Galapagos Day 11/July 16, Morning, Punta Pitt, San Cristobal Island « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Galapagos Day 11/July 16, Morning, Punta Pitt, San Cristobal Island

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This Chatham (or Cristobal) Mockingbird was photographed with the hand held Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens, the 1.4X II TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/9. I went to a high ISO to maintain both a high shutter speed while hand holding at almost 17X and to provide a bit more depth-of-field.

Galapagos Day 11/July 16, Morning, Punta Pitt, San Cristobal Island

After our wet landing the folks who were ready quickly had a fair chance with this new-to-all mockingbird species. I was busy powdering my toes. On our way up to the view point at Punta Pitt we came to a rock ledge in the lee where a variety of landbirds including the handsome mockingbird were flitting around in the bush-tops just below us. I had a pretty good image lined up when someone in the group scared it off by trying to get closer; some days are diamonds….

When we made it up to the view point there were some lovely scenic opportunities available but as fate would have it the sun broke through the fog and we were toast. It was a bummer as there was lots of beautiful red vegetation and some great jumbles of yellow toned rocks. In spite of the bright sun, I made some images. The best–though not very good–is immediately below.

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This was the scene before us when we arrived at the view point. With the bright sun, the contrast was just too great to create anything pleasing. Robert O’Toole processed this image and I believe that he made three conversions and ran them through Photomatix to create an HDR image. I used the Canon 10-22mm zoom lens and the EOS-7D hand held at 22mm. ISO 200. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/8.

Thanks to Kevin Watson for the loan of the 10-22. The EF-S 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM Autofocus lens is designed as a true wide angle for cameras like the 50D and the 7D with their small APS-C sensors. It will give you the same 16-35mm coverage as the traditional wide angle zooms.

Not happy with the image I brought it into Photoshop and tried a variety of filters in an effort to come up with the HDR/grunge look type images that Denise Ippolito has been creating recently. You can check this style out in her September 19th blog post here. I could not reach Denise by phone last night for guidance so my efforts failed. While playing with the filters, however, I came up with the image below. What fun!

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I created this one with the Stained Glass effect that can be brought up as follows: Filter/Texture/Stained Glass. Then I darkened the “sky” a bit with a Quick Mask and Control M (curves on a layer). I like the child-like look.

I was working on this post late last night for about an hour and due to a snafu lost everything despite the fact that Word Press runs auto back-ups almost constantly. Being a lover of what is I bagged my efforts and concentrated on the episode of the 2010 World Series of Poker that I was watching. When Denise called me this morning she coached me on getting the grunge look using Photoshop filters so I gave it a try. The resulting image is below. Thanks Denise!

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I followed Denise’s directions to a “T” and then added a few twists of my own.

Do let me know if you like or hate either the stained glass or the grunge look image. You can check out a fourth version of this image (created by BPN member Dan Brown) here.

Discouraged by the sun I decided–with Juan’s permission–to head back down the hill and try for the mockingbird again at the ledge in the lee. (It was quite windy that day.) When the bird sat on the cliff edge and sang for me alone I created the opening image in this blog post. Justice had prevailed, my effort was rewarded, and my desires met.

Shopper’s Guide

Here is the gear that I used hand held at Gardner Bay that afternoon:

Canon EF-S 10-22 wide angle zoom lens
Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body
Canon EOS-7D
Canon EF Teleconverter 1.4X II

If you are considering the purchase of a major piece of photographic gear be it a new camera, a long lens, a tripod or a head, or some accessories be sure to check out our complete Shopper’s Guide.

5 comments to Galapagos Day 11/July 16, Morning, Punta Pitt, San Cristobal Island

  • denise ippolito

    Artie, I think I might back off the effect of the filters just a bit if it were mine so that you could see a bit more detail. I think you did a great job with your first one.
    I’m familiar with Dave Seerams illustrated action and I like the effects-but again a little goes a long way. I’m glad you had fun.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Hey Dan, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Post it in BPN with my thanks and approval and I can provide a link to that in the next blog post. If I posted it here in comments nobody might ever see it 🙂 Do provide a link to the Dave thingie.

  • Hi Artie. I like the original HDR here but I am not a fan of the stained glass or the grunge styles. I ran a Dave Seeram illustration action on the image and will post it in OOTB. Can I post it here? Dan

  • Al

    Hi Arthur,
    Being a fan of your work, I was wondering if using a warming tone filter on super telephoto lenses is still a valid statement. I read it in your birds as art book and I’d be more than glad to know if you still use this technique or advise it.


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Al, Thanks for dropping by. I still use a warming polarizer on rare occasion on my 100-400 but that’s about it. (And that mainly to cut light so that I can create pleasing blurs; the warming can be done easily with Photoshop.)