The Before and the Aftermath… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Before and the Aftermath...

And the Streak Continues

This post marks 68 days in a row with a new educational blog post, a record by far that should be extended for at least another week or so. Or not. 🙂 To show your appreciation, we ask that use our B&H and Amazon affiliate links for all of your B&H and Amazon purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store. We sell only what I use and depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

You can find the following items in the store: Gitzo tripods, Mongoose M3.6 and Wimberley heads, plates, low feet, and accessories, flash brackets, , Delkin e-film Pro Compact Flash Cards, LensCoat products, and our unique line-up of educational materials including ABP I & II, Digital Basics, Site and Set-up e-Guides, Canon and Nikon Camera Users and AF e-Guides, and MP-4 Photoshop video tutorials among others.

We would of course appreciate you using our B&H and Amazon affiliate links for all of your B&H and Amazon major gear, video, electronic, household, and personal purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we would of course greatly appreciate your business.

Thanks and enjoy today’s blog post! This one took about 3 hours to assemble. I am feeling pretty good today with just a bit of hemming and hawing. We leave in 30 minutes for our last morning IPT session.


This displaying Great Blue Heron image was created with the with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (teleconverter) (hand held at 280mm), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops as framed: 1/160 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

61-Point AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure; three sensors in the upper left corner of the vertical AF array just caught the top of the bird’s bill. See the BreezeBrowswer screen capture below for the whole story on 61-Point AF. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Before

As described briefly in yesterday’s blog post, “Can the Wrong Head Head Angle Be the Right Prey Angle?,” the group got to photograph a Great Blue Heron eating a gar; it was a great way to begin the Anhinga Trail IPT.

First, the live gar appeared magically on the asphalt. It appeared that it had just been captured (and then dropped) by the Great Blue Heron standing over it. Then a second GBH flew in and the 2 birds began doing their drooped wing threat displays at each other. Then a Black Vulture began toying with the fish. The dominant heron returned, dragged the fish into the grass, and finally picked it up and posed for an instant before flying to the opposite shore of Taylor Slough.

Black Rapid RS-7 Strap

Having my flight and action rig, the 70-200/1.4X III TC, and 1D X instantly available on my right shoulder via the RS-7 strap that I use was–as it always is–a Godsend. I simply dialed in +2 stops by adjusting the shutter speed and was good to go. Learn more about the Black Rapid RS-7 Strap or purchase one here. If you are using a camera body strap for the intermediate telephoto rig on your shoulder you might as well be strangling yourself….


This image of a Great Blue Heron swallowing the gar was created on the Anhinga Trail IPT with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/500 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode.

One sensor to the right and one sensor above the Central Sensor/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF as framed active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

And the Aftermath…

While I think that I was the only one who made a good image of one of the displaying herons, everyone had a great chance to photograph the great blue picking up and eventually swallowing the rather large fish. As the scene unfolded Denise and I called out advice on choosing the best perspective, on exposure, and on selecting the best AF point. As above, it was a great way to begin the BAA/A Creative Adveneture Anhinga Trail Instructional Photo-Tour.

Image Questions

Would you have removed the strand of yellow grass that enters the frame from the lower left corner in the opening image? Do you like the flowers in that one?

Your Favorite?

Please take a moment to leave a comment and let us know which is your favorite of the 2 images. And as always, be sure to let us know why.


This is the BreezeBrowser Main View screen capture.

BreezeBrowser Main View Screen Capture

Above is the BreezeBrowser Main View screen capture for today’s image. Note that the illuminated red square shows the AF points that were active at the moment of exposure. See more on 61-Point AF immediately below.

Note: in Breezebrowser you need to check “Show Focus Points” under View to activate this feature. To see the focus points in DPP check “AF Point” under View or hit Alt L. Hit Alt M to see Highlight Alert. To learn how and why I use DPP (Canon Digital Photo Professional) to convert my RAW files, see the info on our DPP RAW Conversion Guide here.

