Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal and Canvas Expanded as Suggested … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal and Canvas Expanded as Suggested ...

What’s Up?

Photography-wise, foggy and then cloudy Monday was close to a bust … On Tuesday morning (more unsettled weather), I thought as I headed down to the lake, “I might be getting bored photographing the two utterly dependable little crane chicks.” But I was wrong. More crane magic unfolded right in front of me even before I made it to the circular parking lot at the base of the pier. V-log coming soon.

Thanks to the many who ordered the SONY ee-Guide yesterday!

Free Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal Video Offer

Those who purchase the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) today or tomorrow will automatically receive a free copy of the Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal Video. Only those who place their order before midnight on Thursday 21 MAY 2020 are eligible.


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Used Gear Page Sales

After somewhat of a COVID-19-induced lull, action has picked up a bit on the Used Gear Page.

Jim Lewis sold his Canon EOS-1D X in near-mint condition with extras for a BAA record-low $1,500.00 (was $1,895.00) in early MAY 2020.
Kevin Spencer sold his Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $6,799.00 to a local buyer in early MAY 2020.
BPN friend Ravi Hirekatur is sold his Canon EF Extender 1.4X II (the 1.4X II teleconverter) in excellent condition for the ridiculous, you-might-as-well-give-it-away price of $89.00 (was $179.00) in early MAY.
Gary Meyer sold his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6 VR lens in like-new condition for a BAA record-low $3096.95 and a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III in like-new condition for a BAA record-low $226.95, both on the first day of listing in early MAY 2020.
Jerry Barrack sold his Canon EF 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 L IS USM zoom lens (the white version) in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $459.00 (was $699.00) in early MAY 2020.

Sony a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

BAA Record-low Price!

Used Gear page regular Charlie Curry is offering a Sony a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera body in like-new condition (971 shutter releases) and the Sony (VG-C3EM) Vertical Grip a BAA record-low $2598.00. The sale includes the original battery and charger, the USB cable, the instructional manual, the front lens cover, the a9 camera strap, a rear LCD glass protector, the latest firmware update, and insured ground shipping via major courier (to lower-48 US addresses only). Your item will not ship until your check has cleared the bank unless other arrangements are made. Photos are available upon request.

Please contact Charlie via e-mail (preferred) or by phone at 1-407-448-7797 Eastern time zone.

The SONY a9, the original AF king, offers superb autofocus that absolutely kills for flight photography. Virtually every image is sharp on the eye. Many feel that the AF system on the a9 ii is no better. And the vertical grip gives this body a pro-body type feel. As the a9 II sells new for $4498.00 and the VG-C3EM goes for an additional $348.00 for a total of $4,846, you can save an incredible $2248.00 by grabbing Charlie’s a9 right now! (Note: the a9 sells for $3498.00.)artie

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SONY 200-600 Update

Steve Elkins now has four SONY 200-600s in stock; one of them surely has your name on it. Contact Steve as below to save $50.00.

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Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers 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. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

Click on the composite to see a larger version.

Before/After Sandhill Crane one-day old chick standing near adult on the nest

Before and After Sandhill Crane one-day old Chick

In the Sandhill Crane Chicks One-a-Day Images. Which Lens is Best for the Tiny Chicks? And the One Negative of the SONY 100-400mm GM … blog post here, many folks liked Image #1 the best. Several asked if I had thought about eliminating the two blades of grass above the chick’s head. I had. Others suggested that the grass should have been removed or that they would have removed it. I originally left the two blades of grass as they only bugged me a little and the image was so endearing with the chick looking up at the adult, actually wanting to get fed. One person wished for a bit more room on our left.

So I opened the master file in Photoshop, expanded canvas just a bit left and above using unframed Content-Aware Crop. Then I eliminated the dark, circular smudge just in front of the chick’s bill. Next, I used the Divide and Conquer technique along with the Patch Tool to eliminate most of the two offending grasses. Then I used a series to small Quick Masks to cover the spots where the grasses intersected the chick’s fuzzy head. Each Quick Mask was warped and shaped using the Transform command and then refined via the addition of a Regular Layer Mask. As working on this area left things just a bit smudged, I used my background blurring technique to smooth everything nicely. That involves adding a layer of heavy Gaussian Blur, covering that with a Hide-all (Inverse or Black) Layer Mask, and then painting in the effect as desired. All in all, not too time consuming, and not bad at all.

I also like that with the canvas expanded, the bird has a bit more room in the frame.

