Big Bad Brown Pelican. D850 ISO 6400. Image Color Quiz. And the Little-Know Schmutz (Lint) Removal Filter in Photoshop « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Big Bad Brown Pelican. D850 ISO 6400. Image Color Quiz. And the Little-Know Schmutz (Lint) Removal Filter in Photoshop

What’s Up?

Friday afternoon was not as good as Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning was not as good as Friday morning. That will almost always be the case after a truly sensational start. That said, we had lots of good chances on Friday afternoon and lots of good chances on Saturday morning — bless the fog and the clouds! We did the Red Kites at Harewood on Saturday afternoon; pretty much everyone wound up with better images than I did.

Canon user and BPN-friend Mikey Poole used my 500 PF on Friday afternoon and was totally blown away by the AF performance. After the session, he said, “You just cost me a lot of money …” On Sunday morning, we were facing the bright sun in our faces winds from behind us conditions that plagued our mornings at Bempton Cliffs in late June 2018. The Brits loved those summer days but for morning bird photography you are up against is with those conditions. Make soup from a stone, I came up with two pretty good situations despite the extremely difficult conditions. I will be sharing my two best images from that morning with you here. On that morning, Mikey played around handholding Anita North’s 600 VR and said, “Wow, it is much better balanced and lighter than my old Canon 500mm f/4L IS.” I replied, “Way expensive.” His answer, “In for a dime, in for a dollar.I’ll be divorced soon. ” I love that live-life-now attitude.

Coming Soon

I will be announcing the Fort DeSoto Fall Sandbar Secrets IPT soon. Both Bosque IPTs and the San Diego IPT are wide open. Click here to see the IPT listings.

Publication Delay 🙁

Publication of the The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide, co-written and co-illustrated by Joe Przybyla and yours truly has been delayed as yours truly screwed up the PDF. Once that is released, the publication of Focus on Frogs – An Illustrated Guide to Great Photography was written and illustrated by Andrew McLachlan and edited for readability by yours truly will follow. Each of these new e-Guides is lavishly illustrated with images that will educate and inspire. Both will sell for $50.00 via electronic download.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. We are sold out on the newly-arrived FLN-60 BigFeet recently re-designed for the Nikon 600 VR. Click here to access the pretty much complete FL SH Pro story.


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

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.

Full frame vertical Photo Mechanic screen capture

The Little-Know Schmutz (Lint) Removal Filter in Photoshop

When I first saw this image during the editing (picking my keepers) session in Photo Mechanic, I loved the bird, the soft light, and the spectacular bill color; the schmutz on the bill pouch? Not so much. There is — of course — no Schmutz (Lint) Removal Filter in Photoshop. The bill clean-up took about four minutes; I used the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, and lots of Content-Aware Fill. To save time, I used the Lasso Tool, set to Add to selection, to eliminate most of the schmutz in one fell swoop. Do that by circling many or most of the small bits of lint (or whatever the white specks might have been), and then hitting Shift + Delete to execute the Content-Aware Fill operation. That takes a few moments to render but you save lots of time in the long run as compared to dealing with each speck individually. You can see the results below in the optimized version.

A Neat Photo Mechanic Feature

When editing a session folder, I simply hit the space bar to view the images large and use the right arrow key to advance to the next frame. I hit T (tagged) to mark my keepers. When I am finished, I go to Untagged, hit Command A (select all), and then hit Command-delete to move the rejects to the trash. There is nothing faster than Photo Mechanic for viewing your images. When and if you want to share a vertical image on the laptop, you can really impress folks by hitting one of the two rotation arrows (upper right, in blue above) and then turning your laptop on end. I only do this during an editing session when I need to see the whole image as large as possible. I use the fabulous Zoom feature to check for critical sharpness with most images.

Click here to learn more about viewing, editing, and ingesting images with Photo Mechanic.

This image was created on January 20, 2019 on the first afternoon of the 2019 San Diego IPT. I used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850. AUTO ISO: 6400. Matrix metering at about zero as framed: 1/1000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 5:47pm on a cloudy afternoon.

One up from the center Group (grp) Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the base of the pelican’s bill on the same plane as the razor-sharp eye.

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

Big, Bad Pacific race Brown Pelican — tight vertical head and bill portrait

Image Color Quiz

What single change during the RAW conversion resulted in the totally different look of the color in the optimized image as compared to the original image?

