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Thread: Quack, Quack, Quack

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Default Quack, Quack, Quack

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    This Greater Scaup was photographed at Westchester Lagoon in Anchorage on June 3 on our travel insurance day on the bear boat. Canon 800 f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-1D MIII. ISO 400. Evalautive metering +2 1/3 stops: 1/200 sec. at f/7.1 set manually.

    Don't be shy; all comments welcome.
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    Lifetime Member Doug Brown's Avatar
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    Perfect exposure and a great open-bill pose. Like it a lot!
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    Avian Moderator Randy Stout's Avatar
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    Artie:

    Nice light with excellent exposure, details in blacks, whites and nice green sheen on head.
    Sharp, HA, open bill.

    Cheers

    Randy

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    seems like overcast weather? you did super - exposure spot on and pose great. lovely bird, never seen one!
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    very very nice. The eye makes it IMO.

    Do you think the 800 creates perceptibly more compression in context with such photos? With a 500 or a 600 lens, would the duck look a little different (of course when shot from closer to create the same size of duck in the frame)? I understand that the compression will render background quite different and understand the dof implications too. The reason I am asking is that the duck looks almost 2-dimensional even though it is not oriented parallel to the sensor plane.

    Thanks for sharing

  6. #6
    ┴kos Lumnitzer
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    This is great Artie. Love the contrasting yet perfectly exposed tonalities all across. Great green sheen, HA and bill action. Nothing to add. I love it.

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    BPN Member Ilija Dukovski's Avatar
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    Good quack, nice green iridescence. Would I be wrong if I say you prefer to
    show details in the darks rather than whites? Can you tell us a bit more about PP in this case please.
    I find it quite difficult getting both lights and darks well exposed with detail and keeping contrast at the same time.
    Need to learn:)

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    Axel Hildebrandt
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    I like the angle, details and particularly the exposure control. I also like the open bill and serene mood.

    What is a travel insurance day? An extra day because of bad weather?

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    Excellently done on the duck itself. I find the eye riveting and the open mouth a bonus.

    I find the ripple that intersects his upper bill and behind his neck a little distracting. The incomplete reflection is bothersome IMO as are the white vertical striations within the reflection at the bottom of the frame.

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    Octavio Campos Salles
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    I like the almost "duo-tonality" of the scene. The very soft ripples and almost no details in the water works well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Axel Hildebrandt View Post
    I like the angle, details and particularly the exposure control. I also like the open bill and serene mood. What is a travel insurance day? An extra day because of bad weather?
    When you must be on a boat or a plane on Day 3 we arrive on Day 1. If folks are delayed, then they show up on Day 2 and do not miss the float plane or the rendevous with the boat. It saved several folks on the way to Quito/The Galapagos one year when there were flight delays because of a volcanic eruption in Columbia (I think).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaustubh Deshpande View Post
    very very nice. The eye makes it IMO. Do you think the 800 creates perceptibly more compression in context with such photos? With a 500 or a 600 lens, would the duck look a little different (of course when shot from closer to create the same size of duck in the frame)? I understand that the compression will render background quite different and understand the dof implications too. The reason I am asking is that the duck looks almost 2-dimensional even though it is not oriented parallel to the sensor plane.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hi Kastubh, Thanks and YAW. Well, I have an admission to make: I do not know what you mean by compression in this onctext. I understand that long lenses will make it seems that elements of a photograph on different planes are closer than they actually are, that is, they compress the elements. I had never considered whether or not this would effect the way a duck or other subject would look given a constant subject size and aperture. In that case I would assume that the duck would look pretty much the same.

    And with all due respect, now that I have considered that I must admit that it is of no concern to me. I loved the images that I created for more than a decade with the 500 and the 600 lens and now I love the images that I create with the 800. I am like a parent; I love them all equally. :) :) :)

    ps: If there were any differences, I am sure that they would be miniscule. Also, remember that the farther the subject from the camera, the greater the d-o-f at a given aperture....
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    Lifetime Member James Salywoda's Avatar
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    I like it Artie the slightly open bill the nice eye contact and of course the beautiful iridescence in the head.

