Jet Lag with a Vengeance… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Jet Lag with a Vengeance...


This trio of sea eagles, two Steller’s and one White-tailed, was photographed on the very early morning of February 21, 2014 at 6:36am on the Japan in Winter IPT with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (at 388mm with the Internal TC in place) and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 1600 was somewhat of an error for this static image…. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops off the ice: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Color temperature: AWB.

Two sensors to the right of the central Sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF on the upper breast of the right-hand bird active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Being able to quickly and accurately move the AF sensors around the array is a skill that all need to master. Learn how in one of our camera User’s Guides.

Jet Lag with a Vengeance…

Getting to distant lands rife with great birds in great settings like the sea eagle trio above is one of the big benefits of being a professional nature photographer. In addition to the airfare,however, there is often a big price to pay that comes with long international flights. Jet lag. Yesterday, I thought that I would be fine. I woke at 6:30am, took a short nap in the afternoon, and had lots of energy throughout the day. It was rather strange. Things got even stranger as the evening grew deeper. I turned off the laptop at about 11:30pm but still was feeling strong. So I watched some more of the Winter Olympics on TIVO and followed that up with a complete episode of a PBA (Professional Bowler’s Association) league event. I bowled a lot when I was a young teen. Don’t ask me what got into me….

I finally got into bed at 1:30am confident that I would sleep a good 7 hours at least. Wrong. I woke at 4:00am feeling wide awake. I tried to get back to sleep by concentrating on my breath as I usually do. That failed. So I flipped on the light and grabbed the book that I have been loving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans I read. And I read. And I read some more. Never once did the book hit me in the head.

140 pages later, at 6:00am, I finished the book. The type was small. I got up, had breakfast–it’s good to be eating properly again, answered various e-mails, and began work on this blog post at about 8:00am. It is now 9:35; with only 2 1/2 hours sleep, I am yawning and exhausted. When I finish this post at about ten I will take what I hope will be the day’s only short nap and then take a swim.

The Image Optimization

After converting the image in DPP the first thing that I did in Photoshop was a rather elaborate (for me) Curves Adjustment, pinning the curve in several spots, darkening the dark and darkening the blue sky while maintaining the tonality of the WHITEs. I further blackened the BLACKs (+2) and the MIDTONEs (+2) with my Selective Color Action. Then I duplicated the whole image, ran a 100% Linear Burn on that layer, and painted it in at 15% on the highlights as needed. I ran a 15/65/0 contrast mask on the bird’s heads and bills to sharpen them and then ran a second contrast mask using a Quick Mask on the head of the white-tailed as that bird was slightly beyond the depth-of-field. I cleaned up a few dust spots and ran Filter/Blur/Surface Blur at 2/4 on the whole image to clean up the noise. The whole thing took well less than 10 minutes.

Digital Basics

Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Everything above plus tons more is detailed in my Digital Basics, an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, my killer image clean-up techniques, Digital Eye Doctor, creating time-saving actions, and lots more.


Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount with phone orders only. Learn advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS II. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount with phone orders only. by the pair, APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only.

The DPP RAW Conversion Guide

After seeing the accurate colors that I get from my DPP RAW conversions, Japan in Winter co-leader Paul McKenzie is switching to DPP conversions and Denise Ippolito is considering doing the same. Now that is amazing…. To learn why I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to convert every image that I work on, click here.

The Streak

This post marks 97 straight days with a new blog post, a record by far that should be extended for at least another day or so, or not. Or more…. To show your appreciation for my efforts here, 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. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.

This blog post took about 2 hours to prepare. Enjoy.

IPT Info

Many of our great trips are filling up. With 5 Canadians signing up for our 4-DAY Bosque IPT, that workshop is filling up quickly. 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.


Images copyright 2012: Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris. Card design by Denise Ippolito. Click on the image to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

Holland 2014 7 1/2-Day/8-Night: A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART/Tulips & A Touch of Holland IPT. April 17-April 24, 2014: $4995 Limit: 12/Openings: 5

We still have room for 5 more flower photographers on this great trip.

Join Denise Ippolito, Flower Queen and the author of “Bloomin’ Ideas,” and Arthur Morris, Canon Explorer of Light Emeritus and one of the planet’s premier photographic educators for a great trip to Holland in mid-April 2014. Day 1 of the IPT will be April 17, 2014. We will have a short afternoon get-together and then our first photographic session at the justly-famed Keukenhof. Most days we will return to the hotel for lunch, image sharing and a break. On Day 8, April 24, we will enjoy both morning and afternoon photography sessions.

