Farewell to Dauphin Island « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Farewell to Dauphin Island

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This adult male Indigo Bunting was photographed on a perch that I found along the roadside and set up at a feeder. The image was created with the Canon 800mm f/5.6 L IS lens, the 1.4X II TC, a 25mm extension tube, and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/8. This image was created after our set-up had fallen into shadow. I much prefer this image to those created in the late afternoon light. Once I switched to digital, cloudy bright days and shaded subjects became my very best friends. This image was my last Dauphin Island keeper….

The hospitality that Chris and I encountered on Dauphin Island was incredible.  First  we met Mike Rogers, a contractor from Mobile, who invited us to the beautiful home on the bay that he built with his Dad and served us a great crab and shrimp dinner.  He introduced us to his friend Terry Hartley and the two of them went out of their way to show us the best spots.  On day 2 they brought us to the home of John and Jennie Stowers who just happened to be serving a sumptous lunch to more than 100 folks who were attending the Alabama Ornithological Society’s spring meeting.  That night Mike took us out to dinner!  We had to work hard for each image as we did not encounter any fallouts of major proportions.   Mike and Terry introduced us to Chris and Michele Steber who served us a great lunch on their deck and allowed us to remake their yard in an effort to photograph the great birds at their feeders.  Again, it required a lot of work as the birds were quite shy.  We achieved success on our last afternoon on Dauphin after erecting a makeshift blind using a blanket that I keep int the back of my SUV to keep the gear covered.  We hung the blanket between two trees (secured by gold-colored horsehoes), left it in place for a day so that the birds could get used to it blowing in the wind, and finally got to stand behind it while  photographing Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, and Red-breasted Grosbeak. 

We awoke before 3am on Tuesday, left just after 3:30, and made it to Hill Country near Austin, TX 12 hours later with Chris doing the bulk of the driving.   As always, you can click on each image to enlarge it.

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Three happy campers. Mike, center, was thrilled to hang with us and we did our best to help him become a better photographer. This image was created by Dick ??? who had been with me on a Point Pelee Instructional Photo-Tour about six or seven years ago. Chris Dodds is on your right.
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This Northern Parula was attracted to our position by playing a tape of its call. The image was created with the Canon 800mmm f/5.6L IS lens, a 25mm extension tube for close focus, and the EOS-1D MIII. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/100 sec. at f/5.6. Fill flash at -2 2/3 stops with the Better Beamer (to concentrate the flash).

The Better Beamer is designed to be used with telephoto lenses with equivalent focal lengths of more than 300mm: learn more here: https://store.birdsasart.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=4.  In the original image here, the bill tip of the singing bird was–as expected because of the slow shutter speed–quite blurred.  I created a Quick Mask of the sharp lower mandible from the previous frame, moved it to this image as an layer mask, and then, using the techniques described in APTATS, warped the lower mandible to create a perfect (and sharp) match.   You can learn the basics of Quick Masking (plus tons more) in our Digital Basics File (https://store.birdsasart.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=252) and learn the advanced techniques from the APTATS CD here:  http://www.birdsasart.com/aptats.htm

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This adult male Blue Grosbeak was photographed on a natural perch with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X II teleconverter, a 25mm extension tube, and the EOS-1D MIII. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/9. With the blowing grasses about ten feet behind the perch, they created a pleasing background. It is the distance between the perch and the BKGR that is most responsible for creating the out-of-focus backgrounds that I prefer.
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This adult male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was photographed on a natural perch above the feeder with the same gear as the rest. No flash. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/8.

I removed a secong hanging vine from the background here using a variety of techniques described in Digital Basics. 

Though we did not get to enjoy a major fallout, Chris and I made some great images on Dauphin Island and had an overall great time.  I particularly enjoyed taking my health walks on the seaside golf course.  We offer our heartfelt thanks to all of the folks who made our trip more enjoyable and productive.

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