Kicking Myself Over Stick Marsh. Or Not? Roseate Spoonbill Heaven. Sony Alpha a1 Unfair to Flying Birds! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Kicking Myself Over Stick Marsh. Or Not? Roseate Spoonbill Heaven. Sony Alpha a1 Unfair to Flying Birds!

This Just In!

I am hitting publish on this blog post at an unusually late 1:18pm. We had yet about great morning so I have been very busy. 🙂 As always. Right now it is nap time!

Do take a moment to let us know which of today’s three featured Stick Marsh images is your favorite. And please let us know what you like about it. I doubt that anyone will spot the tiny bothersome element in Image #1. I will share that along with my favorite in a future blog post.

What’s Up?

We had an awesome photo session at Stick Marsh on Wednesday 17 March. It was so good that it lasted until after 2pm! The morning part of our shoot was nothing short of phenomenal. A very nice man named Fred gave us an exciting early-afternoon tip so we decided to find a breakfast spot and return to check out the possibilities despite the fact that it was a clear sunny day and the light would be quite harsh at midday. We had a fine traditional breakfast at a place we found online, The Pelican Diner in Sebastian.

After some eggs, homemade corned beef, and killer home fries we headed back to Stick Marsh hoping for some cloud cover. As we got close, we noticed a strange gray cloud off to the north. It soon enveloped the sky. The cloud was smoke from some prescribed burns in South Florida. The tip did not pan out — possibly because of the smoke cloud, but Donna and John Dupps persisted and had some good chances (while I tried but failed with Instructor Nap Time).

We got back to the AirBnB where John and I are staying — Jim Dolgin had to head home that morning — at about 4:00pm. We had dinner at the legendary Dixie Crossroads Restaurant in Titusville. We started with drinks and mind-boggling hush puppies with powdered sugar. Next were excellent Caesar salads all around. I was the only one who passed on the stuffed baked potatoes. The Large Shrimp dinners were also nothing short of phenomenal; we could not decide which was more amazing, the tartar sauce or the cocktail sauce, both distinctively delicious.

Today — Thursday March 18 2021 is the last day of the Merritt Island IPT. The forecast for today is for mostly sunny becoming partly cloudy with south winds switching to southwest and strengthening to more than 20 mph this afternoon.

This blog post took about 3 1/2 hours to prepare and makes eighty-six days in a row with a new one. Please remember to use my B&H affiliate links or to save money at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout.

New Listings Priced to Sell!

Canon EOS-1DX Mark II Professional Digital Camera Body/with Extras!

BIRDS AS ART Record-low Price

Professional photographer Jim Zuckerman is offering a Canon EOS-1DX Mark II in excellent condition with great extras for a BAA record-low $2298.00. The sale includes the body cap, a Canon leather hand grip, a Really Right Stuff L-bracket, one extra battery, the charger, two Cfast 64 gig high speed flash cards, the instruction manuals in English and Spanish, and 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 Jim via e-mail or by phone at 1 615 414-7644 (Central Time zone).

The 1DX Mark II is a rugged, blazingly fast Canon professional digital camera body. It features an amazing AF system and high quality image files with great dynamic range. When he used Canon, it was the first choice of Arash Hazeghi, one of the world’s premier birds in flight photographers. This body is still in production and currently sells new for $4,499.00. Save a very sweet $2201.00 by grabbing Jim’s dSLR ASAP. artie

Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM super-telephoto lens (the “old five”)

BIRDS AS ART Record-low Price

Professional photographer Jim Zuckerman is offering a Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM super-telephoto lens (the “old five”), in excellent condition for a BAA RECORD-LOW $2146.00. The sale includes the front leather lens cover, a 3rd party collapsible/camouflaged lens hood, the lens trunk, the rear lens cap, and 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 Jim via e-mail or by phone at 1 615 414-7644 (Central Time zone).

The 500mm f/4 lenses have been the world’s most popular telephoto lenses for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. I owned and used and loved my “old five” for many years. If you use Canon and don’t have the cash for a 500 II, and can handle the additional 1 1/2 pounds, then this is your best super-telephoto lens option. Most everyone can produce sharp images with this lens and a 1.4X TC. Folks with good to excellent sharpness techniques can do the same with a 2X TC. A new 500 II sells right now for $8,999.00; you can save an astounding $6,853.00 by grabbing Jim’s lens right now. artie

Kicking Myself …

I have been hearing about Stick Marsh for well more than a decade. It is located in Fellsmere, FL northwest of Vero Beach. I assumed that it was best done by boat. When Donna Bourdon and I visited with Clemens and photographed from his flats boat last Sunday, I realized that photographing from the shoreline would likely be as good as being in a boat. I was wrong. It is better. Roseate Spoonbill is the holy grail subject for bird photographers visiting Florida (and for those who live hear as well). When I think that I have been living just one hour ten minutes from this spot, I really do want to kick myself. But I won’t. 🙂 But you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be visiting very often.

