A Two-part Exercise in Thinking « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Two-part Exercise in Thinking

What’s Up?

I woke early today — Saturday 5 December 2020 — and checked the weather forecast for Indian Lake Estates: cloudy with NW winds. So I worked in bed till almost 8am helping out BPN-friend Paul Burdett with a White-faced Heron image. You can see this interesting post here.. I got out of bed and pulled back the blinds to see a bright sun, clear skies, and zero wind … I dressed quickly, drove down to the lake with only the Canon gear in the car, and enjoyed lots of good chances on the usual subjects: the Mother’s Day crane family and a slew of Black Vultures.

The more that I work with the Canon gear the more I learn, the more fun I have, and the more impressed I become. Several folks who have left comments on the last two blog posts have been amazingly helpful. If you own or are considering getting an R5 (or an R6), it would behoove you to go back and read the great exchange of ideas in the Comments sections.

Most Importantly

As always, if what you read or learn here inspires or convinces you to purchase an R5 or 6, and/or the RF 100-500 lens, and/or the RF Extender 1.4X, please use my B&H affiliate links or get in touch with Steve Elkins at Bedford to save 3% on your new gear and get it a lot quicker …

Great R5/RF 100-500 News from Bedfords

I spoke to Steve Elkins at Bedford Camera on Thursday and was excited to learn that he will be getting his biggest-yet shipment of Canon R5 bodies and RF 100-500 lenses early next week. You can save 3% on your order by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax (if any is due) total. In addition, by using the code you will get free 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

If you buy the Canon rig that I am testing you will save a very handsome $212.91. As most of you know and too many of you forget, using either of my affiliate partners is the best way to thank me for the work that I do here on the blog.

Back in Stock

We now have eighteen of the hugely popular Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro tripod heads in stock. Click on the preceding link to learn more about this amazing head, the ballhead that thinks it’s a gimbal head and — thanks to the amazing counter-balanced spring mechanism — works great with any rig from the longest, heaviest super-telephoto lens to a camera-body-mounted wide angle. The latter is possible because of the bi-directional clamp; it is no longer necessary to travel with a gimbal head for long lens photography and a ballhead for scenic photography. And after just a moment’s adjustment, the double ball enables you to ensure that every image you take is on the level.

Please Remember

With income from IPTs approaching zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a Walmart greeter and will not cost you a single penny more. And if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes can always help out by clicking here if they see fit.

Topaz Still on Sale!

Right now Topaz is offering price reductions on the Utility Bundle and the Creator Bundle. The former normally sells for $359.96. It is on sale now for $249.95. Click here, scroll all the way down to the sale, and enter the ARTHUR15 code at checkout to save an additional 15%! The Creator Bundle usually sells for $279.97 and is now on sale for $149.99. Using the ARTHUR15 code at checkout brings the price down to $127.49!

The BAA Used Gear Page

The Used Gear page continues to be red hot! It is BAA Used Gear Page is the place to sell your used photographic equipment. We will help you to get your gear sold quickly for 20 to 60% or more than what the big guys are offering … Doubt me? Check out the Recent Sales list for the past ten months at the bottom of the page.

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

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plugins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Topaz Stuff

As I said just a while back and have said often many times before, I should have listened sooner. If you, like me, are new to the Topaz party, please use this link to purchase. Right now I can wholeheartedly recommend both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Though I have not yet worked with JPEGtoRAW AI or Gigapixel AI, I have installed both of these plug-ins and look forward to trying them on some I-Phone 11 images fairly soon. If you are thinking like me, consider the Utility Bundle that includes all four plug-ins mentioned above at a money-saving price.

Again, those who purchase Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI using my link, can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. I had a bit of trouble getting the two plug-ins installed and having them appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu. In addition, I will explain how to best learn about the two plug-ins by applying them on a Layer (in Photoshop). I amazed myself yesterday by completing this guide in the car on the way to and from Sebastian. Huge thanks to Anita for doing the driving. Please include a copy of your Topaz order when requesting the guide.

