Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
September 25th, 2022

70-200mm Versatility is the Name of the Game at La Jolla

Change Your Life

Consider changing your life and becoming a much better bird photographer by joining me on a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). DeSoto, San Diego, Homer, and the yet-to-be announced July 2024 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime all offer the opportunity for you to improve your skills both in the field and at the computer and to make some astounding images as well. Click here and see which IPT might be best for you.

This all-new card includes only images created on my JAN 2022 visit to San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The 2022/23 San Diego Brown Pelicans (and more!) IPTs

San Diego IPT #1. 3 1/2 DAYS: WED 21 DEC thru the morning session on Saturday 24 DEC 2022. $2099.00. Deposit: $699.00. Limit: 6 photographers/Openings: 5.

San Diego IPT #2. 4 1/2 DAYS: SAT 7 JAN thru the morning session on WED 11 JAN 2023: $2699.00. Deposit: $699.00. Limit: 6 photographers/Openings: 2.

San Diego IPT #3: 3 1/2 DAYS: FRI 20 JAN thru the morning session on MON 23 JAN 2023: $2099.00. Deposit: $699.00. Limit: 6 photographers.

Please e-mail for information on personalized pre- and post-IPT sessions.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (nesting) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Ducks; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Northern Shoveler and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heermann’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others are possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions (both depending on the current regulations and restrictions). And as you can see by studying the IPT cards, there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Not to mention a ton of excellent flight photography opportunities and instruction.

Please note: where permitted and on occasion, ducks and gulls may be attracted (or re-located) with offerings of grains or healthy bread.

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Learning Exposure, Whether You Like It Or Not

Whether you like it or not, we will be beating the subject of exposure like a dead horse. In every new situation, you will hear my thoughts on exposure along with my thoughts on both Nikon and Canon histograms and SONY Zebras. Whether you like it or not, you will learn to work in manual mode so that you can get the right exposure every time (as long as a bird gives you ten seconds with the light constant). Or two seconds with SONY zebras … And you will learn what to do when the light is changing constantly. What you learn about exposure will be one of the great takeaways on every IPT.

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT, there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

It Ain’t Just Pelicans

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography as well, often with 70-200mm lenses! And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You will be guided as to how to make the best of those opportunities. Depending on the weather, the local conditions, and the tides, there are a variety of other fabulous photo chances available in and around San Diego.


san-diego-card-neesie

Did I mention that there are lots of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter? Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The San Diego Details

These IPTs will include four or five 3-hour morning photo sessions, three or four 1 1/2-hour afternoon photo sessions, and three or four working brunches that will include image review and Photoshop sessions. On rare cloudy days, we may — at the leader’s discretion, stay out in the morning for a long session and skip that afternoon. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. And so that we can get some sleep, dinners will be on your own as well. In the extremely unlikely event that Goldfish Point is closed due to local ordinance (or whimsy) — that has never happened in the past fifty years, I will of course do my very best to maximize our photographic opportunities.

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Deposit Info

A $599 deposit is required to hold your slot for one of the 2022/23 San Diego IPTs. You can send a check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART”) to us here: BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855, or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, is due three months before the trip.


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Variety is surely the spice of life in San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Getting Up Early and Staying Out Late

On all BIRDS AS ART IPTS including and especially the San Diego IPT, we get into the field early to take advantage of unique and often spectacular lighting conditions and we stay out late to maximize the chances of killer light and glorious sunset silhouette situations. We often arrive at the cliffs a full hour before anyone else shows up to check out the landscape and seascape opportunities.

What’s Up?

I walked/rope flowed 2.8 miles on Saturday morning, and then spent another 45 minutes at the Vulture Trees. I was so busy that I did not get my “morning” swim in until after 1:00pm! I did 48 lengths, and then 40 lengths at 5:00pm after dinner for a total of one mile. The heavy, afternoon rains of the last three months have continued to tape off, but tropical storm Ian is headed this way and is forecast to be a category 3 hurricane when it hits Florida midweek.

