A Mega-Underexposed RAW File Rescue along with the Answers … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Mega-Underexposed RAW File Rescue along with the Answers ...

What’s Up?

I have not been down to the lake since I got home from the last DeSoto IPT. I will be headed down this morning, Saturday, May 11, 2019 after I finish this blog post and have breakfast. I spent many hours yesterday working on our next two publications, Andrew McLachlan’s Frog Pond Adventures/A Guide to Photographing Frogs and Toads, and The BIRDS AS ART Middle of Florida Photography Site Guide that I am doing with BPN-friend Joseph Przybyla. Joe posts in the Avian Forum most every day and his skills have improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years.

I did enjoy a slow one mile swim on Friday afternoon.

Last Gatorland In-the-Field Session of the Season: Sunday May 12, 2019.

Join me at Gatorland tomorrow and learn a ton. It will be prime time for Cattle Egrets in breeding plumage, we might even have a shot at some Little Blue Herons, and there will still be lots of chicks of all sizes. There were still some nests with eggs on my last visit. Learn to shoot in the shade on sunny days! Most folks who visit Gatorland simply have no clue. Join me to learn how to photograph at easily accessible rookeries. An intermediate telephoto lens is all that you will need. I will have two of those and my 600 VR. Learn to think and see like a pro. A loaner FlexShooter Pro will be available.

Morning Session — 7-10am: $200.00
Morning Session with a 90-minute working lunch including image review and Photoshop: $300.00.

FlexShooter Pro

You can order your FlexShooter Pro from the BAA Online Store right now for $599.00 plus the shipping by clicking here, or by phone at 863-692-0906.

FlexShooter Pro Update

Not surprisingly, we have sold all twenty that we received with our first shipment. Another twenty are on the way as we speak.Two of those are already accounted for. Folks are encouraged to place their orders now by phone; your card will not be charged until your head ships. Once folks have a chance to play with a friend’s FlexShooter Pro, or meet me in the field with my 600 VR, I expect sales to boom. Think that I am full of it? Do you remember when everyone used Gitzo tripods? Today, all that you see in the world of nature photography are Induro tripods. Folks always gravitate to gear that is better, well made, more efficient, and less expensive …

I do have one barely used FlexShooter Pro head, the one with the very slightly smaller knob (11/16″ vs 7/8″) for sale. If I had not mentioned the difference in the size of the knobs, nobody would have noticed. In any case, if you would like to save $50, I’d be glad to sell it for $549.00. Phone orders only: 1-863-692-0906 Saturday or Sunday afternoon or any weekday.


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

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style is a 1 hour, 15 minute, 314 image,
click and play MP4 video

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style: $10.00

Click here to order or see the Save $10 Bundle offer below.

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style is a 1 hour, 15 minute click and play MP4 video. It is available here in the BAA Online Store, by phone order, or by sending a Paypal for $10.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net. As the file is a large one, be sure to upload it when you have a good internet connection.

The video features 314 of artieโ€™s best images, educational and otherwise. Based on his 35 years of in-the-field experience, it covers all the basics along with many fine points. Are you making mistakes that give you no chance to create a great image? Learning to avoid those and learning to think like a pro will make you a better photographer. If you purchase and study the video, it will surely prove to be the best ten dollars youโ€™ve ever spent on photography.


birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100:

Save Ten Bucks!

Order the Lessons From the Field MP4 video and add a copy of the birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100 (via convenient download — normally sells for $20.00) for an additional 10.00.

Order the bundle for $20.00 by clicking here.

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.


Many IPT folks have been using the Booking.Com link below to get great rates and save 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.


I enjoyed another great inexpensive AirBNB on the recently concluded 2019 Fort DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. For the past year, I have been using AirBNB for all of my travel lodging needs. Everyone on the Fort DeSoto Spring IPT stayed at AirBNB properties in Gulfport. Airbnb lists more than 4.5 million homes across 200 countries; youโ€™ll find spacious, affordable options for every occasion. With Airbnb you will travel with confidence as reviews from past guests help you find the right fit. Once you do, their secure messaging makes it easy to coordinate with your host. And Airbnb support teams are available 24/7. And this morning, I made a 17-day reservation for an Airbnb condo for San Diego, 2020. I am staying with Rick again: his place has lots of room, a full kitchen, two bedrooms, and great WiFi. All for a lot less than the price of a chain hotel.

Yikes. I almost forgot the best part: Airbnb rates average less than half of even the least expensive chain hotels and motels. If you would like to save $40 on your first booking sign up by using this link: Airbnb. Airbnb does charge clean-up and service fees that make short stays less attractive bargains than long stays.

Those who prefer to stay in a motel or hotel are invited to use the Booking.com link above to save $25.00.