The Stick Marsh Site Guide Subscription Service

Th Site Guide Subscription Service is a new concept. I will send a short site guide no later than this coming Monday that covers the basics. It will include a map of the rookery area with specific instructions and wind and weather advice. There were some good photographers at Stick Marsh yesterday. Many are skilled at hand-holding 500 and 600mm f/4 telephotos lenses. But with all due respect, none of them can come anywhere near me when it comes to analyzing the photo opps at a given location. With the exception of the aforementioned Fred — I think his full name was Fred Vaughn, every photographer got to their favor spot and never moved. We moved around a lot and had great and different chances all day long. After each visit, you will receive an e-mail noting the best locations and anything knew that I learned.

To sign up for the Stick Marsh Site Guide Subscription Service, send a PayPal for $100.00 to us at birdsasart@verizon.net and be sure to include the words Stick Marsh. Or, you can call Jim any day at 1-863-692-0906 to pay by credit card. At some point, we will get this item in the BAA Online Store.

I fully understand that you can go to Google Maps, find the Stick Marsh, visit, and likely make some good or great images. You might think, I can do fine just without artie’s advice. But you would be very wrong.

Please contact me via e-mail to explore the possibilities of morning In-the-Field Instructional Sessions at Stick Marsh.

This image was created on 17 March 2021 at the Stick Marsh in Fellsmere, FL. I used the Induro GIT 404L/Levered-clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 640. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the thumb dial: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 8:05am on a clear morning.

Wide/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: Roseate Spoonbill flying past mangroves in early morning light

One Tiny Thing …

I love, love, love, love this image. The early morning light and the combination of pink and green works incredibly well. There is one teeny-weenie thing about this image that bothers me. I would be astounded if someone left a comment identifying what it is that bugs me. Oh, and BTW, the Alpha a1 continues to amaze me.

On Panning Well

With birds this large in the frame, it is absolutely necessary that you pan smoothly along with the bird to prevent clipping the wings. In all honesty, that is something that I am not very good at. With today’s Image #1, I succeeded.

Image #1A: AF points on the Roseate Spoonbill flying past mangroves in early morning light image

Sony Alpha a1 Astounds

To learn exactly how I set up my Alpha a1 for flight to achieve results like this, join the SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group.

SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group is going great guns as folks chime in with thoughtful questions and experience-based answers. I learned a ton recently in group e-mail exchanges with Geoff Newhouse, Craig Elson and James Spillman. Like the R5, the a1 is an incredibly complex camera body. But the sad news is that if you are doing bird photography right now the Alpha a1 pretty much obliterates the competition with 51,000,000 gorgeous pixels and a science-fiction-like AF system …

All who purchased their Alpha a1 bodies via a BAA affiliate link receive a free subscription to the Sony Alpha a1 Set-Up and Info Updates group. This same service may be purchased by anyone with an a1 body via a $150.00 Paypal sent to birdsasart@verizon.net indicating payment for Alpha a1 Info Updates. New members will receive all back issues.

Topaz DeNoise AI on the Roseate Spoonbill flying past mangroves in early morning light image

Topaz DeNoise AI

There was surprisingly little noise even in the dark tones of the background here. Click on the image to see how beautifully Topaz DeNoise AI on Auto cleaned up the background noise and sharpened an already sharp image beautifully and non-destructively.

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.

This image was created on 17 March 2021 at the Stick Marsh in Fellsmere, FL. I used the Induro GIT 404L/Levered-clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 500. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the thumb dial: 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 8:46am on a clear morning.

Wide/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #2: Roseate Spoonbill wings raised flight with nesting material

The Problem with the Nesting Material Birds …

Everyone wanted to get some images of the birds carrying nesting material. But by the time they got to the rookery island, they were angling away from us. I said to the group, “Follow me.” and they did. Folks who join the The Stick Marsh Site Guide Subscription Service group will learn exactly where to be and what to look for to try for this difficult shot in the very first issue.

