Hard to Believe, Rear End Opinion, & Happy Passover/Happy Easter « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Hard to Believe, Rear End Opinion, & Happy Passover/Happy Easter

Having not attracted a single taker, I pretty much had the birds and the gorgeous light all to myself at Fort Desoto this morning. Brrr. This image was created with the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS EF USM AF lens (hand held at 55mm) with the Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/13 in Manual mode was a slight underexposure as I was worried about burning the Laughing Gull’s bright whites.

Central sensor/AI Servo Surround Rear Focus AF on the nearest bird and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Seen here are 22 of the flock of 40 Marbled Godwits, 1 of the pair of American Oystercatchers, 1 Laughing Gull, 5 Black Skimmers, and one large sea shell. As for the 24-105, I never leave home without it as it supremely useful when it comes to creating B roll images like this. Not present for this photo were several unusually approachable Fish Crows, 1 Willet, 1 Ring-billed Gull, 1 Great Blue Heron, 3 Great Egrets, 1 Tricolored Heron, and one of the most beautiful Snowy Egrets I have ever seen. More on that bird and the wonderful morning that everyone missed coming soon. Missing from the previous day’s cast of characters was a flock of Royal Terns, several Sandwich Terns, and a likely Elegant Tern/Royal Tern hybrid.

Hard to Believe: Google/NIK Price Slash

Thanks to the many who notified me of the the NIK price slash. I believe that Leo Miller was the first when he sent me this link: Google to offer all of Nik’s software plugins for $149.

Here, in part, is the gist of it: Today the company announced the Nik Collection by Google, which is every single one of Nik’s desktop plugins in a single bundle, for just $149. This marks the end of them being sold as separates, and for that flat fee, you get Dfine® 2.0, Viveza® 2, HDR Efex Pro™ 2, Color Efex Pro™ 4 Complete Edition, Silver Efex Pro™ 2, and Sharpener Pro™ 3.0. Previously, individual plugins would run around the $100 mark, with a bundle of all of them costing as much as $500. The new, $149 bundle will not just feature all six plugins, but will work on all supported applications from a single installer: Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Apple Aperture.

Then, it got even better. IPT veteran Rachel Hollander sent me this via e-mail:

Hi Artie – Happy Passover! I hope all is well with you. So far, so good with my new 300 II. I’m not sure if you saw that Google is now offering the complete suite of Nik Plug-ins for only $149. When I clicked in through your portal it also gave me an additional 15% discount bringing it down to under $130. Just thought you might want to let people know. All the best, Rachel

So there you have it. Price is no longer an excuse for not using Color Efex Pro. Click here, enter BAA in the Promo Code box at check-out, and then hit Apply to see your savings, and purchase the entire Suite for $126.65. Hard to believe indeed. Jeez, I forgot to mention that, as regular readers well know, NIK Color Efex Pro has drastically improved my digital workflow and the look and quality of my processed images in the past year.

This image was created at Indian Lake Estates on the morning that the IPT group made the early trip from Fort Desoto to my home. I used the hand held Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II lens, the Canon 1.4x EF tele-extender III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop as framed in soft light: 1/640 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode confirmed in advance via histogram check. IS Mode 1. Left knee as tripod.

61-Point/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure performed perfectly. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version. Learn everything that I know about the great AF system of the 1D X in our 1D X AF Guide here. Learn how and why I am converting all of my images in Canon DPP (Digital Photo Professional) in our DPP RAW Conversion Guide here.

Rear End Opinion

I very much prefer the image above with the Gaussian blurred rear end of the adult to either the one with the sharp rear end or the one with no rear end. And there is no way I would Quick Mask over the rear end in the image above. All of the early comments were from folks who disagreed with me 100%. That is fine. 🙂 Both Doug Bolt and Josh liked the blurred tail as I do but it was friend multiple IPT veteran Charles Scheffold was stated my case most eloquently when he commented: “After thinking about this for a while, I definitely prefer the version with the blurred adult rear end. The sharp one distracts me from the juvenile. I think the blurred one adds interest without pulling my eye away from the main subject – a cute, fluffy, baby crane.

I couldn’t agree more! Thanks to all who commented.

One thing that nobody commented on is the swirly green patterns in the lower right corner in the images with the rear end. I just love that to death. It is not present in the no rear end original.

This 2-day old Sandhill Crane chick was photographed at Indian Lake Estates with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/6400 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode.

Central sensor Surround/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the chick’s face and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

There are many problems with this image starting with the adult facing away but as eggs are an important part of both the Easter and Passover holidays I opted to share it here.

Happy Passover/Happy Easter

Steve Bein kindly sent me the cut and pasted Passover missive below. For those who know a bit of Yiddish it is quite funny, at least the ones that I understand. I would like to wish all a Happy Passover, a Happy Easter, and a wonderful spring. It surely has been long in coming to Florida.