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    BPN Viewer Bruce Enns's Avatar
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    A gorgeous and very serene image Artie, great exposure, head angle, open bill, details. Does more face detail emerge with a bit more S/H or does that spoil the incredibly smooth green-black head?

    Cheers!
    Bruce

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    Arthur, I guess what i was saying was does the tail seem closer to bill with 800 than 600 or 500. your answer can be simple 'no' :-)

    thx for responding quickly

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaustubh Deshpande View Post
    Arthur, I guess what i was saying was does the tail seem closer to bill with 800 than 600 or 500.
    Hmmm...I think technically it should be. But in all practicality, I wonder if you can actually detect that without doing side-by-side shots comparison.

    Good shot! :) But, Artie, I thought you were not a fan of shooting birds from that perspective?

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    Sweet image! Love the head turn, open bill, soft light, clean water and beautiful green sheen on the head.

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    I'm always partial to waterfowl and you've captured this nicely.
    I like the pose and open mouth and there is good detail in the body.
    Wish the reflection wasn't clipped though.

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    Lifetime Member Stu Bowie's Avatar
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    Perfect exposure, especially on the greens of the head. The low angle works well, and I like the softer colours in the BG.

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    Great image Guru.. loved the Pose and expo on this guy. technically well executed shot.

    do you feel a little more saturation would help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaustubh Deshpande View Post
    Arthur, I guess what i was saying was does the tail seem closer to bill with 800 than 600 or 500. your answer can be simple 'no' :-) thx for responding quickly
    Or a simple "I have no clue." :) :) :)

    Maybe Geroge Lepp knows the answer....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desmond Chan View Post
    Good shot! :) But, Artie, I thought you were not a fan of shooting birds from that perspective?
    Hi Desmond, (Do your friends call you "Des."?) Never said that. I have said that if you are shooting from behind or directly over the shoulder then you really have to pay attention to HA (square to the imaging sensor is perfect) and you need to use enough d-o-f you get the tail sharp.

    I do bust folks for shooting up the bird's butt when the bird is looking either away or straight ahead (which yields a poor HA because the bird is angled away).

    And lastly, all rules are made to be broken if a-the situation is right and b-you want to and have a good reason to do so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiran Poonacha View Post
    Great image Guru.. loved the Pose and expo on this guy. technically well executed shot. do you feel a little more saturation would help.
    Thanks Kiran, Possibly. As I have been saying here a lot recently, if you optimize the same image five days in a row sitting in the same spot in the same lighting conditions, it is very likely that they will create five slightly different versions with regards to color, contrast, and brightness.... The trick is to be fairly consistent in your processing and to make the image look the way you like it (at least on a given day!)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Enns View Post
    A gorgeous and very serene image Artie, great exposure, head angle, open bill, details. Does more face detail emerge with a bit more S/H or does that spoil the incredibly smooth green-black head? Cheers! Bruce
    Thanks Bruce. S/H is a tool that must be used very judiciously. If you over-do it the darks begin to look noisy, muddy, and phony. I know that from experience :) :D :) A great tip to help avoid that is to play with the midtone slider. I change the default there to +8 and that seems to work very well most of the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kusmin View Post
    Wish the reflection wasn't clipped though.
    Hi Paul, This is another subject that I have written about extensively. If the water is perfectly calm and the reflection totally perfect or close to it, I will include the whole reflection. If the reflection is incomplete and/or distorted, I will clip it at what I think is the best spot. To do otherwise consistently yields images that look top heavy to me.

    It is of course a matter of personal preference, but the above makes sense to me. And those perfect and complete reflections are very rare....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Hi Paul, This is another subject that I have written about extensively. If the water is perfectly calm and the reflection totally perfect or close to it, I will include the whole reflection. If the reflection is incomplete and/or distorted, I will clip it at what I think is the best spot. To do otherwise consistently yields images that look top heavy to me.

