The Soft/Sharp Nut … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Soft/Sharp Nut ...

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-seven 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 two images made on the on the 2017 Palouse IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops: one was t f/2.8, the other at f/16. Both in Av mode with Daylight WB.

I used my still flower technique: Live View (for mirror lock-up) and the 2-second timer. Flexi-zone AF with the square right on the KS.

The Soft/Sharp Nut Combo(I think it’s a nut …) on old farm machinery

A Soft/Sharp Combo

In a recent blog post I shared an f/2.8 version of this image and an f/16 version of this image and asked if anyone had any ideas as far as combining the the two. Above is what I came up with. (Note: I forgot to mention that the two original images were in-camera Art Vivid JPEGs.)

How I Did It

For those familiar with layer masking this is pretty much easy-peasy. I opened both images in Photoshop and hit my Command F to separate the two and put them in framed view. Working with the soft image I hit Command J to duplicate it. Then I used the Move Tool to place it on top of the sharp image. Lining up the two images was more difficult than I thought that it would be; my usual trick of reducing the opacity of the top layer did not work very well as the soft image was so defocused that nothing lined up very well. So I resorted to going back to 100% opacity and then nudged the soft image while clicking the eyeball for the soft image on and off and on again. After about twenty attempts I was happy with the alignment. Next I added a Regular Layer mask and after hitting BDX to erase, I painted in the sharp stuff below with a large brush. Once I had revealed the detail that I wanted I merged the two layers and then using the Spot Healing Brush and the Patch Tool I eliminated most of the sharp specks and left the cracked paint lines.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of my soft/sharp creation? Do you have any suggestions for improvement during the post processing?

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 mentioned 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. 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 :).

3 comments to The Soft/Sharp Nut …

  • avatar Ed

    Technically, it is a bolt. The nut is what is screwed on the other end of a bolt.

  • avatar Roger

    Hi Artie
    I’m confused by your method of aligning the two images. You state you made approx. twenty attempts to align them. Surely if you have the two images on the top toolbar, you open one of them. Then using the Move Tool, you drag the open image up to the second image title and then back down to the main work space, the two images will each be on separate layers and aligned.
    Or you can ask P/shop to import and align two or more selected images.
    Maybe I have mis-understood your methodology!
    Keep up the good work.
    Roger. UK.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Normally you would be 100% correct. But using two widely different apertures results in the nuts being of different sizes in the images …

      with love, artie