7D II ISO 3200 Spoonbill & Hooptie Deux FEB 2015 Breeding Plumage Roseate Spoonbill IPT Announced « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

7D II ISO 3200 Spoonbill & Hooptie Deux FEB 2015 Breeding Plumage Roseate Spoonbill IPT Announced

The Streak Continues: 328

Yesterday was a typical day of work at BAA for me. As is usual, I made time for my morning meditation, an easy swim followed by ten minutes of forced laughter, and an ice bath. This blog post, the 328th in a row, took me more than 5 hours to prepare including the time spent on preparing today’s images and the two cards. Throw in another five hours planning the Hooptie ITP but heck, that’s on me :). This blog post was published just after 6:15am from my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL.

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This image was created at 7:13pm on the cloudy afternoon of October 11, 2014 on Day 1 of the recently concluded DeSoto October IPT. I used the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and a beta version of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II . ISO 3200. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/160 sec. at f/4.5 in Av mode. AWB.

Central sensor/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Non-breeding plumage Roseate Spoonbill

ISO 3200 Spoonbill

After our great, hour-long experience with a single, rather gorgeous spoonbill, the group was thrilled when a flock of a half-dozen more flew in at dusk. If you missed “The EOS-7D Mark II Does Pink” blog post, which described our experience with that beautiful lone spoonbill, you can check it out here.

Working at an equivalent focal length of 960mm made it relatively easy to isolate a single bird while I was standing behind my tripod. If I had gotten down on one knee I would have introduced background birds into the image design; getting low is not always the best way to go.

This animated GIF represents the views at 200%.

The Image Optimization

In the animated GIF above, note the ISO 3200 background noise in the original and the compare that to the smooth background in the optimized image. After converting the RAW file in DPP v., I brought the image into Photoshop and ran a healthy layer of Filter > Blur > Surface Blur on the whole image. This of course destroyed significant detail on the bird so I added a Regular Layer Mask and painted away the bird at 100% working carefully at fairly high magnification along the edges. Lastly, I hit X, changed the opacity of my brush to 33%, and painted back in 1/3 of the noise reduction on the face while avoiding the edges.

It is very likely that you can do something similar with some type of third party NR (including and especially NIK Dfine which I have not tried yet). I plan on trying Dfine in the near future. IAC, NR properly applied to the background only makes high ISO noise a non-issue.

Note that the noise at ISO 3200 is not excessive and that as we have seen before with 7D II images, it appears smoother than noise in previous cameras.

In addition to the NR I selected and sharpened the face with the Quick Selection Tool and applied both a Contrast Mask and my NIK 25-25 recipe. Then, using Digital Eye Doctor Techniques I painted a Quick Mask of the pupil, put the selection on a layer, and darkened it by pulling down the curve. Then I selected all the pink feathers, again with the Quick Selection Tool, and applied my NIK 25-25 recipe to that layer.

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. The current guide will teach you how to best convert all of your Canon images in all 3 point something versions of Canon Digital Photo Professional including the current v.

The DPP 4.0 RAW Conversion Guide by Arash Hazeghi and Arthur Morris will likely be offered for sale here tomorrow. The more that I use DPP 4.0 for my 1D X and 5D III RAW conversions–I remember those–the more I learn about it. And the more I learn about it the more I am impressed with it. Note: at present, DPP 4.0 will work only with 1D X, 5D III, and 6D images. I am hoping that at some point Canon will release a new version of DPP 4 that will support 7D II images. Do understand that if it comes to be that DPP 4 does eventually support 7D II image files that the NR in DPP v4.whatever will be much more effective than the NR in DPP v.

Digital Basics

Everything that I did to optimize today’s images is covered in detail in my Digital Basics File–written in my easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand style. Are you tired of making your images look worse in Photoshop? Digital Basics File is an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. It includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips (including Surface Blur settings), details on using all of my image clean-up tools, the use of Contrast Masks, several different ways of expanding and filling in canvas, all of my time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, and NIK Color Efex Pro basics, Contrast Masks, Digital Eye Doctor, using Surface and Gaussian Blurs, Tim Grey Dodge and Burn, how to create time-saving actions, and tons more.


