Derelict Navigation Tower Revealed. And a nice Auto Tone trick … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Derelict Navigation Tower Revealed. And a nice Auto Tone trick ...


I woke at 3am and started packing — planned to leave at 2:00pm for my 5:50pm flight to Phoenix. Was ten minutes late in leaving. Jim dropped me off as usual and I am putting the finishing touches on this blog post at the gate. I did think about taking a swim but didn’t. I did think about taking a nap and did.

I made myself a nice tuna salad for the plane: Wild Planet Albacore Tuna chopped up fine, three medium Brussels sprouts cut up small, some blueberries and diced organic gala apple, a big tablespoon of no sugar relish, lots of mayo, and a healthy dose of red wine vinegar. Sprinkled cheddar cheese on top. I plan on holding off eating until two hours into the flight which should be about eight eastern time or six mountain time. Can’t wait.

Lots of folks wrote expressing interest in the spoonbill trip; I will be getting in touch with them shortly. Several are interested in the Gatorland and DeSoto IPTs as well.

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The Streak

Today makes one hundred fifty-seven days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took less than an hour to prepare including the time spent optimizing the image. 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 and my continuing insanity willing.


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.

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park with the Induro GIT304L Grand Series 3 Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode: AWB at 8:10am on a partly cloudy morning.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -2.

Two 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. Click on the image if you care to see the a larger version.

derelict navigation tower

The Derelict Navigation Tower Revealed

In the Creating Pleasing Juxtapositions and Dealing With Too-dark Tones … blog post here, I posted the image of the cormorant with the tower seen in the photo above out of focus in the background. I thought that it was a neat concept and a nice juxtaposition. The folks that were with me liked the image too can commented on how clever I was. Nobody who commented on the blog however, liked the image at all: “I do not not like the tower in the background;” “I find the out of focus tower unpleasant. At first I thought it was an out of focus drone;” “Not sure how much I like the oof tower, seems to distract the eye from the bird.” So much for clever. I still like it. Heck, maybe you had to be there. 🙂

Since some folks were unsure of just what was in the background, I decided to post a sharp image of the derelict navigation tower, covered as is usual with pelicans and cormorants and whitewash.

So What’s the Lesson in Today’s Featured Image?

After making an exposure test image or two, I waited for something to happen to make the image just a little bit special. What did I wait for?

A Nice Image Optimization Trick

When you have a flat, somewhat boring image color- and light-wise, try this: put the whole thing on its own layer and then hit Image > Auto Tone (or Auto Contrast) and then reduce the opacity of the layer to taste. With today’s image at 40% opacity Auto Tone made a large improvement and gave the image a bit of pop. Thanks to Denise Ippolito who first shared this tip with me.

More on Coming Soon

February 2018 Spoonbill Boat IPT (definite!)
Two Fort DeSoto IPTs (April and May, 2018)
Three Gatorland IPTs (March, April, and May, 2018 — including early entry and late stay — tentative)
Three Sandhill Crane chicks and colts Master Classes at Indian Lake Estates (March)

The Master Classes will be small groups — strictly limited to four photographers — with the first folks who register staying at my home and the others staying at a chain motel in Lake Wales. Live, think, and breathe photography from Friday afternoon through lunch on Monday morning; all meals included. We will enjoy three morning photography sessions with the main subjects being tame Sandhill Cranes almost surely with chicks or colts. Also vultures and Cattle Egrets and more. Limpkins possible. There will be three afternoon photo sessions with hopefully glorious sunsets like the ones you have been seeing on the blog recently. I will micro-adjust one of your lenses during a group instructional session and all will be welcome to practice what they have learned during the breaks. We will sit together around my dining room table and pick everyone’s keepers, enjoy guided Photoshop sessions, and, on Monday before lunch, folks can make a single large print of their favorite image.

Folks who would like advance notice on any of the above are welcome to shoot me an e-mail.

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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.

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3 comments to Derelict Navigation Tower Revealed. And a nice Auto Tone trick …

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I didn’t comment on the original but it didn’t do much for me. I like this one a lot and the pelican flying into the frame from the upper left is great; I assume that’s what led you to pull the trigger.

    Typo: “The folks that were with me liked the image too can commented on how clever I was.” I cannot make sense of this sentence. Maybe “The folks that were with me liked the image and commented on how clever I was.”?

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    Waited for the pelican to smile? or maybe turn to show full body side?

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    Waited for a bird to fly in?