Western Gull with Rainbow « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Western Gull with Rainbow

Homer Late Registration Discounts

If you are interested in traveling to Homer, AK with me in FEB/MAR 2023 to photograph Bald Eagles, shoot me an e-mail for late registration discount info. Several folks are in the process of registering so do not tarry. The first IPT is looking sold out as I await the last deposit check.

Arna Lee Morris

My youngest of three sisters, Arna Lee Morris, died five years ago of morbid obesity. Had she lived, she would have been 67 today. She was a good kid, and bright, and was great at taking care of others. But she was not very good at taking care of herself. The first Morris baby, Carla, died of infantile diarrhea ten days after she was born while my Dad was overseas serving in WW II. Sister Ilene and I survive.

What’s Up?

On Tuesday morning, I headed back to the cliffs to meet up with San Diego IPT #2 veteran Bryan Love. He kindly loaned me his new Sony a7R V Mirrorless Camera body. As I got out of my rental vehicle, Bryan was coming down the hill. There were pelicans floating down into a strong NW wind with their feet hanging below them. Having heard good things about the a7R V, I was anxious to get it on the tripod with the 600mm f/4 GM lens. So I did. Many pelicans were parachuting down from great heights. The big problem was that Bryan, relatively new to bird photography, had not set up the camera body. At that point, it would not focus on anything. I ditched the a7R V, grabbed an a1, and went to work.

The weather was wild, raining hard one minute and bright sun the next with lots of clouds as well. With a NW wind in the morning the last thing you want is sun. We both photographed through most of the rain and had a ton of fun. When it poured, I got into my Nissan Murano and set up the V as closely as I could to the a1. When it let up, I worked with the new camera on the bare Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens . I will share my findings with you here in a future blog post. I did make a few good ones.

As a thank you, I took Bryan out for brunch to Shorehouse Kitchen in La Jolla Shores, about 5 minutes from the cliffs. BTW, I never got to loan Bryan my 600mm f/4 because when he walked down the hill he was smiling ear to ear and holding his brand new Sony 600mm f/4 GM lens. When I heard that he had used my B&H affiliate link I was the one smiling. He saw that they had one in stock and grabbed it. He already owned the Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM but when he tried out my 600 on the IPT, he fell in love instantly. Why? Since the size of the bird in the frame is a function of the square of the focal length, a bird photographed at a given distance with the 600 will be 2.25 times larger in the frame than the same bird photographed from the same spot with a 400mm lens.
Six squared is 36. Four squared is 16. 36 divided by 16 is 2.25. He could not stop talking about how amazing the Sony 600 f/4 GM lens is.

Today is Wednesday 18 January 2023. The forecast for the morning is for cold and mostly to partly cloudy with a 6mph breeze from the east. This blog post took more than two hours to prepare with most of that time spent on the very challenging image optimization and makes two hundred ninety-five days in a row with a new, educational post. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

I fly back to Florida in one week. Please remember to use my B&H or Bedford’s affiliate programs for your new gear purchases.

My plan is to continue to post every day until the streak reaches one year and one day and then go back to posting 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 — a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head — 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? 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.

Bedfords Amazing BAA Discount Policy

Folks who have fallen in love with Bedfords can now use the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout to enjoy a post-purchase, 3% off-statement credit (excluding taxes and shipping charges) on orders paid with a credit card. The 3% credit will be refunded to the card you used for your purchase. Be sure, also, to check the box for free shipping to enjoy free Second Day Air Fed-Ex. This offer does not apply to purchases of Classes, Gift Cards, or to any prior purchases.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would like to enjoy getting 3% back on your credit card along with free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex Air shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and check the box for Free Shipping. That will automatically upgrade to free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The waitlists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard-to-get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a 1, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the Amazon links on the blog (including the logo-link on the right side of each blog post page). My affiliate link works fine with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂

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. And the same is true in spades when ordering new camera bodies or lenses. My advice will often save you some serious money and may help you avoid making a seriously bad choice. Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. If you are desperate, you can try me on my cell at 863-221-2372. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up.

This image was created on 16 January 2023 on the beach at Coronado, CA. While standing at full height, I used the handheld Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens with the Sony FE 2x teleconverter (zoomed out to 286mm), and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. The exposure was determined via Zebras. ISO 2000: 1/1250 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 4:37:23pm on a variably cloudy afternoon.

Tracking: Expand Spot AF/C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Western Gull on pile of kelp with a rainbow in the background

Western Gull with Rainbow

There was a ton of kelp on the beach as a result of the recent storms. The pile that the gull was sitting atop was pushed together by a bulldozer that had been cleaning up the beach.

As much as I strive to expose to the right when photographing rainbows, I always wind up underexposing them a bit so that I get at least a hint of the rainbow when reviewing the image in camera. RawDigger showed that the brightness for this raw file was 1/3-stop short of perfect. The best way to create images with dramatic rainbows is to use a warming circular polarizer set to dark. I travel with a 77mm but it was in my rental car 🙁

In any case, optimizing today’s featured image was a bear. It took me more than 90 minutes to come up with something acceptable.

After clicking on the image to view the high-res version, leave a comment letting us know what you like and what you do not like about this one.

Image Design Question

Why did I zoom out from 400mm to 286mm?


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

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