April 6th, 2010

Birds As Art Bulletin #322



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Red-footed Booby, white morph, Eastern Island, Midway Atoll NWR
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens with the 1.4X II TC (handheld at 560mm) and the EOS-7D. ISO 320. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/500 sec. at f/14. “Fill-flash” at zero with the Better Beamer.

The 400 DO/1.4X II TC/7D combination is lightweight and deadly; it offers an equivalent focal length of 896mm, a shade under 18X magnification. And with IS it is easily hand-holdable in a variety of situations. Notice that even at f/14 the bill tip is not even close to being in focus…. In the 7D User’s Guide you will learn which 7D Custom Function is set so as to save my butt when using the 400 DO….


I spent 8 hours a day last week locked in my lonely writer’s garret working on the long-awaited 7D User’s Guide. The first draft was pretty much finished by Friday evening. Many of the folks who subscribe to the RSS or e-mail blog notifications at www.BIRDSASART-Blog.com took advantage of a $5.00 discount by purchasing a pre-publication copy. And many of them e-mailed corrections and suggestions for improvement that were incorporated in the 2nd draft that was e-mailed to all purchasers on Sunday.

I can honestly say that the 7D guide is amazing. Pretty much everything on the 7D is brand new and many folks have been seen shaking their heads in confusion. Learn everything that you need to know about setting up and operating your camera so that you are able to consistently produce the images that you want. This all new guide will open your eyes as to the possibilities. I share all of my Menu and Custom Function settings along with the reasons for each choice. I describe each of the five AF Area Selection Modes in detail and let you know which ones I use for what and why! And I have written a totally new section on making micro-adjustments. There is a ton of stuff in this guide that you will never see or hear anywhere else. You will, for example, learn how I create, save and use three different personalized Camera User Settings. Or how to set up and use Live View for a variety of nature photography applications. The entire guide is of course written in my easy to read, easy to follow, designed for dunces how-to style 🙂 So easy that even a child could follow along. Do note that 7D UG does not cover the creation of video.

The first edition of the Canon EOS-7D User’s Guide PDF will be e-mailed no later than Thursday, April 8. Updates–there will be at least one–will always be free.

The 7D User’s Guide (7D UG) will sell for $30 if you send a check or a PayPal or if you call with a credit card in hand. If you purchase the 7D UG through the BAA On-line store, a $2.00 discount will be applied. Order your copy today for only $28 through the store by clicking here: https://store.birdsasart.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=285.

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Laysan Albatross, tight flight, Bulky Dump, Sand Island, Midway Atoll NWR
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens (handheld at 200mm) with the EOS-7D. ISO 400: 1/1250 sec. at f/4 set manually. Exposure confirmed via histogram check. The 70-200 f/4L IS lens and the 7D make an effective lightweight combination. When there are relatively tame birds around that rig will usually be on my shoulder or in my hands. The 7D offers five AF Area Selection modes; in the guide, you will learn which one I prefer for flight photography.


The long-awaited but as-yet still unwritten Mark IV User’s Guide should be finished by this coming Friday :). I will be on it as soon as I finish this Bulletin. We should be e-mailing the completed PDF file by next Tuesday, April 13th at the latest. As the MIV is in many ways similar to the Canon EOS-1D MIII camera body, preparing this guide will not be as much work as preparing the 7D Guide was It will be fairly comprehensive, covering all menu items and Custom Functions except those dealing with creating video. And as always, the Mark IV UG will be written in my easy to read, easy to understand style.

The Mark IV User’s Guide will sell for $25, $23 for all orders placed through the BAA On-line store. As we have kept you waiting for too long we are offering a $5.00 discount on pre-orders placed through the BAA On-Line store only. To pre-order your copy and save $5.00 off of the $23 price, click here: https://store.birdsasart.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=286. Only 18 bucks after the smoke clears! (We will not be accepting phone orders, PayPals, or checks until Wednesday, April 14th. (Note: as above, there will always be an incentive for ordering the User’s Guides through the on-line store.)

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Vermillion Flycatcher, singing male, Las Lazos Ranch, Laredo, TX
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5,6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400: Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/250 sec. at f/8. Fill flash at -1 2/3 stops with Better Beamer. This was the most cooperative Vermillion Flycatcher that I have ever encountered. Thanks to ranch owner Nick Benavides for his hospitality and help. You can find some great information on handling bright saturated reds in your images in the BPN Tutorials and How-To Repository (we gotta come up with a new name for this) Forum. REDucation 1 can be found here: http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/showthread.php?t=29869 and REDucation 2 here: http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/showthread.php?t=29761.


