Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of blurs … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of blurs ...


I headed out early to Gilbert Water Ranch on Monday.The sunrise was spectacular but the night-heron was not home and the geese were swimming only in the dark water rather than in the fluorescent orange/pink water … Then I did Canada Goose flight blurs and bathing Mallard blurs. I was headed back to my lodgings early when I ran a across a pond fill with Great Egrets fishing and flying so I stayed another hour and made all sharp images 🙂

Then off to the physical therapist and now some free time before dinner. Thanks to all the folks who have been commenting so much recently.

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The Streak

Today makes one hundred sixty-two days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 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 the Riparian Preserve at Gilbert Water Ranch, in Phoenix, AZ on the morning of Monday, January 8. 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 the blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 500. Evaluative metering about +2 2/3 stops: 1/60 sec. at f/9 inTv mode. AWB at 8:47am on a cloudy morning.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -5.

Two AF points below the center AF point/AI Servo/Surround shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the center of the blue and he white of the speculum.

Mallard hen flapping after bath

Weather Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of blurs …

On cloudy days, necessity if often the mother of invention. In order to make sharp images at 1200mm I would have needed to use a crazy high ISO. Bathing birds require a very specific depth of water; that is why you will often see one bird after another bathe in a specific area. Sometimes the required depth is fairly consistent and allows several birds to bathe in close proximity to each other. On Monday morning I passed on many opportunities when there were too many Mallards in the frame. Working in Tv mode when trying to create pleasing blurs allows you complete control over shutter speed. At 1/60 sec. you can get often wind up with a pleasing degree of blurring and a passably sharp head and eye.

Like it or Hate It?

All are invited to leave a comment and let the group what they like or dot’t like about today’s featured image.

More on Coming Soon

February 2018 Spoonbill Boat IPT: FEB 23-25, 2018/2 1/2 days with three morning spoonbill sessions on the boat.
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 likely be announced soon. They 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 using my lighting gear. 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. Right now there are two folks signed up for the spoonbill IPT with just four openings left. If you would like to join us, please do not tarry.

Support the Blog

Please help support my (stupendous) efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

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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.

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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10 comments to Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of blurs …

  • David Policansky

    I love this image, Artie. I will be passing within a few miles of you tomorrow driving from the Grand Canyon to visit friends in Tucson.

  • Tracey Heimberger

    Hi Artie, I have just subscribed to your blog. I am so impressed with your easy going style of knowledge, that I shared with my bird photographer friends on Instagram. There was a lot of interest in your work on there. Most of us live in Australia. There is simply no one here with your level of knowledge and skill 🙂

    kind regards

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Tracey, Many thanks for your kind words. Do see ABP and ABP II 🙂

      with love, artie

  • Hey Arthur, This is a nice blur the head is sharp and the wings are blurred. Is that a feather on the very right hand side?

  • Ted Willcox


  • Jake

    Hi Artie, I really like this image, the iridescence on the wing is spectacular. I agree with all of Elinor’s comments about the strong points of the image. But I think I might prefer the image slightly darker. There also seems to be a small piece of plastic or detritus on the right hand side of the image which is a bit distracting. Lovely image,

  • Elinor Osborn

    I like the mallard very much. It’s unique—
    – in looking at it’s side rather than straight on like most photos of standing wing flaps I’ve seen
    – in seeing the full stretch of the blue speculum feathers
    – in the whole photo being high key with the blue speculum standing out so strong.
    And I always like to see the camera and duck (birds, animals, flowers etc.) be on the same plane. It makes the viewer feel close and equal when at eye level with the subject. I like the motion in the wing while the duck’s face remains sharp.