    It is of course a matter of personal preference, but the above makes sense to me. And those perfect and complete reflections are very rare....
    Understand your reasoning completely Artie, good reflections are hard to come by.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Hi Desmond, (Do your friends call you "Des."?)
    Yes, they do. And thanks for the clarification !

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    Ilija,

    Sorry that I almost missed that though I think parts of it may be anwsered above.

    re:

    Would I be wrong if I say you prefer to show details in the darks rather than whites?

    I believe so. I am always pushing the histogram to the right as far as possible without clipping the whites or highlights or the super-saturated colors. In this image I can see detail in the white feathers and there is no over-exposure. In most cases, and almost always when working in low light, if you push the histogram all the way to the highlight axis you ensure that there will be no clipping on the shadow side. In addition, when converting in ACR, you can move the Black slider to brighten the Shadows. When I convert in ACR I like to have the histogram maybe 1/32 of an inch from each axis rather than almost touching. So I am always going for detail in the whites and detail in the blacks.

    Can you tell us a bit more about PP in this case please.

    Most of the work was done in ACR, moving the sliders as I indicated above. (See item 2 in Bulletin 291 in the archives here http://www.birdsasart.com/bn291.htm for a complete description of how I convert in ACR. I rarely move the Fill Light slider preferring to use SH/H in CS3 instead. I did that here but was careful not to overdo it as that would create icky, sickly greens.

    I find it quite difficult getting both lights and darks well exposed with detail and keeping contrast at the same time.

    It's all in learning to evaluate the histogram and it's all in both ABP II and in Digital Basics There are links to both on the home page.

    Let me know if you have any additional questions.
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    BPN Member Ilija Dukovski's Avatar
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    I almost missed your answer:)

    Thank you so much for getting back. I noticed that your work lately tends towards
    bright images, with more pronounced contrast. Lately I'm trying to push the histogram as far
    right as possible when setting the exposure, from what I've learned from you.

    I agree, major light adjustments are best done in ACR. The blacks slide is great feature.

    I have a question about the sharpening in ACR. I know you are 100% against sharpening
    before the final size and format, however due to limits of my camera I think (Nikon D80:()
    way too often I get a lot of noise after sharpeining and it is not easy to get rid of it in all cases.
    This is why quite often I sharpen in ACR using the masking feature. I push the masking slide
    way to the right so only the edges are in white and then sharpen a bit. This way I can sharpen less
    in the final size/format and avoid the noise. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think when it comes to sharpening
    it is essentially contrast applied to edges, so there's no need to apply it to flat part of the image anyway.
    I know I can create a mask with only the edges and then do the same in the final format
    but in ACR it is simply more convenient (I used to do it when I first started PP with GIMP, a free open-source software).
    I'd appreciate you oppinion. Do you ever use the sharpening feature with edges mask in ACR?

    Thanks...

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    Hi Again Ilija,

    re:

    Thank you so much for getting back.

    YAW.

    I noticed that your work lately tends towards bright images, with more pronounced contrast.

    I musst be slipping as I try to avoid that. Do share some examples.

    Lately I'm trying to push the histogram as far right as possible when setting the exposure, from what I've learned from you.

    That is good as long as you realize that you need to adjust tonality, brightness, and contrast.

    I agree, major light adjustments are best done in ACR. The blacks slide is great feature.

    Agree.

    I have a question about the sharpening in ACR. I know you are 100% against sharpening before the final size

    Not exactly. I do move the Clarity slider to about +30 for most images. My understanding is that this is similar to capture sharpening.

    and format, however due to limits of my camera I think (Nikon D80:() way too often I get a lot of noise after sharpeining and it is not easy to get rid of it in all cases.

    It sounds as if you are sharpening the whole image. Try selectively sharpening only the subject.

