Ending the Sales Tax Confusion. A Short But Great Move Pays Off! Can a Big Over-exposure Be Best? More on RawDigger « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Ending the Sales Tax Confusion. A Short But Great Move Pays Off! Can a Big Over-exposure Be Best? More on RawDigger

Image Design Question

With today’s featured image, why did I place the bird on the left side of the frame looking out?

What’s Up?

Not much. Today is Friday 16 April 2021. The forecast here at ILE is for cloudy skies and southwest winds. I probably will not head down to the lake this morning. I spent much of yesterday working on e-mail #9 for the SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info group. I will be sending it out this morning. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you have a great day.

This blog post took about an hour to prepare and makes 114 consecutive days 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. Doing either often earns you free guides or discounts, and always earns my great appreciation.

New York New Jersey Sales Tax Corrected Info

I stated yesterday that folks living in New York or New Jersey must pay sales tax on B&H orders even if they use their PayBoo cards. I was wrong. See below for the complete (and hopefully perfectly accurate) sales tax story.

The Sales Tax Situation When Buying Mail Order Photography Gear

Folks living in states other than Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, California, and Pennsylvania may wish to order from Bedfords. They will not have to pay the sales tax, they can use their favorite credit card and accumulate air miles, hotel points, or cash back awards (depending on the credit card), get to talk to a human if they wish, and in addition, can use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout to save 3% on everything they purchase while enjoying free second-day air Fed-Ex.

Folks living in states other than Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming (and in the District of Columbia) may wish to order from B&H with their PayBoo cards to save the sales tax. Understand that you first need to apply for a Payboo card (and get approved), and that you will not earn any credit card rewards on your Payboo card purchases.

Important Note: If a retailer does not charge sales tax, consumers are (generally) required to self-assess and pay the sales tax to their local state and or city. Individual tax compliance is, of course, a personal choice.

Summing Up

It would seem that for folks living in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, California, or Pennsylvania might (or might not) wish to get and use a Payboo card and purchase their new gear from B&H (while using my B&H affiliate link of course). For all others, purchasing their new camera gear from Bedford would seem to make the most sense.

Please Understand

Please understand that all of the above is subject to change at a moment’s notice. For example, the day after this was published Colorado just sent Bedfords a notice that they now have NEXUS, so that had to add that to their list of sales tax states.

Camera User’s Guide Note

If you should have but did not receive a link to the final versions of the SONY Camera User’s e-guide or the link to the final version of the BAA R5 Camera User’s e-guide, please let us know via e-mail.

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.

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 the evening of 14 April at Indian Lake Estates. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Levered-clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. AUOT ISO: 1600. The exposure was determined by Zebras with Exposure Compensation on the rear wheel: 1/1600 sec. at f/8 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 7:45pm with a nicely muted sun.

Wide/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection.

Image #1: Boat-tailed Grackle framed by the setting sun

A Short But Great Move Pays Off!

The wind had been perfect at sunset the previous night, but the spot where the egrets and herons were coming to roost was blocked by tall vegetation. So on Wednesday night, with the chance of a nice sunset in the offing, I set up by the erected-perches to the right of the pier. There was a grackle on the tall new perch as I was setting up, but it flew off and did not return. As the sun neared the horizon I noted a boat-tailed on a perch about 100 yards to my right. If my memory is correct, it is an often-used perch. As I made the short walk, I had no idea if I would be able to get my lens on the bird with the bird right in front of the sun, or if I would be blocked. Luck was with me.

Understand that when trying to create these bird-in-the-ball-of-the-sun images, you will be (somewhat frantically) moving your tripod every 15 seconds or so as the earth spins inexorably and messes up your framing.

Image #1A: RawDigger Screen Capture with the Adapted Histogram for the Boat-tailed Grackle framed by the setting sun image

Can a Big Over-exposure be Best?

With 803,000 OvExp pixels (out of 51,000,000) this image is definitely over-exposed. But for this situation, I would argue that it was the best exposure. Why? If I had under-exposed enough to properly expose for the brightest highlight in the sun-ball, the rest of the image would have been black (and the noise levels in the dark tones of the sky would have been horrific). The proof, as they say, is in the pudding: the image converted beautifully (in Capture One).

RawDigger — not for the faint of heart …

Nothing has ever helped me learn to create perfect exposures to the degree that RawDigger has. I think that many folks are reluctant to learn that most of their images are underexposed by one or more full stops and that highlight warnings in Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture One, and your in-camera histogram are bogus as they are based on the embedded JPEGs. Only your raw files tell the truth all the time. Heck, I resisted RawDigger for several years … Once you get over that feeling, RawDigger can become your very best exposure friend no matter what system you are using. On the recent IPTs and In-the-Field sessions, we have demonstrated that fact. Convincingly.

