Getting Up Early Part I « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Getting Up Early Part I

What’s Up?

I will be without internet access from 8 AUG through late in the day on 22 AUG. There will be a brand new educational blog post every day in my absence. I toiled long and hard on August 6th and 7th to make that happen 🙂

Please call the office at 863-692-0906 on weekdays and speak to Jim and Jennifer about all things BAA Online Store- and IPT-related. And anything else that you might need help with or would like to chat about.

Please continue to patronize the BAA Online Store and to use my B&H affiliate links. Both are hugely appreciated.

with much love, artie

The Streak

Today marks twenty-two days in a row with a new educational blog post. This blog post took about two hours to create.


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.

Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.


I finally updated the IPT page to properly reflect the recently completed trips. If you doubt that I am really slowing down do click here to see the meager IPT schedule. Right now there are only two US-based IPTs on the schedule. Best news is that I turned up the missing registrant for the Fort DeSoto IPT so that will run. Do consider joining us if you would like to learn from the best.

Photographers Wanted

If you would like to learn to be a better bird photographer, consider joining me on either the Fort DeSoto IPT in late September or the San Diego IPT in January, 2018. With just one person signed up, DeSoto will offer practically private instruction. And you can tack on the In-the-Field/Meet-up Workshop Session on the morning of Tuesday September 26, 2017 for free. Click here for IPT info and the current but abbreviated schedule.

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.

This image was created from the boat in Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park on the Bear Boat Cubs IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens with the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 318m) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop as framed: 1/320 sec. at f/9 in Av mode. WB: K8000.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: zero.

Two rows down and three AF points to the left of the center AF Point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point just caught the forward part of the Orca’s fin and was the key to the success of this image.

Do click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Tufted Puffins, small flock at dawn

Getting Up Early Part I

Getting up early whenever you are sleeping on a boat on a photography trip can often pays dividends. I always make sure to ask my group, “Who wants to sleep, and who wants to be roused very early in case of a nice pre-dawn sky?” On the bear boat 3 out of five opted for sleep 🙁 Though I never set my alarm and though the weather overall was not great, I did get lucky more than once.

On the morning in question, July 22, we were anchored in Hallo Bay. I was glad to see the red skies and its reflection in the still waters of the bay. I was thrilled when I moved towards the bow of the Coastal Explorer III and saw a string of puffins in a pretty darned good spot.

I almost always set a high color temperature like K7500 or K8000 to enhance the colors of nice sunrises and sunsets. For this image the colors were so rich that I toned them down by working with the slider in the Adjust image tab reducing both Saturation and Luminosity in the REDs and ORANGEs. I also used a Curves adjustment to lighten the water.

Exposure Question

Why was -1/3 stop needed for this image?

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.

Everything that I do to optimize all of the images that you see here on the blog 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. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

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.

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.

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 :).

8 comments to Getting Up Early Part I

  • Hey, Arthur to retain the detail in the sky.

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    Hi! I think you did not want to blow some of those cloud highlights.

  • avatar Jeff Friedhoffer

    Agree with Jake’s assessment. Had a question about focusing on the Orca’s fin, what Orca

    • Hey Jeff, That is a left-over cut and paste error. I will fix it when I get back to civilization.

      with love to all from Stan Cruz and our day with the tortoises.


    • Hey Jeff, That is a left-over cut and paste error. I will fix it when I get back to civilization.

      with love to all from Santa Cruz and our day with the tortoises.


  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie, this image shows that getting up early often pays dividends. A significant proportion of this image is black and the camera would like to make the image an average of 15-18% grey (brightening up the blacks). To keep this image a black silhouette you knew that you needed to use a shutter speed a 1/3 of a stop faster than the camera recommended. I hope that Galapagos is going well.

    • avatar Ron

      A significant proportion of this image is also very bright (rim lit clouds and water reflections) – which is why the exposure is as close to ‘as metered’ as it is.
      Metering off the bright part part of the sky (excluding the hot spots) corresponds roughly to 18% grey and generally produces a nice rendition.
      I/3 of a stop either way would make very little difference and could easily be adjusted to taste in post.

      • avatar Ron

        On second thoughts -1/3 EV might have been necessary to avoid clipping the brightest highlights – although this is unlikely as a JPEG based histogram, being a truncated version of reality, will often indicate clipping where none exists in the RAW file.