April 23rd, 2010

Birds As Art Notes, April 23rd 2010


  • ALAN MURPHY’S “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography”

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Painted Bunting, male at water feature, Cozad Ranch, Linn, TX
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6 L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC, a 25mm Extension tube, and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/8. Fill flash at -3 stops with Better Beamer.

The Cozad Ranch in early May is a great place for this beautiful and much sought-after species.


Meet me in McAllen, TX on the late afternoon of April 28, 2010 (or on the early morning of April 29). Depart on May 6. Photograph together with me for one solid week. Opportunities will include two days on a Painted Bunting Ranch and at least another day (and possibly several afternoons) on a new ranch with tons of birds. We will run to the coast at Padre Island for a fallout if there is some bad weather or for at least a morning to see what’s around. We will visit a new and exciting inland location for Least Grebes, Black-necked Stilt, breeding plumage Ruddy Duck, Black-bellied and Fulvous Whistling Ducks plus lots more. All in early morning light with green reflections in the water… Many too close to focus on. We will edit and work on images together for a week: $3500. Just you and me. Includes all ranch fees and a ride with me. (Couples please inquire).. Though extremely short notice, this does represent a once in a life time opportunity to improve your photography immensely in just one week. Best to phone me immediately at 863-692-0906 if you are seriously interested. The first phone call wins. If you are interested in a private day or two at $500 per day please e-mail me. No promises on those :).

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Green Jay, Ramirez Ranch, Roma, TX
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/5.6.

Green Jay is one of several Rio Grande Valley specialties that I will get to photograph next week; care to join me? 🙂

ALAN MURPHY’S “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography”

Alan’s CD book is lavishly illustrated not only with Alan’s killer images but with dozens and dozens of step-by-step photos that will show you exactly how to create your own successful set-ups. The writing is clear and concise and the directions are easy to follow and inclusive. As Alan shows in the book, even if you have only a small backyard, or even just a patio or a balcony, you can learn to create stunning avian images on a consistent basis.

Get yourself a copy and you will learn the tips and tricks that Alan has been using to create exquisite images of songbirds on beautiful perches for nearly a decade. These include:

* How to attract a variety of songbirds to your set-ups and get them to land exactly where you want them to!
* How to photograph hummingbirds in flight without a flash
* How to get hummingbirds to land on your perch
* How to create great set-ups for woodpeckers
* How to keep plants, leaves, and flowers alive and looking fresh
* How to get small songbirds to land on delicate perches
* How to get birds to land on cactus set-ups
* Which type of bird feeder is best by far and how to use them in your set-ups
* The secrets of using suet with your set-ups
* How to work with fruit and berries
* How to build and work with water-drip ponds
* How to choose perches including the do-s and don’t-s.
* How to place, position, and secure perches at your set-up
* How to get ground birds like quail, roadrunners and meadowlarks up on your stump set-ups
* How to turn nest boxes into natural looking tree cavities
* How to create set-ups for birds that frequent open fields and grasslands.
* How to attract elusive kingfishers to your set-up
* How to get low and in the water to create intimate images of ducks, geese, rails, grebes, and other waterbirds while remaining safe and dry
* How to set up for and create images of songbirds in flight

The professionally designed, packaged, and burned CD sells for $50 plus $3.00 shipping and handling to US addresses. Shipping to Canada is $6.00. It is $8.00 for all foreign orders. Florida residents will need to add 7% sales tax ($3.50) on the cost of the CD only. You can send us a PayPal, call us at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand, or order the SSUPG from the BAA On-line Store (with secure credit card data transmission) by clicking here: https://store.birdsasart.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=275. (Note: The shipping charges on BAA On-line Store orders will likely vary by small amounts from those noted above.)

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Orchard Oriole with moth above water drip pond set-up, Upper Texas Coast
Image copyright 2010/Alan Murphy Photography
Nikon 600 mm f/4 VR lens with the D3. ISO 1000: 1/400 sec. at f/8 set manually. Exposure confirmed via histogram check.

As the bird makes his way down my perch to get to the small drip pond that Alan set up, a well placed moth on the branch (from the grille of his car) made a great offering and helped Alan to create a wonderful image.

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The image above shows the set that Alan created so that he could create the image below.

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Eastern Bluebird on peach tree branch with flowers, Alan’s backyard, The Woodlands, TX.
Image copyright 2010/Alan Murphy Photography
Nikon 600 mm f/4 VR lens (Tripod mounted) with the D3. ISO 400: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 set manually. Exposure confirmed via histogram check.

The tripod-mounted perch was placed next to an active nest box. A second group of tripod-mounted peach branches were placed in background for depth. With limited uncluttered backgrounds in my yard, a mounted board with prints of out-of-focus green vegetation was put in place to yield a pleasing backdrop for the set-up. To learn how Alan got the bird to land in the exact spot that he wanted, get a copy of his CD 🙂


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 (/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: http://www.birdsasart.com/Registration%20and%20Release%20Forms.pdf.

2011 Galapagos Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience: July 3-20, 2011 (July 5-19, 2011 on the boat): 13 1/2 days of photography plus a last morning panga ride: $12, 499. (Limit 11/Openings 3) leaders).

Please e-mail for details.

ROBERT O’TOOLE PHOTOGRAPHY HOMER BALD EAGLE INSTRUCTIONAL PHOTO-TOUR WITH ARTHUR MORRIS/BIRDS AS ART. March 18-22, 2011 & March 24-28. 5-FULL DAYS: $3249. Limit: 12 (including the leaders). sold out

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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