It was not surprising that there were lots of great folks in Laredo, TX last week, and lots of bird photographers. The Laredo Birding and Photography Festival took place from March 24-27 and the kick-off for the 2010 ICF (Images for Conservation Fund) Pro Tour March 26-27: http://www.imagesforconservation.org/2010+Pro-Tour. You can learn more about the ICF here: http://www.imagesforconservation.org/front. At the Pro-Tour dinner on that Friday night I met two great photographers from the Netherlands, Jasper Doest and Krijn Trimbos. The three of us had been on-line friends for years. We had much too much fun over the next two days. For the complete and hilarious story of this meeting see my BPN thread “Crying and the Douche Bag” here: http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/showthread.php?t=60639. In addition I met some really sweet and knowledgeable folks including Carrol Henderson from Minnesota and local birder Roy J. Rodriguez. Both were seriously involved in educating children about birds and nature so the three of us had a lot in common. Roy is a superb naturalist; on a ranch visit he answered every one of my questions about the birds, the flowers, the trees, the river, the geology, and about the history of the area without batting an eyelash. Roy is a superb birding guide; you can contact him at rjrodz@aol.com. And Carrol and I hope to hook up in his home state for some great bird photography.

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Green Parakeet, Laredo, TX
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5,6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400: Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/10. This species has recently been expanding its range northward from Mexico. Thanks a ton to Blasita Lopez of the Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau for inviting me to the festival and for helping me find a flock of these beauties.


I will be doing two programs this coming Saturday, April 10, 2010. The morning program (10:30am until noon), “A Bird Photographer’s Story,” is being sponsored by Canon USA/Explorers of Light. It will include lots tips for making better images. The afternoon session (1:30 till 3:00pm) will cover the BIRDS AS ART Digital Workflow with lots of great Photoshop tips. You can learn more by clicking here: http://www.charlotteharbortravel.com/events/moreinfo.php?Event_ID=24471&pMonth=April I look forward to seeing many of you there. I will be bringing along a small selection of books, CDs, and photographic accessories. If you would like me to bring something specific for you, please e-mail me asap at birdsasart@att.net.

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Black-footed Albatross in flight, Sand Island, Midway Atoll NWR
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens with the EOS-7D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the sky: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 set manually. Exposure confirmed via histogram check. The 400 DO and the 7D are a great combination for flight photography. As detailed in the 7D User’s Guide, I love Auto Selection 19-point AF for a variety of situations (including birds in flight). Do check out the original capture below.

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Immediately above is the original as it looked when it came out of the camera. In six minutes in Photoshop I transformed the correctly exposed though washed out-looking image above into the handsome photograph above it. I used a variety of techniques that are detailed in Digital Basics: https://store.birdsasart.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=32. These included Levels, Curves, Hue Saturation and Selective Color Adjustments, using Refine Edge to protect selection edges and to get them looking just as I want them, making selections and targeted adjustments, using Linear Burn to darken the sky, running Photoshop Noise Reduction, and selectively sharpening the bird only with a Contrast Mask. In addition, Digital Basics will teach you how and why to expose to the right.


Sorry that the links to Robert O’Toole’s killer Midway video clips in the last Bulletin did not work. We will try again now :).

Laysan Albatross Courtship: http://vimeo.com/10252819.

Black-footed Albatross Courtship: http://vimeo.com/10251434.

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Breezebrowser Screen Capture, Sandhill Crane adult with young, Indian Lake Estates, FL
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200mm f/4 L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC (handheld at 280 mm) with the EOS-7D. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/8. I love how you can watch the focus points shift when using AI Servo Auto Selection 19-point AF. Heck, simply switching from one Area Selection AF mode to another can be a challenge with the 7D. The BAA 7D User’s Guide will teach you to set up and use your new body confidently and efficiently. The optimized image is below.

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Hungary Bird Photography Workshop #2: May 8-15, 2010. 7 Days: $3899.

