Ever Hear of Richard I. Bong? The Out-lined Vulture; does anyone besides me think that this one is neat? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Ever Hear of Richard I. Bong? The Out-lined Vulture; does anyone besides me think that this one is neat?

Ever Hear of Richard I. Bong?

Richard Ira Bong was a United States Army Air Forces major and Medal of Honor recipient in World War II. He was one of the most decorated American fighter pilots and the country’s top flying ace in the war, credited with shooting down 40 Japanese aircraft, all while flying the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter. Soon after returning home, he died in California on August 6, 1945 while testing a Lockheed P-80 jet fighter just before his 25th birthday. The previous February he married Marjorie Vattendahl, whose picture had adorned the nose of his plane.

While learning to fly a P-38, Bong buzzed a nearby house, the home of a pilot who had just been married. He was cited and temporarily grounded for breaking flying rules, along with three other P-38 pilots who had looped around the Golden Gate Bridge on the same day. For looping the Golden Gate Bridge, flying at a low level down Market Street in San Francisco, and blowing the clothes off of an Oakland woman’s clothesline, Bong was reprimanded by General George C. Kenney, commanding officer of the Fourth Air Force, who told him, “If you didn’t want to fly down Market Street, I wouldn’t have you in my Air Force, but you are not to do it any more and I mean what I say.” Kenney later wrote, “We needed kids like this lad.”

Learn more about this amazing hero/pilot in the Wikipedia article here.

What’s Up?

It was very grey on Monday morning. I spent 30 minutes driving around down by the lake but was not much inspired. For the rest of the day, I got a lot more work done on the BAA Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide. I have pretty much completed all of the work on the following menus: the Red Shooting Menu, the Magenta AF Menu, and the Blue Playback Menu. Nothing for me to do with the Purple Network Menu as I do not reside on that planet. I am almost finished with the Yellow Set-up Menu. Still to do: the Orange Custom Functions Menu and the Green My Menus. The work is a real grind. When I am done covering all of the menus, there will still be lots more to do. But I am very excited with the progress I have made recently.

At the same time, I am working hard on completing the first and final update of the BAA R5/R6 AF e-Guide (with lots of help from friends including and especially Brian Sump). I had a great swim yesterday in my 84-degree pool! And I was thrilled to learn that the sale of BAA-friend and multiple IPT veteran Bill Schneider’s SONY a9 ii is pending.

Today is Tuesday 9 February 2021. The forecast for this morning is partly cloudy with a SSW breeze — for bird photography that is not great, but not terrible. I will try and time will tell.

This post took about 1 1/2 hours to prepare and makes fifty-two days in a row with a new one. Please, please, pretty please remember …

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now at 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, are invited to help out by clicking here to leave a blog thank you gift if they see fit.

Canon R5/R6 AF e-Guide Info

So far, 104 folks have sent PayPals for their copy of the Canon R5/R6 AF e-Guide. And 33 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 your Bedford receipt 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 another month to finish.

BAA Canon R5/R6 Autofocus e-Guide

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, “This is insanity! There has got to be a better way.” 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 click here or 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 February.

Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide

As regular readers know, I am working on a complete Canon R5 Camera 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 late February. 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 right off the bat to help folks get started with their new camera bodies. I may soon offer a pre-publication version of the User’s e-Guide … With a small discount, of course.

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 (remember those?) 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 in-camera HDR image was created on 6 February 2021 down by the lake at ILE. Walking around near the foot of the pier, 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 3200. Exposure determined via experimentation. Exposure compensation: +3 stops. HDR auto-bracketed around 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 (wide open) Shutter Priority (Tv) mode. AWB at 8:10am on a completely grey morning.

Image #1: Funky, outlined, in-camera HDR Turkey Vulture in flight

Messing Around with In-camera HDRs

I published two R5 HDR flight shots in the blog post here. To say that the response to those images was under-whelming would be an understatement. The question for today is, does anyone besides me think that this one is neat? If you care to chime in either way, please leave a comment.

For me, the trick here was to get a bird flying toward me rather than away from me.

R5 In-camera HDRs

In-camera HDRs are typically employed when creating grungy images of vintage cars or old barns; can you say Palouse? IAC, I first experimented with HDR flight photography with my Canon EOS 5D Mark iv bodies. Why? Because I could. Setting up an R5 for both In-camera HDRs and Multiple Exposures is tricky, as is winding up with anywhere near a decent exposure. As you might imagine, all of the above is covered in detail in the BAA Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide (in progress). Also included in the guide will be everything you need to know about your R5.


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

26 comments to Ever Hear of Richard I. Bong? The Out-lined Vulture; does anyone besides me think that this one is neat?

  • Hi Artie

    I don’t feel I am telling you what do It’s just my opinion after all that is what your blog is all about.

    Best and love

  • Hi Artie
    You do have a valid point, all Artist need to evolve and go though change to improve so do Photographers.

