Thirty Great Minutes in the Fourth Albatross Gulley … Part I. And Still More 100-400 II Versatility « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Thirty Great Minutes in the Fourth Albatross Gulley ... Part I. And Still More 100-400 II Versatility

What’s Up?

It was so cold here for the past two days that the pool dropped from 85 to 76 degrees in less than 48 hours. Thus, I skipped my swim and my walk while concentrating on my core, shoulder and hip flexor exercises and stretching.

Please call or e-mail for San Diego IPT late registration info–just three slots left. Click here for San Diego and complete IPT info.

Apologies for the intermittent server problems we have been having; Peter Kes is on it. These are the first such problems we have had in many years so please bear with us.

Jim and Jen and I wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy 2017 filled with wondrous trips and wonderful images.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak: 415!

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 415 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

This image was created at The Neck on Saunders Island, The Falklands. I used the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 271mm) with my very favorite bird photography camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/4000 sec. at f/6.3.

Center AF point/Manual selection/Shutter Button as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). The selected AF point was on the right side of the bird’s face (pat on the back for me). Click on the image to see a larger version.

Black-browed Albatross coming over hill with feet down

(The Start of) Thirty Great Minutes in the Fourth Albatross Gulley … Part I

One of the nicest things about my final 8 days in The Falklands was that it was a pure busman’s holiday; I was free to come and go as I wanted. When it was sunny with blue skies during midday, I stayed in, worked on images, and rested. When it was cloudy, I was off to the races, even after 9 plus weeks of virtually non-stop bird photography. On December 18, it clouded over after lunch so I grabbed only my 100-400 and took a hike up the hill, past the first rockhopper colony, past the first two albatross gullies, and past the rockhopper/shag colony. I noticed lots of black-broweds coming over the hill on the far side of the fourth gully with their feet hanging down as if they were going to land. They didn’t.

I climbed carefully down the hill toward the ocean to the bottom of the gulley. I found a comfortable seat in some soft earth and went to work. I had lots of good chances. Today’s featured image was my favorite. It is more difficult to get to the nesting albatrosses at The Neck than it is at Rookery. Either way, however, you need to be careful with every step. There were lots of black-browed nests in the gulley and more than a few at the bottom, near a rivulet. These big birds are 100% copacetic as far as visiting photographers go, as long as they stay low and move slowly.

DPP 4 RAW Conversion screen capture

Lessons from the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Screen Capture

Most importantly, note the lying histogram. At first glance, it look as if the image is well under-exposed. But, the RGB values for the brightest whites on the top of the bird’s head are 240, 241, 243. Note how well the 5D IV image stood up to a decent crop. After converting the RAW file in DPP 4 I used a flopped Quick Mask to cover the extra albatross that was left after the crop. I think that what looks like a huge dust spot in the lower right portion of the frame was actually a distant out-of-focus albatross. I eliminated it using the Patch Tool. I ran a layer of my 25/25 NIK Color Efex Pro recipe and then applied a separate layer of White Neutralizer to juice up the blues of the skies.

Still More 100-400 II Versatility

As we have seen here very often over the last two years, the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens is incredibly versatile. In addition to its great focal length range, the amazing four-stop IS system, and its excellence as a flight lens, its incredible close focusing ability, it is a great flight lens. Being able to zoom out as the birds get closer is a huge plus.

On more than a few outings in The Falklands I headed out with just the new 1-4 on my person.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT
Monday July 3 through Monday July 10, 2017: $5999: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 8). Two great leaders: Arthur Morris and BPN co-owner, BPN Photography Gear Forum Moderator, and long-time BAA Webmaster Peter Kes.

Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on July 2 and arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday July 3 no later than 10am (or simply meet us then at the Edinburgh Airport–EDI, or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe). Stay 7 nights in one of three gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are five days of planned puffin/seabird trips and one morning of gannet photography, all weather permitting of course. In three years we have yet to miss an entire day because of weather… In addition, we will enjoy several sessions of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will get to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet; Arctic, Sandwich, and Common Terns, the former with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks. We will be staying in upscale country-side lodging that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the limited single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared by you in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day.

If you wish to fly home on the morning of Monday July 10 we will get you to the airport. Please, however, consider the following tentative plans: enjoy a second Gannet boat trip on the afternoon of Monday July 10 and book your hotel room in Dunbar. If all goes as planned, those who stay on for the two extra days will make a morning landing at Bass Rock, one of the world’s largest gannetries. We will get everyone to the airport on the morning of Wednesday July 12. (We may opt to stay in Edinburgh on the night of July 11.) Price and details should be finalized at least six months before the trip but you will need to be a bit patient. It would be ideal if I can get all the work done by the end of September so that folks can arrange their flights then.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2016.

Deposit Info

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on March 29, 2017. Please make your check out to β€œArthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. 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 shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Deposit Info

Single supplement rooms are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check of running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print careful even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store πŸ™‚

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, 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 those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right πŸ™‚

10 comments to Thirty Great Minutes in the Fourth Albatross Gulley … Part I. And Still More 100-400 II Versatility

  • David Policansky

    Happy new year, Artie. Love the image, especially the flared tail. And the dangling feet, of course.

  • Hi Artie,

    Wish you a Happy New Year. I have couple of questions.

    1.) White Neutralizer, is this a Nik Receipt, how do we set it up ?
    2.) You mentioned about RGB values (240, 241, 243) for whites on bird head. As I used Lightroom for image management, can we set up Lightroom to show the same ?

    My New Year starts with reading your blog, as always great learning from your blogs.
    Thank you for sharing the image.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


      WN is not a recipe. Just select it from the filter list. LR only shows percentages πŸ™‚ There was a big discussion about that here on the blog a while back. Try a search for LR in the little white search box …

      YAW. Next step: sign up for an IPT πŸ™‚

      later and love, artie

  • Frank Sheets

    “Pat on the back for you”! Pat on the back for your!” You nailed him. Big grin on my face in that I know how good it feels when I get the AF point “right-on” the right spot with flying birds. For me, considering my shaky hands, it doesn’t happen often enough. Congrats! And by the way, great image. Learned something new from you today as well. White Neutralizer. I’ll give it a try when considered necessary. Thanks again Artie and Happy New Year to you and your gang as well.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yupper. For me it does not happen often πŸ™

      Thanks. WN works great with some BLUEs, usually BLUEs that look a bit dingy or grey.

      late and love, artie

  • Walt Anderson

    Hi Art,

    Welcome back and Happy New Year! Please clarify something for me. In today’s post you state you waited for cloudy conditions to photograph, but looking at the picture, I would call that a sunny day with blue skies and a few very light high clouds. Your comments please?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Walt, Thanks and ditto. It was mostly cloudy with the sun peaking through in spots (as it did to light just the top of the bird’s head from my left). More on the sky conditions in the segments to follow. I am working on Part II now.

      love to you and Carol,


  • Jackie Milburn

    Love the dangling Feet! Have a Fantastic New Year! πŸ™‚