The RawDigger (pink) Adapted Histogram

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 was especially helpful to me as I have struggled with R5 exposures and learned my new camera body, the Sony Alpha a1.

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.

All of the images were created at Fort DeSoto in April or early May. Click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto IPT card A

Fort DeSoto Spring IPT #2

Fort DeSoto Spring IPT #2. 3 1/2 DAYS. MON 26 APR thru the morning session on THURS 29 APR 2021. $1499 includes three lunches. Limit: 6. Openings: 5.

Not only am I conversant in all three major camera systems used in the US — Nikon, Canon, and SONY (sorry Andy Rouse …), I have used all three within the past four years. Those include both SONY and Canon mirrorless. On both of these IPTs you will learn how to get the best exposure, how to get the most out of your AF system, and how to get close to free and wild birds. And tons more.

All of the images were created at Fort DeSoto in April or early May. Click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto IPT card B

A $499 deposit is required to hold your spot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART) to us here: BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855, or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, is due immediately after you sign up. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail. If you cancel due to COVID 19 concerns, all of your payments will be refunded.

All of the images were created at Fort DeSoto in April or early May. Click on the card to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto IPT card C

Fort DeSoto Spring IPTs Expected Species

With any luck, we should get to photograph the following species: Laughing, Ring-billed, Herring, and Lesser Black-backed Gull; Royal, Sandwich, and Forster’s Tern: Great, Snowy, and white and dark morph Reddish Egret and Great Blue, Little Blue, and Tricolored Heron; Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, and Brown Pelican. We will see and photograph lots of shorebirds including American Oystercatcher, Black-bellied, Wilson’s, Semipalmated, Snowy, and Piping Plover, Marbled Godwit, Willet, Dunlin, Red Knot, Sanderling, and Western and possibly White-rumped Sandpiper.


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

12 comments to Ending the Sales Tax Confusion. A Short But Great Move Pays Off! Can a Big Over-exposure Be Best? More on RawDigger

  • avatar Jeff Walters

    Clear as mud while skating on black ice!
    Didn’t we sometimes under expose with slide film to get deeper colors and maybe this has rubbed off on us with digital too?
    I think Ted was onto something with his answer. Bushes/shrubs help make the photo and maybe there are wires or telephone pole or some other distracting items which helped force or cause the placement. I like the shot and it does sort of look like the bird is saying it’s nightly prayers, giving thanks for another day on God’s green earth.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Jeff.

      Under-exposing “for effect with digital is not the way too go. Expose to the right and then get the look you want during post-processing.

      with love, artie

  • Howdy Artie
    Love the image as it appears to be praying, IMO
    You placed it left as there may have been something distracting left but the right tree/bush adds dimension, but it could have also been much different had you moved it to the right off the sun angle.
    Beautiful at 1200mm wow
    Always with love b

  • This is strange. PayBoo has worked a batch of times for me.
    From Bedford I would still have to pay the sales tax to Vermont. VT, on the state income tax, makes one pay tax on any out of state mail orders that did not charge tax. Some do some don’t. Would be nice if all operated the same way.

    • I really like today’s image because of the bird perfectly in the sun ball; the balance of the sun/bird and bush; the color; perfect exposure. Is the bird placed left in order to do that balance of sun and bush?

  • avatar Jordan Cait

    Hi Artie, typo? I believe that “self-access” s/b “self-assess”

    with love,

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    You placed the bird on the left side to show more of the vegetation on the right which I believe makes the image that much better!

  • I live in Vermont and am successfully using the B&H PayBoo credit card which pays the sales tax for me. If I understood your sales tax paragraph correctly, PayBoo is not possible in VT. Just wanted to let you know that it works for me.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Strange. I got the information above directly from B&H.

      In addition, there is no sales tax in Vermont with Bedford purchases and you save 3% and the rest 🙂

      with love, a

      • Sorry, forgot to click Reply–
        This is strange. PayBoo has worked a batch of times for me.
        From Bedford I would still have to pay the sales tax to Vermont. VT, on the state income tax, makes one pay tax on any out of state mail orders that did not charge tax. Some do some don’t. Would be nice if all operated the same way.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          If you are not paying tax to B&H you are supposed to pay the sales tax to the state after the fact. You would not be charged tax on an order from Bedfords. And you would save the 3% 🙂

          with love, artie

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