Serendipitous Serenading Trio « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Serendipitous Serenading Trio

What’s Up?

On Tuesday morning, Joe and Jenny Casey enjoyed a second wonderful session at Indian Lake Estates. Joe, inspired by the Blurs and Moons and Suns gallery here, fell head-over-heals in love with creating pleasing blurs. You can see his neat landscape blurs here. Anyhoo, we started off by doing some vertical cattail pan blurs. Early on in the sweetest light, we had a gorgeous Great Blue Heron on The Perch, but when I stopped the car, it flew off 🙁 Next we worked the crane family of four, and then visited the vulture trees. We visited The Perch again and photographed the Little Blue Heron that had replaced the GBH. The Caseys headed back to DeSoto and found and photographed a Great Horned Owl nest on the way! All in all, we had a great time. Joe learned a ton and Jenny was excited by seeing several new species.

Today is Wednesday 29 December 2021. The forecast for the morning is for clear, sunny, and still with a slight breeze early on from the S/SE. I will try something new this morning in what looks to be very good conditions. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took about an hour to prepare, including the time spent on the image optimization. This post makes 49 consecutive days with a new one.

Please remember that you can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!) 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 who, like me, 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 when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

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, 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 for your major gear purchases. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And always earns my great appreciation.

Your Pick In-the-Field Sessions

The beauty of the Your Pick In-the-Field Sessions plans below is that I am free most days from now till mid-January and we can schedule sessions to coincide with the perfect weather forecast. They are ideal for central Florida locals or folks visiting the region for whatever reason. Interested? Get in touch via e-mail or better yet, try my cell at 863-221-2372. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up. Inquire for couples and group rates.

Indian Lake Estates In-the-Field Sessions

Two hours of intensive instruction: $300.00. Add a working brunch with image review: $100.00. Sunset shoot: $100.00. Guest room lodging available. Mix and match.

Sunny mornings with east winds are best. Likely subjects include ridiculously tame Sandhill Cranes along with Black and Turkey Vultures, Crested Caracara, Limpkin, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, and more. Bald Eagle possible; crane chicks coming soon.

Lakeland or Circle B Bar Preserve

Two hours of intensive instruction: $325.00. Add a working brunch with image review: $100.00. Mix and match.

Sunny mornings with east winds are best at Lakeland. Likely subjects include point-blank American White Pelican, Anhinga, Limpkin, Common Moorhen, White Ibis, a variety of wintering ducks including Ring-necked and Wood Ducks, and lots more.

Cloudy mornings or afternoons (shooting session only) are best at Circle B Bar Preserve. Likely subjects include Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Common Moorhen, Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Alligator, Wild Boar, and more. If you wish to mix and match, loving at ILE is available.

Sony Alpha 1 Bodies in Stock at Bedfords/free card offer!

Steve Elkins of Bedfords let me know late yesterday that he had several Sony a1 bodies in stock. If one of them has your name on it, please click here and be sure to enter the BIRDSASART coupon code check the box for free shipping to enjoy free Second Day Air Fed-Ex. Right now, in lieu of the 3% credit refunded to the card you used for your purchase, you will receive a Sony 160GB CFexpress Type A TOUGH Memory Card, a $399.99 value!

Brand New and As-Good-As-Ever Bedfords BAA Discount Policy

Folks who have fallen in love with Bedfords can now use the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout to enjoy a post-purchase, 3% off-statement credit (excluding taxes and shipping charges) on orders paid with a credit card. The 3% credit will be refunded to the card you used for your purchase. Be sure, also, to check the box for free shipping to enjoy free Second Day Air Fed-Ex. This offer does not apply to purchases of Classes, Gift Cards, or to any prior purchases.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would like to enjoy getting 3% back on your credit card along with free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex 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 check the box for Free Shipping. That will automatically upgrade to free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The waitlists 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 a 1, 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.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the Amazon links on the blog (including the logo-link immediately above). My link works with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂

Please Remember Also

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 (still!) save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I lost about fifty thousand dollars in income due to COVID 19 — 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.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs 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. If you are desperate, you can try me on my cell at 863-221-2372. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up.

I created this image on 27 December 2021 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Standing near the edge of a canal at the bird’s eye level, I used the hand held Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens (at 144mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 500. Exposure determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/3200 sec. at f/4 (stopped down one stop) in Manual mode. AWB at 8:01:26am on a clear sunny morning.

