Raindrops on My Scapulars « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Raindrops on My Scapulars

What’s Up?

Monday, the last morning of the 3rd San Diego IPT, my last morning in San Diego, dawned clear and sunny and chilly with a north wind that switched to slightly NW by 8am. Though we did pretty well, it was — by comparison — the worst morning of any IPT and the worst morning of my five weeks in San Diego. With a sunny morning and a NW wind, nearly all the birds are flying, landing, and facing away. And that was the case on Monday morning.

An incomplete version of this post was inadvertently published a half-day early 🙁 It was supposed to be publish on Tuesday 24 January. A completed version was published as of 9:57pm eastern time on Monday 23 January. I fly home today, Tuesday 24 January. Jim will be picking me up at Orlando Airport at about 7pm. I’ll be lucky to be home by 9:30. This blog post took about an hour to prepare (including the time spent on the image optimization), and makes three hundred-one days in a row with a new, educational post. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

Please, please, pretty please remember to use my B&H or Bedford’s affiliate programs for all your new gear purchases.

The plan is to continue to post every day until the streak reaches one year and one day and then go back to posting every other day.

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!

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.

Induro GIT 304L Tripod

Out of production for more than two years, BAA just sold its last one. The good news? We have located two more new-in-the-box tripods. They will be available for shipping at the end of January. Best to order yours now to be sure that you get one. We will not run your card until your item ships. The 304L was my go-to tripod for more than a decade. Best to grab order yours right now to avoid being disappointed.

This image was created on 17 January 2023 at La Jolla, CA. With the front leg of my tripod placed carefully over the fence, I used the no-longer available (except from BIRDS AS ART) Induro GIT 304L tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 800. Exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/400 sec. at f/5 (stopped down 2/3-stop). When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be dead-solid perfect. AWB at 9:10:57am on a then drizzly morning.

Tracking: Spot S/AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed perfectly. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1: Brown Pelican landing — sky background

Photographing in Bad Weather

I love photographing in “bad” weather, especially in San Diego. Most of the bad weather there involves cloudy skies and a west or northwest wind. If you know where to be when a storm comes through, you can be just minutes from your parked car and just a few feet from the handsome pelicans. On the morning that I met up with Bryan Lo after the 2nd IPT, it was drizzling off and on and even rained hard for a few minutes here and there. I did not return once to my vehicle. Neither did Bryan.

I do not use anything fancy to protect my camera bodies. If I have a zoom lens on my shoulder via a Black Rapid Curve Breathe Strap for occasional use, I simply place a woolen watch cap over the camera body. When I am carrying the 600 on the lens strap, I simply place the camera body under my armpit. When I am on the tripod and photographing, I protect the camera body with another woolen watch cap. These are the same caps that I use to protect most of my gear when traveling by air, train, or car. If it is pouring rain and I want the shot badly, I will simply place the watch cap over the camera body and hold the cap in place with my right thumb while my left index finger is on the shutter button and my face is pressed against the back of the camera.

The Sony a1 bodies are remarkably well weather-sealed. As I love images made in the rain or snow, I take more risks than most folks. Many might call me foolhardy and I could not disagree. I really abused one of my a bodies on the San Diego trip, photographing with it in the rain on multiple occasions. When the electronics did not behave normally, I first turned off the camera with a battery in place to close the shutter. Then I removed the battery, the card, and the front cover, and placed the camera in the far end of a pillowcase. A hair dryer on the low setting was positioned at the near end of the same pillowcase. After an hour, I turned off the hair dryer and let the camera body cool down. This treatment was needed twice. After each treatment, the camera functioned perfectly.

The Rather Obvious Lesson

If you want to make photographs of birds covered with rain drops, photograph in the rain of or right after it stops. Within minutes, most bird will ruffle their feathers vigorously to shake off most of the water.


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

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