Lightening and Cleaning Up an Unpleasant Dark Shadow & Another shock-the-world priced 1DX Mark II « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Lightening and Cleaning Up an Unpleasant Dark Shadow & Another shock-the-world priced 1DX Mark II


On Wednesday morning I headed out to Robert Moses in the rain to look for deer but there were no deer. There were lots of gulls in the parking lot rain puddles so I had fun photographing them. There were four adult and one third year Lesser Black-backed Gulls. I photographed two of the four. On the way back to Lissy’s to babysit for Ilyas I stopped by Heckscher where I found another third year lesser black-backed along with the usual gulls in the now huge rain puddle in Field 7, and spotted the godwit for the second time. The sun came out briefly after my short nap but within minutes it was cloudy black and windy so I took the afternoon off. 🙂

If you would like advance notice of a slew of used Fuji and Sony gear coming to the Used Gear page soon — including a Fuji X-T2 camera body — please get in touch with me via e-mail.

If you are interested in joining the Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT at this late date, please shoot me an e-mail or call me on my cell at 863-221-2372 (and leave a message if I do not pick up).

Canon EOS-1DX Mark II

Shock the world price #2/Reduced $800 on 22 NOV 2017!

Mansoor Assadi is offering a lightly used Canon EOS-1DX Mark II professional digital camera body in like-new condition for a BAA record low $3998 (was $4899) with only 23,000 shutter actuations.The camera was recently cleaned and checked by Canon. The sale includes the front body cap, a RRS L-plate, a LensCoat BodyBag, the original box with everything that came in it, and insured ground shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mansoor via e-mail or by phone at 415-559-8027 (Pacific time).

The 1DX Mark II is Canon’s rugged, blazingly fast professional digital camera body. It features an amazing AF system and high quality image files with great dynamic range. It is the choice of Arash Hazeghi, one of the world’s premier birds in flight photographers. artie

The Streak

Today makes one hundred eighteen days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took less than an hour to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Enjoy the family and the football and try not to eat too, too much.

Happy Bird-day!

Everybody’s Doing It…

Everybody’s buying and selling used gear on the BAA Used Gear Page. Sales of both lenses and camera bodies have been picking up recently. There are lots of great deals on a variety of camera bodies right now, all with low prices. 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 on the yellow-orange menu bar at the top of each blog post.


Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all 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.

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.

This image was created at Fort DeSoto on the what turned out to be a great morning of November 11, 2017 with the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and my favorite calidris camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode. AWB in mostly sunny, very slightly overcast conditions.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -10.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the side of the upper breast just behind the faint grey collar, perhaps a shade in front of the plane of the bird’s eye.

Image #1: Western Sandpiper, winter plumage

First-winter Western Sandpiper

This worn young bird was hanging around with the young Piping Plover that we photographed so well on November 11. (You can see my two favorite images of that endangered species in the blog post here.) Western Sandpiper is well smaller than Sanderling and the bill is deeper at the base than the bill of Semipalmated Sandpiper. As the semis winter in South America, you pretty much never see one completely molted into winter or first winter in North America.

With this bird foraging constantly — see Sandpiper Photography Tips here — it was a matter of trying to track it as it foraged or waiting for the rare milli-second pause. Today’s featured image might have been a combination of the two. But the large, dark shadow under the forward part of the bird was unfortunate. So once the image was converted in DPP 4 it was off to Photoshop to try to do something that I had never done before.

This is the optimized version of today’s featured image.

Western Sandpiper, winter plumage

Be sure to enjoy an enlarged version by clicking on the image.

The Optimized Image

After bringing the TIF file into Photoshop I did my basic image clean-up with the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, some Content Aware Fill, and a small Quick Mask or two refined with a Regular Layer Mask. Then I tackled the problematic shadow under the bird. After several failed attempts I used Select > Color Range to select the dark stuff grabbing just what I wanted with careful adjustments of both the Fuzziness and the Range sliders. Then I did a Curves adjustment and followed that with a Hue-Saturation adjustment pulling down both the BLUE and the CYAN channels down about 95 points. At some point I touched things up with a few swipes of a relatively large 25% opacity Clone Stamp Tool. All of that on one layer looked a bit overdone so I reduced the opacity of the adjustment layer to about 50% and was quite happy with the results.

Though I had never done exactly that before I simply used many of the usual tools in my clean-up arsenal to achieve the desired result. Once you have mastered the use of the tools detailed in the The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) it is up to you to use those tools creatively to solve new and different image optimization problems.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac or PC/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 BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

The few things mentioned above (and tons more) are covered in detail in the 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. 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.

The two most recent and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

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.

Recent Fort DeSoto Images

From bottom left clockwise back to center: Great Egret, blasting sunrise highlights; Black Skimmer, winter plumage in pre-dawn light; Roseate Spoonbill foraging; Brown Pelican, juvenile landing; hybrid heron X egret???; American Oystercatcher feeding; Royal Tern, worn juvenile; Great Blue Heron from below.

You can see a composite of more recent images in the DeSoto Sucked This Past Weekend blog post here.

Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT. 3 1/2 days: $1599

Saturday DEC 2 (afternoon session) through the full day on Tuesday DEC 5, 2017. Meet and Greet Introduction on SAT DEC 2, 2017

With no water in Estero Lagoon, Corkscrew Swamp and Anhinga Trail total busts for many years, and Ding Darling NWR managed into oblivion, Fort DeSoto has emerged as the premier bird photography location in the state. Join me in early winter to escape the cold weather and photograph lots of tame terns, gulls, herons, egrets (including Reddish Egret), shorebirds (including and especially Marbled Godwit), Osprey, and Brown Pelican. Long-billed Curlew, Wood Stork, and Roseate Spoonbill all range somewhere between likely and possible.

Learn to get the right exposure every time, to approach free and wild (and often tame!) birds, and to design a pleasing image. And learn the location of my new Fort DeSoto hotspot along with my favorite sunset location (sky conditions permitting). To register call Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 or shoot me an e-mail.

DeSoto IPT Details

This IPT will include four 3 hour afternoon sessions, three 3 1/2 hour morning sessions, three 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.

Because of the narrow time frame, your $499 non-refundable deposit can be paid not by credit card. Call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906 to register. Your balance must be paid by check once you sign up. The balance check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART) should me mailed to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your balance check. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Canon lens rentals are available on a limited basis: 600 II, 500 II, 400 DO II, and 200-400 f/4 with Internal TC.

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. Web orders only. 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.


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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 :).

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