What You See is What You Get! Depth of Field at f/2.8 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

What You See is What You Get! Depth of Field at f/2.8

Homer IPT Multiple Trip Discounts Increased

Save $1,500.00 by doing back-to-back trips. Save $2500 by doing all three trips. Please e-mail for couples’ discount info.

On Getting Better

Consider joining me on a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). The DeSoto, San Diego, Homer, and the yet-to-be announced July 2023 Jacksonville and July 2024 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime all offer the opportunity for you to dramatically improve your skills both in the field and at the computer and to make some astounding images as well. Click here and see which IPT might be best for you.

All images from Homer or Kachemak Bay, AK

2023 Homer/Kachemak Bay Bald Eagle IPTs

IPT #1: MON 20 FEB 2023 through the full day on FRI 24 FEB 2023. Five full days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 3.

IPT #2: SAT 25 FEB 2023 through the full day on THURS 2 MAR 2023. Six full days/24 hours on the boat: $6600.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 3.

IPT #3: FRI 3 MAR 2023 through the full day on TUES 7 MAR 2023. Five full days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers. Openings: 3.

Save $1,500.00 by doing back-to-back trips. Save $2500 by doing all three trips.

These trips feature non-stop flight photography as well as many opportunities to create both environmental and point-blank portraits of one of North America’s most sought-after avian subjects: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Other reliable subjects will include Sea Otter, Glaucous-winged and Short-billed (formerly Mew) Gulls.

In addition, we should see Common Murre, Black Guillemot, Pelagic Cormorant, two or three species of loons, and a smattering of ducks including two species of merganser, all three scoters, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Bufflehead, Harlequin, and Long-tailed Ducks. Close-range photographic chances for these species will require a ton of good luck. Some of these species, especially when in flocks, can, however, often be used effectively when creating bird-scapes.

If we need to be out early, we will be the first boat out. If conditions are great, we will stay out. And when there is a chance for sunset silhouettes, we will stay out and be in the right spot.

We will be traveling through gorgeous wilderness country; landscape and scenic opportunities abound.

Also featured is a professional leader, often referred to as the world’s most knowledgeable bird photography trip leader, who is conversant in Canon, Nikon, and Sony.

All images from Kachemak Bay in 2022!

What You Will Learn

You will learn practical and creative solutions to everyday photographic problems. You will learn to see the shot, to create dynamic images by fine-tuning your compositions, to best utilize your camera’s AF system, and how to analyze the wind, the sky conditions, and the direction and quality of the light. This is one of the very few trips Homer trips available where you will not be simply put on the birds and told to have fun. You will learn to be a better photographer. But only if that is what you want.

You will learn to get the right exposure when it is sunny, when it cloudy-bright, when it is cloudy, when it is cloudy-dark, or when it is foggy. Not to mention getting the right exposure when creating silhouettes.

You will learn to make pleasing blurs working in manual mode and to create silhouettes working in Shutter Priority mode.

Most importantly you will learn to pick your best flight images from tens of thousands of images.

You will enjoy working with the two best and most creative boat captains on their sturdy, photography-spacious, seaworthy, open-deck crafts.

The second and third IPTs are the only Bald Eagle workshops that feature an incredibly helpful first mate.

Only five photographers (not the usual six), plus the leader.

Small group Photoshop, Image Review, and Image Critiquing sessions.

All images from Homer or Kachemak Bay, AK

What’s Included

One four hour or two two-hour boat trips every day (weather permitting), all boat fees and boat-related expenses (excluding tips), ground transportation to and from the dock and back to the hotel each day, in-the-field instruction and guidance, pre-trip gear advice, small group post-processing and image review sessions, and a thank you dinner for all well-behaved participants.

What’s Not Included

Your airfare to and from Homer, AK (via Anchorage), the cost of your room at Land’s End Resort, all personal items, all meals and beverages, and tips for the boat captain and/or the first mate.

Please Note

On great days, the group may wish to photograph for more than four hours. If the total time on the boat exceeds 20 hours for the five-day trips, or 24 hours for the second trip, the group will share the additional expense at a rate of $225/hour.

Some folks may wish to rent their own vehicle to take advantage of local photographic opportunities around Homer.

Deposit Information

A $3000 non-refundable deposit/trip is required. You may pay your deposit with credit card or by personal check (made out to BIRDS AS ART) and sent via US mail only to Arthur Morris. PO Box 7245. Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Your balance, due 90 days before the date of departure, is payable only by check as above.

In Closing

I have been going to Homer off and on for close to two decades. Every trip has been nothing short of fantastic. Many folks go in mid-March. The earlier you go, the better the chances for snow. The only way to assure that you are on the best of the three trips is to sign up for all three. Can you keep up with me? If you have any questions, or are good to go for one, two, or all three trips, please let me know via e-mail or give me a call on my cell phone at 863-221-2372.

What’s Up?

I walked, rope flowed, and swam twice each on Friday. It was relatively cold (64°) and clear in the early morning. With the strong wind from the northwest, I bundled up with two sweatshirts, a woolen watch cap, and gloves. The birds, all facing and flying away from the light, were acting strangely after Hurricane Ian. There were more than one hundred vultures flying, on the ground, and roosting on various structures near the base of the pair. I saw several groups of three or four cranes in flight, calling loudly as if asking, “What’s going on here?” Both adult eagles were perched in the nest tree when I went by. My walk to the end of the pier just before sunset revealed that the “T” at the end of the pier had been noticeably twisted by the force of the wind and the waves on Thursday evening.

