Surviving Many Mistakes. 3X2 or 1:1 Osprey Taking Flight? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Surviving Many Mistakes. 3X2 or 1:1 Osprey Taking Flight?


As is becoming a habit I went down to the lake twice on Monday. In the morning I created some nice foggy tree images, some (lousy) too-slow-a-shutter-speed Black Vulture flight images, and, once the sun came out, some pretty bad Turkey Vulture atop a too-tall dead cabbage palm stump images. In the afternoon I had my teeth cleaned by the wonderful Dee Dee at Dr. Reddick’s office. Mazel tov to her as she just celebrated 25 years there. I go every three months so that she never has too much work to do!

The 5D Mark IV guide is nearly complete. I finished the internal page references and have nearly finished the gallery. Several folks who purchased their 5D Mark IV bodies received their unfinished drafts and are sending me their revisions. I will be finishing the gallery and working on correcting typos and un-clarities today and for the next few days as well.

I was glad to learn that the sale of Joel William’s Fujifilm XF 56 f/1.2 R lens in like-new condition for $549 is pending, as is the sale of IPT veteran Carolyn Peterson’s Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera body in excellent condition for $1399. Joel’s Fujifilm XT-2 is still available at a great price; see the Used Gear page here and scroll down for that and lots of other great Fujifilm lenses.

I was thrilled to learn that first-timers Bart and Ditty Deamer signed up for San Diego #2. They make four with several others interested.

Today I head up to Winter Haven for the second of the series of three SynVisc injections in my bone-on-bone left knee. It got up to 80 degrees late on Monday and the pool was up to almost 77 degrees when I swam my slow half-mile plus at 1pm.

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The Streak

Today makes one hundred forty-four days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about two hours 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.

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Here is the best news: those who have used a BAA B&H affiliate link to purchase a 5D Mark IV (or other items totaling $3200 or more) are invited to send us a copy of their B&H receipt via e-mail and received a free copy of the guide. If you would like to review the document before it is published, please send your receipt now. This offer is valid for future purchases.


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. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

The DPP 4 Screen Capture right (out of camera …)

The DPP 4 Screen Capture (right out of camera …)

The DPP 4 screen capture for today’s featured image shows the significant underexposure. By “right out of camera,” I mean before loading my 5D Mark recipe and before making any adjustments to the Brightness or the Shadow slider. Because the big underexposure increases noise, I used my 5D IV IS0 1600 recipe rather than my ISO 800. recipe. See below to learn how and why I screwed up not only the exposure but lots more … Note that there is no visible data anywhere near the fifth histogram box.

This image was created down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL on the morning of December 4, 2017. I used 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 Osprey photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. I was in a hurry and guessed at the exposure: 1/1600 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode was not a very good guess. 🙂 AWB. 7:53am on a clear morning.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -10.

Three AF points to the left and one row up from the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was placed squarely and correctly on the Osprey’s eye.

Image #1: Osprey take-off, the full frame optimized version

The Situation

When I drove down to the lake I saw an Osprey on the perch from a good ways off. And got excited. I parked on the edge of the big field behind some decent-sized bushes on the edge of the lake so as not to disturb the bird. I set up my tripod and grabbed the 600 II with the 2X III TC in place. While still pretty much out of sight I pointed my lens at the sky and set the exposure manually to about +1 off the sky. With the soft, warm, early morning light I should have gone with +2 off the sky … That was mistake #1.

The first Osprey that I had on the perch had been a relatively tame bird. We easily made our way along a path through the bushes to get closer to the bird which had stayed put and been comfortable with our presence. I assumed that the bird was the same one that I had photographed right after we had set up The Perch — see here and here. That was mistake #2.

Because of my incorrect assumption, I was much too aggressive when approaching the bird. I acted pretty much as if I were walking down the aisle of the supermarket in somewhat of a hurry. That was mistake #3. When I saw that the bird was nervous, I quickly planted my tripod and picked my AF point. He had been facing to my right. As there was literally no wind, I could not have known that the bird would fly off the perch to my left and wind up on the wrong side of the original frame (as seen in the screen capture that opened this blog post).

My fourth mistake was not setting up vertically; in the next frame at least 1/3 of the bird’s fully-raised wings were cut off by the upper frame-edge. The bird’s feet were still on the perch … Had I been set up for a vertical I would have created a very special (though still under-exposed) image.

Not the same bird!

The first clue that the Osprey on The Perch was not the same bird as I had photographed previously was the fact that it flew off so quickly. The proof was in (or actually not in) the bird’s left eye. The first Osprey that I photographed had two very distinctive black flecks in the iris of its left eye, one at 8 o’clock, one at 11 o’clock. The yellow iris of the bird in today’s featured image was completely clear …

The next time I will not assume anything and be a lot more careful.

Image #2: Osprey take-off, the optimized version cropped to a square (for presentation)

Dealing With the Underexposure

In DPP 4 I increased the Brightness by one full stop, moved the Highlight slider to -1, moved the Shadow slider to +2, and moved the Color fine-tune dot well away from RED to somewhat counteract the very rich, warm, early morning light. For Image #1 I used the techniques detailed in APTATS II to move the bird from one side of the frame to the other. After I had saved the optimized version in the original 3X2 proportion, I decided to create a perfectly square version — Image #2.

The Question of the Day

Do you prefer the 3X2 version (Image #1) or the 1:1 square version (Image #2)? Be sure to let us know why.

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.

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7 comments to Surviving Many Mistakes. 3X2 or 1:1 Osprey Taking Flight?

  • I am going to go against the grain here. I like the 3×2 image. First it is a much more marketable image as there is room for text to the left. Secondly, I like the use of the rule of thirds here as it looks like the bird is going to fly into the negative space provided.

  • avatar Bill Donaldson

    I have to agree with Doug the 3×2 due to the wing position feels unbalanced when compared to the 1×1.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks Doug, Winn, John, and Elinor (so far 🙂 The Perch has been even better at sunset!

    with love, artie

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    I like both but #1 gives me a feeling of habitat, the sky. And the osprey seems much more free because of having more sky.

  • avatar John Farnsworth

    The 1:1 seems to constrict the bird. Not a nice thing to do to an osprey. I prefer the 3:2.

  • avatar Winn

    Wow, that perch is really working out…even though the photographer got over-excited this time.

  • I like the 1×1 version due to the wing position of the Osprey. The Osprey is kind of in a box-shaped pose, which I thinks fits the 1X1 format. If the Osprey’s wings were spread out, then I would’ve voted for #1, the 3X2.