Boring Bird on Beach? Worked Too Hard … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Boring Bird on Beach? Worked Too Hard ...

What’s Up?

On the first morning of the second JAX IPT, the hoped for east wind did not materialize until about 9:00am. Early on, it was still. Very still. But there were lots of Royal Tern chicks of all ages on the beach. None of them were silly tame, but if we sat, we all five of us had some great chances. At times, I had chicks walking right up to me. Keep reading below to learn a ton about bird photography.

With a south wind and clear skies we did lots of hand held flight photography as the birds flew away from the colony and turned left toward us and down light angle. I might have a decent one with a baby Barracuda!

Today is Friday 16 July and we will be leaving for the beach at 5:30am. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, we hope that you too have a great day.

Remember that you can find some great photo accessories (and necessities!) on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-folks like me, who spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And it works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

This blog post took more than an hour to prepare and makes 201 consecutive days with a new one. Please remember that if an item — a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head — for example, that is available from B&H and/or Bedfords and is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great, and greatly appreciated if you would opt to purchase from us. We will match any price. Please remember also to use my B&H affiliate links or to save 3% at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And doing so always earns my great appreciation.

Please Remember

With income from IPTs now close to 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

This image was created on 15 July 2021 on the first morning of the second JAX IPT. While seated on dry sand using the knee-pod technique, I used the hand held Panning Ground Pod-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 800. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/1600 sec. at f/7.1 (stopped down 2/3 stop) in Manual mode. AWB at 7:45am on a mostly sunny morning.

Tracking: Flexible Spot AF with Bird-Eye/Face Detection set performed perfectly as seen in the screen capture of a previous frame below.

Image #1: Royal Tern pale chick on beach in front of dune

Hard Work

In recent memory, I cannot recall a morning where I worked as hard as I did on Thursday. I shot the 600 with the 1.4X TC hand held and on the Panning Ground Pod.. My a1 was covered in sand. With the lens resting on my thighs I must have butt-advanced about a half mile. That is tough on the arms. After each move I had to clean my palms as best as I could … As I was slightly downhill from the chicks in front of the dunes, I got lots of core exercise as well.

Not Action!

While I switched from Canon to Nikon and then to SONY in hopes of becoming a better flight photographer (and did just that), there is a very special place in my heart for good field-guide-type images of gorgeous birds. Here, working right on sun angle, I love the early morning light, the image design, the sharpness, the perfect head angle, and the relatively clean setting. The clean, cute chick. And as alway, “Add green whenever possible.” Keep reading for more on that and on the image design.

I cooled the image down a bit by lowering the Color Temperature (to taste) during the raw conversion in Photoshop (ACR). As detailed in Digital Basics II.

Image #1B: AF point for the first image in the series

Never Settle!

I saw this chick, made one image to fine-tune the exposure, but knew that it was an insta-delete because the tail of the chick merged with the green plant behind it. So I butt scootched once to my left, about a yard, and prayed that the handsome young tern would not move. It did not, and I was very happy. I created 2056 images for the session, almost all of tern chicks. I did not make a single flight image of a Royal Tern. Clemens on the other hand, loved the clouds in the western sky, and created 4500 images, almost all of terns in flight. He had more than 500 keepers. He was happy. I was happy.

The Lesson

Never settle for a good shot when a great shot is available. Ever. I’d much rather come away with nothing than settle for mediocre.

(One Way Of) Restoring Detail in the Brightest Whites

I selected the brightest whites using Select > Color Range, placed the selection on its own layer, and ran a Linear Burn, all as detailed (plus tons more) in Digital Basics II.. I usually reduce the opacity of such layers to somewhere between 5 and 20%. With today’s image a 50% Liinear Burn looked great. That despite the facts that the RGB values for the brightest whites were 251, 147, 240. The high R value explains why I lowered the color temperature …

Believe It Or Not!

Believe it or not, the AF point was even more squarely on the eye in today’s featured image (Royal Tern chick on beach _A1B4393 Jacksonville — FL) than it was in the screen capture above for the first frame in the series (_A1B4378 Jacksonville — FL).

SONY and artie

Switching to SONY, first with the a9 and the a9 II, and then with the remarkable a1, has enabled me (and others, like Mike De Rosa as seen recently in the blog post here), to create images of birds in flight and in action that I could not have even dreamed of when using Canon for 33 years and then Nikon for more than two. Most of the time I am using one of two AF methods that together, cover about 99% of the commonly-encountered bird photography situations. Learn more by joining the group!

From Long-ago IPT veteran Keith Kennedy via e-mail

Absolutely great information. I am calling Jim in a few minutes to order a couple of Delkin 128GB UHS-II cards. Your timely email has saved me a ton of money! Many thanks

In the same vein, via e-mail from John LeClair

Well, e-mail #21 alone was worth the price of admission!

From Pamela Viale, after receiving my a1 settings along with detailed instructions on how to copy them to her SONY a1 via e-mail

This e-mail group has been an incredible boon to me! Thank you so much!

From Joe Barranco via e-Mail

Thanks for your great ideas on the A1 set up. I have been getting MANY more keepers doing things your way!

From Barbara White via e-Mail

Wow, I just gotta say – I learn so much from the SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info group! My camera is on my desk, and I’m always picking it up and changing something that I’ve read about in the e-mails.

Thanks, Barbara

From Janet Horton via e-Mail

Hi Artie, Mystery solved. Yes, I was able to replicate what you did. I forgot that you have to set self-timer using the upper dial. I am used to that being a MENU selection.

Thanks much, Janet

SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up and Info Group is going great guns as more and more folks chime in with thoughtful questions and experience-based answers. As the a1 is becoming more readily available, more and more folks are getting their hands on this amazing body. With two folks joining yesterday, we are now up to an astounding 67 lucky and blessed photographers! Early on, we discussed the myriad AF options. I gave my opinion as to the best one for flight and general bird photography. More recently, we have been in contact with folks at SONY sharing our thoughts, experiences, and frustrations with the EVF blackout problem.

All who purchased their Alpha a1 bodies via a BAA affiliate link will receive a free subscription to the Sony Alpha a1 Set-Up and Info Updates after shooting me their receipts via e-mail. (Note: it may take me several days to confirm B&H orders.) This same service may be purchased by anyone with an a1 body via a $150.00 PayPal sent to indicating payment for Alpha a1 Info Updates. Alternatively, folks can call Jim weekdays at 1-863-692-0906 to pay via credit card. New members will receive composite e-mails that summarize all previous discussions.


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

2 comments to Boring Bird on Beach? Worked Too Hard …

  • Good morning Guru. Hope you’re doing fine.

    I really wonder how it’s possible for person of your age to do photography in the field everyday and then prepare a detailed post for the fans same day – all the 365 days of the year!!!

    Profound respect for you Guru, Hats off to you.

    We love you – stay well.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Sanjeed,

      Thanks for recognizing that and for your kind words.

      Right not, I am nowhere near my longest streak 🙂

      with love, a

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