In Memoriam ??? The Writing Process with regards to the R5 Camera User’s e-Guide. Big Canon 1DX III Price Drop! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

In Memoriam ??? The Writing Process with regards to the R5 Camera User's e-Guide. Big Canon 1DX III Price Drop!

The Writing Process with regards to the R5 Camera User’s e-Guide

When I taught fifth and sixth grades in NYC, there was a wonderful formal program called The Writing Process. The teachers learned to assign a writing project, have the kids sit in small groups, and have one child at a time read their story aloud to the group. Then the others would comment on, and ask questions about, the story: I don’t understand this part; which happened first?; Can you tell us more about this part, or explain it better? Do you really need this sentence? Then the author would go back, rewrite, and the process would be repeated.

The lessons were great for the kids, and for me as well. Many folks think that an author sits down and writes a story, and that’s it. Not quite. All writers are involved in the beginnings of the writing process when they write, read what they wrote, make changes, re-read, and re-craft. Decades ago when I began taking writing seriously, I got into the habit of asking friends for feedback before a story (or a book) was published. Then, considering their comments and questions, the writing process would continue. Revise. Re-read. Re-write. Share. Re-craft. And on and on. Then share some more, always looking to polish and to refine.

When writing how-to pieces the writing process becomes hugely important. Screwing up a single word or phrase while giving instructions on setting a complex menu item can leave the reader baffled and frustrated. Joel Eade was the first to offer help with the new R5 guide. He made some great catches. Steve Zehner and I exchanged multiple e-mails on Friday ironing out this or that important point. We are still at it. John Johnson asked many broad but excellent questions that helped to improve the guide.

Most recently, Bruce Dudek had offered to help me figure out the complex relationship between the Q Button and the settings at Screen info. settings under Shooting info.disp at RED Shooting Menu 7. That conversation will continue until I get it right. When you are writing how-to, “pretty good” is not at all good enough. You need perfection. Just as when choosing a surgeon!

When I re-craft a section, I cut and paste an excerpt into an e-mail and shoot it back to the helpful person who brought up the various issues and concerns that needed to be addressed. Then they get back to me and I get back to them. Today, I will be working on an extremely detailed review sent by J Marr Miller. Thanks to all those who have helped me with the process for writing the Canon R5 Camera User’s e-Guide.

I can’t believe that I almost forgot to mention how important Rudy Winston has been to this project. I’ve known Rudy for more than two decades; we met initially when I was an EoL (a Canon Explorer of Light). Rudy is Canon USA’s top tech rep. He has been incredibly helpful answering numerous e-mails and spending too-much-time on the phone with me. Two weeks ago I called and left a message. Rudy called me back twice! How nice is that?

What’s Up?

I had been planning for a different blog post today, but the missing crane colts unfortunately demanded center stage. I spent all of my time down by the lake on Friday morning searching for them. Story below.

I got a ton of work done on the Canon R5 User’s e-Guide yesterday. I finished the section on getting the right exposure with the R5 and spent several hours making corrections and e-mailing with folks who kindly took a serious look at the a pre-publication version of the guide. Read more on this process above (if you haven’t already). I still need to work on the MY MENU section and create a gallery of R5 images. I will be working very hard on the guide this weekend.

There was a nice sunset last night with a too-gentle northeast breeze and few birds.

Today is Saturday 6 March 2021. The forecast is for partly cloudy turning cloudy with rain beginning around noon and continuing for the rest of the day. Sounds wet!

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you have a great day.

This blog post took more than two hours to prepare and makes seventy-five days in a row with a new one. Please remember to use the affiliate links and programs!

Canon EOS-1DX Mark III professional digital camera body

Price Reduced $200 on 4 FEB 2021
Price Reduced $300 on 18 FEB 2021
Price Reduced $300 on 5 MAR 2021

Used Gear Page regular Don Busby is offering a Canon EOS-1DX Mark III dSLR in like-new condition with less than 10,000 shutter actuations for a very low $4699.00 (was $5499.00). The sale includes the original box and everything that came in it including the 64gb CF Express Card, the CFexpress reader, and an extra battery. Also included is insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Don via e-mail

