Two Imperfect Red and White Roses … And a low-contrast/hand holding AF tip « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Two Imperfect Red and White Roses ... And a low-contrast/hand holding AF tip


I prepared this short blog post while still on Kodiak Island on the morning of Tuesday, July 18. We are scheduled to fly via float plane to the Bear Boat today. When this is published, I should still be at Katmai National Park photographing bears and should be returning to Kodiak to start the long journey home on Monday, July 24th. I will be back to Indian Lake Estates on Tuesday, July 25th after my red-eye flight from Anchorage to Chicago, that followed by my flight to Orlando where I will be picked up by my right-hand man, Jim Litzenberg. I hope that you all missed me and missed the blog.

Professional Post Processing Guide NeatImage v8.2 Update

Thanks to the hard work of co-author Arash Hazehgi, the first and last update of the Professional Post Processing Guide is now available for folks who have previously purchased the guide and in addition, have purchased NeatImage v8.2. Those who own and use NeatImage v7.6 are fine with the original version of the guide. Folks who are using or attempting to use v8.0 are advised to update to v8.2.

Those who have previously purchased the Professional Post Processing Guide are urged to follow these simple directions to receive their free update.

1: Click here to send Jim an e-mail.

2: Please cut and paste page 2 of your current copy of the guide or include your original purchase receipt for the guide into the body of your e-mail.

Additional Info

Folks who wish to learn more about or purchase the guide should click here.

Important note: the original Professional Photographers’ Guide to Post Processing was based on NeatImage v7.6. Late in 2016, NeatImage released a new version, v8.2, that is a bit more complicated than v7.6. artie continues to use v7.6 which is simpler and easier to use. As far as the quality of the results, v7.6 and v8.2 are indistinguishable.

New purchasers need to decide if they want to purchase the Pro Version of NeatImage v7.6 or the Pro Version of NeatImage v8.2. Once you have decided, click here to purchase the The Professional Post Processing Guide Based on NeatImage v7.6. Or click here to purchase the The Professional Post Processing Guide Based on NeatImage v8.2


I could not secure the lodging that I needed for the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT in Dunbar, Scotland, so I went from Hotels.Com to Booking.Com and was pleasantly surprised. I found the rooms that I needed with ease at a hotel that was not even on Hotels.Com, and it was a nice hotel that I had seen in person. And the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward.

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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great job for a long time now–please remember to use the BAA B&H links for your major and minor 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 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 on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets trip in a streetside garden on the east coast of Scotland with the hand held Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop in Av mode: 1/320 sec. at f/4 in in Av mode as originally framed. Cloudy WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: zero.

One AF point up an one to the right of the the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell on the edge of the rose with the water droplets on it. This image was a small crop from all four sides with the largest amount off the bottom.

Pink and Red Rose

Imperfect Red and White Rose in the drizzle

When our Bass Rock landing trip was cancelled because the captain was hospitalized we scheduled a replacement gannet boat trip but that was cancelled because of a nor-easter. So we set out in the van and drove along the coast in search of some gulls and shorebirds. We did not find much in the way of avian subjects but we did come across some spent roses in a garden of a seaside home. In a light drizzle. I was glad that I had taken my 100 macro along.

Image Design/Framing Question

As presented here on the screen should I have pointed my lens 1/2 inch up, down, left or right? Justify your choice with at least one good reason.

Low Contrast AF Tip

When hand holding and working on a very low contrast subject you will find that AF often acquires, holds for a second or so, and then begins to search. What I have begun doing in such situations is to fire off a frame or three the instant that the system acquires focus. In most cases the first and sometimes the second frame will be sharp where you need it. Today’s featured image was the first in a short series. By the second frame the system had begun to search and the image was unsharp.

All of the above becomes moot if you are working on a tripod when you can use rear button focus or One-Shot AF or even focus manually (gasp!) I used this very specialized hand holding AF technique on a dandelion blossom on our Instructional Photo-Walk on the morning of July 17 in Kodiak. The results were quite similar — one sharp image followed by one or two unfocused images. Trust me: one sharp is way better than none sharp …

This image was created on our morning Instructional Photo-Walk in the harbor on our layover day in Kodiak on the 2017 Bear Boat IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 200mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Cloudy WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -2.

The center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was place on the right edge of the letter O.

boat name

Another Imperfect Red and White “Rose”

We began our Instructional Photo-Walk with a solid hour of exposure, histogram, and manual mode lessons. Everyone loved what they learned. We followed that up with an hour long walk amongst the boats. Everyone including me loved that and we all found some interesting things to photograph. As always, I enjoyed working tight, clean, and graphic. The moment that I saw the name of this old boat I knew that I would couple it with my favorite rose image from Scottish seaside garden.

If In Doubt …

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Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The Fort DeSoto 2017 Fall IPT/September 22 (afternoon session) through the full day on September 25, 2017. 3 1/2 FULL DAYs: $1649. Limit 8.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With luck, we may get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher almost guaranteed. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join us on the ITF/MWS on the morning of Tuesday, September 26 as my guest. See below for details on that.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time.

This IPT will run with only a single registrant (though that is not likely to happen). The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Though I have not decided on a hotel yet — I will as soon as there is one sign-up — do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel (rather than at home or at a friend’s place).

A $500 deposit is due when you sign up and is payable by credit card. Balances must be paid by check after you register. Your deposit is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with ten folks so please check your plans carefully before committing. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand or by sending a check as follows: make the check out to: BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, gear advice, and instructions for meeting on the afternoon of Friday, September 22.


Fort DeSoto in fall is rich with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

BIRDS AS ART In-the-Field/Meet-up Workshop Session (ITF/MWS): $99.

Join me on the morning of Tuesday September 26, 2017 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive afternoon workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tour. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal non-refundable registration fee. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place at least two weeks before the event.


BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT.

Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make the IPT? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

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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.

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5 comments to Two Imperfect Red and White Roses … And a low-contrast/hand holding AF tip

  • David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Yes, I did miss getting blog posts and wondered how you all are doing. I guess I’ll have to wait until Monday or Tuesday to find out. I like both images a lot. It really is hard to know how I’d have framed the one of the flower, but my initial reaction is that I likely would have tried landscape orientation to get more of the in-focus part of the petal with the water drops on it.

  • Chicago Jeff

    Artie, IIRC I’ve also seen you shoot macro with the 180mm. Which do you prefer? I need to purchase a Canon macro lens.

  • Stu

    Although I like the image as presented, I would have favored recomposing or cropping to eliminate the somewhat distracting green area at lower right. I am reluctant to recommend moving to the left, as I like the water drops as presented. So moving the field of view up a bit for some frames and moving the lens to the left a bit for some frames (without moving up in the latter case) could be worthwhile.
    Best wishes for a safe and pleasant return home.

  • Hi Artie, pointing your lens half an inch up would have opened up the top of the OOF rose centre, giving the rose more space and showing the whole of the rose’s centre, it would also have resulted in losing some of the curve of the petal at the bottom and created a better frame for the yellow (directly above) and for the flower on the whole. Just my thoughts, I am looking forward to hearing about and seeing from images from the bear boat,