A Story of Lost Images and Partial Franklin’s Gull Redemption … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Story of Lost Images and Partial Franklin's Gull Redemption ...

What’s Up

With the cold northwest wind on Friday morning, I stayed in and worked on the RawDigger Guide. Needing some help from Patrick Sparkman who was busy enjoying the holiday with his family, I began work on the Canon EOS R5 Camera Body User’s Guide. I got a ton of work done on both guides. I drove down to the lake at 5pm and saw an adult Bald Eagle zooming around in hot pursuit of an Osprey. Both birds were right down sun angle in gorgeous light set against dark blue-black storm clouds. For about two minutes as I frantically turned on the R5/RF 100-500 rig and adjusted the exposure. Just as I was ready, both birds flew off to the southwest. Merry Christmas indeed ๐Ÿ™‚

The weather for this morning — Saturday 26 December 2020 — is much the same as yesterday morning — clear and chilly with northwest winds. I peeked out on the deck at 7:10am to see steam rising off the pool. I will be heading down to the lake for a few minutes just to see what’s about. I will be working on both guides today.

This blog post took about three hours to prepare including the time spent on the image processing and research. Please remember …

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.

The Very Young Jack Cantin’s Golf Swing

If you like golf, young children, human-interest stories, Scott Van Pelt, and/or just being alive, watching this video will likely put a big smile on your face. Jack’s finish and the position of his back foot at age two are quite remarkable.

Wanted to Buy

I have potential buyers for a Canon EF 2X III Teleconverter and a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens. If you have either that you are looking to sell, please get in touch via e-mail.

The BAA Used Gear Page

The Used Gear page continues to be very active. The 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 eleven months at the bottom of the page.

Canon R5/R6 AF e-Guide Info

So far, 50 folks have sent PayPals for their copy of the Canon R5/R6 AF e-Guide. And 26 who used my affiliate links to purchase their R5 have e-mailed for and received their free copy of the guide. If you e-mailed or sent a PayPal and did not receive your guide, please LMK immediately via e-mail.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so far. Three folks wrote stating that they had a better way of setting up AF on their R5s. When I wrote back explaining why they were in error, two of them back-tracked. One stubborn guy is still doing it his way — less efficiently. Be sure to scroll down to read about my plans for a Canon R5/R6 User’s e-Guide. Understand that the info in the BAA Canon R5/R6 Autofocus e-Guide is so important that I opted to publish the AF guide immediately as the R5/R6 User’s Guide will take at least a month to finish.

BAA Canon R5/R6 Autofocus e-Guide

Twenty-one pages. 3,452 words. 28-DPP4 screen captures showing the R5’s vaunted AF system in action. Note: the AF system of the R5 is identical to the AF system of the R6.

You will learn:

1- The two most useful AF Methods for general bird photography and for birds in flight.

2- How to set up your R5/R6 AF Menus.

3- What boxes to check (and un-check) under Limit AF Methods.

4- How to change the AF Method quickly, easily, and efficiently. Note: the default way of doing this is clunky, cumbersome, and inefficient at best. One person replied that this tip alone was worth the price of admission.

5- The only setting that should be used for Initial Servo AF pt for Face Detection + Tracking.

I you are currently using multiple back buttons either for general bird photography or for birds in flight, what you learn in this guide will change your life. For the better.

Here are the first three paragraphs of this e-Guide:

From the moment I learned about the new Canon mirrorless bodies, I read about using two or three back-buttons to focus using different AF methods. The word on the street said that the way to go for birds in flight was to use one button to acquire focus with Zone AF or with Large Zone: Horizontal AF and then switch to another button to activate Face Detection + Tracking AF and then use the shutter button to make an image. My immediate thought was, โ€œThis is insanity! There has got to be a better way.โ€ In short, there is a far superior way to set up AF on your R5 or R6.

Remember that I got away from any form of back-button or rear focusing many years ago after finally realizing that it is always easier to do one thing (press the shutter button), than it is to do two things (press a back button and then press the shutter button).

The default method of switching AF Methods with the R5/R6 bodies is cumbersome at best. It involves first pressing the grid button (my name) on the upper right back of the camera and then pressing the hard-to-access M-Fn button to toggle through the AF Methods. This method is so bad that it will not be mentioned again in this guide.

The guide is free to all who have ordered an R5 or an R6 using my B&H affiliate link or from Steve Elkins/Bedfords using the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Please send your receipt to me via e-mail. It will take me a few days to a week to verify the B&H purchases. Bedfords folks should expect their free e-Guides fairly quickly.

To purchase your copy of the e-Guide, please send a PayPal for $25.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net and be sure to include the words R5/R6 AF Guide in your PayPal e-mail.

Everyone who gets the guide will receive a free update no later than the first week in January.

Canon R5/R6 User’s e-Guide

I am planning on doing a complete Canon R5/R6 User’s e-Guide. This will require a lot of research, a lot of time, and a lot of effort. I am hoping to have it complete by mid- to late January. As always, folks who use the BAA affiliate links to purchase their Canon gear will receive a substantial discount.

Understand that the info in the BAA Canon R5/R6 Autofocus e-Guide is so important that I opted to publish the AF guide ASAP.

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).

127 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-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 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order to save 3% and enjoy free 2nd-day air shipping. 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.

Click on the screen capture to see a larger version.

