From Lousy with Bad News to Great with Good News. And My Favorite Crane Colt Image and Why … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

From Lousy with Bad News to Great with Good News. And My Favorite Crane Colt Image and Why ...

What’s Up?

Friday morning was not too good for photography. I had hoped to photograph the crane colt family crossing the canal. But instead of the cranes appearing, a car with two fishermen appeared and parked right at the point, right where I had seen them cross twice. So I messed around with some vultures, found the surviving tiny crane chick (that continued to be mega-shy), and searched in vain for the caracaras. Then I drove back to the South Peninsula to check on the crane colt family. The two adults were there with Orangey Colt. Gray Colt was not with them. I hoped that it was out in the marsh by itself but feared the worst …

I headed down on Friday afternoon to check on the crane family but did not find them on either side of the canal. With the east wind, prospects were not good but when I made a u-turn I came upon a tame Limpkin. I stayed with the bird for thirty minutes of blue-water background head-shots and eventually got a few images of the bird calling — there call is like a screaming person being tortured. With prospects dim, I almost headed home. But the sky looked promising for a sunset, so I drove around a bit. Again, the caracaras had disappeared. I went back to the South Peninsula to check on the missing colt. As I approached their favorite area, I saw the two adults walking toward me with one colt. Bummer. But then the second colt appeared from behind one of the adults. I was glad for the birds. And for me.

While an east wind on a sunny afternoon is terrible for traditional front-lit bird photography, it is great for flight silhouettes. I drove the two minutes to the new, low Osprey neat and enjoyed two red-sky landing sequences. So what began as a somewhat dismal day turned out to be a great day with a spectacular finish …

This image was also created on 29 MAR 2020. For this one I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 220mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 1000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode; I went for lots of Zebras on the white sky. AWB at 8:18am on a suddenly cloudy morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot M AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed superbly.

Image #2: Sandhill Crane colt and pine tree bird-scape

My Favorite Crane Colt Image and Why …

In the Switching Back to Nikon! Clean, Tight, and Graphic. And Thinking Wide for a Bird-scape … blog post here, I shared two images of the same Sandhill Crane colt and asked which was the best image.

Many folks commented on the April Fool’s aspect of the post, but very few commented on the two images. Those who did all liked the wide version above better than the head portrait. As much as I like tight head-shots, I absolutely fell in love with the wide shot above. I only created two frames after raising the 2-6 and zooming out. When I saw the images on the laptop I was thrilled. Thanks to Tracking Flexible Spot M both were sharp on the colt. And after setting up to get some Zebras on the light sky on a cloudy morning, the exposure was perfect as well.

Why do I like it so much? The composition is perfect. The colt’s raised foot adds. And the mood of the image is somewhat cartoon-like and light-hearted, almost whimsical. Most importantly, it shows that varying your game (clean, tight, and graphic) and thinking creatively (in this case, wider), can result in something new and different.

I did, however, struggle with leveling this image correctly. I eventually decided that the tree had to be growing straight up and down … That despite the fact that the ground (rather than the tree) wound up looking tilted … What are your thoughts on that? I will try to remember to check out the tree this morning, Saturday 4 APR 2020. I am heading down to the lake very soon on yet another clear, cool morning.

17 comments to From Lousy with Bad News to Great with Good News. And My Favorite Crane Colt Image and Why …

  • I have read the Governor’s order and offer this and I quote –

    Section 3. Essential Activities
    Part A. For purposes of this Order and the conduct it limits, “essential activities” means
    and encompasses the following:
    i. Attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses ofworship; and
    ii. Participating in recreational activities (consistent with social distancing guidelines) such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming; and
    iii. Taking care of pets; and
    iv. Caring for or otherwise assisting a loved one or friend.

    It appears to me that Arthur’s activities are more in line with the activities that are permitted than they are in violation of those that are not especially in light of the precautions he is practicing.

  • avatar James Saxon

    I prefer the tree to be straight. The small tilt in the ground does not distract my eye.

  • avatar Matthew Binns

    Hi Arthur,
    Looks like you haven’t been keeping up with the discussions taking place in other States/Countries.

    People are advised against “non-essential” travel, do you consider going out to take bird photos essential? There are several reasons that are given, including that if you have an accident or breakdown you will put a burden on already overstretched resources. You’ll probably say that an accident/breakdown is unlikely, I would too, but if everybody drives where they want, when they want, there will be more accidents, and there will be more stress on emergency services.

    I commented because previous blogs have given advice to people on what to do during the pandemic, so feel it might be worth you following the official advice we are being given, and advising others to do the same, rather than taking the approach of I don’t see how I am harming anyone, so I’ll keep doing what I want.

    Best regards.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      If my car breaks down I will lock it and walk home. The lake is less than a mile from my home.

      I began self-isolating 14 days ago and heading down to the lake fits right in with that. And I did not tell anyone what to do, I gave suggestions. I’ve been shopping once since then, and once to the post office. I am paying two employees to stay home. In addition, the folks who are telling us to stay home are also telling us to get out and walk and exercise while staying away from others. What I am doing is no different. There is no traffic here. I can understand your frustration.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Matthew Binns

    I know that Florida is its own world, but even there it must be getting to the point where going out to photograph birds is not appropriate, whether strict “sheltering in place” orders are in force or not. Non-essential travel isn’t a good idea during the pandemic. Why not use older photos in the blog to demonstrate teaching opportunities?

    Florida is 6th in nation for coronavirus cases and the case numbers are going up faster there than in many other states. Please set a good example and stay at home except for food or medicine shopping, or exercise.

    Stay safe and keep producing the blogs.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Matthew, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am quite confused by your comments. I get in my car. I do not come within 50 yards of another human if that. At times get out of my car where there are no people at all. The only thing I touch is my gear. Then I drive back home. I fail to see how that could endanger anyone including myself.

      A good friend asked me if I wanted to meet him tomorrow to photograph spoonbills in his boat. I declined.

      Please do explain what you are talking about.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Tim McCreary

    Tilted ground is more familiar than tilted trees. The tree being tilted would be much more distracting.

  • avatar Hank Fowler

    The strait tree and its leaves act as a nice frame for the bird. And with mouth open and also taking a step makes it more interesting. Still waiting for your fire sale on the Sony gear.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Hank, I agree with you.

      I am still waiting for you to read that whole blog post, up to the part about April Fool’s.

      with love, artie

  • avatar David J Policansky

    What Andy said.

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    I agree the tree needs to be the focus for leveling.

  • avatar Richard Curtin

    Believe it looks fine. Trees somehow know how to be vertical.

  • avatar Adam

    Fascinating post and it highlights how easily we become attached to these amazing critters. In the marsh behind my house there is a single coot who is out swimming, diving, and appears to be looking for a “friend”. It tries to pal around with the Canada Geese and I am amazed at the tolerance even by the geese who are nesting.

  • avatar Sue Jarrett

    Cute photo, Arthur!!

  • Totally agree with all Andy says. This one caught my eye immediately.

  • avatar Andy

    I liked this one on the first post, and I still do. The tree and bird look straight. The angled ground doesn’t bother me at all. Ground can be at an angle. Water at an angle is usually a problem, but not ground.

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