Fixing the Big Problem. Tips on Creating Pleasing Juxtapositional Images. And More Great New Used Gear Listings « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Fixing the Big Problem. Tips on Creating Pleasing Juxtapositional Images. And More Great New Used Gear Listings


My jet-lag was much abated on Friday. I micro-adjusted a few wide angle lenses for my upcoming Bear Boat IPT trip, did some more work on the LensAlign/FocusTune Micro-adjustment e-Guide, and began packing as well. I head up to an airport hotel this afternoon, and fly all the way to Kodiak, AK on Sunday.

Just so you know, this seemingly simple blog post took more than three hours to create, most of that early on Saturday morning. Now that I have finished it I need to get packing 🙂

The Streak

Just in case you have not been counting, today makes 27 days in a row with a new educational blog post 🙂 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.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to my terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily.

Used Gear Cautions

Though I am not in a position to post images of gear for sale here or elsewhere, prospective buyers are encouraged to request photos of the gear that they are interested in purchasing via e-mail. Doing so will help to avoid any misunderstandings as to the condition of the gear. Sellers are advised to photograph their used gear with care against clean backgrounds so that the stuff is represented accurately and in the best light; please pardon the pun :).

Important Note for Sellers on Cashier’s Checks

Do understand that getting a cashier’s check for your gear is no guarantee of anything. You need to get the check to the bank asap. Years ago I “sold” an EOS 1D Mark III for $3,000 to a guy in California. I tried Fed Ex collect. The driver handed the camera to the guy. The guy handed him what appeared to be a Bank of North America teller’s check. When we brought the check to BONA they said, sorry, it’s phony. I followed up with the Lake Wales police. They got in touch with the police in the guy’s home town. They did nothing.

I was out 3,000 bucks. Getting a cashier’s check for your gear is no guarantee of anything.

Used Gear Sales Testimonials

Unsolicited via e-mail from David Ramirez

Hi Artie, It’s been a few weeks but I just wanted to thank you for your Used Gear Sales service. I sold my 5DIII in no time at all for the excellent price you recommended. Thanks again, David

Handwritten note from Dr. Gil Moe

Dear Artie, Enclosed is a check for $401.40. You do such a great job with the used gear sales and pricing and make it so easy. Thank you, thank you! Regards, Gil

Unsolicited via e-mail from Tom Phillips

Artie, Well, that was awesome for us all. Roger received the 300mm today and is happy, and James bought the 1Dx Mk II and the 400mm within minutes of it being listed on the first Saturday! I know you have a lot of readers and followers but your advice on pricing was right on to sell and also allowed me to get a good price, make the buyers happy, and make you some money too. I want to thank you very much! Tom

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Gerry Keshka

Hi Artie, I wanted to share how much I appreciate your Used Gear “service.” You have posted how you help sellers, but the other side of the equations is how much this service helps buyers. I have purchased three lenses (Canon 200-400, 500 f4 II, and 70-200 F2.8) all lovely experiences and I saved almost $5K over retail. Each of the sellers was delightful, willing to help me assess if the purchase was right for me by sharing their experience with the lens. Each lens was in the condition advertised (or better), and typically included several “add-ons” that would have cost several hundred dollars.

Thanks for all you do for the photographic community Artie. Gerry

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Teresa Mabry Reed

Artie, Thanks for a positive experience in selling my used equipment. Best, Teresa

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from top BAA Used Gear seller Jim Keener

The BAA Used Gear Page is the best place I’ve found for selling my used cameras and lenses.

I used eBay and Craigslist until I began checking in at BIRDS AS ART. I saw the gear listed for sale at BAA and it struck me that the people who visit the site are like me in some important ways. We own high quality, often expensive gear. It’s important to us, and we likely take care of it. In other words, a good market exists. And I noticed how Artie marketed each item. Informative, without too big a push. That’s why I decided to try BAA.

The process was easy. I clearly accepted the terms of sale, fully and fairly described what I was selling and the good and bad. I listed the stuff to be included with in the sale. Then Artie came back with what he thought was a fair price, leaving it to me to determine the balance between urgency of the sale and receiving a high price. I’ve followed his lead.

The responses I’ve received from potential buyers have been reassuring. Each has been well informed and courteous. They have not expected perfection, but have fully expected fairness and clarity. I’ve found that providing many photographs of what I’m selling is very helpful in the completing the various transactions.

I’m writing this because of how glad I am to find a place where there is a good market for what I want to sell and what I want to buy — I just tried to buy a 300mm f/2.8 II, but it has sold. The buyers and sellers are informed and fair-minded. And artie offers friendly and experienced advice. I’ve enjoyed the process. The BAA Used Gear page is the best experience I’ve had buying and selling gear.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Owen Peller

I sold my 400 f/4 IS DO lens for the asking price. Thank you. Your service is truly better than any of the alternatives.

Artie, Thanks so much. I sent your check via my online banking. I never expected the 400 DO II and the 1DX II to sell within minutes of your posting the ad! I know that the 300 f/2.8 II is still up, but still, the results have been amazing. Another plus is that James McGrew is a professional artist and photographer and he was really looking and wanting that combo and is appreciative and excited to be able to find a great deal. Tom.