The primary subjects will be tulips and orchids at Keukenhof and the spectacularly amazing tulip, hyacinth, and daffodil bulb fields around Lisse. In addition we will spend one full day in Amsterdam. There will be optional visits the Van Gogh Museum in the morning and the Anne Frank House in the afternoon; there will be plenty of time for street photography as well. And some great food. On another day we will have a wonderful early dinner at Kinderdijk and then head out with our gear to photograph the windmills and possibly some birds for those who bring their longs lenses. We will spend an afternoon in the lovely Dutch town of Edam where we will do some street photography and enjoy a superb dinner. All lodging, ground transportation, entry fees, and meals (from dinner on Day 1 through dinner on Day 7) are included. For those who will be bringing a big lens we will likely have an optional bird photography afternoon or two.

Click here for additional info or to register.


Join me for the 2014 Tanzania Summer Safari!

2014 Tanzania Summer Safari, 14-day African Adventure/leave the US on August 9. Fly home on August 24: $12,999.

Co-leaders Todd Gustafson & Arthur Morris. The limit is 12. Three photographers/van; you get your own row of seats. Our trip is a bit more expensive than the average safari for good reason. It is the best. We have the best driver guides with a total of decades of experience. They have been trained over the years by Todd and by me to drive with photography in mind. We have the best and most knowledgeable leaders. We stay in the best lodges and camps. We hope that you will join us for what will be Todd’s 35th African safari, and my 8th.

If you are seriously interested please e-mail me; I will be glad to send you the illustrated PDF with the complete itinerary and deposit info.

What else makes this expedition unique?

•Pre-trip consultation and camera equipment advice
•Award-winning photographers as your guides
•A seamless itinerary visiting the right locations at the best time of year
•Hands-on photography instruction in the field
•Specially designed three roof-hatch photo safari vehicles
•Proprietary materials for preparation, including free copy of “A Photographer’s Guide to Photographing in East Africa.”
•Post-safari image critiques

All-inclusive (double-occupancy) except for your flights to and from Kilamajaro Airport, bar drinks, soda & water (except at the Intimate Tented Camp where everything is free for our entire stay), tips for drivers and camp staff, personal items, and trip insurance.


Breathe deeply, bite the bullet, and live life to its fullest; we all get only one ride on the merry-go-round… Join me on this great trip.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The Southern Ocean…

If you would like to explore the possibility of joining me on the Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris Antarctica/The Extended Expedition Voyage< trip: Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falkland Islands: December 13, 2014 to January 10, 2015, click here for additional information and then shoot me an e-mail.

The DPP RAW Conversion Guide

To learn why I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to convert every image that I work on, click here.

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8 comments to Jet Lag with a Vengeance…

  • Did you run Filter/Blur/Surface Blur on the whole image or selectively on the background?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Good question, maybe worthy of an entire blog post. Theoretically, you are supposed to run Filter/Blur/Surface Blur only on the BKGR. After denise taught me the technique, I noticed that it did a great job of NR (Noise Reduction) on the subject(s) also. So I started examining the before and after images at 100% by clicking the layer eyeball on and off. In most cases, I cannot detect a difference in the apparent sharpness of the subject whether enlarged or while viewing the entire image. This one had the treatment on the entire image. I am sure that with a keener eye than mine or those using an electron microscope would be able to see a small difference in fine feather detail…. artie

  • Ingrid L

    Wow…I love the 3 eagles image it’s awesome, and so sharp. Approximately how far away were the eagles ? Welcome back Artie, the jetlag is brutal I know, but it’s a small price to pay, right?

  • Ted Willcox

    I love the image and the early light on the snow and Eagles!!

  • Jerry Murray

    Artie you might want to take a melatonin (3 to 5 mg) tablet tonight about
    30 minutes before you go to bed. It should help you get a good night sleep and reset your biologic clock. Melatonin really helps with jet lag and sleep cycles.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Jerry, Thanks and great suggestion. I spoke to my health guru in San Diego. He suggested a smaller does of time release melatonin. Could not get that in Lake Wales so I went with 1/2 of a 3mg tablet at bedtime and the other half on my one pit stop. I slept great for more than 8 hours with only one pit stop: my best night’s sleep in decades. So thanks a stack!artie

  • David Policansky

    Welcome home. Yes,jetlag is a big price but what wonderful images you got! Thanks again for blogging despite your lack of sleep.