    This is why quite often I sharpen in ACR using the masking feature.

    Is that CS-4?

    I push the masking slide way to the right so only the edges are in white and then sharpen a bit. This way I can sharpen less in the final size/format and avoid the noise. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think when it comes to sharpening it is essentially contrast applied to edges, so there's no need to apply it to flat part of the image anyway.

    Sorry--you lost me a few sentences back as I am not at all famiiar with the above....

    I know I can create a mask with only the edges and then do the same in the final format but in ACR it is simply more convenient (I used to do it when I first started PP with GIMP, a free open-source software).

    If it works, go with it!

    I'd appreciate you opinion. Do you ever use the sharpening feature with edges mask in ACR?

    I try to avoid giving opinions on subjects with which I am not at all familiar :) :D :)
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    Hi again,

    I musst be slipping as I try to avoid that. Do share some examples.


    Oops, didn't know you try to avoid that.
    I had in mind the images of sea birds on your blog (and BPN) from April
    compared to those in the ABP book. For example compare the Royal Tern
    from April 7 to the Arctic on page 54 of the book. I was especially impressed by the
    image of the imm. Herring Gull from April 14 compared to the GBB gull on page 141 in the book.
    The Herring Gull is much brighter and with more pronounced contrast which makes am image
    of high impact from an "ordinary" subject. This one made me try to brighten up my own images.

    Is that CS-4?
    No, it is CS-3.

    Sorry--you lost me a few sentences back as I am not at all famiiar with the above....
    Let me describe in more detail what I do, and if you have the patience you could try it.

    I open the image in Camera Raw 4.5 and click on the Detail panel (3rd from left: Basic, Tone Curve, Detail...)
    I zoom the preview to 100% (otherwise the effects of the controls are not visible)
    I press Alt/Option and slide the Masking all the way to the right. This creates a mask with only the edges left
    unmasked (the Alt only makes the mask visible, not necessary but nice to have control) The slide controls the blur of the mask, i.e. all the way to the right results in thin white edges. If the slide is on the left the image is unmasked.
    I adjust the slide to have only the main edges of the bird in white, usually eye, beak, feet etc.
    Now I move the sharpening slides in the same Detail panel (Amount, Radius...)
    This sharpens only the major edges in the image so later I can get away with less sharpening in the final size
    That's it, I'm curious to hear what you think about it?

    I try to avoid giving opinions on subjects with which I am not at all familiar :) :D :)
    How eccentric, now I feel better for avoiding that too:):D

    Cheers...


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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Hi again Ilija,

    re:

    I must be slipping as I try to avoid that. Do share some examples.

    Oops, didn't know you try to avoid that.

    Ah, I think that I might have misunderstood you. I like mmy images bright I do try to avoid making them too contrasty as that is easy to do with digital. I see it often here.

    I had in mind the images of sea birds on your blog (and BPN) from April
    compared to those in the ABP book. For example compare the Royal Tern
    from April 7 to the Arctic on page 54 of the book. I was especially impressed by the
    image of the imm. Herring Gull from April 14 compared to the GBB gull on page 141 in the book.
    The Herring Gull is much brighter and with more pronounced contrast which makes am image
    of high impact from an "ordinary" subject. This one made me try to brighten up my own images.

    Ah again. You are comparning film with digital. With film, the brightness level was controlled by the guy in the lab, that after we carefully guarded against over-exposing the highlights. Now we have control. :)

    Is that CS-4?
    No, it is CS-3.

    Sorry--you lost me a few sentences back as I am not at all famiiar with the above....
    Let me describe in more detail what I do, and if you have the patience you could try it.