ISO 6400

This image was created on the same afternoon as my favorite pelican blur. Right before I created today’s featured image I had been shooting flight at 1/1000 second at ISO 6400. When the bird in today’s photo distended it bill pouch I fired without attempting to change any settings. A shutter speed of 1/500 sec. at ISO 3200 (half the shutter speed equals half the ISO) would likely have done just fine. Noise reduction with Neat Image worked superbly. Many folks feel that high ISO performance with the D5 is far better than high ISO performance with the D850; in my opinion, this is a myth.

The Optimized Image for Big Bad Pelican

The NEF file for today’s image was converted in Capture One. I was and am quite satisfied with the image color, the bill clean-up, and the optimized image as a whole.

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 at 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. 🙂 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. Learn more about Capture One Pro 12 and Arash Hazeghi’s “The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide” in the blog post here. Note: C-1 Pro 12 Works great with SONY ARW (RAW) files too!

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 edited by yours truly. Please use this link to purchase NeatImage.

To introduce folks to our MP.4 videos and the basics involved in applying more NeatImage noise reduction to the background and less on the subject, I’d be glad to send you a free copy of the Free Noise Reduction Basics MP.4 Video. Simply click to shoot me an e-mail to get your free copy.

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 6)

Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; WED JAN 7, 2020.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (nesting with eggs and possibly chicks) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heermann’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others are possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lions; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the IPT cards, there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Not to mention a ton of excellent flight photography opportunities and instruction.

Please note: where permitted and on occasion, ducks and gulls may be attracted (or relocated) with offerings of grains or healthy bread.

Learning Exposure, Whether You Like It Or Not

Whether you like it or not, we will be beating the subject of exposure like a dead horse. In every new situation, you will hear my thoughts on the exposure situation along with my thoughts on both Nikon and Canon histograms and the subject of blinkies. Whether you like it or not, you will learn to work in manual mode and to get the right exposure every time as long as a bird gives you ten seconds with the light constant. And you will learn what to do when the light is changing constantly. What you learn about exposure will be one of the great takeaways on every IPT.

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT, there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

It Ain’t Just Pelicans

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography as well. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You will be guided as to how to make the best of all of those opportunities. And depending on the weather and local conditions and tides, there are a variety of fabulous photo chances available in and around San Diego.


Did I mention that there are lots of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter? Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, four lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. And so that we can get some sleep, dinners will be on your own.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 3385, or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 10/11//2018. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for both big international trips and US-based IPTs is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality travel insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.


Variety is surely the spice of life in San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Getting Up Early and Staying Out Late

On all BIRDS AS ART IPTS including and especially the San Diego IPT, we get into the field early to take advantage of unique and often spectacular lighting conditions and we stay out late to maximize the chances of killer light and glorious sunset silhouette situations. We often arrive at the cliffs a full hour before anyone else shows up to check out the landscape and seascape opportunities.

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 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.


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

11 comments to Big Bad Brown Pelican. D850 ISO 6400. Image Color Quiz. And the Little-Know Schmutz (Lint) Removal Filter in Photoshop

  • avatar Ivan

    When I hit the Shift + Delete keys, the Fill box does not appear. If I right click the selected area and select “Fill” the menu box opens and I can click on Content Aware and then it works fine but not if I hit Shift + Delete first. I suspect that I have some setting wrong in my preferences etc.

  • avatar Mark Jordan

    Hello Artie,
    You selected on the cloudy white balance?

  • avatar Paul Burdett

    Hi Artie. Awesome closeup image however it was processed. Is the forum site down? I’m unable to connect for the past 4 days…error message is “unable to connect to server”. I’ve tried different browsers and computers. Cheers.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Paul. Yes, BPN is down, with apologies.

      We have been phished on not even the service provider can get into the back-end to do the clean-up. We are working on it.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Ivan

    I tried your Lint Removal Shortcut in Photoshop but all it does is cut out the area I selected and leaves it white.
    What am I doing wrong? I used the Lasso Tool (with the “add to selection”), circled the area of concern and hit Shift + Delete.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Ivan, When you hit Shift + Delete the Fill box appears. Make sure that Content-Aware is selected from the drop-down menu in the Contents box …

      LMK how it goes.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Ivan

    I am a novice at this but I think that this effect may be achieved by increasing the Vibrance.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Again,

      That would certainly change the color but not as dramatically as increasing the Color Temperature as I did with today’s image.

      with love, a

  • avatar Guido Bee

    I can agree with Joe, or (in DXO Photo Lab) I might go into the yellow channel in the HSL section and increase it a bit. Might have the same effect as Joe’s changing the color temp.
    Great shot. Enjoy your IPT, and be well.

  • avatar Joel Eade

    You changed the white balance by increasing the color temp making the colors much warmer.

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