Recent Sales

  • Multiple IPT veteran Brent Bridges sold his Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens for Canon EF in near-mint condition for only $999, his Sigma Sigma TC-1401 1.4x teleconverter for Canon EF in near-mint condition for a ridiculously low $129, and his Induro CT 304 carbon fiber tripod in mint condition for only $199, all in early July.
  • Brooke Miller sold her Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS (optical stabilizer) lens for Canon AF in like-new condition for the giving-it-away price of $749 in early July.
  • Erik Hagstrom sold a Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemprary lens for Canon EF in excellent plus condition for $699 in early July.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Dr. Gil Moe sold an Xtrahand Vest, size XL Plus for $249 in late June.
  • Multiple IPT veteran Brent Bridges sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in near-mint condition and a Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens in excellent condition for the very low price of $1499. He also sold a Canon EOS 7D Mark II body in very good plus condition for the record-low BAA price of $839, a used Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens (the old 1-4) in excellent condition with extras for $599, and a Canon EF Extender 1.4X III in near-mint condition for $329. All on the first day the items were listed.
  • Tom Phillips sold his Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for $4,199 the day it was listed in mid-June.

Newest Listings

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.

100% crop of the original eye and face

The Big Problem

When creating today’s featured image (below), I remember waiting for the bird in the background to turn its head toward me so that I could fit it into the frame. When it did, I fired off two frames. The big problem, as you can see in the 100% crop of the original image (above), was that the nictitating membrane was just starting to close. That ruined the frame. In the next frame, the main subject — the puffin on our right — had turned its head a bit away from me. But, the visible eye was fully open. It was a simple matter of converting both images in DPP 4, painting a Quick Mask of the good eye, placing that on its own layer, and moving it roughly into position with the Move Tool (V). Then I reduced the opacity of the new eye to 50% and carefully positioned it with the Move Tool using the left, right, up and down arrow keys. I used the Transform command to rotate it as needed and the Warp command to shape it. Next I raised the opacity to 100%, added a Regular Layer Mask, painted away the whole layer, hit X, and, working large, painted back in exactly what I needed to complete the repair. Easy peasy.

This puffin head juxtaposition image was created on the recently concluded UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Once again 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 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/9. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -7.

One row up and four AF points to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell on the bird’s cheek just behind and right on the same plane as the bird’s eye. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Atlantic Puffin, juxtaposed heads

Tips on Creating Pleasing Juxtapositional Images

There are so many puffins on the rocks at both Staple and Inner Farnes that isolating a single puffin can be a challenge. Long focal lengths can often help in such situations. But not always. At times, your eye can spot a potentially pleasing juxtaposition where the puffins (or puffins) in the background become a plus rather than a distracting element. The trick is to act quickly to choose the ideal perspective; in many cases the pleasing juxtaposition might last just a few seconds at most before one of the birds (or one of the animals) relocates. Once I noted the potentially decent situation seen here, I moved my tripod a mere 4 inches to my right, waited a bit, and then created today’s featured image.

Easy Image Design Question

To improve this image a bit should I have pointed the lens a bit to my right or a bit to my left? Why? (Hint: there are two good reasons why for the correct answer …)

The Additional Image Optimization Stuff

After replacing the bad eye, I did a bit of bill and cheek clean-up as the bird on the right was something of a mess. In addition, I did some Eye Doctor work on the new eye that included lightening and using Blur > Surface Blur on the iris. I added a bit of BLACK to the BLACKs and the NEUTRALs in Selective Color, and finished the image off with an unusually high (+75) increase in the Vibrance.

Everything above plus tons and tons more is detailed in the new BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. Just so you know, the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow.

You can learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of their Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here. And you can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac/Photo Mechanic/Photoshop workflow that will make it easy for you to make your images better in Photoshop (rather than worse). That true whether you convert your images in DPP 4 or ACR. See the blog post here to learn lots more and to read a free excerpt.

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

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.

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.

The San Diego Site Guide

If you cannot make or afford the IPT the San Diego Site Guide truly is the next best thing to being there with me. It is all very simple, you will learn where to be when depending on the wind and sky conditions.

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.

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.


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 :).

3 comments to Fixing the Big Problem. Tips on Creating Pleasing Juxtapositional Images. And More Great New Used Gear Listings

  • Hi Artie, I really like this image. In answer to your question; moving slightly to the left would have been a good idea. As David said it would “push the sharp bird’s head slightly closer to the right edge of the frame and give the OOF bird on the left slightly more space on the left side of the frame. And the whole image would be better balanced.” I agree with this but I think there is another answer, moving slightly to the left would have taken some time so perhaps the bird’s nictitating membrane would not have been closing or closed which would have saved you editing time. Fantastic job on the editing,

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Very good PS work and very interesting photo, way to go!

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Well, for sure you shouldn’t have pointed your lens more to your right because that would have squeezed or even cropped the left OOF bird. So you should have pointed it a bit more to your left, but only a little bit. That would push the sharp bird’s head slightly closer to the right edge of the frame and give the OOF bird on the left slightly more space on the left side of the frame. And the whole image would be better balanced.

    I remember many, many years ago watching a friend give his Volvo away to a stranger in return for a bogus cashier’s check. I had felt uneasy about the transaction but didn’t have any evidence to warn him not to do it, other than vague uneasiness. The guy even had an accomplice “at the bank,” that is, the phone number that ostensibly was for the bank. So thanks for that tip.