Today is Sunday 25 September 2022. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took almost three hours to prepare makes one hundred eighty-four days in a row with a new one.

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!

70-200mm Versatility is the Name of the Game at La Jolla

This image was created on 20 January 2022 on a BAA San Diego Instructional Photo-Tour. I used the hand held Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens (at 156mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. The exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the thumb dial. ISO 250: 1/125 sec. at f/2.8 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 10:21:21am on a cloudy morning.

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

Image #1: Brown Pelican — La Jolla cliff-scape

Going Wide for Bird-scapes

While my usual style involves clean, tight, and graphic, I try to keep my eyes open for bird-scape opportunities. The usually bird-covered cliffs across from Goldfish Point provides interesting background fodder. If you do not have something wide with you as I did that day, think iPhone.

This image was also created on 20 January 2022 on a BAA San Diego Instructional Photo-Tour. For this one, I used the hand held Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter (at 280mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. The exposure was determined via Zebras. ISO 1600: 1/1600 sec. at f/4 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 10:29:41am on a cloudy morning.

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

Image #2: Brown Pelican adult and juvenile on cliff

The Lower Ledge

The perch rocks at the western end of the lower ledge at Goldfish Point are among my favorites. They are best worked by climbing down so that you move the ocean well away from the subject. Working from above, as I did for Image #2, brings up background detail. Over the years, you have seen photos of many birds perched on the right-most rock.

This image was also created on 20 January 2022 on a BAA San Diego Instructional Photo-Tour. I went with the hand held Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens with the Sony FE 2x Teleconverter (at 255mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. The exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the thumb dial. ISO 1000: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 (wide open) in Mnaul mod. AWB at 10:34:04am on a cloudy morni

Tracking: Zone AF/C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection produced a sharp on the eye image. Click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #3: Brown Pelican — Pacific race adult in flight

Concentrate on Flight

The pelicans are so tame, close and beautiful that it is hard to concentrate solely on flight. I almost always get sucked in to shooting the perched birds and wind up missing lots of great incoming flight opportunities. The best way to make some great flight shots is to commit to doing flight photography while resisting all the nearby temptations. You may want to do just that on mornings with winds from the east or northeast so that the birds are flying at you and into the sun. Wish me luck. Or join me there.

Your Favorite?

Which of today’s three featured images do you like best? Why?

Typos

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

September 24th, 2022

I Kid You Not!

Homer IPT Multiple Trip Discounts Increased

Save $1,500.00 by doing back-to-back trips. Save $2500 by doing all three trips. Please e-mail for couples discount info.

Change Your Life

Consider changing your life and becoming a much better bird photographer by joining me on a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). DeSoto, San Diego, Homer, and the yet-to-be announced July 2024 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime all offer the opportunity for you to improve your skills both in the field and at the computer and to make some astounding images as well. Click here and see which IPT might be best for you.

All images from Homer or Kachemak Bay, AK

2023 Homer/Kachemak Bay Bald Eagle IPTs

IPT #1: MON 20 FEB 2023 through the full day on FRI 24 FEB 2023. Five full days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 3.

IPT #2: SAT 25 FEB 2023 through the full day on THURS 2 MAR 2023. Six full days/24 hours on the boat: $6600.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 3.

IPT #3: FRI 3 MAR 2023 through the full day on TUES 7 MAR 2023. Five full days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers. Openings: 3.

Save $1,500.00 by doing back-to-back trips. Save $2500 by doing all three trips.

These trips feature non-stop flight photography as well as many opportunities to create both environmental and point-blank portraits of one of North America’s most sought-after avian subjects: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Other reliable subjects will include Sea Otter, Glaucous-winged and Short-billed (formerly Mew) Gulls.

