Why did I move the car six inches? The Mini/GIT 204 Combo in the Vehicle. And More on SONY Exposures with ISO on the Control Wheel … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Why did I move the car six inches? The Mini/GIT 204 Combo in the Vehicle. And More on SONY Exposures with ISO on the Control Wheel ...

What’s Up?

Groundhog Day. Every day. Up early. Down to the lake. Work on the SONY guide. Work on photos. Speak to both my daughters. Swim. And two meals. Recently I have been watching reruns of the Masters golf tournament. In a normal year, we would be watching the winner get his green jacket in the Butler Cabin late this afternoon, Sunday 12 APR 2020.

Happy Easter and Azizen Pesach (have a sweet Passover) to all.

Via e-Mail from old-friend and multiple IPT veteran Dr. Steve Bein

Why is this night different from all other nights?
On all other nights, we open the door to Elijah. On this night we keep the door firmly shut as we are social distancing.
On all other nights, we dip for the 10 plagues. On this night we do not need to remind ourselves of another 9. One is quite sufficient, thank you.
On all other nights, we hide the afikomen (matzoh). On this night we hide a roll of toilet paper. Blessed be he who finds this treasure.
On all other nights, we eat bitter herbs. On this night lemon, honey and ginger to ward off chest coughs and colds.
Next year in Jerusalem as we are definitely not going to China!

Happy and Healthy Pesach


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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 over $1000.00, 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 has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.

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 the morning of 10 APR 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. Working from my SUV, I used the Induro FlexShooter Pro Mini-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter and the 61-MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body.. ISO 800. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:42am on a cloudy morning.

Center Zone AF-C was active at the moment of exposure. Scroll down for AF point location information.

Cattle Egret, non-breeding plumage near pink marsh plant

The Situation

If I am doing non-breeding Cattle Egrets on cloudy days, you will know that the photographic opportunities were not great. That morning I kept only 22 images — some vultures, a young great blue, Old Gnarly, the crane colt family, and a few Osprey flight shots. There were a few Cattle Egrets feeding along the eastern edge of the North Peninsula that offered the chance of a gray water background. I slowly moved the SUV into position and shut off the engine while quickly removing the key to prevent the high-pitched whine that often scares away my intended subjects.

A bird flew in and landed. I knew instantly that I had to reposition the vehicle and risk scaring all the birds away. I started the Sequoia, put it in gear, moved the car forward six inches, and turned off the engine. The bird that I wanted had not moved. Hooray!

I keep Upper Center Zone as my default vertical AF Area Mode. As I framed the image I tapped the bottom of the joystick to set Center Zone. I acquired focus and created six images. Then the bird flew began to forage and the shot was gone. The first photo — today’s featured image — offered the best pose by far. Perfect bird/flower juxtapositions are rare; had I not acted quickly and decisively, I would not have succeeded.


Why did I move the car forward six inches?

The Flower?

If you know the name of the flower, please leave a comment. I do not think that it is native (but hope that I am wrong).

The Mini/GIT 204 Combo in the Vehicle

I am really loving using the FlexShooter Pro Mini on the Induro GIT 204. The Mini weighs 1 lb, 1.4 ozs and the GIT 204 tips the scales at 4 lbs, 0.2 ozs for a total of 5 lbs, 1.6 ozs. The FlexShooter Pro weighs 1 lb, 9.4 ozs and the GIT 304L comes in at 4 lbs, 10.7 ozs for a total of 6 lbs, 4.1 ozs. So the Mini/204 combo is 1 lb, 2.5 ounces lighter than the Pro/304L rig. Just over a pound does not seem like a huge weight saving, but the thinner legs and smaller size of the GIT 204 make it a lot easier to set up in my vehicle.

Learn how in

  • The Setting up a Tripod in Your Vehicle Video
  • .

    Click on the image to read the fine print.

    Capture One RAW Conversion Screen-Capture

    Capture One RAW Conversion Screen-Capture

    First, carefully compare the optimized image that opened this blog post with the RAW image in the Capture One Screen-Capture and you will note some image clean-up. I used Content-Aware to eliminate the gray area in the bottom right corner, Divide and Conquer to get rid of some bright or ill-placed grass stems, and — working large — cleaned some tiny feathers off the bill tip. Eagle-eyed folks might note the small crop from below and from the right.

    Note also that I increased the Exposure 1/3 stop (+.32) to bring the RGB values for brightest WHITEs on the top of the bird’s head into the mid-240s and then set the BLACK point by pulling in the dark tones on the left side of Levels until the BLUE underexposure warnings showed and then backed off just a bit. You might be asking, “If using Zebras to get a perfect exposure is so great how did you wind up 1/3 stop underexposed?” For the answer to that question, see the RawDigger item next.

    RawDigger Screen-Capture

    RawDigger Screen-Capture

    The Over-exposure/Under-exposure Stats above show 206 underexposed RED pixels and 39 underexposed BLUE pixels. But as those are out of 61,000,000 pixels, the over/under percentages show 0.0% across the board. Such is the brilliance of Patrick Sparkman’s Zebra value. Using our method for getting the right exposure with ISO set to the Control Wheel is so accurate that even when you screw up one-third stop you are still perfect! You can learn just what we are doing in the soon-to-be-finished SONY e-Guide and Camera Videos. Recently, we added a Zebras Coaching gallery to the e-Guide. And the videos include a live Zebras demo.

    Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

    The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

    The Sony Camera Videos and Pre-publication e-Guide Costs and Discount Info

    The cost of the SONY e-Guide is $100.00 US and will include one of the four camera set-up videos — we offer one video each for the a7r iii, the a7r iv, the a9, and the a9 ii — and the written guide with the galleries. The guide is now 98% done and you will — of course, receive the final version when it is completed. I sent out the third draft today to those who have purchased the Guide with or without the discount.

    Folks who have used my B&H links or purchased their SONY gear from Bedfords will receive said discount based exactly on how much they spent. If you spent more than $10,000 you will receive one free video and the e-Guide. Additional camera videos are $25.00 each. If you spent $2400, you will receive a 24% discount, and so on and so forth. And again, additional camera videos will be $25.00 each.

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    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)

    All the techniques mentioned above and tons more (with the exception of Capture One RAW Conversions) — along with all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — are 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. 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.

    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. Note: all of the videos are now priced at an amazingly low $5.00 each.

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    To purchase Capture One, please use this link. Then you can learn more about Capture One in the Capture One Pro 12 Simplified MP4 Video here. The next step would be to get a copy of Arash Hazeghi’s “The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide” in the blog post here.

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    21 comments to Why did I move the car six inches? The Mini/GIT 204 Combo in the Vehicle. And More on SONY Exposures with ISO on the Control Wheel …

    • avatar F. George Dunham, III

      I agree with the cesarwood comment. Also could be railroad vine. in Fort Worth we get something called a Texas Switch. The flowers are pretty but the vines are really long and thorny. My mom used to whip me with one when I was bad which was weekly. I was a bit of a rascal and got into trouble a lot. Usual kid stuff, lying, shop lifting, bad grades, nothing serious. Texas switch saved me from a life of crime probably. I think maybe you pulled your car up because that flower vine grows really tall and you wanted to get below the bird to take a better shot.

    • avatar Kerry Morris

      hi Artie, yes the hibiscus flower can be 1/2″.

      Hibiscus come in a wide range of flower size.

    • avatar Jordan Cait

      Hi Artie, Love the Passover parody. Chag Sameyach!

    • avatar Marr Miller

      Artie, will Ceasarweed fit the description? PlantSnap and PictureThis are two iPhone apps worth adding to your phone. I think PlantSnap is slightly better for my use.

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Way to go, Marr. That is it. Ceasarweed is Class 1 invasive in Florida. Learn more about it here.

        with love, artie

        ps: it is in the hibiscus family!

    • avatar David J Policansky

      Artie: I agree with the others; you moved forward, to the right relative to the image, so the bird and the flower would be separated. The flower looks like a hibiscus to me, but it’s OOF. 🙂

    • avatar Mark Jordan

      Hi Artie,
      My guess is that the erget landed a little too close for you to focus on it. So moving back, you were able to focus.

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        I did not move back … I was shooting out of the driver’s side window with the car square to the bird so I did not change the distance to the subject, jut my perspective.

        with love, a

    • avatar Kerry Morris

      HI Artie, i’m guessing you pulled up 6″ so that flower stalk wasn’t coming out of the bird’s head.
      As for the flower, apparently there are many native mallows in Florida. I believe it is Hibiscus grandiflorus. “It has beautiful six to eight inch rosy-pink flowers and blooms from late spring to fall. It has rich, fuzzy gray-green foliage on a plant that can grow to fifteen feet in height. It is salt tolerant and can grow in brackish water directly in tidal zones. Don’t be put off by that however. It will also grow in your average garden soil.”
      Happy Easter!

    • avatar Bill Webb

      Assuming you were shooting out of a side window of your car, the car was moved forward to position the marsh plant relative to the egret to beside it.

      BTW – I found myself leaning my head to straighten the upright position of the egret (and the plant). I took your image into PS and cropped wide on the left (content aware enabled) to allow the photo to be rotated a bit to set the egret and the plant more upright. Just personal preference.

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Thanks, Bill, It might need perhaps 1 degree CCW rotation but I think that it is pretty close to level and I like the tension created by the apparent lean …

        with love, artie

    • Dear Artie
      Love this Cattle Egret image and had you not moved 6 inches forward the flower would have aligned with the head or neck and body of the Egret and ruined your photo and moving you created a beautiful image.

    • avatar Jeff Rugg

      Hi Artie, I think the flower is in the marsh mallow group that has many species and hybrids. Look for images of Althaea officinalis. Did you get any pictures of the flower in focus or can you get one? Happy Easter.

    • avatar Elinor Osborn

      Agree with Richard on all .

    • avatar Adam

      Love the Passover parody. Been seeing a lot of signs and wonders lately. Crazy weather up here; hail with sunshine, bizarre winds, rainbows out of nowhere, a friend of mine in FL had a gator in his yard for the first time ever (he’s not near H2O), I had a spotted sandpiper in my yard (rare sighting)…

      As others have observed, the flower appears slightly in front of the egret and by moving closer you created a narrower DOF, thus blurring the flower more. Quick question, IS on or off?

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Thanks on all counts. As noted in the SONY e-Guide, IS on all the time with the big glass.

        I did not move closer to the bird — I was shooting out of the driver’s side window with the car square to the bird …

        with love, a

    • avatar Richard Curtin

      Artie, suspect you moved to get separation between the egret and flower. Don’t know the name of the flower but the color really adds to the picture.

    • avatar Bob

      Really nice shot of the Cattle Egret I believe that had you not moved the car 6 inches that the background flower would have aligned with the Cattle Egrets head and neck and ruined this photo

    • avatar mike cristina

      Foot slipped off the brake?

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