Home From the Southern Oceans Trip « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Home From the Southern Oceans Trip

Above is the Macaroni Penguin colony on Cooper Bay, South Georgia. As I was making the climb up and down to the colony I was seriously questioning my own sanity…. The image was created with the Canon 24-105mm IS L lens (hand held at 24mm) and the EOS-5D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/11. Learn the fate of my two EOS-1D Mark IV bodies in a future posting. I was, due to human error–mine of course, forced to go the the 5D MII and absolutely fell in love with the camera on the trip (somewhat out of necessity).

Thanks to bed bug photographer specialist Tom Myers for loaning me his 24-105; I had left the 16-35 at the landing in an effort to lighten the load for my most strenuous hike up the hill :).

See the animated GIF below to learn how NIK Color Efex Pro 4 helped me get the most out of this image.

Home From the Southern Oceans Trip

After traveling to the ends of the earth–Ushuaia, Argentina–by commercial jet on December 28, 2011 I, along with about 100 shipmates, sailed 3,550 miles on the ice-strengthened vessel Ortelius on a tour of the Southern Ocean that visited the Falklands, South Georgia Island, and Antarctica. I debarked early on the morning of January 25 and flew 3 1/2 hours from Ushuaia to AEP, the domestic airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina. From there I took a 45-minute cab ride to EZE, the international airport. Then it was a red-eye flight to Miami, land at 5:45am, get through customs, and barely catch my flight to Orlando arriving at 7:45am. There I was picked up by my right-hand man, Jim Litzenberg and after a quick stop at Publix for some eggplant, Brussels Sprouts, and broccoli, I made it to my home office in Indian Lake Estates, FL just before 10:00 am on January 26th.

The trip was an amazing one. We enjoyed great weather nearly every day and avoided any major storms. We saw something in the neighborhood of one million penguins including breeding colonies of the following species: Magellenic, Rockhopper, King, Gentoo, Macaroni, Chinstrap, and Adelie. And–from the ship–we even got to see and photograph a single young Emperor Penguin on an iceberg. We visited the world’s largest Black-browed Albatross rookery on Steeple Jason in the Falklands, saw what seemed like a zillion baby fur seals on South Georgia, and got to photograph Humpback Whales and Orcas (Gerlach Strait Killer Whales) at close range from the ship.

I made some tough hikes and some long walks with my gear to get to some great places–at times through killer stands of tussock grass. I took great care by walking slowly at all times and making sure that I knew where I would place each foot and what would happen when I did. I made many treacherous (for me) downhill stretches on my butt. I got sufficient rest, never got seasick, and never caught so much as a cold. All in all I was blessed. I look forward to sharing lots of great images and lessons with you on both the blog and in future BAA Bulletins over the course of the next few months. It feels good to be home.

This courting pair of Macaroni Penguins was photographed at Cooper Bay, South Georgia with the tripod-mounted Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS II lens and the EOS-5D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/200 sec. at f/8. On this, my second Southern Oceans trip, Macaroni turned out to be my favorite penguin species in part because of their yellow-spaghetti hair-dos and in part because I had not created any good images of them on my 2007 trip.

There will be lots more on the Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS II lens coming soon; it turned out to be the perfect long lens for me on this trip….

More NIK Color Efex Pro 4 Magic

On my Southern Ocean trip I used NIK Color Efex Pro 4 on just about every image that I processed. It continues to revolutionize my digital workflow. Note the effect of the Foliage Filter (80%) on the tussock grass and the effect of the Detail Extractor Filter 90%) on that bland sky. A round of Tonal Contrast (50%) out the finishing touches on the image below. (Give the animated GIF a few seconds to play so that you can view both the before and after versions.) I will be sharing some NIK Color Efex Pro workflow tips with you soon.

NIK 15% Discount

You can save 15% on all NIK products by clicking here and entering BAA in the Promo Code box at check-out. Then hit Apply to see your savings. You can download a trial copy that will work for 15 days and allow you to create full sized images.

NIK Creative Efex Collection

NIK recently announced the availability of a special limited production bundle of 3 of their most popular products, Color Efex Pro 4, Silver Efex Pro 2, and HDR Efex Pro. You can save more than $200 on the bundle which is available only through NIK affiliates. If you would like additional info, please e-mail with the words “Creative Efex Collection” in the Subject line. If you have been on the fence about purchasing the plug-ins mentioned above this is a great chance to save some significant bucks.

Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris

I traveled with Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris; find out what I thought about them here. You can learn more about CES by clicking here. If you have any questions you can shoot them an e-mail or call them at 800.527.5330.

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Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images talked about in his blog post. 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. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 24-105mm IS L lens. The 24-105 has been my go-to B-roll intermediate zoom lens since it was released about five years ago. Whenever I head into the field without putting mine in one of the big pockets of my X-trahand vest I regret it.

Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS II lens. This lens proved to be ideal on a tripod for both birds and wildlife with both the 1.4X and 2X III TCs. All images were super-sharp and the lens was light enough for hand-holding both in the zodiacs and when doing flight photograph from the ship.

EOS-5D Mark II. Lightweight. An excellent AF system. Fast enough at 3.9 fps. Produces superb 21.1 megapixel files. What’s not to like? I really had my head stuck in the sand on this camera body. More to come.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂
Gitzo GT3530LS 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.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Be sure to check out our camera body User’s Guides here.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV User’s Guide. Learn to use your Mark IV the way that I use mine. Also available for the 7D and the Mark III here.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program. All of my MAC friends in the know even find a way to run BreezeBrowser…. I could not live without it.

29 comments to Home From the Southern Oceans Trip

  • awesome666


  • cheapo

    Aaarrgghh! Those penguins need a hug!! I just love ’em. :¬) Ironically, I don’t like the boosted colours in the colony shot. The more muted appearance ‘feels’ more realistic.

  • Glad you had a great trip and look forward to seeing the images.

    The 5D2 makes great images. I have used one every day for the last three years. It makes great images, but the one thing it does not have is an excellent AF system.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I did OK with it for flight. The one thing that bugged me was the limited array of focusing sensors…

  • Catherine Costolo

    Love the photo of the penguins! I am looking forward to future posts.
    Glad you got home safely.

  • Anand Narayanan

    Welcome back Artie, eager to see your pictures! Out of curiosity, what gear did you take along, both in your trip and during the hikes you mention? Wondering what makes for an ideal Antarctic setup.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Took the 300 2.8 II, the 70-200 II, the 16-35, the circle lens, two Mark IV bodies, the 5D II, two 1.4X III TCs and a 2X TC. Brought all of it on most of the hikes. For the Bailey Head landing left the 300 on the ship. The 300 2.8 was ideal as it gave me reach with the 2X yet was relatively light.

  • Welcome home Artie! How was the Drake Passage??

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Scott. It was a bit rough but not as rough as our other two crossings. Overall nothing killer and I did not get seasick even for a minute.

  • Welcome back. Looking forward to seeing your pictures.

  • Welcome back to sunny, and silly warm, Florida!
    I fear I’m going to cringe when you relay the MkIV story.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. Both were repaired but one had to go back in the shop as there were strange White Balance issues. Both of the bodies that I took to Japan, mine and a loaner, are performing flawlessly.

  • Charles Scheffold

    The 5D2 is an awesome body – I’ve bought and sold that camera countless times for various trips, and I always regret the sale afterwards! I have headshots of bald eagles from Alaska that I used that body for and wow the detail is amazing. Glad you made it back in one piece, sorry to hear about the 1D4s!!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Charles. I can’t wait for the 5D Mark III. Charles will be with us in Bosque next year and on the Galapagos July 2013 trip. There is still room on both.

  • Jim Crane

    Artie , I bet your pool felt good after all this treveling. Can’t wait to see the great photo’s of the trip. Welcome home Jim

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      It did. And now I am looking to get back in the pool in two weeks. Japan has been great too.

  • Gerald Kelberg

    Good to hear that you had a safe and fulfilling journey. Looking forward to hearing more!

  • Glad you are home safe and well, I look forward to hearing the Mark lV stories, rest up and give us some more photos of your trip.


  • Artie –

    Glad you’re back safe & sound, although it sounds like your MIV’s may not have done as well. Looking forward to seeing your images and equipment comments. Rest up; you’ve got more travel coming up, no? Enjoy that pool while you can!


  • Artie … I have a sense of the ” physical-cautions ” you describe in your hikes and tough walks … You are an inspiration !
    … as well as a ” Sharing-Expert .”

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Since I slipped getting out of the shower in Fort Myers a few years ago I have been extra careful both in the house and in the field…. And thanks BTW for your more than kind words.

  • The NIK Workflow Program/s are certainly impressive . The difference in ” dimension [ DOF ] effects ” is awesome . When I first viewed the
    ” Mac “Penguins in the tussock grass , I was startled … WOW !