This image was created on 17 March 2021 at the Stick Marsh in Fellsmere, FL. I used the Induro GIT 404L/Levered-clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 500. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the thumb dial: 1/1600 sec. at f/8 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 9:24am on a clear morning.

Tracking: Spot M/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #3: Roseate Spoonbill tight portrait

Clean Tight, and Graphic

Head portraits of most any bird have always turned me on. Getting a chance at Stick Marsh to create this one had me shaking in my boots. Folks who join the The Stick Marsh Site Guide Subscription Service group will learn the strategy that I used to create Image #3 in the very first issue. (I am a quick learner.)

Typos

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

15 comments to Kicking Myself Over Stick Marsh. Or Not? Roseate Spoonbill Heaven. Sony Alpha a1 Unfair to Flying Birds!

  • avatar Maggi Fuller

    Dark “dot” on the highlighted edge of the bill…..
    Long, vertical shadow above the bird’s right wing tip…
    As others, the mark/feathers on the bird’s left wing tip…
    The rectangle of orange/brown colour at the bottom left of the image, under the bird’s right wing.

    ???? Probably all wild guesses & none of them correct!

    Such a beautiful image….

  • avatar Jeff Walters

    On #1 – I agree with others blurred tip of rt wing, feet are hidden, left wing tip dark (shadow?) could all bother a perfectionist. I’ll offer my own 2 additional guesses and I do mean guesses.
    1) the Black background in the lower rt side corner of photo. Suppose more green might please some, but I like the bird sort of coming out of darkness into the light.
    2) the mysterious looking face in the background on the lower left side/corner area. Kind of looks like the Face on the shroud of Turin. To me that adds, like those pictures you stare at to see and try to find some hidden thing.

    I like ’em all. There are no Spoon Bills in So. Cal except maybe in Zoo’s. Thanks & glad you guys are enjoying getting out mingling together.

  • On #1, I’m guessing it’s the shadow of the head against leading edge of the right wing. There’s also a thread-like feather or debris at the tip of the left wing, but that could more easily be repaired. A beautiful image in beautiful light, by far my favorite of the three.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Tough to choose among those three fine images, I like them all. That food you had must have been wonderful because there seemed to be more typos than usual. For example, “tartar saucer,” “Roseate spoonbill is the holy grail subjects,” “AF systsem.”

  • avatar David Pugsley

    Re #1: I’m guessing you’d have preferred to see the bird’s feet in their entirety.

  • avatar Bill Eaton

    Stick Marsh is an amazing place to photograph Spoonies and Egrets especially when the wind is out of the east.
    #1 is my favorite because the flight angle and BG are both really nice.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Image #3: love the close-up, the colours on the wing, the sharpness, and at 1200mm!

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    With #1 maybe you where hoping to get more color on the top wing. Maybe more of a downward stroke than pancake?

  • Love #1–the light, the wings, the colors. Before I read Bob’s post, I thought it might be the little shadow of the primary feather tip on the bird’s left wing which is bugging. Or it could be that orange (branch?) poking in on the left side? But that could easily be removed.

  • avatar Donnette Largay

    Does your Stick Marsh Guide only apply to locations?

    Or if technical, and not a Sony user; will info be useful for all cameras? Nikon, Cannon, etc.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      It is a Site Guide. It will tell you where to set up with what wind direction, when to go, what shots are possible, and lots more. But nothing to do with any camera system. There will be advice on lenses.

      with love, a

  • avatar Joel Eade

    I was thinking along the same lines as Bob…..the technical aspects of the image#1 are fabulous and I greatly prefer the background as opposed to empty blue sky. So I thought perhaps something about the pose bothers you a bit. Maybe the way the head intersecting the far wing or that the feet are also intersecting the body and are not completely visualized?

    Another thought is about the wing tips: the far wing tip is blurred slightly and the primaries on the near wing tip are curled up a little …. maybe this is your concern?

    Great flight in my opinion, would love to have created it myself 🙂

  • Howdy Artie
    I love them all first and foremost, could image #1 be the small shadow on the wing tip that is bugging you on our right or perhaps the feet are not clear of the under wing? Guessing
    My favorite of the bunch is Image #3 as if you posed him, the chest feathers curled up and the bill showing off and the roseate colors are amazing to say so yes my favorite #3 and at 1200mm wow!!

    Always with love b

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