longer allowed to dump anything overboard –by-catch, fish carcasses, etc. — so the local Herring and Lesser black-backed Gulls have been relying more and more on baby Atlantic Puffins for sustenance. In addition, heavy rains flooded many nests and contributed to low survival rates for the puffin chicks. And thus, not many pufflings. Most baby puffins exit their burrows at night and jump off the cliffs into the North Sea below. They are only rarely seen on land or in small ponds. This is the second puffling that I have gotten to photograph on Inner Farnes. Both were swimming peacefully with about two dozen Black-headed Gulls, a few adults and more than a few fledged juveniles. Many of the gulls were bathing and flapping.

Puffling Exposure Questions

  • 1- How much minus exposure compensation do you think that you would need for the image of the puffin in the dark green water?
  • 2- How much plus exposure compensation do you think that you would need for the image of the puffin in the light-toned water?
  • 3-Considering that these two images were made only seconds apart as the baby puffin swam from the dark water to our right into the light water on our left, would you have been better off working in Av mode or in Manual mode? Why?

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.


Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The Fort DeSoto 2017 Fall IPT/September 22 (afternoon session) through the full day on September 25, 2017. 3 1/2 FULL DAYs: $1649. Limit 8.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With luck, we may get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher almost guaranteed. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join us on the ITF/MWS on the morning of Tuesday, September 26 as my guest. See below for details on that.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time.

This IPT will run with only a single registrant (though that is not likely to happen). The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Though I have not decided on a hotel yet — I will as soon as there is one sign-up — do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel (rather than at home or at a friend’s place).

A $500 deposit is due when you sign up and is payable by credit card. Balances must be paid by check after you register. Your deposit is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with ten folks so please check your plans carefully before committing. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand or by sending a check as follows: make the check out to: BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, gear advice, and instructions for meeting on the afternoon of Friday, September 22.


Fort DeSoto in fall is rich with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

BIRDS AS ART In-the-Field/Meet-up Workshop Session (ITF/MWS): $99.

Join me on the morning of Tuesday September 26, 2017 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive afternoon workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tour. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal non-refundable registration fee. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place at least two weeks before the event.


BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT.

Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make the IPT? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

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

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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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

20 comments to Puffling Exposures Questions …

  • avatar Byron prinzmetal

    Since there is a lot of white and a lot of dark for both images looking at the birds only. my cameras sensor does not have enough dr to get both so I have to decide what is most important. I would use manual and reduce the exposure say 1/2 stop for the right image and leave the left alone. Since this a high contrast situation I would turn both images into black and white and see what I can do in your hated lr photo editing software….bp

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    If you WERE in manual the exposure and compensation should have been the same for both. Compensation would depend on “blinkies” on white breast. Now I’d have to guess that you would add bit of light.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Please, please, see Sunday’s blog post as you are mega-confused.

      with love, artie

  • 1. None
    2. Somewhere between plus 2-3 stops.
    3.The exposure would be the same for the bird but not the overall image.

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    Manual since the light stayed the same. Expose +1 on a plain stretch of white water or maybe +2 2/3 off white sky? Then subtract by -1/3 to keep detail in the whites on the bird? Keep that exposure on both frames.

  • Assuming it was cloudy day and the light did not change answer for both exposures would be +1/3 . We need to be in Manual Mode so that irrespective of the background once we got the first exposure correct we don’t need to change any for the second image ( Again assuming light does not change)

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      See sunday’s blog πŸ™‚

      with love, artie

      ps: you are right about being in Manual mode but otherwise confused …

  • avatar kevin Hice

    Artie good morning, Always enjoy the blog. The dark bird would have been in manual and plus 1.5 . 2 would have been too much for the whites. Light water image same manual plus o to +1/3 would want to overexpose a little for the blacks. Manual allows to adjust quicker. Maybe I am not getting this with the extender you would have been at 5.6 . With the dark bird and dark water I don’t see how you could be at minus.I have been trying to shoot in manual mode. It is easier to adjust for a given situation. But that being said I have loss some shots because I forget to change settings. As light changes which can happen very fast. I guess when I am shooting in manual I try to keep tabs on the lighting more than in Av mode.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Kevin. I am glad that you enjoy the blog. I do to πŸ™‚ As for the rest, you are very confused. Please, please, see Sunday’s blog post.

      with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: if the two exposures were seconds apart, the light would have been the same but the backgrounds different. Therefor you have to use manual exposure. I’d guess -2 for the dark green background and maybe +1/3 for the light background, which is close to the white on the puffling. You got good words on this trip!

    • avatar David Policansky

      Artie, I think this detail is important. I’m assuming evaluative metering and since the bird is fairly small in the frame, the background would have a bigger effect on the meter reading than the bird would. That’s what my answer above is based on.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You understand the concepts but your ECs are a bit off. Too much for the dark water, too little plus for the light water. Remember, when the sun is not out the meter is dumb …

      with love, artie

      ps: be sure to read and study Sunday’s blog post.

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    You are exposing for the bird and need to control the whites on the breast, -1. Same senecio with the second image, -1. If you were in AV mode, the second image of the “bird” would have been grossly under exposed in that the meter would have tried to make the correct exposure for the bright water.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      If you shot the light water image at -1 it would be mega under-exposed … When the sun is not out the meter is dumb …

      with love, artie

      ps: be sure to read and study Sunday’s blog post.

  • I would work in Manual Mode. Set the exposure off the bright water to +2?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Quite reasonable Ajit. I am looking forward to meeting and working with you in the Galapagos soon. with love, artie

  • avatar Greg

    1. -1
    2. +1
    3. Manual – as the same exposure would have been correct for both.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Pretty darned good but not enough plus for the light water image.

      with love, artie

      • avatar Greg

        These changing background situations with a moving subject are always tricky as there is no time to take a test exposure and check for blinkies.
        If in a hurry, I would meter any available mid tone in manual (or bright sky +2) and just shoot until I had time to evaluate more carefully. Same for Av but would hit the exposure lock button.
        IMHO compensating (accurately!) on the fly takes a lot of experience.