A Life Shorebird! A Reed in the Wrong Place. And a Good Save … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Life Shorebird! A Reed in the Wrong Place. And a Good Save ...


Sunday morning was very tough for photography at Bempton with a clear bright sunrise; there were no clouds, no fog, and no mist at all. The sun was right in our face, along with the east wind … It was so bright that it was impossible to create the great landing gannet silhouettes that had become a staple for us. Images and lessons soon. After lunch we packed up and headed to Newcastle on Tyne for a great Italian dinner at Marco Polo and a good night’s rest. We headed to Seahouses on Monday morning to purchase our National Trust memberships, shop for lunches, and get set up in the wonderful cottages that will be our homes for six days of puffin boat photography.

I had some time to respond to the comments on the last few blog posts. Most important was this one in the blog post here:

Thanks for the kind comments and the mathematical corrections. It is not the first time that I made the same error … The post should have been titled, Five Image in Less than One Second. I misread 8:02:22am as 22/100 of one second rather than as two minutes and 22 seconds …


If you missed the PHOTOEXPO 2018 announcement and live anywhere within driving or flying distance of Memphis, TN, click here for the info. I am still looking for a ride to Beale Street!


BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog 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 went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Recent Sales

Ray Maynard sold his Canon 1.4X III teleconverter in near-mint condition for the low price of $299.00 in late June, 2018.
Randall Ennis sold his Canon EOS-1D Mark IV in excellent condition for $849.00 in late June.
Joel Williams sold his Sony Vario-Tessar T FE 16-35 f/4 ZA OSS lens in like-new condition for $629 (was $749) in late June, 2018.
Joel Williams also sold his Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR lens in like-new condition for $749 (was $949) in April 2018.
Pierre Williot sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition for a very fair $848.00 in late June, 2018.
Top BAA used gear seller Jim Keener sold his Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens in like-new condition for the BAA record low price of $1349.00 the first day it was listed in late June.
Jim Keener sold a Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $999.00 (was $1149.00) in mid-June.
Jim Keener sold a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for the BAA record low price of $1099.00 in Early June.
Steve Traudt sold an Xtrahand Vest, the Khumbu model, size XL, in very good condition for the BAA record-low price of $179.
Jim Brennan sold a used Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens in good condition for $249.00 in late May.
Larry Padgett sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in excellent condition for $1160 soon after it was listed in late May.
Charlie Curry sold his Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens in mint condition for a BAA record-low price of $750.00 on the first day of listing in late May, 2018

Eight Nikon D850s and a Nikkor AF-S 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR Lens! Available Right Now!

Contact Steve below to get your D850 tomorrow. Or e-mail Steve about a special deal on the big Nikon zoom lens that is especially great for a trip to Africa or the Galapagos.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Patrick Sparkman saved $350 on a recent purchase!


Several folks on the UK IPT used the Booking.Com link below for there Edinburgh hotels, got great rates, and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. 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 photographers 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 June 10, 2018 at the Tana River Delta. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering + 1 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/6.3. NATURAL AUTO WB at 10:56am on a cloudy day.

Center d-9/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the bird’s upper breast on the same plane as it’s eye.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #1: Temminck’s Stint in breeding plumage

A Life Shorebird!

As regular readers know, I was thrilled to see two breeding plumage Little Stints in Norway; see the Promising Pool on the Delta blog post here for that story and the photos. Right after we photographed the Little Stints we spotted my life Temminck’s Stint on the drier grass portions of marsh on the other side of the road. We approached carefully and made some useable images. Soon after, we saw several male Temminck’s displaying in flight, their wings held in a “v.”

While Temminck’s Stint is a drab little shorebird, it was an exciting moment for me as I had never seen one before in 42 years of shorebirding. It is actually quite a distinctive bird with with its rather-long-for-a-Calidris legs and its smudgy/mottled grey upper breast. In North America we call the stints “peeps.” We have five regularly occurring species: Semipalamated, Western, Least, White-rumped, and Baird’s. Only least has yellow legs but they are much shorter and much browner in all but winter plumage. Unless I get to the Russian arctic I will likely go to my grave without seeing either Long-toed Stint or the exceedingly rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper. There are probably not a lot of folks who have ever seen all nine of the world’s peeps and stints …

Temminck’s Stint is a very rare bird in the US.

Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers

To learn more about shorebirds pick up a copy of my Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers. Written for naturalists and birders, the text tells you everything you’ve always wanted to know about North America’s sandpipers, godwits, yellowlegs, phalaropes, plovers, avocets, stilts, and oystercatchers. Topics covered include identification and aging, shorebird behavior, their incredible migrations, feeding and diet, mating and breeding strategies, eggs, nests, and young, conservation efforts, and shorebirding tips. Also included are approximately 50 species accounts covering all of the regularly occurring North American shorebird species. With 70 of Arthur’s images and 26 more by some of the world’s best nature photographers, this book contains the finest collection of shorebird photographs ever published in a single volume.

Photo Mechanic Screen Capture for Image #2, Temminck’s Stint displaying to female — below.

A Reed in the Wrong Place

I decided to take a walk up the road to look for more Temminck’s Stints. On the way back I saw a male displaying in fluttering flight. It landed almost right in front of me with its wings up and continued displaying to the nearby female. I acquired focus on the male and tracked him as he approached the female. The frame above was the best in the series. But: at the perfect moment, a tall reed came between the bird and my lens. Focus held, but as you can see by looking at the Photo Mechanic screen capture above, the center of the frame including the male looked as it it had been covered by some type of blur filter., i.e, the tall reed. What to do?

This image was created on June 10, 2018 at the Tana River Delta. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering + 1 stop as originally framed: 1/500 sec. at f/8. (It had gotten brighter.) NATURAL AUTO WB at 11:13am on a cloudy day.

Center d-9/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the base of the far wing of the male, just beyond the plane of the bird’s eye. Click on the image to see a larger version and you will see that the D850 image quality held up nicely to a fairly substantial crop.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2:Temminck’s Stint displaying to female

A Good Save …

While converting the image in Adobe Camera RAW, I moved the Dehaze filter to +12. I brought the image into Photoshop, cropped it to place the male on the left side of the frame, and then did a bit of background clean-up (above the male) using the Patch Tool and Content Aware Fill. Then, working on a separate layer, I applied my NIK Color Efex Pro 40-40 recipe to the whole image, added an Inverse (Black or Hide-all) Layer Mask, and painted in the effect as needed. Then I did the same with Auto Tone after reducing the opacity to 40%. Last was a Levels Adjustment to the whole image.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II).

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)

Yes, everything mentioned above and tons more is 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. While the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. 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.

Though I have become more proficient converting my Nikon RAW (NEF) files in Adobe Camera Raw, I continue to optimize my Canon image in DPP 4. You can learn how and why I converted (and still convert) nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here. And, yes, I still have many Canon images to work on. 🙂 The RAW conversions for all three of today’s featured images was straightforward once I entered my camera/ISO specific recipes (as detailed in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide). 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.

Help Support the Blog

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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.

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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 :).

3 comments to A Life Shorebird! A Reed in the Wrong Place. And a Good Save …

  • Hey Arthur, Cool info about the peeps and stints. Very nice job cleaning up the second image.

  • avatar Steve Wampler

    Nice save on the overexposure of the 2nd image. Great job capturing not only the behavior of the male, but also getting the female in a single frame.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. The image was not over-exposed 🙂 The tall reed messed things up. The image before and the image after were correctly exposed with good contrast.

      with love, artie