December 30th, 2011




I am alive and well (but fighting a cold at present) in Ushuaia, Argentina. We board the ship on Sunday afternoon and set sail for the Falklands, South Georgia, the South Orkneys, and the Antarctic Peninsula tomorrow at about 6PM. As noted previously I will be at sea without internet for 26 days. I will be back in the office on January 27. artie

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Harlequin Ducks pair; hen and drake, Barnegat Jetty, Barnegat Light, NJ. Seated behind the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/60 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor (by necessity) Rear Focus/AI Servo AF and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Lens/TC/camera body Micro-adjustment: +2. For a greater appreciation of the image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

Above I like the nice juxtaposition of the hen and the drake. I almost always focus on the foreground subject when creating these types of images. The f/10 was to ensure that the hen would be sharp; with a very long effective focal length it would have been impossible to render the drake sharply in focus. To learn how the Eckla Beach Rolly made this image possible see below.

The before and after clean-up work above was done with the Patch Tool and the spot healing brush. A series of Quick Masks was used to cover the intruding part of the drake lower right. All of that as detailed in Digital Basics. Note also the cleaner color balance and the increased detail in the after image. Learn more on how I optimized this image in NIK Stuff immediately below.


These days I open most every image in Photoshop CS-5 and then immediately bring it into NIK Color Efex Pro 4. Then I run my Tonal Contrast/White Neutralizer recipe. I followed that up here with a round of Detail Extractor. If you missed my killer time-saving recipe tutorial you can find it here.

NIK 15% Discount

You can save 15% on all NIK products (including and especially Color Efex Pro 4) by clicking here and entering BAA in the Promo Code box at check-out. Then hit Apply to see your savings. You can download a trial copy that will work for 15 days and allow you to create full sized images.

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NIK Creative Efex Collection

NIK recently announced the availability of a special limited production bundle of 3 of their most popular products, Color Efex Pro 4, Silver Efex Pro 2, and HDR Efex Pro. You can save more than $200 on the bundle which is available only through NIK affiliates. If you would like additional info, please e-mail with the words “Creative Efex Collection” in the Subject line. If you have been on the fence about purchasing the plug-ins mentioned above this is a great chance to save some significant bucks. I love both Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex and plan on learning to use Viveza soon.

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I will be doing three major programs for the festival: a 4-hour Saturday morning seminar, a 2-hour Saturday afternoon Photoshop for Nature Photographers session, and a Sunday morning In-the-field Master Class. You can check out the schedule here and find general info and register here. BTW, there is a slide show on the home page with some great images. My appearance is being generously sponsored by Canon USA through the Explorers of Light Program. Best plan: attend the festival and join me for the Morro Bay IPT that follows. See here for info on the IPT.

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The above image is a rare one as Denise does not like being photographed…. She is pulling a fully loaded Eckla Beach Rolly alongside the Barnegat Jetty.


When I was on Long Island two weeks ago my shoulders as previously noted were hurting quite a bit due to too much swimming to soon after I got home from Bosque. No surprise there. I rested a lot while visiting New York but wanted to get in one last trip to the Barnegat Jetty. But I was concerned that the almost mile-long walk with the 800 on my shoulder might not be the smartest thing for me to do. Denise Ippolito saved the day with a suggestion. She volunteered to bring along her customized Eckla Beach Rolly and met me at the jetty. We put both of our big lenses in the rolly along with both tripods and Denise rolled the whole shebang rather easily through one mile of soft sand. I felt like the King of Siam walking along with no tripod and nothing on my shoulder. Thanks Lady D! She was pretty much amazed at how easily it rolled. Don’t get me wrong: Denise is in great shape but she was a bit tired after the long haul out and the long haul back.

That said I could not have made it without her help, and she could not have made it without her Eckla Beach Rolly. I envision several uses for my Beach Rolly. It will be great at places with boardwalks like the St Augustine Alligator Farm and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. You will be able to bring pretty much all of your lenses, and an extra body or two, your flash and accessories, and heck, you can even bring your lunch. On various Florida beaches where you are routinely walking good distances you will be able to do the same. Do realize that my shoulder problem started about eight years ago after twenty years of carrying big glass on a tripod all on my right shoulder… Not too smart. I wish I had had a Beach Rolly back then.

You can learn more about this great product or purchase one by clicking here. See below for accessory details.

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Above is the fully packed Beach Rolly: Denise’s 500mm f/4L IS is on your left, my 800mm f/5.6 L IS on the right in an old Domke Bag. I am still trying to talk Scott Elowitz of LensCoat into making something very similar. My Gitzo 3530LS Carbon Fiber tripod with the Mongoose M3.6 attached is on your left, Denise’s with the Wimberley V-2 is on the right. See details on the Eckla Cargo Net, the Eckla Multi Holding Bar, and the Staples Milk Crate below.

Denise customized here Beach Rolly Gear Cart by adding a black plastic milk crate from Staples. It is 11 1/2″H x 13 7/8″W x 16 7/8″D. Yours for only $7.99 here. The milk crate keeps everything in the cart. The Cargo Net keeps stuff safely in place and allows you to overload your rolly without fear :), and the tripods are attached snugly by the Multi-holding Bar. All is all is it a neat set-up that can make your life a lot easier. Please leave a comment and let us know how you use or will be using your Eckla Beach Rolly Gear Cart. (Note: I tried the Eckla Eagle Car Door Camera Support and did not like it at all. I far prefer the BLUBB for car as blind work.)

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The Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II is my very favorite intermediate telephoto zoom lens. I use it often with both the 1.4 and 2X III teleconverters. It will be on my shoulder via the Black Rapid RS-7 Strap for pretty much all of my Southern Oceans trip.

B&H Killer Special

You can save $400 on one of my two favorite lenses from now through January 7, 2012 by clicking here. You can learn lots more about this great lens in dozens of blog posts especially here.. And you can save $400.00 off the regular price of $2374.00: $1974.00. This deal is so good that it runs only through December 31, 2011.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the image above. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon 1.4X III Teleconverter. Designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot with the 1.4X III TC.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Be sure to check out our camera body User’s Guides here.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV User’s Guide. Learn to use your Mark IV the way that I use mine. Also available for the 7D and the Mark III here.

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