Best of Both Worlds… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Best of Both Worlds...

[Not a valid template]

This image was created with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, a 25mm Extension Tube, and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at +1/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

Central sensor (by necessity) AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Note: by placing the teleconverter on the lens with the extension tube behind it you will get AF with this combo. If you put the extension tube in front of the TC you will be able to focus closer than if the TC were mounted in front of the tube (as above) but you will need to focus manually. These situations are discussed in detail in ABP II (916 pages on CD only).


I had a great time presenting at the F3C Conference in Naples, FL this weekend. On Friday I led a field trip (25 folks) to Tigertail Beach on Marco Island where I had done an episode of Canon Photo Safari many years ago. There were few birds but those who stayed with the group learned a ton as we went over the basics of digital exposure and histograms. Then we walked back to a Burrowing Owl nest that I had discovered the previous afternoon while scouting. The keynote address on Saturday night went quite well and I was thrilled to get a nice standing ovation :). And I finished off my work weekend with a Photoshop Image Clean-Up workshop on Sunday morning. I sold a ton of books and CDs all weekend long and a ton of Digital Basics after the Sunday workshop.

I’d be remiss without noting that on Friday evening the program was put on by a gentleman named Jimmy Keys (, A British Comedy Hall style entertainer. I was talked into going and boy, was I glad that I went. The guy has an amazing voice on his own–can you say Les Mis?, does killer impressions of many famous singers including two of my favorites, Billy Joel and Elton John. Heck, he sounds more like Elton John than Elton John does. Doubt me for a second? Go to the web site and click on the top video. Did I mention that Jimmy Keys is the funniest act I have ever seen? That he plays the piano like a skilled madman? The audience was howling for the entire 90 minutes. After the show I asked him how many times he had been on Letterman or Leno. He said never. I told him that he was more talented than any comedy act ever to appear on either program. If you have a corporate event or a big party, this guy travels. And he is a down-to-earth nice guy.

Lastly I had two amazing meals at two different Sushi Thai restaurants in Naples–Sushi Thai of Naples and Sushi Thai Too. The panang curry with pork was to die for. It was so good that I ordered it twice today. Once for lunch. And the second one will be my dinner tonight as soon as I finish this blog post and take a swim. I’m running late 🙂

Best of Both Worlds…

In the image above I loved the blowing grasses on the left side of the frame but not the bird looking out of the frame or the dark shadows caused by its deep-set eyes.

[Not a valid template]

Same gear, same techs.

In the image immediately above I loved the wide open eye and the bird looking to the left. But the lovely grasses has blown out of the frame. What to do?

[Not a valid template]

The optimized image, the final result.

I painted a Quick Mask of the left side of the opening image, put it on its own layer, and used the move tool to bring into the image just above. Then I added a Layer Mask and fine tuned the edges of the layer. NIK Color Efex Pro 4 Detail Extractor on the whitest parts of the neck and 50% Tonal Contrast applied to the whole image. Bill clean-up as usual but for the fact that I used some Content Aware Fill for the bill clean-up and was quite impressed.

I just love the result.

Learn the basics of Quick Masking and Layer Masking in Digital Basics along with my complete digital workflow. The next update coming no later than May will include basic NIK Color Efex Pro turorials.

Earn Free Contest Entries and Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

More and more folks are earning multiple contest entries with their B & H purchases. See here for details on that. Eleven great categories, 34 winning and honored images, and prize pools valued in excess of $20,000. Click here to visit the competition home page.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s 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 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EF 1.4X III TC. This new TC is designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
25mm Extension Tube. This vaulable accessory allows for closer focusing.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. The very best professional digital camera body that I have ever used.

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 🙂 And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
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.
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.

14 comments to Best of Both Worlds…

  • Loren Charif

    Forgot to mention…I’ll second the Jimmy Keyes comments! Fantastic.

  • Loren Charif

    Artie –

    Great seeing you in Naples this weekend! For those who have never seen Artie do one of his programs in person, it’s a must see! The keynote address was brilliant, and the Image Cleanup session was packed, both with attendees and information.

    Hope you made it home safe & sound!


  • Maggi Fuller

    I did have a look……. Very good impressions, particularly Jerry Lee Lewis & Neil Diamond

  • Maggi Fuller

    No, they nest in trees…. They are very small. Check out some of Andy Rouse’s work with them on his web site & you will see the similarity:

    No, not seen any of Jimmy Keys clips – In fact… never heard of him!!! I will take your word for it.

  • Maggi Fuller

    A Burrowing Owl you say? It looks identical to our ‘Little Owl’ here in the UK.

    Love the final image, though it wasn’t bad to start with!

    Glad to hear you Americans are beginning to appreciate the British sense of humour at last!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Do Little Owls nest on the ground? Jimmy Keys was funny in any culture. Did you watch some of the clips?

  • cheapo

    Ah, if the subject had been in the shade, with the BG in sunlight, you would have had minimal problems with the shadow in the eye! Even though owls are effectively raptors, these little guys are cute, and quite characterful.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      There are minimal problems with the eye in the one that I liked. That’s why I like it.

  • Seve Shapiro

    Great field trip that you lead Artie, Great keynote address and Sunday lecture!! It was great to be afforded the opportunity of meetin you in person!

  • Jim Kranick

    Panang curry with pork to die for? Too bad it’s such a long drive from the Space Coast over to Naples. But I will make a note of the two restaurants for the next time we are over there. Not only do you improve mmy photography but you find fine places to dine. Thanks!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      And the folks who had sushi or sashimi loved it. And it was not at all expensive–four of us shared an appetizer and had lunch for $54!