    Best and love


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Ken, Please understand that I am fine if you do not like the image. But telling the other guy or gal what he should or should not do is not cool 🙂

      with love, a

  • Hi Artie
    You are the top Bird Photographer in the US you don’t need Images like that just be your self

    Best an love


  • avatar Paul Burdett

    Artie. Must admit that it’s a bit “gimmicky” to me. Ages ago I played around with software called (I think) Genuine Fractals…it produced some interesting effects to images…but I soon got tired of the look. Your image is ok…has a watercolour look to it, but again, I think that the appeal would be short lived if you did it with many images. Going through the artistic filters in Photoshop can produce other interesting effects to an image, but again they also lose their appeal rather quickly. To be honest I think you should stick to what you do best…take amazing (normal) bird photos. Just my 2 cents.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for your advice, Paul. But you get no change from your two cents 🙂

      On foggy mornings, I will continue to try and improve on these whacko images — unlike you I do believe that there is great potential there. When you have some time, go back a few years and check out the now-defunct Out of the Box Forum on BPN when Denise Ippolito was the moderator. There was some really neat, weird, creative, artistic stuff there. Once she moved on to other pastures, things in OOTB went downhill. Please note that she is highly skilled in many areas of traditional photography as well including bird and wildlife photography.

      I strongly believe that there is room for creative, artistic, out-of-the-box thinking, at least in my head 🙂 Limiting oneself is indeed limiting. Can you say “pleasing blurs”?

      with love, a

  • avatar James Saxon

    I like the concept of the image but something seems to be missing. I like the subject matter and the negative space but since this is an “artistic” image I would take it into Topaz Studio 2 and play around with some of the different presets such as DaVinc Sketch, B&W, charcoal, etc. and then add some type of texture to tone down all the surrounding white. Have fun playing.

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    I don’t get the HDR shots. HDR to me is different than those shots. Very artistic, but not HDR like.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Anthony — are you saying that you have seen images (“those shots”) similar to today’s featured image???

      with love, a

  • From the linked Wikipedia article on Bong: “Bong considered his gunnery accuracy to be poor, so he compensated by getting as close to his targets as possible to make sure he hit them. In some cases he flew through the debris of exploding enemy aircraft, and on one occasion collided with his target, which he claimed as a “probable” victory.”

    A lesson for everyone there (though I hope without flying through debris or colliding with the target). Perhaps that’s the link between Bong and the HDR image? Not sure about HDR, but I grow increasingly fond of abstraction in photography.

    Appreciate learning about Bong, whose name I’d not heard. Reminds me of Ken Miles, who in 1966 won Daytona and Sebring in a Ford GT 40, was robbed of a deserved win at Le Mans by Ford’s decision to have three cars finish abreast, and then died in August testing Ford’s planned successor to the GT 40.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      That was my very favorite part of the Bong story. He was not exactly a wallflower!

      The HDR flight give me something to do on foggy/cloudy-dark mornings And one thing is for sure, no two of them will ever be alike!

      Did not know the Miles story. TFS.

      with love, a

  • avatar Jeff Walters

    Not my bag! “Don’t reside on that planet” to quote some guy I’ve heard of.

  • Artie,
    Really love your HDR image. For a color blind bird photographer, it brings to the fore an obviously exaggerated version of these amazing scavengers.

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    I really like it, but don’t have a clue how you created it. I guess I don’t understand the possibilities of HDR.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Pat. I am surely the first to ever try in-camera HDR flight. Why did I try it? To see what happened 🙂

      with love, a

  • avatar Roger S Williams

    The Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge connects Duluth, MN and Superior WI. It crosses St. Louis Bay that drains into Lake Superior.

  • avatar Sid

    I’ve learned many amazing facts here Artie, and much of it isn’t bird related. I’ve seen signs for the Bong Recreational Area while driving in WI, and wondered about the name, but forgotten about it before I was home in Chicago. What an amazing hero! Thanks sharing with all of us.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW and thanks for your kind comment. I have been watching a ton of WWII stuff on the Smithsonian channel. That is where I learned of Bong.

      with love, a

  • avatar David J Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I think every pilot wants to fly down Market Street or loop the Golden Gate Bridge. I flew my airplane under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge many years ago. Interesting. Story about Richard Bong but what an ironically sad ending.

  • Howdy Artie
    This is as almost it was from art class where someone drew this picture and colored it in a bit, and not from a camera, while unique in its own way i am not a fan of it, but it is amazing the different possibilities of in camera fun.
    With love

  • avatar Andy Hays


    If you live in SE Wisconsin and you photograph birds, you have been to the Bong Wildlife Preserve, and read the plaques about this amazing American.

    Andy Hays

  • avatar Jeff Friedhoffer

    Neat picture, thought it was a new vulture species. Or a melanistic bird

  • Hi Artie,
    I would like to see you photographing a wider variety of situations with the R5 while preparing your new guide. I am experiencing some difficulty with your AF recommendations when photographing birds like fast-moving tree swallows, green herons coming at me and black-necked stilts in flight. Granted, I have switched from back-button focus and the change has been somewhat challenging. Many of the places I am photographing have large groups of birds (ibis, limpkin, roseate spoonbills) with neat separation of individuals, but the camera simply will not focus on the correct bird unless I change to spot focus. I can’t wait for your new R5 Guide; I depend on you for advice.
    All the best, Lou Newman

  • avatar Maggi Fuller

    Doesn’t do it for me, at all…. sorry!

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