In addition, we should see Common Murre, Black Guillemot, Pelagic Cormorant, two or three species of loons, and a smattering of ducks including two species of merganser, all three scoters, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Bufflehead, Harlequin, and Long-tailed Ducks. Close-range photographic chances for these species will require a ton of good luck. Some of these species, especially when in flocks, can, however, often be used effectively when creating bird-scapes.

If we need to be out early, we will be the first boat out. If conditions are great, we will stay out. And when there is a chance for sunset silhouettes, we will stay out and be in the right spot.

We will be traveling through gorgeous wilderness country; landscape and scenic opportunities abound.

Also featured is a professional leader, often referred to as the world’s most knowledgeable bird photography trip leader, who is conversant in Canon, Nikon, and Sony.

All images from Kachemak Bay in 2022!

What You Will Learn

You will learn practical and creative solutions to everyday photographic problems. You will learn to see the shot, to create dynamic images by fine-tuning your compositions, to best utilize your camera’s AF system, and how to analyze the wind, the sky conditions, and the direction and quality of the light. This is one of the very few trips Homer trips available where you will not be simply put on the birds and told to have fun. You will learn to be a better photographer. But only if that is what you want.

You will learn to get the right exposure when it is sunny, when it cloudy-bright, when it is cloudy, when it is cloudy-dark, or when it is foggy. Not to mention getting the right exposure when creating silhouettes.

You will learn to make pleasing blurs working in manual mode and to create silhouettes working in Shutter Priority mode.

Most importantly you will learn to pick your best flight images from tens of thousands of images.

You will enjoy working with the two best and most creative boat captains on their sturdy, photography-spacious, seaworthy, open-deck crafts.

The second and third IPTs are the only Bald Eagle workshops that feature an incredibly helpful first mate.

Only five photographers (not the usual six), plus the leader.

Small group Photoshop, Image Review, and Image Critiquing sessions.

All images from Homer or Kachemak Bay, AK

What’s Included

One four hour or two two-hour boat trips every day (weather permitting), all boat fees and boat-related expenses (excluding tips), ground transportation to and from the dock and back to the hotel each day, in-the-field instruction and guidance, pre-trip gear advice, small group post-processing and image review sessions, and a thank you dinner for all well-behaved participants.

What’s Not Included

Your airfare to and from Homer, AK (via Anchorage), the cost of your room at Land’s End Resort, all personal items, all meals and beverages, and tips for the boat captain and/or the first mate.

Please Note

On great days, the group may wish to photograph for more than four hours. If the total time on the boat exceeds 20 hours for the five-day trips, or 24 hours for the second trip, the group will share the additional expense at a rate of $225/hour.

Some folks may wish to rent their own vehicle to take advantage of local photographic opportunities around Homer.

Deposit Information

A $3000 non-refundable deposit/trip is required. You may pay your deposit with credit card or by personal check (made out to BIRDS AS ART) and sent via US mail only to Arthur Morris. PO Box 7245. Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Your balance, due 90 days before the date of departure, is payable only by check as above.

In Closing

I have been going to Homer off and on for close to two decades. Every trip has been nothing short of fantastic. Many folks go in mid-March. The earlier you go, the better the chances for snow. The only way to assure that you are on the best of the three trips is to sign up for all of them. Can you keep up with me? If you have any questions, or are good to go for one, two, or all three trips, please let me know via e-mail or give me a call on my cell phone at 863-221-2372.

What’s Up?

I walked/rope flowed 2.2 miles on Wednesday morning, and then spent 45 minutes at the Vulture Trees. I upped my two swims to 44-lengths each (totaling one mile). The more I hang from the chinning bar, the stronger the right shoulder becomes. For the past few days, the heavy rains have been tapering off. The bad news? Tropical storm Ian is headed this way.

Before you read the EXIF for today’s two featured images, click on each of them and try to figure out the focal length that was used to create them. Note: the focal length was the same for each. I kid you not.

Today is Saturday 24 September 2022. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took more than 90 minutes to prepare makes one hundred eighty-three days in a row with a new one.

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!