The Canon 1Dx bodies have been solid performers under challenging conditions for many years. The autofocus performance of the 1Dx and 1Dx MkII had been lacking as compared to Nikon or lately Sony (A9) especially when it comes down to dynamic focusing using the whole sensor array or specific zones. on the 1DX Mark II, the Automatic AF area selection never did a great job of acquiring and tracking the subject; thus, that mode was pretty much useless for photographing birds in flight. Single-point AF or AF Expand (4 or 9 points) with the tracking sensitivity set at -2 often produced good results for me with flying birds, but the fact that you were limited as far as image design always bothered me. Nikon’s dynamic focusing and Sony’s tracking capabilities provided extra compositional flexibility. As a result, many bird photographers decided to leave Canon and switch to Nikon or a Sony a9 series body. I decided to stay the course with Canon for two reasons: my collection of great Canon lenses, and the fact that the development of sensor and AF technology is like an arms race: one day Nikon is ahead, the next day Canon is ahead. I was lucky enough to get the new Canon 1Dx MkIII camera body from Steve Elkins just in time for my trip to Alaska to photograph the bald eagles. It was the perfect place to test the improved AF capabilities of the new Canon flagship body, the EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR with CFexpress Card and Reader.

The 1Dx MkIII is a hybrid camera with an Optical Viewfinder (OVF) and Live-View shooting making it a mirrorless camera at the same time that it is a rugged dSLR. There are a ton of other great new features, but I focused primarily on testing the new enhanced AF system. I was especially interested to see if the new dynamic 191-point Automatic AF selection and the AF zones would perform better than the previous versions of the 1Dx. The conclusion is that even under difficult circumstances — the first two days with heavy winds and heavy snow) — the camera had no issue focusing on the subject and keep tracking it with the Automatic AF selection mode. I used the center point to acquire focus and as soon as it locked the focus on the bird, it did a great job keeping multiple AF points on the subject and tracking it through the frame and through the snowflakes. The same applied for the Zones — smaller AF areas with multiple AF points active. Even with busy backgrounds, the AF stayed locked on the subject. The AF modes have been reduced to 4 compared to 5 in the previous 1Dx models. I primarily used Mode 2 (Continue to Track Subjects, Ignoring Possible Obstacles) and Mode 4 (For Subjects That Accelerate or Decelerate Quickly) but was not able to see a significant difference between the modes. Even with trying the “Deep Learning” Automatic setting (Tracking Automatically Adapts to Subject Movement) I did not notice a significant difference. They all performed really well. The conclusion is that Canon has produced a camera that is now on-par or even better than its competitors with respect to AF performance. Although I did not test the mirrorless capabilities yet, other tests show that this function is also equal to or better than the Sony A9 performance, the only difference is that you can not use the OVF in mirrorless-mode with the 1DX III and have to use the display on the back of the camera (the rear monitor) instead. Due to the fact you have to keep the camera away from your eye, this is somewhat awkward for photographing birds in flight. I am very happy with the AF performance as compared to the previous Canon models and am looking forward to testing it further on Florida birds this coming spring. Clemens van der Werf

The 1DX III sells new right now for $6,499.00. Grab Don’s almost new body, save $1800.00, and get an extra battery to boot! I remember how thrilled Clemens was with his then brand-new 1DX III in Homer. You can see some of his eagle images made with the 1DX iii in the Field-testing the New Canon EOS-1DX Mark III at Homer: World-Class Nature Photographer Clemens Van der Werf Shares the Skinny on Canon’s New Flagship Camera Body post here. artie

Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide

A week ago Thursday, I sent out about a dozen copies of the almost finished Canon EOS R5 Camera User’s e-Guide for review to folks who had previously gotten free copies of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide by using my affiliate links to purchase their Canon mirrorless gear. In the same vein, I contacted everyone who purchased the R5/R6 AF e-Guide yesterday. More recently, folks who purchased the R5/R6 AF Guide were offered the opportunity to purchase a copy the pre-publication guide for review.

Because the camera and the Menus are so complex, this guide has required a ton of research, a lot of time, and a lot of effort (and will continue to do so until it is complete). It should be finished by the first week in March. 2021. The final update of the R5/R6 AF e-Guide has become part of the complete Camera User’s e-Guide; it will be revised if warranted.

The complete Camera User’s guide will sell for $75.00. Folks who purchased their Canon gear using my links will receive a $65.00 discount; the guide will cost them a nominal $10.00. Folks who spent more than $7500.00 on Canon mirrorless gear using either of my affiliate links (B&H or Bedfords), will receive the User’s Guide for free. Folks who purchased the R5/R6 AF e-Guide will receive a $10.00 discount on the User’s e-Guide. The best news is that the end is in sight.