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, by using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free overnight shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time). Be sure to mention the 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 and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and 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 14 November 2020 at South Padre Island, TX. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter, and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO ???. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual. AWB at 8:11am on still, sunny morning.

Tracking Expand Flexible Spot/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: American White Pelican flapping in place

An Exercise in Thinking Part I

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this image. Can you guess the ISO? What direction was the slight breeze from? Do you see anything funky in the processing? Any and all comments are welcome.

This image was created on 4 December 2020 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens (at 500mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO ???. Exposure determined using the in-camera histogram: 1/1000 sec. at f/7.1 (wide open!) in Manual mode. AWB at 7:53am on cloudy very dark morning.

Face detection + Tracking/AI Servo AF was active at the moment of exposure and performed well.

Click the image to see a larger version.

Image #2: Black Vulture in B&W

An Exercise in Thinking Part II

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this image. Can you guess the ISO? How would you rate the sharpness of this image? How did I get so close to this bird? Can you detect any Photoshop trickery in Image #2? Any and all comments are welcome.


Feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :). with love, artie

13 comments to A Two-part Exercise in Thinking

  • avatar Jeff Walters

    #1 wind right into the birds face. ISO 1600. The curtain of water in background almost looks like a waterfall. Not sure if just dof or if you removing other birds may have caused the effect.
    #2 ISO 3200. Sharpness excellent. You used your shoot out the window technique with the tripod in the front seat with you and the Photoshop trickery was hiding Waldo’s SUV in the bird’s eye! 🙂 Anita must have left you some of her Mojo, maybe a lucky 4 leaf clover.

  • Image #1: Sun rose at 110 degrees roughly an hour earlier, so nearly behind you here at roughly 125 degrees. Breeze roughly 90 degrees left, or 215.

    Image #2: Not so close, as your SUV is visible in the bird’s eye and doesn’t look close. Perhaps a crop and enlargement? Maybe not Photoshop, but Topaz? Love the B&W look.

  • avatar Guido Bee

    Image 1: breeze from SW. Iso 3200. Post looks OK to me: no artifacts.
    Image 2: Iso around 12.5K. I agree with Yves that you were not too close as the dof covers mid bill to several inches back: I’m going with 20-25 feet. Not sure on crop, but if you were not close, even 500 on a full frame might require some crop to create the image as we are seeing it.
    All the best. Be well out there.

  • avatar John Johnson

    I would guess that the ISO on the second shot could be as high as 12000 at that time of day.

  • avatar Joel Eade

    #1 I would say the wind is from the south or southwest and ISO no more than 800. I see no photoshop tricks but you are a master at that game I do think the AF grabbed the near wing rather than the head/eye.

    #2 It is very sharp on the eye. I would say the ISO is at least 6400 and also with cropping a 45 mp image and using the Topaz wizardry you really do not have to be very close. My guess is though that you were probably 15-20 yards or less.

  • avatar Warren Howe

    I agree breeze was on your left, bird facing into it. Since sun rises in East-Southeast in winter, I would say the breeze was from the South.

    No idea on ISO on first shot, but would have guessed 3200 for second shot.

  • My guesses

    Image #1 : ISO 3200; Breeze from your left, i.e. bird facing breeze, nothing funky in the processing

    Image #2 : ISO 6400, Sharpness : 10/10; You were not so close, it is a cropped photo at 50%; no trickery in Photoshop;

    Take all this with a BIG grain of salt : these are gross guesses!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      What compass direction for the breeze? With one exception, you are either very lucky or very smart. Or not???

      with love, artie

      • You said : «With one exception, you are either very lucky or very smart. »

        I would say : «Very Smart, of course! ;)»

        About the compass, having been in Fort de Soto only once more than twelve years ago, I would say from the East, I mean from your back on your left handside just a bit towards south.

  • Cute photos! and the first one of the White Pelican is “Splish Splash I Was Taking A Bath”!!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Sue. The funny thing is this bird had not bathed. I was really happy to be able to isolate it when it just started flapping in place!

      with love, artie

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