Instagram

Follow me on Instagram here. I am trying to feature both new and old images, especially images that have not appeared recently on the blog. Or search for birds_as_art.

BIRDS AS ART Image Optimization Service (BAA IOS)

Send a PayPal for $62.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net or call Jim at 863-692-0906 and put $62.00 on your credit card. Pick one of your best images and upload the raw file using a large file sending service like Hightail or DropBox and then send me the link via e-mail. I will download and save your raw file, evaluate the exposure and sharpness, and optimize the image as if it were my own after converting the raw file in Adobe Camera Raw. Best of all, I will make a screen recording of the entire process and send you a link to the video to download, save and study.

Induro GIT 304L Price Drop

Amazingly, we have two, brand-new-in-the-box Induro GIT 304L tripods in stock. They are $699.00 each (were $799.00) and the price now includes the insured ground shipping to the lower 48 states. Weekday phone orders only: 863-692-0906. Order yours here while they last.

Please Remember

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.

Brand-New and As-Good-As-Ever Bedfords 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.

I Kid You Not!

This image was created on 25 February 2020 on an Instructional Photo-Tour at Kachemak Bay, Homer, AK. I used the hand held Sony 70-200mm GM lens (now replaced by the greatly improved Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter (at 280mm) and the Sony a9 II (now replaced by The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital camera body.) The exposure was determined via Zebras. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be perfect. ISO 800: 1/2500 sec. at f/4.5 (stopped down 1/3-stop) in Manual mode. AWB at 10:21:30am on a cloudy morning.

Expand Spot S AF/C performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1: Bald Eagle — with blood on forehead and chin

The Most Valuable Lens on a Homer IPT

If I were limited to bringing only one lens on a Homer IPT, it would be a 70-200. As noted here previously, the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens is vastly superior to the original version. Its performance with either TC is stunning: AF is lightning fast and accurate, and the images are razor-sharp.

The focal length ranges of the 70-200mm lenses are deadly on Bald Eagles in flight (with or without either TC), great for scenics and bird-scapes, and lethal at close range (because of their short Minimum Focusing Distances (MFDs) especially with either TC (accept as noted with Canon, below)

The situation is much the same with Nikon mirrorless. The Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S lens accepts both the Nikon Z Teleconverter TC-1.4x and the Nikon Z Teleconverter TC-2x and functions perfectly.

As noted here previously, the 70-200 situation with Canon mirrorless gear borders on insanity. The Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens does not accept either the Canon Extender RF 1.4x or the Canon Extender RF 2x. This pretty much destroys the versatility of a hugely popular mid-range telephoto zoom. Canon folks have several options.

1- Go with one of the EF versions of the 70-200mm f/2.8 or with the (slower) EF 100-400mm IS II with a Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R.

2- Go with the much slower (f/7.1 at 500mm) Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens.

Whichever system you use, you will learn a ton on a Homer IPT and head home with a boatload of great images.

This image was created on 26 February 2020 on an Instructional Photo-Tour at Kachemak Bay, Homer, AK. I used the hand held Sony 70-200mm GM lens (now replaced by the greatly improved Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter (at 280mm) and the Sony a7R IV (now replaced by The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital camera body.) The exposure was determined via Zebras. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be perfect. With all the dark feathers, however, adding another 1/3-stop to get to dead-solid perfect would have been ideal. ISO 800: 1/125 sec. at f11 (stopped down four stops) in Manual mode. AWB at 3:11:04pm on a cloudy afternoon.

Expand Spot S AF/C performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #2: Bald Eagle — close-up of talons and feet

Questions

1- Why f/11?

2- Which of today’s two featured images is your favorite? Why?

Typos

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

September 23rd, 2022

Another Free YouTube Raw Conversion Video -- Snowy Egret. And Follow-up Color Correction Work after the Fact


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

Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Caspian Tern, Great Egret, Sandwich Tern with fish, Willet, Black-bellied Plover threat display, Snowy Egret, 2-year old Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron.

