Last Minute Magic/Bear Boat Single Favorite Image. By far … Headed home. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Last Minute Magic/Bear Boat Single Favorite Image. By far ... Headed home.


I wrote and published this blog post in the bar next to the Kodiak Airport, the Navigator Lounge — free wi-fi and free plugs ๐Ÿ™‚ I did not imbibe. I am on the Ravn Air 7:15 flight to Anchorage. After a four-hour layover my flight to Chicago departs just after midnight; Jim is scheduled to pick me up in Orlando at about 2:30pm on Tuesday afternoon. Then Publix. Then home sweet home. More on the Bear Boat IPT in tomorrow’s blog post.

Do know that you have been missed ๐Ÿ™‚

The Streak

Today marks two days in a row with a new educational blog post.

FYI on the Canon 7D Mark II Invisible Analogue Exposure Scale

Via e-mail from Larry Brown

Dear Art, When I first got my 7D Mark II, I did have difficulty seeing the scale. After installing the latest firmware, the situation is much improved. Larry

The latest firmware for any Canon camera can be downloaded from the camera-specific page for each body — including the 7D Mark II — on the Canon website. Find your camera here.

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 Photographersโ€™ 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

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 Bear Boat IPT with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/800 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -2.

Two AF points to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. As originally framed, the selected AF point on momma bear’s shoulder, just this side of the plane of the bear’s face.

Brown Bear mom with three cubs

Last Minute Magic/Bear Boat Single Favorite Image. By far …

We had lots of bears and lots of momma bears with multiple cubs. Either 2 cubs or three cubs. The problem was getting the stars — and the bears, lined up properly. At 8:57pm on our last night, the Universe was very friendly. I was in just the right spot when this mom and here three cubs spotted a big boar (male bear) coming towards them. My perfect situation last exactly a fraction of one second. I made only two frames before the danger party was over. In the next frame, the bear right in front of momma bear moved its head back just and inch so that it merged with the fur on the adult’s leg. I did not realize that I succeeded until I reviewed my images the morning after as we did not get back to the boat until 10:30pm, thirty minutes after sunset.

While I have some pretty good fishing bear images I believe that this is my very best-ever Coastal Brown Bear image.

The Image Optimization

After converting the image in DPP 4, I brought the image into Photoshop and leveled it. Next I applied a layer of RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing. This technique worked magic on every single bear image that I processed. With this image, however, I reduced the opacity to 50%. All of the others were perfect at 100% opacity. Next I selected the bears only with the Quick Selection Tool (W) and applied a layer of my NIK Color Efex Pro 30/30 recipe. Lastly I painted a Quick Mask of the faces of all three cubs and selectively sharpened them with a Contrast Mask (15, 65, 0) on its own layer.

Everything above plus tons and tons more is detailed in the new BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. Just so you know, the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide.

You can learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of their Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here. And you can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.


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.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.


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 :).

9 comments to Last Minute Magic/Bear Boat Single Favorite Image. By far … Headed home.