This image was created on 10 MAY 2020 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. I used the Induro GIT 404L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4xteleconverter, and the 61-MP Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 1000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 12:321am on a (wonderfully) cloudy day.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection.

Version II: Sandhill Crane one-day old chick standing near adult on the nest

Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal Video

Sit next to me in Photoshop as I created the second version of the re-optimized image that is featured in today’s blog post. Learn to expand canvas using unframed Content-Aware Crop, to use Divide and Conquer, to create, transform, and refine Quick Masks, and to selectively blur the background with a layer of Gaussian Blur fine-tuned with the addition of a Hide-all (Inverse or Black) Layer Mask. Just $5.00 here in the BAA Online Store.

Super-Bonus Question

The first person to answer this question by leaving a comment will receive a free copy of the Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal Video:

What did I miss while doing the image clean-up? Note: there is only one correct answer and I am the only judge ๐Ÿ™‚

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II).

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

All the techniques mentioned above and tons more (with the exception of Capture One RAW Conversions) — along with all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — are covered in detail in the 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. While the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here. Note: all of the videos are now priced at an amazingly low $5.00 each.

You can learn how and why I converted all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here. More recently, I became proficient at converting my Nikon RAW (NEF) files in Adobe Camera Raw. About two years ago I began converting my Nikon and Sony RAW files in Capture One Pro 12 and continue to do so today.

To purchase Capture One, please use this link. Then you can learn more about Capture One in the Capture One Pro 12 Simplified MP4 Video here. The next step would be to get a copy of Arash Hazeghi’s “The Nikon Photographersโ€™ Guide to Phase One Capture One Pro e-Guide” in the blog post here.

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 Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and edited by yours truly. Please use this link to purchase NeatImage.

To introduce folks to our MP.4 videos and the basics involved in applying more NeatImage noise reduction to the background and less on the subject, I’d be glad to send you a free copy of the Free Noise Reduction Basics MP.4 Video. Simply click to shoot me an e-mail to get your free copy.

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23 comments to Sandhill Crane Chick Grass Blade Removal and Canvas Expanded as Suggested …

  • Adam

    The specks on the chicks fur arenโ€™t worth worrying about though one can fix them if desired. The one shadowy blade of grass at the lower left which has a content aware partial double with the canvas expansion is the most troubling to me. Still love this image.

  • Warren

    There is a tiny white speck of something near the chick’s shoulder and a small black speck on his chest. But those don’t bother me…

  • Warren Robb

    Just to the left of the chick’s crossed legs is the stem of the grass you removed. I believe this is the answer to your question.

    I love the image!


    Hi Artie..
    Better of course.But all that fuss about grass blades!A photo of Marilyn by Eisenstaedt..comment “Look at her left shoe,that tiny speck of
    dust!unforgivable,rotten picture.
    Bring a lawn mower next time.
    Keep making pictures with emotion.jean claude

  • Joel Eade

    The dark smudge just to the right of the chick’s back foot?

  • Topaz Mask AI might save you some time in getting rid of the grass. I agree with Allen’s comments.

  • Allen

    Much better without the grass coming out of the chick’s head. Not thrilled with the “content-aware” fill of the canvass expansion to the left. Can see obvious repeated patterns of grass details.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Allen, As I have proved here on many occasions, ‘obvious repeated patterns” are always visible when I have told you where to look. In the video, you will learn that Content-Aware failed in the lower-left corner. And I took care to reduce or eliminate and repeats when I covered the problematic area with a Quick Mask. A close look reveals that I might have missed on a repeat of a brown area.


  • Warren

    One thing that may have been missed is the blade of grass on the far left that was added when you expanded the canvas. The new blade is perfectly parallel to the existing blade of grass, which may “look” like the area was “photo-shopped.”

  • Warren W. Howe

    I Love the modified image!

    I would say the one thing you missed is the little white material on the tip of the chick’s beak. You usually clean up the bill if it is noticeable.

  • Brendan

    I don’t know… maybe the stick/grass that extends from the tip of the chick’s left wingtip down to the back right foot? It is vaguely distracting. I don’t think I would/could get rid of it, but you might.

  • Ruthie

    I don’t always agree with all the changes you do, but this time it was really necessary!

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Dan & Gary, I would never make it that easy. Wrong answer!

    with love and thanks for playing, a

  • Gary Meyer

    OH no someone beat me to it … ha the grass on the far right of the frame on the adul

  • Dan

    The grass on the far right of the frame on the adult.

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