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Thread: Educational Resources from BIRDS AS ART

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Default Educational Resources from BIRDS AS ART

    “The Art of Bird Photography; The Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques” (ABP) was first published as a hardcover book in 1998 by Amphoto. It quickly became the classic how-to book on the subject. About 15,000 copies of this edition were sold. It was re-released in soft-cover in 2003and more than 15,000 additional copies were sold in paperback. The very great strength of the book is chapter on Exposure which offers complete coverage of exposure theory and its practical application. I have received countless e-mails and letters over the years reading something like this: “I have been photographing for more than a decade, have attended many seminars, and read every book out there but not until I read and studied the chapter on exposure in ABP did I really understand both the basics and the complexities. Now I can not only come up with the right exposure in almost every situation but I understand what I am doing and why. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” In addition, all of the bases are covered in ABP: basic composition and image design, how to choose lenses, camera bodies, & film (Yikes!), how to see and utilize natural light, how to make sharp images, how to get close to free and wild birds, how to use flash as both main light and as fill, and how to edit and market your work. There is no digital content in the original “The Art of Bird Photography.”

    Note: The soft cover version of “The Art of Bird Photography" ; The Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques” is currently sold out. There are copies selling on line for as much as $300 used... We have purchased the rights and the film from Watson Gupthill and will be re-releasing the book with a new cover and a new, shorter title ("The Art of Bird Photography") under the BIRDS AS ART imprint; it is currenlty being printed in China and we expect to have them available towards the end of April 2008.

    In January 2003, I began work on “The Art of Bird Photography II” (ABP II). “The Art of Bird Photography II is the all-new continuation of the original “The Art of Bird Photography; The Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques.” At 916 pages with more than 875 images, ABP II is available only on CD. One chapter covers all aspects of Digital Photography and includes a section on understanding histograms. It also includes our complete digital workflow along with dozens of great Photoshop tips. Other chapters include "Equipment; What's New?," "Advanced Composition and Image Design," "It Ain't Just Birds," and "Advanced Sharpness Techniques & Creating Pleasing Blurs." The "Practicalities" chapter includes a detailed section on setting up your backyard for bird photography as well as sections on photographing on safari and on the tundra. In addition it covers the every day aspects of handling and transporting your equipment from setting up your tripod to packing and traveling by air with your gear. Nearly all of the images in the book include the technical data as well as our legendary educational captions. Most chapters include one or more galleries designed to illustrate and reinforce the principles covered in the text. There are two copies of the book on the CD. The "Spreads" version is best if you would like to enjoy the beauty of the images and the layout and design. The "Single Pages" version was designed for easy reading. The "Exposure and Flash Simplified" chapter re-visits two subjects that give folks the most trouble. Since the publication of ABP in 1998 we have refined and simplified our teaching in these two areas and these new approaches are covered in this all-new material. “Is the sun in or out? What is the overall tonality of the scene? When the sun is out at full strength your evaluative or matrix meter is smart. When it is cloudy, the same meter is dumb and needs your help. In addition to teaching this new approach to exposure the section on flash covers the use of fill flash, the use of flash as main light, and—for advanced students—the use of Manual Flash as main light. Other than the information in this chapter, virtually all of the material in ABP II is new.

    ABP II, a professionally burned and manufactured CD version replete with a cardboard CD case and CD face art, was released in November, 2006. You can purchase a copy for $40 plus $3 shipping and handling here: http://www.birdsasart.com/ABPII.htm. Folks who purchased a pre-publication version of ABP II may purchase the final version for only $10 plus $3 shipping.

    Soon after beginning work on ABP II, I realized that the CD book would not be ready for quite some time but that the information on digital photography, Breezebrowser and Downloader Pro, and Photoshop was of great value to the legion of folks just getting started in digital photography. Thus, we began offering our Digital Basics file (DB) that includes free updates for as long as I am around pushing the shutter button. You can learn more about DB ($20 for the PDF that is delivered by e-mail) here: http://www.birdsasart.com/digitalbasics.htm.

    With more than 3,000 copies sold, Digital Basics has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. On the other hand, it is surprising that we have not sold ten times as many. Why? First off, we have received nothing but positive feedback. DB was created so that folks with no digital experience can begin optimizing their images exactly as I do within minutes; just print the section on digital workflow, open an image in Photoshop, and follow the script. It's as simple as following a recipe from a good cookbook.

    My approach to Photoshop is a direct one: because I have so many images to process, my choice is to make the images look as good as possible in the shortest amount of time and Digital Basics teaches you to do just that. When we conduct our IPT Photoshop sessions I find that most photographers, including many experienced ones, have no clue as to how to make their images look great in Photoshop, and do not understand how to use Photoshop to automate a variety of tasks. (Many of them actually make their images look worse!) When I ask, "Do you have our Digital Basics File?" the answer is always, "No." It makes you think: these folks have spent huge sums of money on equipment and joined an IPT, yet they have not spent the additional $20 that would greatly improve the quality of their processed images and reduce the time that it takes them to optimize thier images. (Most of my family jewels images are optimized in three to five minutes...)