Tracking: Zone AF-C Bird/Eye Detection AF was active at the moment of exposure and kept switching between the left and center birds. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy the hi-res version.

Image #1: Serendipitous Serenading Trio

Serendipitous Serenading Trio

We were working the crane family of four from down by the edge the canal so that we were right on the bird’s level. We talked a lot about crouching down a bit and a lot about perspective. When the family of three flew in the family of four began calling. When three of them lined up pretty much on the same plane, I fired off about twenty images. As I was in Tracking Zone, AF-C Bird/Eye Detection, the system switched from the eye of the bird in the middle to the eye of the bird on our left. (This turned out to be a Godsend.) The bird on our left was on the same plane as the bird on the right. As a base image, I chose the best frame with both outer birds sharp. Then, using a Quick Mask refined by a Regular Layer Mask, I borrowed the sharp head of the center bird from another similar frame and dragged it roughly into place on the base image. After a bit of fine-tuning, everything looked Kosher.

So yes, this is another photo illustration. Do understand two things: One, I have not entered a major international (or any other) photography contest in more than a few years; Two, when I used to enter such contests, I always made it a point to read and re-read the contest rules very carefully, and to abide by them. . Most — but not all, prohibited adding or removing anything from the original image capture. And all of the big contests required that folks submit the raw file for images that had made the final round of judging.

So when I improve the artistic or technical qualities of an image using Photoshop, I am doing it for me.

The Young Bird?

Today’s image depicts two adults and one young bird, less than a year old. After clicking on the image to view the high-res version, can you figure out which bird is the juvenile? How did you know?

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II).

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a PayPal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand. Be sure to specify Digital Basics II.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

The technique mentioned above and tons more great Photoshop tips and techniques — along with all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — are covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. While the new e-Guide reflects my MacBook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here. Note: all of the videos are now priced at an amazingly low $5.00 each.

You can learn how and why I converted all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here. More recently, I became proficient at converting my Nikon RAW (NEF) files in Adobe Camera Raw. About three years ago I began converting my Nikon and Sony RAW files in Capture One and did that for two years. You can learn more about Capture One in the Capture One Pro 12 Simplified MP4 Video here. The next step would be to get a copy of Arash Hazeghi’s “The Nikon Photographers’ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide” in the blog post here.

You can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair.


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

8 comments to Serendipitous Serenading Trio

  • Hi, Artie. Thanks again for the wonderful time. Jenny and I both enjoyed it immensely. The instruction you provided was worth every penny and quite a bit more!

    Also, thank you so much for linking to my website in today’s blog post. It means a ton!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The pleasure was all mine.

      with love, artie

      • avatar Jeff Walters

        I’ve never met you or had the pleasure to attend a photo session or IPT, but everyone who has seems to have cherished the time. They all have made a new friend and have nothing but happy memories and beautiful photos. You seem to be able make them all comfortable in working and learning from a consummate professional. I know I would be intimidated and yet I know you would put me at ease. Your caring for each person and not just their fare sets you apart. I hope one day I have the pleasure. Reading all your books and following your blog has been so enlightening. Occasional emails with you show your kindness in sharing your knowledge. I do enjoy hearing & seeing photos from your patrons & friends. Thanks & you are the best.

  • avatar Adam

    “One, I have not entered a major international (or any other) photography contest in more than a few years; Two, when I used to enter such contests, I always made it a point to read and re-read the contest rules very carefully, and to abide by them. . Most — but not all, prohibited adding or removing anything from the original image capture. And all of the big contests required that folks submit the raw file for images that had made the final round of judging.”

    Agree wholeheartedly. I stopped entering contests primarily because of copyright release issues and the uncertainties associated with how image adjustments are interpreted. Some are rather explicit and allow for minor changes in exposure, contrast, cropping, etc. but what about tone, color, dodging, burning, healing, etc. and what are the boundaries? As many contests want .jpg’s there is a lot of wiggle room in the conversion process from RAW of applying sharpening, tone curves, etc. and having looked at an obscene number of contest winner images, I am relatively certain that adjustments have been applied. It’s just not worth the time/effort IMHO though clearly many other photographers embrace them.

  • avatar Warren Howe

    The bird on the left is the young bird, based on eye color.

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