Why Shoot Birds in Flight as Vertical Originals? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Why Shoot Vertical Birds in Flight Originals?

Wanted to Buy

If you have a Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens in excellent or better condition that has been sitting on a shelf for a while and would like to make someone happy and get a decent price for it, please let me know via e-mail.

Homer Late Registration Discounts

If you are at all interested in traveling to Homer with me in FEB/MAR 2023 to photograph Bald Eagles, shoot me an e-mail for late registration discount info.

San Diego IPT Late Registration Discounts

If you are at all interested in traveling to San Diego to improve your photography and enjoy the phenomenal Brown Pelican photography this month, please shoot me an e-mail for late registration discount info.

What’s Up?

The forecast for Tuesday was basically rain all day. I was sitting in my car at La Jolla working on my next YouTube video in the dark. It was pouring rain. The rain let up as it began to get light. I headed down to the main cliffs with the 400mm f/2.8 on the tripod and the 70-200 on my shoulder via a Black Rapid Curve Breathe Strap. I started off doing blurs with the 400 f/2.8 and in short order, it was bright enough to go sharp at about ISO 2000 — 1/1000 sec. at f/2.8. I wound up at ISO 800 — 1/2500 sec. at f/2.8. It is hard to beat the 400mm 2.8 for low light flight photography and staying well back from the incoming birds produces some very sweet backgrounds. After a while, looking for something different, I took a walk to find some new perspectives. And struck gold. The flight tapered off so I went back down the hill with just the hand held 70-200mm with the 1.4X TC. I had a ball and created some new and different images. And so it has been going: horrible forecasts with a zillion pelicans, tons of great chances, new opportunities, and new discoveries. I’ve been creating between 2800 and 4000 images each morning since I arrived.

Right now I’d have to say that the photography here rivals the greatest nature photography locations on the planet: East Africa, the Falklands, and South Georgia among others. There is still time for you to get in on the actoin by signing up for either the 2nd or third San Diego IPT.

Today is Wednesday 4 January 2023. The forecast is for more rain. I will surely give it a go. This blog post took about 90 minutes to prepare and makes two hundred eighty-two days in a row with a new, educational post just for you. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

My plan is to continue to post every day until the streak reaches one year and then go back to every other day.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon links that are found on most blog pages and to use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout when purchasing your new gear from Bedfords to get 3% back on your credit card and enjoy free second-day air FedEx. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!

You can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!) on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-folks who, like me, spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so, works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

Please remember that if an item β€” a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head β€” for example, that is available from B&H and/or Bedfords, is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great, and greatly appreciated, if you would opt to purchase from us. We will match any price. Please remember also to use my B&H affiliate links or to earn 3% cash back at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout for your major gear purchases. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And always earns my great appreciation.

Induro GIT 304L Tripod

Out of production for more than two years, BAA just sold its last one. The good news is that we have located two more new-in-the-box tripods. They will be available for shipping at the end of January. Best to order yours now to be sure that you get one. We will not run your card until your item ships. The 304L was my go-to tripod for more than a decade. Best to grab order yours right now to avoid being disappointed.

Great Gear Question

Steve White

January 3, 2023 at 11:23 am

I love both images. I don’t prefer one over the other because they are totally different and both are great.

Question: how do you carry the 400 and the 600 in the field at the same time? And I assume you had the 70-200 with you also? I have the 200-600 and 600. They both will fit with camera attached in my Kiboko and Mindshift 36L, but that is more weight I want to deal with in the field. Just curious.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Steve. And for your excellent question.

The situation at La Jolla is unique. From the car to the top of the steps is about 10 yards. On cloudy mornings I have been heading down the steps with the 400mm f/2.8 lens in my left hand, the 70-200/a1 rig on my shoulder via a Black Rapid Curve Breathe Strap, and the tripod in my right hand. On clear mornings I’ll move the 70-200 to the front of my body and carry the 600 f/4 in an old Domke lens bag via the lens strap on my right shoulder. I take my time getting down the steps. Once I get down to the main cliff, I make sure the 600 in a save spot, that is, somewhere in front of me where I can keep my eye on it.

I would never think of taking both big lenses to a place like De Soto where you might walk a mile or two in a single session. Note also that I never ever carry anything on my back πŸ™‚ If I need to bring a short zoom lens I will wear my old X-tra Hand vest.

This image was created on 1 January 2023 at La Jolla, CA. While standing at full height, I used the no-longer available (except from BIRDS AS ART) Induro GIT 304L tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 800. Exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/2000 sec. at f/4 (wide open). When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be within 1/6-stop of perfect. AWB at 9:28:17am on a cloudy day.

Tracking: Zone was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy the larger version.

Brown Pelican landing on low cliff

Vertical Original Flight Photography?

Today’s featured image was created as a vertical original. It is un-cropped.

Why Shoot Birds in Flight as Vertical Originals?

1- Why not?

2- You never know when you will come up with something different and exciting.

3- When you could sell images, vertical made for great magazine covers.

4- It is fun and extremely challenging.

Your Call?

Is today/s featured image anything special? What do you like? What don’t you like?


With all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

10 comments to Why Shoot Birds in Flight as Vertical Originals?

  • Ted Willcox

    Why shoot verticals…. more pixels on the subject!

  • Sue Jarrett

    The photo of Brown Pelican is great! It is a good sight of focus and light colors and Brown Pelican doing something said about!!

  • David Policansky

    Artie: great image. Why not? In my case, because I find it very difficult to pan (keep a flying bird in the frame) when I have the camera oriented vertically.

  • Jim Amato

    Spectacular Photograph!

    Tremdous effort to capture this beautiful bird.
    The Landing pattern and body wing arrangement is terrific.
    The Bird is using all the aerodymics to land.

  • ilene

    be safe on those cliffs you know we’re getting older
    beautiful picture I love it
    love your sis

  • I like everything about this image–the wings making a diagonal line across the image, the colors, the very sharp pelican standing out in contrast from the moving, blurry water. The whiteness of the water doesn’t bother me at all. The water is needed to show that the pelican is braking to land.

  • Neil Hickman

    Great action pose. Would be a killer if higher against that dark background. I agree that there is too much distracting white water.

  • Jordan Cait

    Good Morning Artie,
    Thank you for continuing to brighten my mornings.

    What do I like?
    I like the side lighting relative to the angle of the pelican. This helps to highlight the underside of both wings, the top of the tail, and the beak nicely.

    What don’t I like?
    The brightness of the water in the bottom third of the image draws my eye away from the subject.

  • Milinda Nonis

    Hi Artie
    I like the colour tones of the image. Background colour and the colour of the bird blends very well.

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