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 May 6, 2019, on the last afternoon of the DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering as framed: 1/640 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode was, as you can see by the histogram, close to three stops underexposed. AUTO1 WB at 8:06pm just after sunset.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Center Group (grp) AF/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) was active at the moment of exposure. See the Nikon Capture NX-D screen capture below to learn a ton.

Photo Mechanic screen capture

Click on the image if you would like to read the fine print.


In yesterday’s short blog post here, I asked, with regards to the image above:

#1: What is the bird?

##2: Would you keep this image? (There were no others in the series.) Why or why not?

#3: If you have any idea has to how I wound up so many stops under-exposed, please leave a comment?

Scroll down for the optimized image and the answers.

This image was created on May 6, 2019, on the last afternoon of the DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering as framed: 1/640 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode was, as you can see by the histogram, close to three stops underexposed. AUTO1 WB at 8:06pm just after sunset.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

One down and one to the right of center Group (grp) AF/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) was active at the moment of exposure. See the Nikon Capture NX-D screen capture below to learn a ton.

Least Tern with fish at sunset

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The Optimized Image (above) and the Answers (below)

  • #1: The bird is clearly and unequivocally a Least Tern. Kudos to Ryan Sanderson who knows his terns. He commented: The structure of the bird suggests Least Tern.. Royal and Sandwich Terns are both much stouter. And Least has a distinctive, dainty jazz with slender, more pointed wings than Forster’s or Common Terns.
  • #2: I knew from the minute that I saw the sharp image on the read LCD that I would keep this one and be able to create a decent image during post processing. Several folks, including and especially Muhammad Arif, suggested the correct steps: lighten the imaged during the RAW conversion and crop from our right and below to get the bird out of the center of the frame. The image looked so good after the RAW conversion in Capture One that I did not even need to run any NeatImage noise reduction.

    Notes: I love the perfect wings-up position as well as the fish. During post-processing most of the crud in the water was removed using Content Aware Fill.

  • #3: I was trying to create some sunset scenics without a bird in the frame but with the sun in the frame and was trying (without success) to avoid toasting the sun. When I saw the tern, I acquired focus and made two frame, one in focus, one not. Both almost three stops underexposed. With help from blog regular David Policansky, Jeff Walters figured out that I had been working (in Manual mode) with the sun in the frame when I saw the bird against the colored sky and fired.

The Lessons

Digital capture is amazing. It is often possible even easy (as in this case) to save under-exposed or over-exposed RAW files and wind up with decent, usable image files.

Before deleting anything, check to see if there is a picture within the picture. And that goes double for those using high megapixel digital cameras like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, the Nikon D850, and the Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera Body.

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)

Everything mentioned above (except for Capture One RAW conversions) and tons more — including all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — 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): Note: all of the videos are now priced at an amazingly low $5.00 each.

  • 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 old Canon images 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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).

More recently, I have begun converting my Nikon and Sony RAW files in Capture One.

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. Please use this link to purchase NeatImage.

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.


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 A Mega-Underexposed RAW File Rescue along with the Answers …

  • avatar Joel Eade

    I too like the balance that is provided by the bird and the sense of scale. Are there bonus points for identifying the prey item the bird has in addition to the bird?

  • Color is definitely not my Taste, but I like the small in frame look and placement of the bird.

  • avatar Brian E. Small

    Artie………..did you ever get a chance to see if there’s a way to attach a flash or a flash arm with the FlexShooter?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I had not forgotten ๐Ÿ™‚

      The Nikon plate that I got was too short. He is re-designing it. I have lots of Canon plates that are correctly sized buy no Canon gear to test them on … I just went to the garage and grabbed a Wimberley F-1 Flash Bracket.

      At present, the BigFoot plates are not designed with top of the plate mounting capabilities as the Wimberley and 4th Generation Design plates and low feet are.

      Whether or not the F-1 bracket depends totally on the configuration of the plate and your rig, in other words, it would need to be determined on a case by case basis. I should be able to let you know for sure with regards to the Nikon 600 VR when I get the new plate …

      In general I would think that it would be very do-able with Canon gear as the big white lenses are much more front-heavy than the long Nikon lenses …

      with love, artie

  • avatar Steve

    I like the composition of the cropped tern image, but I really don’t like the color. I think I’d prefer it as a black-and-white image to the current monochrome orange.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Blog regular and multiple-IPT veteran, he says proudly. Barnegat, Bosque, Nickerson Beach, Southern Ocean. I agree with James Saxon.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Oops. I remember our lunch at the Diners and Dives place near the Barnegat Jetty very well.

      with love, artie

  • avatar James Saxon

    Love the colors and composition of this image. To me the bird adds scale and balance for the lower portion of the image. Very nice.

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