    I open the image in Camera Raw 4.5 and click on the Detail panel (3rd from left: Basic, Tone Curve, Detail...)
    I zoom the preview to 100% (otherwise the effects of the controls are not visible)
    I press Alt/Option and slide the Masking all the way to the right. This creates a mask with only the edges left
    unmasked (the Alt only makes the mask visible, not necessary but nice to have control) The slide controls the blur of the mask, i.e. all the way to the right results in thin white edges. If the slide is on the left the image is unmasked.
    I adjust the slide to have only the main edges of the bird in white, usually eye, beak, feet etc.

    I got that result at 100%.

    Now I move the sharpening slides in the same Detail panel (Amount, Radius...)

    What would the average range of your settings be for Amount, Radius, Detail, (and Masking too)? For the image here I used 40, 2.0, and 50.

    This sharpens only the major edges in the image so later I can get away with less sharpening in the final size.

    I used your technique for the image above.

    That's it, I'm curious to hear what you think about it?

    My main concern would be to avoid over-sharpening.... If you (effectively) sharpen the RAW, will the edges look oversharpened when you sharpen again for a given output?

    I try to avoid giving opinions on subjects with which I am not at all familiar
    How eccentric, now I feel better for avoiding that too:):D

    Good plan. Thanks for the tip.


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  33. #33
    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Does the image in the pane above look over-sharpened?
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  34. #34
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    Hi, me again, sorry for late response, busy these days...

    What would the average range of your settings be for Amount, Radius, Detail, (and Masking too)? For the image here I used 40, 2.0, and 50.

    Radius of 2 is a bit on higher side, I'd keep it around 1. Detail=0 suppresses halo so 100 has no effect at all.
    Detail 0 needs greater Amount and 100 needs less Amount.
    With Radius 1 and Detail 100 Amount 40ish 50 seems fine.

    Masking depends on how much area you want to sharpen around the edge. I'd say make white lines that do not
    touch each other and eliminate large white regions in the mask. I think higher amount of 80 even 100 would be fine.


    My main concern would be to avoid over-sharpening.... If you (effectively) sharpen the RAW, will the edges look oversharpened when you sharpen again for a given output?

    OK I understand, then don't use it on raw image, but on sized jpeg.
    Open the jpeg in camera raw and do the masking and sharpening.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Does the image in the pane above look over-sharpened?
    Perhaps the eye, otherwise is OK I think. This technique may be redundant if you start with sharp image with little noise (ah that full frame format), but in my case with DX format I think it is quite useful.

    Let me post 3 images: first the original, then sharpened by unsharp mask in PS, and finally edge-sharpened in ACR (all CS3)

  35. #35
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Here's the original, I've chosen a large crop and quite poor sharpness image to emphasize the effect.
    This is sized jpeg image that I start with.

  36. #36
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Here's the image sharpened by unsharp mask in PS.
    Amount 80%
    Radius 1
    Threshold 0
    (I'll keep threshold at 0 and detail 100 and radius at 1 to compare only the Amount)

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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    And finally the edge-sharpened jpeg in ACR (the starting point is the jpeg sized original)

    Amount 50
    Radius 1
    Detail 100

    Masking 80

    You can see that this one is sharpest and yet the noise is much better than in the one done by unsharp mask.
    The result is the best in the bright plumage I think.

    Cheers, Ilija

  38. #38
    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Thanks for the settings. There is definitely a black halo on the top of the head in pane 38.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    Thanks for the settings. There is definitely a black halo on the top of the head in pane 38.
    Yes, I think I over-sharpened in the zeal to prove a point.
    I still think it is a good technique for sharpening since there's no point
    to apply it to flat featureless regions. I will use it in the future on my final sized images
    and try to see if I get better critiques:)
    Do you think it is worth testing some more on your part?

  40. #40
    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Your technique is soemwhat time-consuming. Before I add something new to my workflow I always ask, "How do my images look?" The answer is usually pretty good. So I doubt that your technique will make its way into my workflow. But thanks for sharing. I shall keep it in mind and may wind up using it for something else.
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: we will not sell you junk. 35 years of long lens experience. Please e-mail with gear questions.

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