Striving for New and Different and Getting Lucky « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Striving for New and Different and Getting Lucky

Fill-in Quiz

Though together today’s images tell a great story, and though each is well executed, none of them is a contest winner …

Try your hand at image analyses with these:

Image #1 would have been better if the bird on our left _____________________________.
Image #2 would have been better if both birds had ___________________________________.
Images #3 & #4 would have been better had the wind been more from the _______________.

What’s Up?

My morning photo session began with lots of Cattle Egret blurs and got better once I began thinking outside of my own box. The full story on that is below. Sunset was excellent with a light haze on the western horizon. I was two minutes late getting set up. I watched a Sandhill Crane fly through the bright yellow sky below the somewhat muted sun at about 5:15pm. At about 5:20, with the sky even more richly colored, a Great Egret circled too and fro in the color and was chased momentarily by another. It flew off and then returned for a second pass through the orange sky. I had several other really exciting chances and cannot wait to edit the folder.

Today is Sunday 9 January 2022. The forecast for this morning is for mostly sunny with a breeze from the east. Sounds good to me. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took about 90 minutes to prepare including the time spent on the four image optimizations and makes 60 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 โ€” a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head โ€” 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.

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

Steve Elkins of Bedfords let me know recently 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 โ€” 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.

This image was created on 8 January 2021 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Sitting, I used the hand held 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. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that this was a dead-solid perfect exposure. AWB at 8:32:14am on a sunny morning.

Tracking: Zone AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed very well in a difficult situation. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #1: Sandhill Crane chasing another

Striving for New and Different and Getting Lucky I

I’d considered trying to photograph Ospreys flying in to their nest on the northwest corner of the canal between the South Peninsula and the South Field for about twenty years. On Saturday morning, I tried it for the first time with the tripod mounted 600 f/4, the 1.4X TC, and the a1. I was surprised at how large in the frame the birds were; I even clipped a few wingtips. But with the wind from the north with very little east, most of my images had the bird’s head turned slightly away from me. Across the canal, on the South Field, I watched with interest as several Sandhill Cranes were cavorting. But with the sun headed toward the southeastern sky, the birds were well off sun angle, were blocked by grasses, and had the pier in the background.

They were headed south toward an open area so I quit on the Ospreys, grabbed the tripod, and began walking south to get in front of the birds and slightly in front of light angle. When I saw that I would have the white houses on the far shoreline in the photos, I realized that I needed to get lower. And the only way to do that was to move lower on the slope that led down to the canal, sit on the wet grass, and hand hold. So that’s what I did. I kept walking south and so did the birds. I finally wound up on the small dock near the boat ramp. I was right on sun angle and the perspective was perfect. And so were the backgrounds.

I remember whispering to the relatively distant birds as I prayed for a wing stretch, a copulation, a courtship dance, or a fight. I got a fight. It was all over in less than one second, but the a1 was up to the test.

This image was created on 8 January 2021 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Sitting, I used the hand held 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. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that this was a dead-solid perfect exposure. AWB at 8:32:14am on a sunny morning.

Tracking: Zone AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed very well in a difficult situation. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #2: Sandhill Cranes — the chasee stands its ground

Striving for New and Different and Getting Lucky II

With the eyes of both birds relatively in the dark, the AF system grabbed the right wing of the bird on our right. The faces of both birds were rendered sharp. Why?

This image was created on 8 January 2021 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Sitting, I used the hand held 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. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that this was a dead-solid perfect exposure. AWB at 8:32:14am on a sunny morning.

Tracking: Zone AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed very well in a difficult situation. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #3: Sandhill Cranes — the chasee turns the tables on the chaser

Striving for New and Different and Getting Lucky III

Turnabout is fair play.

This image was created on 8 January 2021 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Sitting, I used the hand held 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. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that this was a dead-solid perfect exposure. AWB at 8:32:14am on a sunny morning.

Tracking: Zone AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed very well in a difficult situation. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #4: Sandhill Cranes — the chaser gets bit in the rear end

Striving for New and Different and Getting Lucky IV

Victory for the defended was sealed with a bite in the butt.

The Lesson

When you think that something is very difficult or impossible, try it anyway. I will be doing lots more shooting across the canal, a distance of about 50 yards from edge to edge.