Steve is a multiple IPT veteran and a long-time friend. He has traveled with me often to faraway places, usually with his good friend Lillian Roberts. Steve just lowered the price on his old 600 f/4. I have updated it in BAA Bulletin #435; scroll down here if you might be interested. The lens is in mint condition. The new price is $6800.

Here is the Passover pass along:

Leading medical researchers have published data indicating that Seder participants should NOT partake of both chopped liver and charoses (chopped walnuts and sweet red wine); it seems that this combination can lead to Charoses of the Liver.

At our seder, we had whole wheat and bran matzoh, fortified with Metamucil.The brand name, of course, is…’Let My People Go.’

Old Jewish men in Miami get hernias from wearing chai charms that are too heavy. This condition is called chaiatal hernia!

If a doctor carries a black bag and a plumber carries a tool box, what does a mohel (say “moil”) carry? A briskit! (A mohel is trained to do circumcisions; the ceremony is call as bris.)

JEWISH JEOPARDY – I give the answer, you give the question

A: Midrash Q: What is a Mideast skin disease? (Midrashim is a Hebrew term for the body of stories told by Jewish rabbinic sages to explain passages in the Bible.)

A: The Gaza Strip Q: What is an Egyptian Belly Dance?

A: A classroom, a Passover ceremony, and latke Q: What are a cheder, a seder, and a tater? (A cheder is a traditional elementary school teaching the basics of Judaism and the Hebrew language. I had to look that one up. A seder is the ceremonial Passover dinner. And latkes are thin, crispy potato pancakes made with lots of chopped onions; best served with applesauce.)

A: Babylon Q: What does the rabbi do during some sermons?

A: Filet Minyan Q: What do you call steaks ordered by 10 Jews? (A minyan is the ten adult males required for a communal religious service.)

A: Kishka, sukkah, and circumcision. Q: What are a gut, a hut, and a cut? (Kishka is a beef or fowl intestine or skin stuffed with flour, onion, etc., and boiled and roasted. A sukkah is a temporary structure with a roof of branches in which orthodox Jews eat and, if possible, sleep during the festival of Sukkoth.)

And speaking of circumcisions: An enterprising Rabbi is offering circumcisions via the Internet. The service is to be called…’E-Mohel.”

Thanks for sharing Steve!

Fort Desoto/Hooptie Deux–Roseate Spoonbill Short Notice IPT

The 2nd New Concept IPT: the Fort Desoto/Hooptie Deux–Roseate Spoonbill Short Notice IPT/April 3-7, 2013/5 DAYS: $2399. Strict limit: six photographers/ openings 5. Early April can be superb at Alafia Banks. Early April is almost always superb at Fort DeSoto. Click here for complete details.

With only a single registrant, this one is shaping up to be a practically private affair and represents an amazing opportunity for you to grow as a photographer. For more info on the complete IPT, click here.

Announcing Two Short Versions of the Fort Desoto/Hooptie Deux–Roseate Spoonbill IPT

Short Version #1: Fort Desoto/Hooptie Deux–Roseate Spoonbill IPT/April 3-5, 2013/3 FULL DAYS: $1399. Strict limit: six photographers/Openings: 5.

Early April can be superb at Alafia Banks. Early April is almost always superb at Fort DeSoto.

Here is the structure and schedule: I will be leading all three days of this Short Version 3-DAY IPT. We will one full day on the Hooptie Deux, either Thursday or Friday. The first day and one of the next two full days will be at Fort Desoto where the Laughing Gulls will be in splendid breeding plumage with their full black hoods, their wine-red bills, and white eye crescents. They are one of our most under-appreciated species. The Royal, Sandwich, and Forster’s Terns will also be in breeding plumage. And all of these species will be displaying, courting, and mating. You can also expect a variety of wading birds, especially Reddish Egret, and a variety of shorebirds including Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Dunlin, American Oystercatcher, and many more. And you will need to beat the Willets off with a stick. The additional possibilities are too numerous to mention.

As above, we will spend a full day on the Hooptie Deux with James Shadle on either Thursday or Friday depending on the weather. The morning will be at Alafia Banks with spoonbill as the main target species. There will be lots of great flight photography not only with spoonbills, many of which will be in full breeding plumage, but with Brown Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants, Reddish Egret and White Ibis in full breeding plumage, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Turkey and Black Vultures, and lots more. The afternoon Hooptie trip will be at one of several fresh water heronries. James will trailer his customized pontoon boat to the best rookery. Subjects, depending on location, will likely include Cattle Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Great Blue Heron, White Ibis, Black-crowned Night-heron, and Double-crested Cormorant. All nesting and in flight. Most but not all of the photography on a boat trip to the Banks with James is done while standing in the water with your tripod. James has lightweight chest waders and surf booties on board for all at no charge. Folks who wish to keep their expensive Gitzo tripods saltwater free often opt to use Drypods. Learn more here.