Today is Saturday 1 October 2022. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took more than 90 minutes to prepare makes one hundred ninety days in a row with a new one.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon links that are found on most blog pages and to use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout when purchasing your new gear from Bedfords to get 3% back on your credit card and enjoy free second-day air FedEx. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!


Follow me on Instagram here. I am trying to feature both new and old images, especially images that have not appeared recently on the blog. Or search for birds_as_art.

BIRDS AS ART Image Optimization Service (BAA IOS)

Send a PayPal for $62.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net or call Jim at 863-692-0906 and put $62.00 on your credit card. Pick one of your best images and upload the raw file using a large file sending service like Hightail or DropBox and then send me the link via e-mail. I will download and save your raw file, evaluate the exposure and sharpness, and optimize the image as if it were my own after converting the raw file in Adobe Camera Raw. Best of all, I will make a screen recording of the entire process and send you a link to the video to download, save and study.

Induro GIT 304L Price Drop

Amazingly, we have two, brand-new-in-the-box Induro GIT 304L tripods in stock. They are $699.00 each (were $799.00) and the price now includes the insured ground shipping to the lower 48 states. Weekday phone orders only: 863-692-0906. Order yours here while they last.

Please Remember

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 earn 3% cash back 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.

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 on the right side of each blog post page). My affiliate link works fine with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂

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. And the same is true in spades when ordering new camera bodies or lenses. My advice will often save you some serious money and may help you avoid making a seriously bad choice. 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 26 February 2020 on an Instructional Photo-Tour at Kachemak Bay, Homer, AK. While crouching, I used the hand held Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (now replaced by the greatly improved Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens) at 200mm and the Sony a9 II (now replaced by The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.) The exposure was determined via Zebras with Exposure Compensation on the thumb dial. ISO 800: 1/2000 sec. at f/2.8 (wide-open) in Manual mode. AWB at 1:25:32 pm on a cloudy morning.

Flexible Spot (M) AF/C performed well. Click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1: Bald Eagle in snow bird-scape

What You See is What You Get!
Depth of Field (DOF) at the Wide-Open Aperture

With more than enough shutter speed (1/2000 sec.) for a static subject, many folks might ask, Why didn’t you stop down?

The answer was in the viewfinder. At the default settings, all modern camera bodies offer viewing at the wide-open aperture. Even when stopped down considerably, you view the subject and the scene as it would appear at the wide-open aperture. So, with DOF, when working at the wide-open aperture, what you see is what you get!

In other words, if all the feathers on a subject look sharp in the viewfinder, they will be sharp in the final image (assuming a fast-enough shutter speed and/or good to excellent sharpness techniques). When I looked through the viewfinder when creating this image at Kachemak Bay, it was obvious that the whole bird was sharp. Thus, there was zero need to stop down “for more depth of field.

Try it, you’ll like it. For nearly all my bird photography, I work at the wide-open aperture unless I can clearly come up with a good reason to stop down. On IPTs, I will always let the group know when and why I am stopping down.

Image Design Question

Crouching when creating this image was vital to its success. Why? If you are confused, ask yourself, “How image would this image have been different if artie had been seated or had been standing at full height?

Image #1A: a7INFO screen capture for the Bald Eagle in snow bird-scape image

The a7INFO Screen Capture

As always, a7INFO provides us with two bits of important information:

1- the location of the AF points.

2- the focus distance (7.81 meters as highlighted in blue, on the right).

Note: because of limitations in the Sony EXIF, the AF Area mode provided in by a7INFO is rarely correct and almost always confusing. It will not correlate with the AF Area and/or Tracking mode that was used to create the image.

Image #1B: PhotoPills screen capture for the Bald Eagle in snow bird-scape image


There are many free and excellent DOF apps and websites. I recently began using PhotoPills. You can learn a ton by listing your preferred DOF site often. Once you know the focus distance, the rest is child’s play. It is not important to select your exact camera model. Just be sure to select one with the same sensor size as yours. The Sony A1 is a full frame body so I went with the Sony a9 as it is also full frame. Select the aperture from the dropdown menu and type in the focus distance (while selecting the correct units for the latter).

The last three lines of data are the most important. The depth of field is .25 meters. That is distributed almost equally before and beyond the point of focus, in this case, the plane of the eagle’s neck (as we learned in the a7INFO screen capture above). The DOF in front, .12 meters, converts to 4.7 inches. The DOF behind, 1.3 meters, converts to 5.1 inches. While Bald Eagle is a large bird, the width of its body is well less than 9.8 inches. This shows clearly that the DOF at f/2.8 is more than enough to “cover” the subject, that is, to render all the feathers sharp.

And it proves that what you see is what you get.


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

2 comments to What You See is What You Get! Depth of Field at f/2.8

  • avatar Alan Halberstadt

    Artie, my guess is that if you had been seated (lower) the blue water (?) in the background would have intersected with the head of the eagle, and if standing, it would have been only snow in the background, and you wanted to get some of the environment into the image.

    There is a related app that is great for planning a shot, since you can determine the best time of day for sun angle on a building/mountain/statue/etc.

    Photo Pills App — available only on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.

    Glad you came through the storm safely and without property damage.

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