Learn the details of advanced Quick Masking techniques in APTATS I. Learn Advanced Layer Masking Techniques in APTATS II. Mention this blog post and apply a $5 discount to either with phone orders only. Buy both APTATS I and APTATS II and we will be glad to apply at $15 discount with phone orders only. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 weekdays to order.


Images courtesy of and copyright Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

The Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbills and More Instructional Photo-Tour via pontoon boat. 4 1/2 DAYs: $3200. SUN FEB 22 thru lunch on THUR FEB 26, 2015/Strict Limit: 6 photographers/Openings 3.

Meet and greet on the evening of SAT 21 FEB. Two great leaders: Captain James Shadle (Nikon) and Canon Explorer of Light Emeritus Arthur Morris.

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in mid-February is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage….

Weather permitting there will be nine boat trips: 5 mornings and 4 afternoons! Mornings to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography with the birds likely carrying nesting material), cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White in breeding plumage. Many of the White Ibises will be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we will get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. Afternoon trips either to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and more or to a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes five lunches that will be followed by small group image sharing and review and some over-the-shoulder Photoshop instruction.

Important Notes

We stay in Brandon, FL for this IPT. From our hotel there it is is only about 20 minutes to the dock. The plan is for all nine sessions to be by boat. For the Alafia Banks segments, Captain Shadle provides light weight chest waders as much of the photograph will be done while we are standing in fairly shallow water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with balance problems. Note however that some folks may opt to stay on the boat. They usually have lots of chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

I recently saw a similar trip advertised two months too late for breeding plumage spoonbills (and two months too late for most of the rest of the species in breeding plumage). 5 Days: $3200. With only four boat trips…. The Hooptie IPT represents an incredible opportunity and with 3 slots filled already the remaining three spots should fill very quickly. We hope that you can join us. Scroll down for registration info.


All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks in the month of February. Images copyright Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Hooptie IPT Registration Info

A $449 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 11/22/2014. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


The Fort DeSoto Add-on Mini IPT will give us lots of chances to photograph a wide variety of species. Many of the birds at DeSoto are silly-tame.

Fort DeSoto Add-on Mini IPT: $349. Two shooting sessions: the afternoon of THUR FEB 26 and the morning of Friday FEB 27, 2015. Limit 12 photographers. One great leader: Arthur Morris.

Shorebirds, wading birds, terns, pelicans, gulls and more. Includes lunch on Friday and small group image sharing and Photoshop session on Friday. Payment in full for this one-day IPT is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a slot.

2015 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT): FEB 1 thru the morning of FEB 5, 2015: $1799 (Limit: 8/Sold Out)

Please contact us via e-mail if you would like your name placed on the waiting list.

Coming Soon

More 7D II ISO 3200 will be featured in an upcoming blog post here soon.


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6 comments to 7D II ISO 3200 Spoonbill & Hooptie Deux FEB 2015 Breeding Plumage Roseate Spoonbill IPT Announced

  • David Policansky

    Thanks, Artie. Wonderful image as always. I think you’d have seen less noise from the 1DX at ISO 3200, no? Still, it’s great–you were at 200%, for heaven’s sake!–and I think you’d have had a much tougher time getting an image that good from the 7D at ISO 3200.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I never did much with ISO 3200 with the 1D X but as I have been saying, noise levels seem comparable from what I remember…. artie

  • The metering system on the 7DI2 is more sophisticated than previous offerings and now includes information from under the chosen focus point. In your experience does the metering seem a little “smarter”? Thanks for sharing.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Glenn, I would say that the meter is different. No meter, no matter how sophisticated, is as good as a competent photographer who understands histograms and exposure theory…. artie

  • Bill Richardson

    Thanks for continuing to explore the 7D2. I tried both Nik Dfine and the new Camera RAW filter in PSCC on you 200% image and got good but very similar results. The Camera RAW filter is now my preferred noise reduction method because of the complete (and easy) control it provides. In neither instance did I feel a need to mask out the effect on the bird itself. I thought the reduced noise on the bird more that compensated for the slight loss in detail that was recoverable in sharpening.

    I don’t know if you are aware of it yet but Canon has released a firmware update for the 1DX which provides for AF point illumination in AI Servo mode. I think this will solve my problem using the !DX in poor light. (I am trying one out tomorrow) Can you tell us if the 7D2 allows for this? (The 5D3 does not)