#1: Lost Images

The Lost Texas Images

In late April 2006, I spent ten days in South Texas after speaking at a birding festival in the Rio Grande Valley. I kept all of the images on my laptop and backed them up. After the second and third edits I copied the file to two external hard drives. From there I would copy the images to the much larger office computer. After I was 100% sure that the images had been copied to the office machine, I would delete the folders from the external hard drives. A few months later a magazine editor called to purchase one of the images after we has sent him some JPEGs. I gave Jennifer the file number so that we could locate and send the optimized TIFF file (or at worst, the raw file). She did a search of the office computer and said, “Dad. It is not here.” I said, “You are wrong. It is there.”

It was not. I had copied the files to multiple external hard drives, failed to copy them to the office computer (that of course was automatically backed up with a Drobo system, and then deleted the image folders from all of the external hard drives. (Please do not ask me why.) In any case, I lost all of the raw files and all of the optimized master files from that trip. All that I had were about thirty slide show-sized JPEGs. My favorites are included in the screen capture above.

As you can see, I lost some really good stuff. The baby alligators were priceless. I lost my only Mourning Warbler photos, a very nice first-spring male Painted Bunting, some nice Black-throated Green, Tennessee, and Blackpoll Warbler shots, a really good Gull-billed Tern image, and my then only Franklin’s Gull images. Live and learn.

Did I really learn my lesson? No. A year later I did the exact same thing with a month’s worth of really good Florida images. The second time, however, was the charm.

This image was created with the tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens, the 1.4X TC, and the EOS-1D Mark II N.

Image #2: Adult Franklin’s Gull drinking in flight

Gone But Not Forgotten

Losing the baby gator and warbler images was not my idea of fun, but the missing stuff on breeding plumage Franklin’s Gull still stays with me. They are closely related to Laughing Gull, but are smaller and much slimmer. In breeding plumage, they have the distinctive large, white eye crescents. I love gulls, and breeding plumage Franklin’s Gulls are stunningly beautiful. This species nests by the thousands in the central US and Prairie Province marshes, migrates through the central US and Mexico, and winters along the (west) coasts of Chile and Peru.

This image was created on 13 NOV 2020 at South Padre Island, TX. I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and the blazingly fast Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body) that features incredibly accurate AF. ISO: 800. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the Control Wheel: 1/400 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode was confirmed as perfect by Raw Digger. AWB at 8:13am on a clear sunny morning.

Tracking Expand Flexible Spot (M) yielded a sharp-on-the-eye image. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #3: Adult winter Franklin’s Gull and reflection

Partial Redemption: winter plumage Franklin’s Gull

I spoke with BPN-friend Dorian Anderson before Anita North and I arrived at South Padre Island as I knew that he had done some photography there. He was quite helpful. When I mentioned that I was hoping to see and photograph Franklin’s Gull and that we would be getting to South Padre on November 10, he thought that most or all of them would already be in South America. I did not give up hope.

On our first foray into the bay behind the Convention Center on the 10th, I spotted a few winter plumage adult Franklin’s, but could not get anywhere near them. That evening on the beach near the jetty at the south end of South Padre, I spotted two large flocks of migrating Franklin’s Gulls far offshore heading due south. First was a flock of about 300 birds, the next one had about 200 of the handsome gulls. But the next morning more had arrived and I had some hope. Each day we were able to get a bit closer, and on the still, gorgeous morning of 13 November, I was able to isolate the single bird you see in Image #3.

Adult winter Franklin’s Gulls feature a distinctive rear half-hood, remnants of the eye crescents, and delightful red bill tips.

This image was created on 14 NOV 2020 at South Padre Island, TX. I used the Induro GIT 304L/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 640. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode was confirmed as perfect by Raw Digger. AWB at 7:44am in clear sunny morning.

Center Zone Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection. Click the image to see a larger version.

Image #4: Adult winter Franklin’s Gull in flight

Trying for Flight. And Succeeding

On the 14th, I noted that the Franklin’s Gulls would often fly from one group to another. Once I saw that pattern, I switched out the 2X for the 1.4X, positioned myself favorably, and tried for some flight shots. I was quite happy with Image #4.

Topaz DeNoise AI

I applied a layer of Topaz DeNoise AI on Auto to images #3 and #4 as soon as I brought the TIFFs into Photoshop. I am planning to try Topaz Gigapixel AI on Image #2 …


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

9 comments to A Story of Lost Images and Partial Franklin’s Gull Redemption …

  • avatar Hank Fowler

    Hey Artie,
    Did you attempt to photograph any images of Saturn and Jupiter? I’ll bet you could get some stellar shots with your gear and expertise.

  • avatar Jeff Walters

    Doesn’t Topaz have a JPEG to Raw application and would that save any of your lost photos? Thanks for all your sharing and reminding us that even the best are human.

  • Hi Artie

    The gym where I swim Total Fitness, when it is open, it is closed over Christmas, one of the locker room attendants said to me one day, Ken when I wake up I check with my elbows for any wood, if there is none I know I am alive.
    Best wishes and love

  • avatar Colin Bradshaw

    Have you tried the Topaz JPEG to RAW converter

    It worked well for me rescuing some images where the original had gone walk about

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Colin. I think that JPEG to Raw high do best with large JPEGs. My slide show JPEGs are a relatively small 1400 pixels wide. I will start with Gigapixel and then experiment with JPEG to Raw.

      with love, artie

  • Hi Artie
    I am sorry to hear your about your business losses this year, it’s hard on us all but the lucky few. My turnover this year is 90 % down on last year. Many years ago before own business took off I worked for Walmart UK ( Asda ) for 5 years as a greeter I loved the job and the colleagues, I made friends for life there. Remember it won’t be like this forever I hope.

    Best wishes for a better new year.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Ken. Actually, 2020 has been a great year for me. And unless they put me in a box, 2021 will be another great year for me.

      with love, artie

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