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 second-day air 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 image was created on 3 March 2021 down by the lake near my home at ILE. Seated on the wet grass, I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens (at 400mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 1600. Exposure determined by test exposure & histogram and blinkies evaluation: 1/640 second at f/7.1. RawDigger showed this one to be dead-solid perfect. AWB at 8:14am on a cloudy morning.

Face Detection plus Tracking grabbed and tracked the eye of the colt on our right.

Click on the image to see a smaller image that fits into your browser window.

Sandhill Crane nestmate colts …

In Memoriam ???

I did not discover the crane family at the north end of the North Field until the chicks were at least a week old. That was about three weeks ago, and despite the fact that I had been checking out that area of the marsh for weeks as it is a favorite spot for the cranes to build a nest. The chicks were astoundingly accepting of me from the get-go. I would simply walk up to the family, sit down in the grass, and observe and photograph them. They quickly became a regular feature at the north end, foraging in the field and feeding on the lawns of the homes on the lakefront.

I photographed them on Wednesday 3 March as described above. I got one really nice frame of one of the now small colts grabbing a mole cricket from one of the adults. I checked on the family when I went down to photograph sunset that evening. The two adults, and the two chicks, all backlit, were standing on the nest ready for a good night’s rest.

On Thursday morning I got down to the lake early. There was no sign of the crane family. After scouting around for a bit, I returned to re-check. Strangely, there were two pairs of cranes feeding peacefully. But no colts … I was concerned because if a crane or a pair of cranes enters the feeding territory of a pair with chicks or colts, the parent birds will always drive the intruders away quickly. I checked the street on the other side of the canal to the east to see if the family had relocated. No luck.

On Thursday evening, I looked for the colts again. No luck. Friday morning, no luck. Friday evening I chatted with a couple who live on Palmetto Drive. They too were concerned and like me pretty sure that the colts had been predated. The woman told me that she saw the female parent on Thursday morning calling in an obvious state of distress, seemingly searching for her missing kids.

Last year was a tough one for the lakefront crane pairs. Of six hatched birds, only two survived. The typical mortality rate is about 50%. Judging by the behavior that we witnessed, the chances of the two missing and presumed dead colts showing up is about one in a hundred. The strange thing is that I have never seen a pair lose both young at once.

There are lots of predators around the lake. Last year I am pretty sure that a fox grabbed both Orange Colt and a week later, Grey Colt, the two who routinely swam back and forth across the canal. There are Bobcats. And Bald Eagles. And Great Horned Owls. Not to mention American Alligator (though I could not conceive of a gator getting two chicks in a relatively short period of time.

The pair of smaller chicks at the south end of the South Field continue to do well. I have seen them with both adults feeding in the marsh on the last two mornings. I am hoping that there might be another pair or two on eggs. Last year’s Mothers Day crane family hatched two chicks on May 9 & 10. Time will tell.

Depth of Field (or Lack Thereof)

With one crane perhaps an inch behind the other, note that with focus on the front bird the head and face of the bird to the rear is completely out-of-focus due to a lack of sufficient depth-of-field. Stopping down a ton would have required the use of a much higher ISO and brought up a ton of distracting background detail. In addition, even f/18 would not have sharpened up the second bird very much at all.

Topaz DeNoise on the Sandhill Crane nestmate colts image

Topaz DeNoise AI on DeNoise on Auto

Noise will always be more evident in the dark tones of an image. Thus, note the location of the white, square navigator-box in the upper right of the screen capture. Be sure to click on the screen capture to view the larger version and check on the effectiveness of this amazing plug-in.

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plug-ins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. If the stuff is on sale (as it usually is), you save 15% off of the sale price! To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Those who purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or any other Topaz plug-ins using my link and then entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. Please include a copy of your Topaz receipt that shows the discount. Aside from the basics, the guide explains how to install the plug-ins so that they appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu.

RawDigger screen capture for the Sandhill Crane nestmate colts … image

The RawDigger (pink) Adapted Histogram

The Adapted Histogram here shows and absolute perfect exposure. The 69 OvExp pixels (out of 45,000,000) are in the specular highlights of the dew on the grasses.