Short Version #2: With James Shadle/Roseate Spoonbill/Osprey IPT/April 6-7, 2013/2 FULL DAYS: $899. Strict limit: six photographers/Openings: 5.

Saturday and Sunday with James Shadle will feature a morning on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks and one or more sessions at Honeymoon Island State Park where many dozens of pairs of Osprey are nesting. There will of course be lots of flight photography. Depending on the winds and weather there may be an afternoon session at a Wood Stork rookery or some local beaches that James knows well. All subject to change depending on the weather including wind and sky conditions as well as local conditions. James has an intimate knowledge of each location and has visited them regularly for many years.

Deposit Info

A $500 deposit is needed to hold your spot; call Jim or Jennifer asap at 1-863-692-0906. Your deposit may be placed with a credit card. Your payment in full by personal check will then be due along with your completed paperwork both sent via US Mail. Please print, read, and sign the release form here and include it with your check. If you would rather pay in full via personal check, please call or e-mail immediately to save your spot. With one registrant, both of these will run. Yeah, I know that it might seem nuts but neither James nor I can live with telling folks who have arranged to take time off from work and made travel plans that we are cancelling a trip because we will not be making enough money to justify running it…. Please e-mail with questions or for additional details.

Images courtesy of and copyright 2012: Bill Mueller. Card design by Denise Ippolito.

Old Car City Creative Photography In-the-Field HDR Workshop: Sunday, October 13, 2013/ 9am till 1pm.

White, Georgia: $250 plus a $15 entrance fee donation (cash only on the day of the event) that will go to charity. Limit: 16 photographers.

On October 13, 2013, Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART and Denise Ippolito/A Creative Adventure will be conducting an In-the-Field HDR Workshop at Old Car City in White, Georgia. Old Car City is about an hour north of Atlanta, GA and an hour south of Chattanooga, TN where they will, as noted above, be doing a full day seminar for the Photographic Society of Chattanooga on Saturday, October 12th. Click here for complete details.


On all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. 🙂

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop B&H here!

We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!

If you are considering an item for purchase or comparison shopping be sure to place an item in your cart to see the too-low-to show the actual price. In many cases the prices are so low that B&H is forbidden from publicizing them!

B&H Search Engine Banner

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins: Shop Amazon here!

Consider doing all of your Amazon.com shopping using the search link below. You'll be getting the same low prices and great service that you are accustomed to and at the same time, supporting my efforts in the Bulletins and on the Blog to bring you great images, timely product news and info, and tons of free educational articles on an almost daily (and sometimes almost back-breaking) basis 🙂 Just type your search in the little white box and hit Go.

11 comments to Hard to Believe, Rear End Opinion, & Happy Passover/Happy Easter

  • Bill Richardson

    Just talked to Nik. I did not get the email automatically for some reason. They sent it to me at my request after verifying I had bought from them in last 5 years. Nik’s phone: 888 284-4085. If you are a past buyer, they will send you an email with the download link. Uninstall old versions before installing new suite.

  • Bill Richardson

    Thanks for the heads up re the Nik software. In the writeup, it says that anyone who has bought Nik software in the past 5 years gets the bundle for free. I bought Color Effex in the last year and Define w/i 5 years but cannot find how I get the free offer. Any idea?

    • Bill,

      From what I’ve been reading, the people getting the email, its going to their spam folder. So if you have something like that, check those folders. I guess the email is coming from Google. Doug

      • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Doug, What e-mail???

        • According to some members from BPN in the Digital Photography Workflow forum, there’s an email being sent out to people who have bought one of these products in the last 5 years. And if you haven’t received it yet, to check any spam/junk email folders, cause it might be in there. Doug

          Thanks Doug. That makes sense. artie

          • I also browse http://www.sportsshooter.com and somebody mentioned they just called NIK with their product key handy and support sent them a link. Doug

          • Hossam Sadek

            I can confirm the e-mail which landed in my junk mail, and I had to take it out. I bought the complete collection for Aperture and Lightroom on Mac. When I downloaded the file it actually updated all of Nik components for Aperture, Lightroom, and PhotoShop Element 11. I even got upgraded to silver Efex Pro2. Good Deal 🙂

  • Miguel Palaviccini

    I’m kicking myself for not skipping school yesterday and joining you 🙂 Looking forward to seeing some of the shots!

  • I didn’t comment earlier, but I do prefer the one with the OOF rump of the parent. I think it balances the composition and directs the eye back towards the chick.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Hey Loren, It was great meeting and working with you. This morning was killer good. Pix coming soon. Best to pass along the link to the blog 🙂 and tell them to scroll down for the Passover humor.

  • Loren Charif

    Great Passover humor, Artie; hope you don’t mind me passing it along to my joke list. And great spending a few hours with you yesterday at Fort DeSoto Park; learned a ton and had a blast.