The Eider Hen Images/The Best of All Worlds & A 45-Point AF Question Answered « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Eider Hen Images/The Best of All Worlds & A 45-Point AF Question Answered

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This is a JPEG made from the optimized master file that I created from the three Common Eider images posted least week. Read on the see why it represented the best of all worlds. The three images were created in the same 1/100 sec. with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X II TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

The Eider Hen Images/The Best of All Worlds

In the “Which is the Best? Keep two. Delete one. Why?” post here, folks did a great job with their comments. Thanks a stack to all who pitched in. I urge everyone to read the comments that accompany each post 🙂 When I first wrote this entry, my favorite image was A with B a close second. As it turns out reading your comments, revisiting the images, and re-thinking the whole nine yards proved that I was wrong on all counts; yes, you heard it here first, I was wrong on all counts.

With the bird swimming slightly away, the head in A was turned a bit too much back toward us. But the cleaner still water in front of the bird’s head in A was much nicer than the dark wavelets in B. With the bird swimming slightly away, B had the perfect head angle. But the dark wavelets and the drop of water on the bill were negatives. C is a strange one. With the bird swimming slightly away the pretty much parallel to the imaging sensor head angle is by-the-book perfect, but it simply does not work for me here as it gives the impression that it might actually be turned a bit away from us. But oh, that lovely drop in just the right place.

So what was I to do? I wound up (thanks to your comments…) liking Image B the best and used that as my base image. I painted a big Quick Mask of the calmer water in front of the bird in A, brought it into B on a layer, and used a Layer Mask to fine tune it. Then I cloned away the remaining dark wavelet right in front of the bird’s bill. Next I used a series of small Quick Masks to get rid of the drop of water on the bill. Lastly I painted another Quick Mask of the drop of water from C and brought that into B after removing yet another dark wavelet from below the sea duck’s bill. As I said, the best of all worlds. Thanks for your help.

I will now address a few specific comments.

Joerg asked, “Real question IMO: why does the brightness vary so much in a burst? Not sure you saw my BPN post about my (rented) 1DMkIV at Bosque showing frame-to-frame brightness variations. I think it was Jim Neiger suggesting that it may be due to a hanging shutter…

That might be possible, but do consider the following: when working in an automatic mode such as Av as I was for this series of images, even though the shutter speed shows as the same (1/800 sec.) for each image, it is actually an approximation. Because of tiny differences in framing one image might have been made at 1/720 sec. while another was made at 1/880 sec. resulting in small differences in tonality.

Johan asked, “Will you be at the NANPA Summit in March, Mr. Morris? I’ve received a High School Scholarship to attend, and it’d be cool to meet you.”

Actually, after a decade of trying to understand, I have had it with the favoritism, the cliques, and the political game-playing that rule NANPA. I have long supported both the high school and college scholarship programs with my time and money, and with the donation of books and large discount certificates for various IPTs. I have been privileged over the years to have worked with several high school groups on field trips and know for sure that I changed at least one life, that of Tyler Evert. I was offered a keynote presentation at the Charlotte Summit only because slated incoming president, my friend and colleague Darrel Gulin, stood before the board and said, “Arthur Morris is good for NANPA. If he is not offered a keynote in Charlotte I will not accept the presidency.” I got a standing ovation from 700 folks and I will always remember it as one of the great highlights of my career.

Since then I have submitted a proposal to speak almost every year. I have asked to be considered as a presenter at the various NANPA regional conferences. And I have shared my concerns with the past few NANPA boards. I was always told that the board valued the appearance of big name pros like myself, but when it came to speaking again I have been and still am personna non grata. Several years ago I was honored as a NANPA fellow, and at last year’s Forum the board went so far as to honor me with a NANPA Service Award. But my requests to speak were consistently either turned down or ignored. Have a great time at Summit.

Be sure to seek out and find the various board and program committee members and thank them for my absence. I do hope that our paths cross somewhere down the line. Say “Hi” to Ray Klass and the rest of this year’s scholarship students for me. Hey, when you have a chance, shoot me an e-mail.

Becky Field nailed the bonus question in the first comment (and thus spoiled my fun) when she answered correctly: “Bonus: you’re missing 99% of action if shooting 10 frames per second at 1/1000th of a sec.” I am, however, pretty sure that she learned that on the San Diego IPT last year….. Try asking that one at your camera club meeting; most folks will not have a clue 🙂

A 45-Point AF Question Answered

In a comment at yesterday’s “45-Point AF for Flight on the Hooptie Deux” post here, Jeff asked:

“Are you talking about all 45 points vs. picking a single point or are you using C. Fn. III-8, selection 3? What is the difference?”

I was talking about activating all 45 points by moving the active AF point manually to the edge of the array so that all of the outer points light up. (I used to call that the “ring of fire.”)

The difference between that and setting C. Fn. III-8-3 is that with C. Fn. III-8-3 you would first select a single point ; the setting would tell the system to utilize the 45 “surrounding” points if need be.

Here is an excerpt from the Mark IV User’s Guide that should help:

C. Fn. III-8 (AF expansion with selected point). C. Fn. III-8-1, 8-2, and 8-3 can be set to activate additional focusing points that surround the manually selected focusing point. 8-1 allows the AF system to utilize the AF point on either side of the active point, 8-2 allows it to use any of the immediate surrounding points. And 8-3 activates allows the AF system to use any one of the 45 AF points to continue to focus track.

For photographing birds in flight most folks either stick with the default setting so that they are using only the selected sensor; this should yield pinpoint focusing accuracy. Others like setting 8-1 as it makes it a bit easier to track the subject. You might wish to experiment with all of the choices in various situations here and see how you do….

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the images above. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body And this is the very best professional digital camera body that I have even used.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo 3530 LS Tripod This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
Double Bubble Level You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card Fast and dependable.

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.

3 comments to The Eider Hen Images/The Best of All Worlds & A 45-Point AF Question Answered

  • Hey Becky, Sorry. Sometimes I am wrong. And as I said, when I have asked that question before no one has ever had a clue…. Folks think that if the hold the shutter button down with a fast camera that they are getting everything… Glad that you are still learning. Me too.

  • By the way, I like how you took the best from each to make the ultimate image. I never stop learning from you.

  • Artie – I don’t recall that being discussed at the IPT in San Diego. Believe it or not, I am pretty good at math. :o)