Note the perfect histogram lots of data well into the rightmost histogram box. Regular readers know that I use and depend on BreezeBrowser every day of the year. It allows me to sort my keepers and delete the rejects faster than any other Windows browsing program. We use it on the main computer in the home office to catalog our images file-drawer style. And the companion program, Downloader Pro allows me to download my images quickly and conveniently. It automatically adds my IPTC data and the shooting location. I have it set up to create a folder named by the Month/date/year. The Breezebrowser/Downloader Pro combo saves me many hours each week. To learn more or to purchase this great PC only program, click here. As far as the BreezeBrowser/Downloader Pro Combo goes, if you are using a Windows platform and are not using these two great programs you are at best, wasting your valuable time. My understanding is that Photo Mechanic is best for Mac-users who do not opt to run Parallels or VM Ware fusion on their Macs so that they can enjoy the many advantages of BreezeBrowser. See BreezeBrowswer on a Mac for details.

61-Point AF

The more I use 61-Point AF with my 1D X and my 5D III bodies the more confident I become using it. As you see here, I it works superbly well with tall skinny vertical birds, especially with head and neck portraits. I absolutely love the “Orientation linked AF point” on both the 1D X and the 5D III. Here is a short free excerpt from the 1D X AF Guide:

On “AF4,” the fourth purple Menu (with the camera set to P, Tv, Av, or M):
Orientation linked AF point

I absolutely love this one. With it enabled (Select separate AF points, the 2nd choice), you can select one sensor or zone in a given AF Area Selection Mode when working in horizontal format and another different sensor (and even a different AF Area Selection Mode) when working vertically. The camera detects the orientation of the camera and “remembers” your AF settings for both horizontals and verticals. Remember that you must hold the camera vertically for your vertical settings to stick for that orientation (and vice versa).
For verticals I usually set 61-point automatic selection AF and manually select an AF point well above the central sensor so that I am ready for tall birds (or people) walking towards me at all times. For most horizontal shooting I set AF Surround with the central sensor selected.

The use and set-up for “Orientation linked AF point” is also detailed in the 5D III User’s Guide.

1D X AF Guide and 5D III User’s Guide

To learn everything that I know about the great 1D X AF system check out our 1D X AF Guide here. 5D Mark III users should check out our 5D III User’s Guide here to learn everything that I know about using this great, lightweight camera.

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!


Everyone buys something from Amazon, be it a big lens or deodorant. Support the blog by starting your search by clicking on the logo-link below. No purchase is too small to be appreciated; they all add up. Why make it a habit? Because I make it a habit of bringing you new images and information on an almost daily basis.


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

IPT Info

Many of our great trips are filling up. See especially info on the South Florida, Holland, and Nickerson Beach IPTs. Two great leaders on most trips ensure that you will receive individual attention, have all of your questions answered, and learn a ton including how to think like a pro, see the situation, and get the right exposure every time. In addition you will have fun, and make lots of great images. Click here for IPT details and general information.

8 comments to The Before and the Aftermath…

  • stephen sheoskie

    I don’t like the flowers and the grass, they are distracting the viewers eye , inspite of this I still favor this image over the other one.This one has a more artistic perspective.

  • Ted Willcox

    Thanks for the reply Artie, I am in no big hurry, how do you like that grammar, I will patiently wait. Ted

  • Ted Willcox

    Yes I am Artie, I have the 1DX AF guide.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Ted, At this point, that project is on the distant to-do list. Folks who have the 1D X AF Guide may opt to call Jim and purchase the 5D III Guide for only $35; the 5D III UG covers most but not all of the 1D X menu items and custom functions.

  • Ted Willcox

    Don’t like the yellow strand of grass, flowers are okay. I like the second image best more interesting. 1DX User’s Guide, any news?

  • Mark W.

    By far my favorite is the one where the Great Blue Heron is swallowing the fish!!!!

  • Don’t like the strand of grass or the flowers. For the flowers,
    It’s the leftmost flower. If it was just a tad more in focus,
    I’d change my mind probably.

    The OOF grass, I just don’t like it intersecting.