See the Late Registration Discount info below. (Limit 4: openings: 1)
Bee-eaters, European Rollers, raptors and more great birds in Hungary with Robert O’Toole. This central European country is known as one of the top tourist destinations in the world but it also offers some of the most amazing bird photography opportunities on the planet. Based in the Kiskunsági National Park (2 hours south of Budapest) we will be visiting 14 established hides–10 within a radius of 1.2 miles–during the peak season bee-eaters, rollers, kestrel–all nesting, displaying, and mating. Bee eaters spend an enormous time in front of the set ups offering food to their mates: bees, wasps, butterflies and dragonflies. All right on our perches. Some bee eaters have been known to catch as many as 250 bees per day. Rollers will perch prominently while hunting and the male will feed the female about every 20 minutes with insects, rodents, snakes, lizards and frogs of all kinds. There will also be chances to photograph Golden Oriole, Cuckoo, Spoonbill, Squacco Heron, White-tailed Eagle, Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Hawfinch and much more. There is a good chance this year for nesting Hoopoe!

Both of these workshops had been sold out for some time. Because of a recent cancellation Robert is able to offer a $900 Late Registration Discount brings the cost of this great workshop down to $2999. Please contact Robert at robert@robertotoolephotography.com to register or for more information.

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European Bee-eater Hungary, Central Europe. Image Copyright 2009: Robert O’Toole Photography
Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR with TC-14E 1.7x II Teleconverter and Nikon D300 with MB-D10, ISO 400. Manual metering on zero: 1/000 sec. at f/8.0. This bird caught the dragonfly in midair and is now displaying it to attract a potential mate.


June 18-22, 2010 (slide program on the evening of June 17.) 5-FULL DAYS: $2749. LIMIT: 10.

Two in-the-field photography sessions per day (weather permitting of course) in all natural areas away from civilization and only accessible by charter boat. $800 deposit required, full payment due by May 18th.

The workshop location is like a dream: cooperative eagles in natural settings away from civilization in soft warm summer light. You will not believe the opportunities that will present themselves on this workshop. We will photograph eagles in flight, perched on natural driftwood, in small spruce trees, and on rocky shores and beaches. Eagles of all ages will be engaged in a variety of behaviors including displaying, fishing, flying, and feeding. Please contact Robert at robert@robertotoolephotography.com to register or for more information. See the images from Robert’s Homer trip last February on his new website (right now in a beta form): http://www.robertotoole.com/galleries/latest-images/.

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Bald Eagle inverted bank, Katchemak Bay, near Homer Alaska. Image Copyright 2009: Robert O’Toole Photography
Nikon D700 with Sigma 100-300 F4 EX @175mm, ISO 500. Manual metering mode.1/2000 sec. at f/8. Hand held. This bird was about to begin a power dive.


St. Augustine Alligator Farm Workshop, May 14 to 16, 2010. Limit: 6. 3-DAYS: $850.

(does not include lodging, meals, or ground transportation).

Join creative photographers Al and Fabs Forns at the Alligator Farm for a week-end of fun while you learn and practice. We will cover flight photography techniques, subject isolation, how to make good use of habitat, portraits and a creative approach. In the classroom, we’ll cover Photoshop and Lightroom workflows and tips, and the use of artistic filters to enhance your images. There will also be critiques of your work. Six in-the-field and three classroom sessions. Maximum of 6 participants. Take advantage of a very small group and personal attention.
Price is $850 per person that includes only instruction. Lodging, meals transportation and entry fee are your responsibility.

E-mail fabs@avianscapes for more information or to reserve a spot today!

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Kenya Big Game Safari/Rwanda for Gorilla Trekking

Gustafson Photo Safari invites you to join the 2010 Kenya Big Game Safari! This itinerary concentrates on the two most prolific parks for big game photography in Kenya: Samburu and Maasai Mara. We will spend 7 days in each of these remarkable destinations. Flights to and from the parks will minimize travel time and maximize in the field photography time.

The arid, sub Saharan region of Samburu is home to many unique animals and birds. Gerenuk, baisa oryx, vulturine guinea fowl, Somali ostrich are just a few. Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/gustaphoto#p/a/u/1/67dKIdyDCFY for HD video footage of Gustafson Photo Safari in Samburu. The last 5 years have shown a remarkable increase in the frequency and consistency of the Mara River crossings. HD footage of wildebeest crossings and the Maasai Mara’s spectacular wildlife has just been posted. http://www.youtube.com/gustaphoto. Also, enjoy the Mara Crossings article available at: http://www.gustafsonphotosafari.net/wp-content/uploads/migration2.pdf. On my website you can also check the images from past safaris: http://www.gustafsonphotosafari.net/?page_id=53.