    The Digital Chapter in ABP II contains virtually the same information as in the April 2005 version of Digital Basics. The additional information (including the complete workflow for making conversions in Adobe Camera RAW in CS2) in the May 2006 update does not appear in ABP II. For this reason, we advise that serious digital photographers purchase both ABP II for the amazing wealth of information that it contains and Digital Basics so that they can receive the free Digital Basics updates that contain the latest and greatest Photoshop techniques that I have learned. The December 2006 update included all of the wonderful Photoshop tips that I learned from Alejandro Furman on the last Katmai bear boat trip including making and using color selections, darkening selected portions of an image, and removing color casts, and the next update will include info and comments on CS3. And the latest update (January 2007) includes the basics of Quick Masking.

    Free Excerpt: Creating an Action for your BPN J-PEGS

    Below is an adapted excerpt from both our Digital Basics File and from The Art of Bird Photography II. You can learn more about each of these right here in this Forum: http://www.birdphotographers.net/for...ead.php?t=5598

    Here is exactly how to create an action to be used to prepare an image file for BPN. First, open the image in Photoshop CS3. Next, click on the Actions tab that is usually adjacent to the History box tab. Then, click on the Create New Action icon that is located on the bottom of the window just to the left of the Garbage Can icon. The New Action Window will open. First, type a name for your action, perhaps “BPN j-pegs” into the Name: box. Then arbitrarily choose and check a function key that will be used to initiate the action; I use F2. Lastly, as a reminder, type the function key at the end of the name of the action. If you have chosen F2 for your BPN j-pegs action, the text in the Name Box should read “Slide Show j-pegs F2. ” Then click Record. (When you do this, the Begin Recording icon at the bottom of the window turns red indicating that the operations that you perform will be recorded as part of the action.)

    You are now ready to begin recording the various steps in your action. We will consider a 16-bit image Tiff file with layers as our starting point. First, click on Layers/Flatten Image, then on Image/Mode/8-bit. Then click on Image/Image Size and change the resolution to 96 pixels per inch. After making sure that that the Resample Image box is 800 in the Width box and 800 in the height box. This will assure that both your horizontals and your verticals will be 800 pixels on the longest side. Then click on Image/Mode/Convert to Profile and select sRGB from the drop-down menu if it does not appear in the Destination Space Profile box. ((Note: with some master files all of the above operations may not be needed, but it does no harm to have them included in the action in these cases.)

    Next we sharpen the image. With 800 pixel images to be used for the web we do two rounds of sharpening. The first round is at 300/.3/1.This is followed by another round at 100/.2/0. These generic settings usually do a great job with digital images; some scanned film images may require an additional round or two of sharpening after the fact. (If you have lots of scanned film images you may wish to create a separate action for those images with higher sharpening settings.) While it is true that a given image may look somewhat better with a bit more sharpening, the amount of time saved by using an action is considerable; I have almost never had an image that looked over-sharpened using the settings above.

    Now click File/Save For Web and Devices. Make sure that JPEG is selected in the box below the word Settings. Click on the tiny right-pointing arrow above the word Optimized near the upper right corner of the Save for Web window and then click on Optimize to File Size. Enter the number 145 in the Desired File Size box, click OK, and then click Save. In the Save As Optimized box, make sure that you click through to the desired location and folder and that “Images Only” appears in the Save As Type box.

    Next, click File/Close. A box should open and ask, “Save Changes to original file?” Click no as you do not want to save the changes to your master file as it would be destroyed... Lastly, you will need to click on the square to the left of the red circle on the bottom of the Actions window. This stops the recording of your steps and saves the action. Be sure to remember to end the recording or you will have to begin the whole process anew! (Been there, done that!) Now, when you have a finished master file that has already been named and saved, you can simply hit the f2 key and the processed file will be saved in your Web 800 j-pegs folder in a few seconds!
    Last edited by Arthur Morris; 02-23-2008 at 06:04 AM.
    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.

    Check out the new SONY e-Guide and videos that I did with Patrick Sparkman here. Ten percent discount for BPN members,

    E-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net.










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    Hi Artie- Just discovered this workflow. Thanks for posting. My only issue with it is that I tried the sharpening numbers and with an 800 pixel image, 300/.3/1 produces an oversharpened result and that's only on the first round. 300/.2/1 seems to work OK but that's a big difference when you have % set to 300 and you are dealing with an image of this size. The starting point for the tests were RAW. Any idea why this is happening?

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Hi John, Here is the strangest thing that I have noticed and nobody every has given me a good explanation. When sharpening JPEGs I will sometimes try 300/2.4/0 and I will barely notice the sharpening. Then I change to 300/2.5/0 and the image looks over-sharpened. This happens consistently whenever the 2.5 barrier is cracked.

    In your case, if they are looked oversharpened at 300/3/1 I would scale back to 200/3/1 and see how they look. As this is generic sharpening via an action it is imperative to look at at least several images...
    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.