In the RawDigger e-Guide, you will learn exactly how to set up the Adapted “pink” RawDigger Histogram and how to use it to quickly and easily evaluate the exposure or raw file brightness of images from all digital cameras currently in use. RawDigger has been especially helpful to me as I have struggled with R5 exposures.

RawDigger e-Guide with Two Videos

The RawDigger e-Guide with Two Videos

by Arthur Morris with Patrick Sparkman

The RawDigger e-Guide was created only for serious photographers who wish to get the absolute most out of their raw files.

Patrick and I began work on the guide in July 2020. At first we struggled. We asked questions. We learned about Max-G values. We puzzled as to why the Max G values for different cameras were different. IPT veteran Bart Deamer asked lots of questions that we could not answer. We got help from RawDigger creator Iliah Borg. We learned. In December, Patrick came up with an Adapted Histogram that allows us to evaluate the exposures and raw file brightness for all images created with all digital camera bodies from the last two decades. What we learned each time prompted three complete beginning to end re-writes.

The point of the guide is to teach you to truly expose to the mega-Expose-to-the-Right so that you will minimize noise, maximize image quality, best utilize your camera’s dynamic range, and attain the highest possible level of shadow detail in your RAW files in every situation. In addition, your properly exposed RAW files will contain more tonal information and feature the smoothest possible transitions between tones. And your optimized images will feature rich, accurate color.

We teach you why the GREEN channel is almost always the first to over-expose. We save you money by advising you which version of RawDigger you need. We teach you how to interpret the Max G values for your Canon, Nikon, and SONY camera bodies. It is very likely that the Shock-your-World section will shock you. And lastly — thanks to the technical and practical brilliance of Patrick Sparkman — we teach you a simple way to quickly and easily evaluate your exposures and raw file brightness using an Adapted RawDigger histogram.

The flower video takes you through a session where artie edits a folder of images in Capture One while checking the exposures and Max-G values in RawDigger. The Adapted Histogram video examines a series of recent images with the pink histograms and covers lots of fine points including and especially how to deal with specular highlights. The directions for setting up the Adapted Histogram are in the text.

If we priced this guide based on how much effort we put into it, it would sell it for $999.00. But as this guide will be purchased only by a limited number of serious photographers, we have priced it at $51.00. You can order yours here in the BAA Online Store.


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

4 comments to In Memoriam ??? The Writing Process with regards to the R5 Camera User’s e-Guide. Big Canon 1DX III Price Drop!

  • The teachers we remember are the ones with real passion. Fire. Passionate teachers like you leave an imprint on kids. I am always encouraging teachers to share their passions…too many teachers don’t do that.
    The creator of The Writing Process?” Hmmmm, is this a test? 🙂 In New York City it was Lucy Calkins at the Teachers College Writing Project. I was on her staff. She was a powerful mentor for me. Lucy didn’t “invent” The Writing Process. Her mentors included the two Dons–Don Graves and Don Murray, both professors at the University of New Hampshire. I knew them both very well, and also consider them my mentors.
    At 67 I’m still working in this field, Artie, still writing books and speaking at conferences. I’ve been invited to speak on The Writing Process in Australia, Istanbul, and international schools all over the place.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Not a test and thanks for the info and your kind words. I should have mentioned that the kids absolutely loved The Writing Process.

      with love, a

  • Artie–
    Funny to see you write about this! I worked in New York City public schools from 1982 through 1988…helping teachers implement the writing process. I have written several books on this subject including Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide, Craft Lessons, and What a Writer Needs.
    I worked with you at Nickerson Beach…my first IPT. Great stuff.

    Ralph Fletcher

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Maybe you also worked with me when I was teaching 🙂

      Do you remember Impact Grants? I won one of those for my work that involved bringing slides of birds into the classroom and having the kids sketch from the projected images. It also brought birds into many other curriculum areas. I wrote the whole thing up and won one of the grants.

      Well anyhoo, the awards ceremony was at the NY Historical Society (I think). Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul, and Mary-fame, was the guest speaker– actually, the guest singer. What a great experience. Elaine was there. Everyone in the audience was crying with joy as he sang Puff the Magic Dragon and afterwards, I got to give him a hug. It was one of the ten best days of my life.

      with love, a

      ps: Do you know who was behind the creation of The Writing Process?

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