Called By a Big Leaf … But only for three weeks! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Called By a Big Leaf ... But only for three weeks!


Thanks for all the kind words and condolences on the loss of my younger sister, Arna Lee Morris. (My Mom saw the name “Arna Lee” on a HS girls jacket in Marine Park in Brooklyn many decades ago …) I finally got around to packing for my trip to Cayman Brac on Tuesday afternoon and finished that chore at 4:15am on Wednesday, 7 FEB. Again I enjoyed a cold 1/2 mile plus swim late in the day. There are still two openings on the spoonbill IPT. Click here for complete info. If anyone would like to join me shooting spoonbills for 1 1/2 days, February 19 (full day) and February 20 (morning session only), please get in touch via e-mail.

Today I fly to Miami, Grand Cayman, and Cayman Brac for a week of photographing nesting Brown Boobies.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred ninety-one days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about three 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 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 on the next to last day of my three week San Diego visit. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens (at 120mm) and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850.

Matrix metering at zero: 1/60 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode. AWB in the shade at 10:32am.

f-9 shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure.

Please click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

underside of leaf of ornamental plant

Called By a Big Leaf … But only for three weeks!

I first walked through the breezeway on the way to my room at my San Diego hotel room on the afternoon of January 12th. I noted a big ornamental plant with really cool leaves and thought, “There is one leaf that is really pretty; I should photograph it.” Every time I walked past the plant I thought the same thing. On the afternoon of the last full day of my trip Lee Sommie and I got back to the room early after our morning session but we were both dead tired. None-the-less, I knew that if I did not grab my D-850 and my 24-120 that I would never make any images of that single leaf. So I did. I had been mentioning the leaf to Lee for a week; when he learned that I had summoned the energy to actually make some images he was amazed. I actually spent about 30 minutes experimenting. I photographed the top of the leaf, somewhat front lit, and then sat in wet dirt to photograph the underside of the leaf, somewhat backlit.

For the most part, I worked hard at creating complete pattern images by filling the frame with the leaf. With no borders and nothing distracting on the edges. In other words, nothing but the leaf. I created about 80 images in all and kept only two. One top shot where the leaf filled the frame completely, and today’s featured image of the underside of the leaf. Note: all of the images included some sort of diagonal.

The Questions of the Day

  • 1- Do you like the inclusion of the tiny triangular shape in the upper left corner? Why or why not?
  • 2- Why did I opt to work at 1/60 sec. at f/11 while hand holding, i.e., why did I need extra depth of field?

Initial Thoughts on the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens

This Nikon 24-120mm replaces my beloved Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens. Either way, don’t leave home without it! Short zooms like these can be used to create a great variety of B-roll images. Bird-scapes, scenics, Urbex, detailed mini-landscapes, people and photographers, and quasi-macros like today’s featured image. And tons more. My initial impression is that the Nikon 24-120 is a lot sharper than my old Canon 24-105mm.

Help 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

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.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

12 comments to Called By a Big Leaf … But only for three weeks!

  • avatar MR

    The leaf was probably curved & has a thick stem that protudes towards you. You wanted to get as much of the leaf structure in focus as possible.

    All the best,

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Good man. The curvature of the leaf made me do it; if it were perfectly flat it would not matter that I was close. There would be no need for a small aperture.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    As far as the need for depth of field, I was close. But everyone is forgetting one important thing about the large leaf …

    with love, artie

  • avatar Steve Dickson

    I like the triangle. It would perhaps have been hard to show the purple edge without showing beyond the edge. I also like the triangle because it makes me wonder..what else is here? etc

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I like the little triangle with the purple edge, both because it’s pleasing to me and because it indicates that the leaf is finite. I probably wold have tried it both ways, as I’m sure you did. Others have explained the f/11, I think correctly. Nikon’s VR is as good as Canon’s IS in my experience. By the way, Canon also makes a much lighter and much-less expensive version of a 24-105 than the EF 24-105 f/4L IS II: It is the EF 24-105 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, which seems very sharp to me. The IS is very good, but I’m told that it’s not as resistant to rain and being knocked about as the L version. In any case, I love mine.

  • Interesting Image. I would not include the triangle at the top left corner.

    But I think I like the image with it as it balances the image nicely.

    As you were not exactly parallel to the subject and the subject being very close, you need to stop down to get more depth of field.

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie,
    1. I think that including the edge of the leaf makes the image less graphic.
    2. As Anthony said you were working at f/11 because you were so close to the leaf and wanted to keep most of the image in focus. You were perfectly happy to handhold at 1/60 of a second and you did so in order to lower your ISO and keep your huge image file as clean as possible.

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    1- Do you like the inclusion of the tiny triangular shape in the upper left corner? Why or why not?

    Works for me! The purplish colors seem to run towards the triangle shape with a strong saturation of color at the edge of the leaf. It draws the eye from center, to the edge/triangle shape.

    2- Why did I opt to work at 1/60 sec. at f/11 while hand holding, i.e., why did I need extra depth of field?

    You were too close to the subject. F11 was needed to make it all in focus..1/60th was required for proper exposure because of the smallish aperture.

  • avatar Michael Eckstein

    I like small edge of the leaf shown in the upper left corner, becase it breaks the pattern displayed in the rest of the image.

  • avatar Mike Cristina

    I like the texture and color in the lower left, so I’d like to see a shot zoomed out a little more, maybe showing the entire left edge of the leaf.


  • I think you meant ‘upper left corner’?

    As far as do I like it? In this case…I don’t like it. The triangle just doesn’t fit with the rest of texture of the leaf. I do like that purple band on the border of the leaf near the triangle. Awesome image.