Kenya Big Game Safari:

$11,999.00 per person double occupancy. Please note that in an effort to keep prices down I have worked with my land operators to run this safari at 2008 prices!

July 28 Depart US
July 29 Nairobi Serena
Jul 30 – Aug 4 Samburu Serena- 6 nights
Aug 5 – 11 Mara Serena – 7 nights -plus you have the AM of August 12 for game drive
August 12 Nairobi Serena

Rwanda for Gorilla Trekking

Price $7,600.00

Aug 13-15 Mountain Gorillas View Lodge – 2 days for gorilla trekking
August 16 Kigale Serena – morning excursion for trekking the Golden Monkey and transfer to Kigale afterwards
August 17 Flight to NBO to connect back home
August 18 Arrive home

See the Uganda 2009 Trip Report at www.gustafsonphotosafari.net or http://www.gustafsonphotosafari.net/wp-content/uploads/Uganda2009.pdf.

Todd Gustafson. (847)298-8351. E-mail: gustaphoto@aol.com. Web site: www.gustafsonphotosafari.net.


David McNicholas is offering a used Canon EOS-1 Ds Mark II 16.7 mp digital camera (Firmware 1.1.6) in excellent condition for $1795. Sale includes all the original equipment, the original box, packing, cables, battery charger, the Instruction Manual, an extra camera battery and a 4gb memory card. The buyer pays shipping and insurance: asking $1795

Please contact Dave via an e-mail to: dpmcnicholas@comcast.net

Note from artie: The 1Ds II was my favorite camera body for more than two years.


BOSQUE del APACHE 2010 IPT: The Complete Bosque Experience. NOV 20-26, 2010.

Slide program on the evening of Friday, NOV 19. 7-FULL DAYS: $3199. (Non-refundable deposit: $500; see details below.) Limit: 10/Openings: 6. Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole, Jim Heupel, and multiple BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year honoree Chris Van Rooyen of South Africa (http://www.wildlifephotography.co.za). Live, eat, and breathe photography with one of (if not the) world’s premier photographic educators at one of his very favorite locations on the planet. Plus great co-leaders and top-notch Photoshop instruction.

San Diego IPT JAN, 2011. DATES TBA.

5 Full Days: $2499 (Limit 8/Openings: 6).
I will announce the dates once I get a look at a tide table. I already have two deposits even without a firm date! Slide program on the evening before the first day of the IPT. A fully refundable $500 deposit now will hold your spot until the dates are announced. Once the dates are announced let me know either way. If you opt in, then your deposit will become non-refundable and you will be asked to complete the registration and release forms. Brown Pelicans, Wood and Ring-necked Ducks, Western and Heerman’s Gulls, Marbled Godwits, and lots, lots more.

SW FLA PRESIDENT’S WEEK IPT: 2011 DATES TBA: $2899.. (Limit 10).

If you would like your name placed on the interested list for this IPT, please e-mail me at birdsasart@att.net. Or send me a deposit as below :). Same story as above on the dates: I am waiting for the publication of the tide tables.

A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold a spot for each of the above IPTs. Deposits may be paid by check, PayPal, or credit card. Payment in full (by check or money order only) is due four months before the start of each trip and is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out. You will be required to sign a statement of understanding to this effect. Travel insurance is of course highly recommended. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options, you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage, which expands the list of reasons for your canceling to an infinite list, from a sudden work or family obligation to a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: http://www.travelinsure.com/what/selecthigh.asp?32940. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check of running your credit card. We regret that we must implement this new policy but we have been plagued by last minute cancellations that make it impossible for others to participate and deprive us of essential income. In addition, these policies protect you against unexpected developments, injuries, or illnesses.

Important note: please print, fill out, and sign the registration and release forms and include them with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.” ) If you use a credit card to register, please fill out, sign, and mail the two forms asap. Your registration will not be complete until we receive your paper work. You can find the forms here: Registration and Release Form.


March 18-22, 2011 & March 24-28. 5-FULL DAYS: $3249. Limit: 12 (including the leaders).
Both of these trips sold out with long waiting lists within hours after being announced to the BAA Friends List. The Friends List is made up of IPT veterans who fit in the happy camper category. If you have been on an IPT and would like your name added to the BAA Friends List, please e-mail me at birdsasart@att.net and include a short note.

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