The Fall 2022 Fort DeSoto Instructional Photo-Tours

Fall 2022 Fort DeSoto Instructional Photo-Tour #1

3 1/2 Days: Tuesday 27 September through the morning session on Friday 30 September 2022. $1899.00 includes three working lunches. Limit six photographers/Openings five.

Fall 2022 Fort DeSoto Instructional Photo-Tour #2

3 1/2 Days: 7 October through the morning session on Monday 10 October 2022. $1899.00 includes three working lunches. Limit six photographers/Openings five.

Fall 2022 Fort DeSoto Instructional Photo-Tour #3

3 1/2 Days: Monday 31 October through the morning session on Thursday 3 November 2022. $1899.00 includes three working lunches. Limit six photographers/Openings: 5.

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, and gulls that winter on the T-shaped peninsula. With any luck at all, we should get to photograph one of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher is pretty much guaranteed. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. And we will get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. In addition, 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 might well be expected. And we will be on the lookout for a migrant passerine fallout in the event of a thunderstorm or two.

On this IPT, all will learn the basics and fine points of digital exposure. Nikon and Canon folks will learn to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and SONY folks will learn to use Zebras so that they can be sure of making excellent exposures before pressing the shutter button. Everyone will learn 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. Most importantly, you will surely learn to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it). The best news is that you will be able to take everything you learn home with you so that you will be a better photographer wherever and whenever you photograph.

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

These IPTs will run with only a single registrant (though that is not likely to happen). The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Once you register, you will receive an e-mail with Gulfport AirBnB information. If you register soon and would like to share an AirBnB with me, shoot me an e-mail. Other possibilities including taking a cab to and from the airport to our AirBnB and riding with me. This saves you both gas and the cost of a rental car.

A $600 deposit is due when you sign up and is payable by credit card. Balances must be paid by check two months before the trip. Your deposit is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with six 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, clothing, and gear advice. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.


desoto-fall-card-a-layers

Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, juvenile Tricolored Heron, Marbled Godwits, Great Blue Heron, juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, Wood Stork, smiling Sea Scallop, Ruddy Turnstone scavenging needlefish, Great Blue Heron sunset silhouette at my secret spot, and southbound migrant tern flock blur.

Up Early, Stay Out Late!

Obviously, folks attending an IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of the sweetest light and sunrise and sunset colors (when possible). The good news is that the days are relatively short in early fall. I really love it when I am leaving the beach on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers are arriving. The length of cloudy morning sessions will often be extended. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Spoonbills at DeSoto

Over the past years, Roseate Spoonbills have become regular visitors to Fort DeSoto Park. I know when and where to find them and can teach you to approach them successfully. Do consider joining me on one of the DeSoto IPTs.

What’s Up?

I skipped my walks on Tuesday morning to head into town for an 8:30am appointment. Before leaving, I spent 15 uneventful minutes at the Vulture Trees. I did complete both of my 40-length swims (totaling nine-tenths of a mile).

Today is Friday 23 September 2022. I headed down to the lake early for a walk/rope flow walk and some vulture photography. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took about two hours to prepare makes one hundred eighty-two days in a row with a new one.

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!

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Follow me on Instagram here. I am trying to feature both new and old images, especially images that have not appeared recently on the blog. Or search for birds_as_art.

BIRDS AS ART Image Optimization Service (BAA IOS)

Send a PayPal for $62.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net or call Jim at 863-692-0906 and put $62.00 on your credit card. Pick one of your best images and upload the raw file using a large file sending service like Hightail or DropBox and then send me the link via e-mail. I will download and save your raw file, evaluate the exposure and sharpness, and optimize the image as if it were my own after converting the raw file in Adobe Camera Raw. Best of all, I will make a screen recording of the entire process and send you a link to the video to download, save and study.

Induro GIT 304L Price Drop

Amazingly, we have two, brand-new-in-the-box Induro GIT 304L tripods in stock. They are $699.00 each (were $799.00) and the price now includes the insured ground shipping to the lower 48 states. Weekday phone orders only: 863-692-0906. Order yours here while they last.

