Photoshop Fowl Play Original Revealed. And lots of interesting comments. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Photoshop Fowl Play Original Revealed. And lots of interesting comments.


I finished editing Dr. Cliff Oliver’s iPhone Photograph e-Guide yesterday and got some solid work done on Andrew McLachlan’s Frog and Toad photography e-Guide.

The pool had gotten back up to 81 degrees but after a cold front last night it was down to a season low-by-far 74 degrees this morning! I wil be wearing my neoprene vest when I swim this afternoon! The air temperature at 7am was 40 degrees F.

  • The 2018 Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT/Thursday December 7 through the morning session on Monday December 10, 2018: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 6.
  • Falklands Land-based IPT DEC 22, 2018 thru JAN 5, 2019/Two Weeks: Sold out.
  • 2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099. (Limit: 8/Openings: 1) Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; SAT JAN 19, 2019.
  • The 2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — FEB 16 thru 19, 2019: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 2.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers — needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 photographers/Openings: 4.

DeSoto Early Winter IPT News

Because both folks who have signed up for this IPT have expressed an interest in learning to micro-adjust their gear, I will be bringing my LensAlign unit and all of the lighting gear. Do consider joining us if you would like to do the same. Scroll down here for details.

Blog Comment by Ed Dow (from yesterday)

Hi Artie,

Norm Steffen? That sounds a lot like my story in the muck next to you!

That’s OK, that was an amazing morning! For anyone contemplating the Fort Desoto trip, jump on it. I don’t think anybody knows that area like Artie. I was pretty much new to bird photography and he got me in positions like the one above to get many shots that I treasure. I recall the good advice about salt water hands. Another word to the wise re: weather sealing…my 5DIV was used in a light rain for about 20 min. and failed. Anything more than a heavy mist now and I’m covering it. Fortunately Artie brought it back to life with a pillow case and hair dryer! Thanks Artie!

I wrote back:

Howdy Ed, I had the wrong year so yes, that was you. I have amended the text. And YAW. Most times the 5D IV will do just fine in a drizzle …

with love, artie

ps: YAW and thanks for your kind words.


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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. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

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 September 23, 2018 on the Fall Fort DeSoto IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 400mm) and the blazingly fast professional digital camera body, the Nikon D5 DSLR camera body with dual XQD slots). (Auto) ISO 720. Matrix metering +1 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in S (Shutter Priority) mode (TV in Canon) was somewhat of an over-exposure. AUTO1 WB at 7:43am in full sun.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure.

AFA Fine-Tune Value: zero. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Royal Tern starting dive

How This Began along with Some Interesting Comments

In the How’s Your Eagle Eye? Do you see any evidence of Photoshop Foul Play? blog post here, I posted the image above and wrote, Do you see any evidence of Photoshop Foul Play? If you do, please leave a detailed comment that clearly states your proof. I will post the original frame in few days.

Joel Eade posted this comment:

It’s a gorgeous bird and even enlarging it I can’t find any sloppy tell-tale signs of Photoshop trickery but I know you are extremely skilled. If anything, my suspicion is with the wing tips. The primary feather tips look identical on both wings (even down to patterns in the veins)
I wonder if you maybe clipped a wing tip and repaired it by using a copy from the other wing.

(I asked Joel which wing tip had been repaired but he never responded.)

Then Pierre Williot posted this:

I am pretty sure that the top wing tip (distal 1/4 or so) is a copy of the bottom wing tip. I can detect a very narrow darker line at that junction on the top one which can occur with the superposition. Very nicely done! I am pretty sure that you also copied a portion of the sky with it but can’t see the seam. This clue came from the fact that the original was horizontal. I am assuming that the direct sun was on top of your picture.

I am not sure what he meant by I am assuming that the direct sun was on top of your picture but the sun was pretty much right behind me. And he clearly felt that the top wing in the photo was the one that had been clipped and replaced.

Multiple IPT veteran David Policansky agreed that it was the top wing in the photo that had been replaced:

Great image, Artie. I also was struck by the similarity of the wingtips. I’d guess the right (top) wing was replaced because the shadows between the feathers on the left wing seem to match the shadows on the body. But I am looking on a phone and might be seeing things that aren’t there.