    Check out the new SONY e-Guide and videos that I did with Patrick Sparkman here. Ten percent discount for BPN members,

    E-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net.










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    Forum Participant Valerio Tarone's Avatar
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    Hi Arthur Ok I'm ready to buy The art of digital photography' II. But is it safe to do it without the 1° CD? Could answer also to my:
    valerio.tarone@virgilio.it Thank you. Valerio

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerio Tarone View Post
    Hi Arthur Ok I'm ready to buy The art of digital photography' II. But is it safe to do it without the 1° CD? Could answer also to my: valerio.tarone@virgilio.it Thank you. Valerio
    Hi Valerio, Sorry to be so long in getting back to you. Have been super-busy and then away with only limited internet access. The first book is a regular printed book. We have had incredible problems with getting it reprinted but everything seems on track now so it should be a month or two, or possibly less. It is very safe and a good plan to get the CD book now as there is tons of great info there that can help you right now.
    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.

    Check out the new SONY e-Guide and videos that I did with Patrick Sparkman here. Ten percent discount for BPN members,

    E-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net.










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    Default Image size resampling component of action...

    I tried to create this action. The following description of part of the recommended action states the problem I have encountered:

    Educational Resources from BIRDS AS ART - BPN ForumsBODY { FONT-FAMILY:Verdana; FONT-SIZE:10pt } P { FONT-FAMILY:Verdana; FONT-SIZE:10pt } DIV { FONT-FAMILY:Verdana; FONT-SIZE:10pt } TD { FONT-FAMILY:Verdana; FONT-SIZE:10pt } "Then click on Image/Image Size and change the resolution to 96 pixels per inch. After making sure that that the Resample Image box is 800 in the Width box and 800 in the height box. This will assure that both your horizontals and your verticals will be 800 pixels on the longest side."
    [I am unable to get H & W both to 800; I can only get both if I uncheck the constrain proportions box and then I get a distorted square pic. What am I missing/doing wrong?]

    "Then click on Image/Mode/Convert to Profile"

    [Finally found this in the edit menu]

    "and select sRGB"

    [Which sRGB? sRGB IEC61966-2.1? e-sRGB? wsRGB? (I assume the first, but...?]

    Thanks for any help or clarification anyone can give

    Lynn

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Mannan View Post
    I tried to create this action. The following description of part of the recommended action states the problem I have encountered:

    Educational Resources from BIRDS AS ART - BPN Forums

    After making sure that that the Resample Image box is 800 in the Width box and 800 in the height box. This will assure that both your horizontals and your verticals will be 800 pixels on the longest side."
    [I am unable to get H & W both to 800; I can only get both if I uncheck the constrain proportions box and then I get a distorted square pic. What am I missing/doing wrong?]

    "Then click on Image/Mode/Convert to Profile"

    [Finally found this in the edit menu]

    "and select sRGB"

    [Which sRGB? sRGB IEC61966-2.1? e-sRGB? wsRGB? (I assume the first, but...?]

    Thanks for any help or clarification anyone can give

    Lynn

    Hi Lynn,

    Sorry to be so late in getting back to you but better late than never (I hope).

    The best way to size the pix to 800 the long way is to use a separate step as follows: File/Automate/Fit Image and then type in 800 and 800.

    And yes, the first sRGB is correct.

    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.

    Check out the new SONY e-Guide and videos that I did with Patrick Sparkman here. Ten percent discount for BPN members,

    E-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net.










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    BPN Member Dan Brown's Avatar
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    Default New size for the forum posts?

    Hasn't the max. size been upped to 1024 X 800? Dan Brown

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Brown View Post
    Hasn't the max. size been upped to 1024 X 800? Dan Brown
    Yes, but this was an old question. I am gonna stick with 800 wide at least for a while.
    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.

    Check out the new SONY e-Guide and videos that I did with Patrick Sparkman here. Ten percent discount for BPN members,

    E-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net.










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    I would highly recommend building edge masks for sharpening. When you apply global sharpening without an edge mask, you're sharpening "smooth" areas -- such as clear skies, solid colors in water, etc. -- and thereby creating noise in those areas. Obviously, this is not a good thing. Edge masks will prevent it. One you learn how to build them, you can record the steps in an action.

    Bruch Fraser explains one way to make them in this article. Read beneath the subhead "Capture Sharpening."

  11. #11
    Fabs Forns
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    Thanks for the link, David.

  12. #12
    Robert Amoruso
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Thomasson View Post
    I would highly recommend building edge masks for sharpening. When you apply global sharpening without an edge mask, you're sharpening "smooth" areas -- such as clear skies, solid colors in water, etc. -- and thereby creating noise in those areas. Obviously, this is not a good thing. Edge masks will prevent it. One you learn how to build them, you can record the steps in an action.

    Bruch Fraser explains one way to make them in this article. Read beneath the subhead "Capture Sharpening."
    Good article that I have and this is what I have been doing.

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