Not So Quick Thinking … And Dealing with hot YELLOWs. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Not So Quick Thinking ... And Dealing with hot YELLOWs.

What’s Up?

I spent most of Friday on the couch vegging out, resting, and watching the last of 30 hours of the coverage of all four rounds of the PGA golf tournament on Tivo. Congrats to yet another twenty-something winner, Jordan Speith look-alike Justin Thomas. The win was his fourth of the year.

This blog post took more than two hours to prepare.

I did exercise a bit and enjoyed my half-mile afternoon swim in a steady drizzle (with no lightning thank you very much).

The Streak

Today marks thirty-three days in a row with a new educational blog post. This blog post took about an hour to create. The plan right now with all of my upcoming free time is to break the current record streak of (I think) four hundred eighty something … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Everybody’s Doing It…

Everybody’s buying and selling used gear on the BAA Used Gear Page. Sales recently have been through the roof. The sale of three of the twelve items that I posted to the Used Gear Page this morning are pending after only four hours.

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin 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 recently folded. And eBay fees are now in the 13% range. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, 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. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking < here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab now on the the left side of the second yellow-orange menu bar at the top of each blog post.

Brand New Listing

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II Lens (with extras!)

Ron Paulk is offering a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens in like-new condition for $9,899 with lots of great extras. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the tough front lens cover, the lens strap, the original product box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Also included are the following extras: a Canon Extender EF 1.4X III in excellent condition, the 4Th Generation Design CRX-5 low foot (that artie uses), a LensCoat in Realtree Max5 , the AquaTech Soft/Collapsing Hood, a LensCoat Hoodie, the AquaTech Soft Cap, and a LensCoat Travel Coat. The extras are valued at just under $1,000.

Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ron via e-mail or by phone at 1-360-391-2090 PT. Photos are available upon request.

The 600 II is the state of the art super-telephoto for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports. If I can get it to a location, it is my go-to weapon. It is fast and sharp and deadly either alone or with either TC. With a new one going for $11,499 Ron’s lens with tons of great extras represents an amazing savings. 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.

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


I recently updated the IPT page. 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 I now have two folks registered 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 in person, consider joining me on either the Fort DeSoto IPT in late September or the San Diego IPT in January, 2018. With two folks 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. Scroll down for details. Click here for complete 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 on the morning that we all got to photograph the sea lion birth/Galapagos Hawk action. I used the hand held Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite warbler camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -2.

One AF point above the center AF Point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure — this image was cropped a bit from the bottom, left, and right. The selected AF point was placed on the bird’s upper breast. Do click on the image to see a larger version.

Yellow Warbler (Galapagos race)

Yellow Warbler (Galapagos race)

I am pretty sure that the Yellow Warbler seen on the Galapagos is a distinct race of the same species as our Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia). The handsome male’s rufous cap makes it a very desirable photographic subject and the fact that they rarely stay still for a second makes photographing them a big challenge.

The Situation and the Solution

Having seen my images from eight previous trips, several folks in the group — including and especially my roommate Loren Waxman and my friend Dr. Anita North — had been lusting after a nice male for almost two weeks. Many of us were trying to make some good images of the guy in today’s featured image as it foraged on a rocky lava shelf on a very low tide at James Bay, Puerto Egas. At first I tried working with the 500 II/1.4X III on my lowered Induro tripod but with the sun coming in and out and the bird moving closer and then moving away, that was a pretty much fruitless effort. I could have gone to the 100-400 II/1,4X III combo but that would have found me blocking the bird for the folks using big glass.

Not So Quick Thinking …

Then, the bird paused in a tidal pool to bathe. I watched it for probably a minute as it soaked and flapped, right behind a small boulder that blocked everyone’s view. It kept bathing so I took my big lens off the tripod and made my way around the bird (and the pool) without disturbing the bathing warbler. That required traversing some mighty slippery seaweed and scum covered rocks, with care. I got fairly close on sun angle and used my knee pod technique: left forearm resting atop my left knee while sitting. I was thrilled that the bird kept bathing. It gave me enough time to fire off about 30 frames before it resumed foraging. I kept nine images on the first edit. Today’s featured image was one of my two favorites.

Hand holding made getting into position a snap. And it made it easier to follow the foraging bird when it resumed feeding. Had I made my move more quickly, I might have had time to make 200 or so images …

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.

The Image Optimization

The YELLOWs in the RAW file were so bright and so yellow that they were close to being detail-less; in retrospect, raising the shutter speed one click to 1/640 second would have made my life a lot easier. Thus, restoring the detail in the YELLOWs was my primary concern both during the RAW conversion and then in Photoshop. During the RAW conversion in DPP 4 I reduced the exposure 1/3 stop by moving the Brightness slider to -.33. The YELLOWs looked a lot better but when I brought the TIFF into Photoshop they still needed help. First I tried moving the YELLOW slider in Selective to the left, toward BLUE but that did nothing. So I dropped down and added some BLACK to the YELLOWs. That brought in some detail. Finally I painted a Quick Mask of the still too bright YELLOWs, put the selections on its own layer, ran a Linear Burn, and reduced the opacity to 20%. Everything looked good but for the edges of the selection that were a bit too dark. To rectify that, I added a Regular Layer Mask, hit B, D, X, and fine-tuned the Linear Burn layer by painting in stages with a 33% opacity brush.

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.


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/openings 6.

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.

The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Register soon so that you can be assured of a room at the IPT hotel.

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 🙂

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 :).

11 comments to Not So Quick Thinking … And Dealing with hot YELLOWs.

  • avatar Joel Eade

    This one has a lot going for it. I like the image design and the contrast between the water and the bird is gorgeous. The background is uncluttered. The sharpness and detail spot on. The pose too is wonderful. The only thing I see is that it looks like it might need to be rotated clockwise 1 or 2 degrees.

  • avatar David Policansky

    What a wonderful image, Artie. I chased yellow warblers all over Nantucket for weeks this spring before I was able to get a few decent images.

  • avatar Tony Z

    Great shot!

  • avatar Mike Ross


    I think showing the before and after on this great shot would be helpful. Or, you might consider doing one of your mini instructional videos which I always find informative! On another subject. I purchased your new Current Workflow e-Guide. Even though I am a Windows user there is a lot of information in the new version that I found very helpful.

    Best Regards,


  • avatar Jon

    Artie, you may have found it better to adjust the yellows at the raw stage using DPP i.e. saturation and luminance, I find it pretty effective.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You are likely correct. As I do that infrequently is sometimes skips my mind 🙂

      with love, artie

  • avatar frank sheets

    While you were “over there” taking advantage of this male Yellow Warbler, I had my own female that that was working the tide pools. Laurie said, “You need to go over by Artie. There is a male bathing and feeding.” “I have my own bird right here!”, I responded. Typical of me for not taking good advice.

    I not positive in that I have not gone thru all my images, but I not confident that I have a “good” male warbler in my collection. Great shot!