I replied:

Thanks David. The main reason that folks think that the primaries are identical is that I asked! 🙂 As always, I believe that if I had not asked the Photoshop foul play question that pretty much nobody would have seen or mentioned anything … When you say that the right wing was replaced do you mean the upper wing or the lower wing as seen in the image? a

He replied:

I meant the upper wing. Yes, you’re right; I never actually can see any Photoshop trickery on your images and never would think anything were amiss if you didn’t ask. 🙂

Next Joel Eade got in trouble by commenting:

I’m hoping you will soon reveal the secret on this because the more I look at it the more things I “think” I see ….. it now appears to me the body of the bird looks odd, as if it was superimposed on the wings and the feet look painted because they have such irregular edges and no detail. Also they are so wide apart and stick out so much rather than being tucked in for flight. I gotta quit now 🙂

He was right about quitting. 🙂

The Photo Mechanic screen capture for Royal Tern starting dive

Photoshop Foul Play Original

The screen capture above shows that after I expanded canvas it was the bottom wing that was replaced. Note that because I used too much plus EC that the RED channel was clipped. To replace the missing primaries I used a flopped Quick Mask along with Transform and Warp. That layer was of course refined by a Regular Layer Mask. All as detailed in Digital Basics II.

MK asked an interesting and relevant question when he posted this:

Fabulous image.

I have a question about the edits: while background “cleanup” may be acceptable, should one really be doing any modifications at all to the primary subject? I have been under the (possibly naive) impression that all wildlife images and flower images have the primary subject “as shot”. Am I grossly mistaken? I ask because (a) some clipping here or there is the reason I’ve deleted 95% of the BIF photos I’ve captured, and (b) this is the primary reason for many of my “beat yourself up for mistakes” sessions after I return from the field.

I responded:

Hi MK, Assumptions are always made at your own risk. I have been repairing clipped wings and wingtips and more for more than 15 years now. I always let folks (and in the old days when it was possible to sell a photograph — editors) know when I have done anything major in Photoshop. Such images are never entered in contests where such repairs are not allowed. That said, while it is easy to do a sloppy job of adding a wingtip or a toe, doing those repairs well is a skill that needs to be developed. Everything that I did to repair the image above, is detailed in Digital Basics II, but it will take most folks a while and lots of study and practice to learn to do it well.

And BTW, background clean-up is NOT allowed in most major contests. What you do with your images is 100% your business. artie

Spoonbills and DeSoto IPTs

Over the years, virtually every DeSoto IPT group has had a least one good chance on Roseate Spoonbill. Is a close encountered guaranteed? Not by any means. But oftentimes we are so, so lucky that I think my late-wife Elaine is calling the shots from above …


Fort DeSoto in early winter is rife with tame birds. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Caspian Tern, Great Egret, Sandwich Tern with fish, Willet, Black-bellied Plover threat display, Snowy Egret, 2-year old Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron.

The 2018 Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT/Thursday December 7 through the morning session on Monday December 10, 2018: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 6.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in early winter. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, and gulls that winter on the T-shaped peninsula. With luck, we may get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher almost guaranteed. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We may very well get to see and photograph the amazing heron/egret hybrid that has been present for three year. And we should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. In addition, Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork might well be expected. And we will be on the lookout for a migrant passerine fallout in the event of a thunderstorm or two.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. Most importantly you will surely learn to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time.

As with the fall IPT, this one will run with only a single registrant. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Once you register, you will receive an e-mail with the hotel information. Do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel (rather than at home or at a friend’s place).

A $500 deposit is due when you sign up and is payable by credit card. Balances must be paid by check after you register. Your deposit is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight folks so please check your plans carefully before committing. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand or by sending a check as follows: make the check out to: BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, clothing, and gear advice. Please remember that the meet and greet will take place at 7:30 on the evening of Sunday, September 23. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.


Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are short in December. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, juvenile Tricolored Heron, Marbled Godwits, Great Blue Heron, juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, Wood Stork, smiling Sea Scallop, Ruddy Turnstone scavenging needlefish, Great Blue Heron sunset silhouette at my secret spot, and southbound migrant tern flock blur.

Early and Late

Getting up early and staying out late is pretty much a staple on all BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours; on this particular trip we will get lots of sleep as the days are short. Being in the field well before the sun comes up and staying out until sunset will often present unique photographic opportunities, opportunities that will be missed by those who need their beauty rest. I really love it when I am leaving the beach on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers arrive.

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7 comments to Photoshop Fowl Play Original Revealed. And lots of interesting comments.