Please Remember

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.

Brand-New and As-Good-As-Ever Bedfords 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.

Low Light Snowy Egret Raw Conversion from Soup to Nuts With Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Another Free YouTube Raw Conversion Video

This 13-minute video takes you through the complete optimization of a very sweet Snowy Egret image. It begins with the raw conversion: adjusting the Color Temperature and the Exposure and setting the White and Black Points. Also covered Color Temperature and Color Mixer adjustments. In Photoshop, we cover the level and crop, Topaz DeNoise, some image clean-up and Gaussian Blur work. Last I create a JPEG for the blog.

This image was created on 22 September 2021 on a Fort Desoto IPT. While seated on the damp sand, I used the hand held Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 1600. Exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/1250sec. at f/4 (wide open). AWB at 7:34:03am on a sunny but hazy morning.

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

Image #1: Snowy Egret in Lagoon — the final video version.

An Important Step in all Image Optimizations

When optimizing an image, it is always best to compare the original image to the final optimized version to see how you did. I do that, of course, in Photo Mechanic, the world’s best image browser. When I did that at the end of the video, I realized that the color was off. The image looked a bit too MAGENTA, and when I revisited the color in Photoshop on Friday morning (the morning after if you would), I realized that there was also a BLUE color cast. Scroll down to see the improved version and learn how I made the changes.

This image was created on 22 September 2021 on a Fort Desoto IPT. While seated on the damp sand, I used the hand held Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 1600. Exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/1250sec. at f/4 (wide open). AWB at 7:34:03am on a sunny but hazy morning.

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

Image #2: Snowy Egret in Lagoon — the color corrected after-the-fact version.

Correcting the Color After the Fact

After opening the image in Photoshop, I opened a Hue/Saturation layer, selected MAGENTA from the dropdown menu, and moved the slider all the way to the right to increase the MAGENTA saturation. That showed that there was indeed a MAGENTA color cast. To eliminate that cast, I moved the slider all the way to the left. At that point I realized that the image was too BLUE. So I opened the Camera Raw filter and went to the Color Mixer tab. There, I reduced the BLUE Saturation by 15 points and increased the BLUE Luminance by five points. That resulted in Image #2, the color corrected after-the-fact version.

Your Call

A- I like Image #1, the video version best because __________.

B- I like Image #2, the color corrected after-the-fact version best because __________.

C=- they look the same to me.

Click on the image to better see the green eye-AF boxes in action.

Sony Alpha 1 Flight Photography AF Points!

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up Guide and Info Group: $150.00 (or Free)

The SONY Alpha a1 Set-up Guide and Info Group is going great guns as more and more folks chime in with thoughtful questions and experience-based answers. As the a1 is becoming more readily available, more and more folks are getting their hands on this amazing body. By June 1, 2022, the group was up to an astounding 129 lucky and blessed folks. (More than a few folks own two or more a1 bodies!) Early on, we discussed the myriad AF options. I gave my opinion as to the best one for flight and general bird photography. The best news is that everyone in the group receives an e-mail that includes a .DAT file with my a1 settings on it, and explicit directions on how to load my settings onto your a1; talk about convenience! I am now offering a .DAT file compatible with firmware update 1.20. Your entry into the group includes a consolidated Sony a1 CAMSETA2 INFO & GUIDE. New a1 folks will now receive six e-mails instead of the previous 28! You will receive new e-mails as they are published. Simply put, this e-mail guide is an incredible resource for anyone with an a1.

All who purchase their Alpha 1 bodies via a BAA affiliate link — B&H or Bedfords — will receive a free Sony Alpha a1 Set-Up Guide and free entry into the Info & Updates group after shooting me their receipts via e-mail. (Note: it may take me several days to confirm B&H orders.). Others can purchase their guide here in the BAA Online Store.

Typos

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