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. This week, two folks in the group ordered their third a1! I am envious. The group is now up to an astounding 102 lucky and blessed folks. Early on, we discussed the myriad AF options. I gave my opinion as to the best one for flight and general bird photography. The best news is that all who wish, can request an e-mail that includes a .DAT file with my a1 settings on it, and explicit directions on how to load my settings onto your a1; talk about convenience! (Note: I am now offering updated .DAT files).

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 group 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 birdsasart@verizon.net 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.

The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide

You can purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide

126 pages, 87 photographs by Joe Przybyla and Arthur Morris.
The PDF for this e-Guide is an electronic download sent via e-mail.

Purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

I had thought about doing a guide to some of the great but little-known photo hotspots around central Florida for about a decade, but those plans never came to fruition. I met Joe online in the Avian Forum at BirdPhotographer’s.Net about two years ago. Joe’s photography has improved tremendously over the past few years; he credits the BAA blog, my books and PDFs, and his participation on BPN. The one thing that I learned right from the get-go about Joe is that he is a hard and tenacious worker, always striving to improve his skills and to grow his knowledge base. As he knew of more than a few good spots in central Florida, I broached the idea of us doing a photographic site guide that covered many of the little-known photographic hotspots from Brandon to Lakeland to Joe Overstreet Road to Indian Lake Estates (my Florida home for the past 20 years or so). After more than many, many dozens of hours of effort, The BIRDS AS ART Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide is now a reality. Thanks to Joe’s wife Dottie for her review of our writing. We all learned once again that writing is a process, a back and forth process. All thanks to the white pelicans of Lakeland. Here are the locations that are detailed in this e-Guide:

  • Indian Lake Estates: Sandhills Cranes with chicks and colts, lots of vultures, and Ospreys up the kazoo!
  • Gatorland, Kissimmee: Learn to make great images of wading birds in a cluttered rookery.
  • The Brandon Rookery: Great for nesting Wood Storks, Great Egrets, and more.
  • Circle Bar B Reserve, Lakeland: Here you will find a great variety of avian subjects in a great variety of habitats.
  • Lake Morton, Lakeland: There are lots of silly tame birds here including and especially American White Pelican during the colder months.
  • Lake Mirror, Lakeland: Tame Anhingas, Limpkins, and a zillion White Ibises at times.
  • West Lake Parker, Lakeland: Here you will have a chance for two difficult birds, Snail Kite, and Purple Gallinule.
  • Joe Overstreet Road, Kenansville: Crested Caracara, meadowlarks, Loggerhead Shrike, and much more on the fenceposts and barbed wire.

Each location includes a map, a detailed description of the best spots, best season, light and time of day instructions, the expected species, and an educational and inspirational gallery that is designed to open your eyes as to the possibilities.

You can purchase a copy here in the BAA Online Store.

Typos

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

10 comments to Striving for New and Different and Getting Lucky

  • Hi Artie, loved all your cranes. Great series. #1 is nice as a stand-alone image, and would benefit from canvas extension to the left and maybe a slight canvas trim on the right

  • I thought all four were good and laughed about #4 with chaser getting BIT!!

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Chipping in. In #1, I would not want the bird on our left to have been facing the chasing bird. Why? We need to establish its role as the chasee …

    with love, artie

  • avatar David Pugsley

    Image #1 would have been better if the bird on our left was facing to the right.
    Image #2 would have been better if both birds had wings extended.
    Images #3 & #4 would have been better had the wind been more from over your right shoulder.

  • avatar Jordan Cait

    Image #1 would have been better if the bird on our left was facing the bird on the right and also had its wings spread.

    Image #2 would have been better if both birds had more texture?

    Images #3 & #4 would have been better had the wind been more from the direction of the photographer.

  • Image #1 would have been better if the bird on our left had been facing the bird on the right.
    Image #2 would have been better if both birds had improved head angles.
    Images #3 & #4 would have been better had the wind been more from the: (Not sure of this one).

  • avatar David Policansky

    Wonderful, Artie. 1. If the bird on the left had been facing the other bird. 2. I don’t know. 3&4 if the wind had been coming over your right shoulder instead of from your right.

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    Art: Sorry, I don’t have any answers for your questions but wanted to tell you that I enjoyed the “tale told in pictures.”

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