April 14th, 2011



  • Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest: April 27-May 1, 2011
  • THE SOFTER SIDE OF MACRO by Denise Ippolito

Take a few moments to let the animated GIF above play. Then click here to learn how I created both versions from the original capture in Photoshop.


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Coming Soon to the blog: lots of great Midway images and adventures. This one gives you a taste of things to come. I created this tight head portrait of a Laysan Albatross this morning (4/14/11) at 8:58am with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens with the 1.4X III TC (hand held at 280mm) and the EOS-1D Mark IV.ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/1000 sec. at f/9 set manually after histogram check.

What can I say? I love my style. Though one might think that images like these are are a dime a dozen it does take some care to achieve perfection. With the distant azure-blue lagoon background I was able to stop down considerably to ensure a sharp head and bill at close range and took lots of images to ensure getting at least one with the absolute perfect head angle.


I continue to put in 20+ hours a week towards making the blog informative, timely, and beautiful. Many of the educational features that formerly appeared in BAA Bulletins now grace the BAA Blog. I scratch my head when I consider that nearly 9,000 folks are signed up to receive Bulletins but only 900 to receive blog post notices. If you are not subscribed, you are missing a ton of great stuff almost daily. You can subscribe to the blog posts by clicking here. Here are several recent posts of interest:

Why 32-gb Flash Cards? Why Delkin e-film Pro? Most folks think that using smaller cards if safer…. It is not. Click on the link to learn why.
Click to learn why Wide Open Works Well for Me. Is my style best for you? Maybe yes, maybe no. (Read more on that subject here.)
Photographic Risks and Rewards on Safari: A Guest Blog Post by Todd Gustafson. A peek inside the mind of one of the world’s greatest safari photographers.
Safe in Honolulu & Gear Questions Answered. Cleaning the front element of your lens. What should be in the filter drawer of a big lens? The old 70-200 f/2.8L IS.
Sometimes I Even Impress Myself…. Some killer Photoshop lessons.

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It will be great to be back at the Alligator Farm; it has been too long. I created this image in 2007 with the Canon EF 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (hand held at 230mm) with the EOS-1Ds Mark II. ISO 320. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6.

The 9th Annual Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest scheduled for April 27-May 1, 2011.

I will be doing the keynote program as well as a slew of programs and small group field trips to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm at this incredible festival; the line-up of featured photographers reads like a Who’s Who of current bird photographers. If you can make it, be sure to say “Hi.” Learn more and register here My appearance is being sponsored by the Canon USA/Explorers of Light program.


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“The Softer Side of Macro,” written by Denise Ippolito, edited by Arthur Morris.

Denise has been involved with flowers for much of her life. She is a fifth generation florist who owned a flower shop from 1989 to 1995. She followed that up by running first one and then another garden center for the next thirteen years. What can I say; the girl likes flowers. In recent years she has worked hard at becoming a skilled flower photographer and has succeeded admirably. Her incredibly creative mind led her to experimenting with a variety of filters and Photoshop effects. That led to her becoming the moderator at BPN’s Out of the Box Forum. She has written or co-authored several BAA educational publications. The first was A Guide to Pleasing Blurs that I proudly co-authored with her. Next came the Barnegat Site Guide–no flowers there! That was followed by A Guide to Creative Filters and Effects. All have been well received and highly successful. You can check out some of Denise’s images on her blog, A Creative Adventure. Be sure to check out the April 6, 2011 pansy post here.

Many folks doing macro/flower work love to create super sharp images often using small apertures and flash. Denise much prefers the opposite approach, the softer side of macro; she loves using soft natural light and wide apertures. In “The Softer Side of Macro” she shares the techniques that she uses to create a wide variety of dreamy, surreal flower images. She includes both in-the-field and post-processing tips.

In her introduction, she writes, “When I photograph flowers my intent is to present a softer look. I like the way the colors of the flowers blend together. The soft romantic feel of the flowers appeals to me. I have always liked impressionistic paintings, paler color tones and delicate things. Lately I have been leaning toward slightly brighter flowers but pink and white remain my favorites.” As I said, she is a girl. But lots of guys–me included–love the softer look.

Topics covered include where and how to focus (or not!), choosing the best perspective, designing the image, choosing and using the right shutter speed and aperture, creating soft/sharp merges, choosing and creating your backgrounds, seeing and using the light, using natural light in your home, image processing tips, an Inverse Layer Mask tutorial (I now use an Inverse Layer Mask on about 75% of the images that I process), and the Orton effect that she uses–I just love that one!

You can order your copy of “The Softer Side of Macro” (PDF only via e-mail: 73 pages, 49 images–including a few before and after pairs) for only $16 by calling Jim at 863-692-0906 with credit card in hand, sending a Paypal to us via e-mail, or by mailing a check made out to “Arthur Morris” to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Those who prefer the convenience of shopping at the BAA On-line Store can click here to purchase Denise’s great new guide.

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This image, one of my very favorite Bald Eagle images, was created with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens with the 1.4X III TC (hand held at 192mm) and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 set manually after histogram check.

THE OCT/NOV 2011 HOMER-BASED BALD EAGLE IPTs with Arthur Morris and Robert O’Toole

OCT 25-29, 2011.

Limit 10 (six photographers per boat)/Openings: 7. 5-FULL DAYS: $3399.

OCT 30, 2011 Add-on day.

Free if you sign up for both IPTs. Otherwise $550. (Limit 10/openings: 5.)

OCT 31-NOV 4, 2011

Limit 10 (six photographers per boat)/Openings: 5. 5-FULL DAYS: $3399.

These trips will be based in Homer, AK. We will enjoy virtually unlimited photographic action. This year, most folks opted to miss at least one boat trip due to photographic exhaustion. Two great leaders provide both in-the-field and in-classroom instruction that will include at least two Photoshop sessions. Canon or Nikon we’ve got you covered. (In-the field instruction only on the Add-on day.) A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 is required to hold your spot. Happy campers only. If we do not know you, you will be required to pass our Happy Camper test. Once you pass the Happy Camper test, please fill out and sign the forms here and send them along with your deposit check. Your registration will not be complete until we have your signed forms in hand.

Things you should know: At the last moment each morning we schedule–depending on tides and weather–either two 2-hour boat trips or one 4 hour boat trip each day of the tour (weather permitting). We do however often exceed those time limits when conditions warrant it. We gladly pick up the additional costs. You will not be charged extra for overtime no matter how extensive. On several days this year our two hour cruises went on for more than four hours; it is hard to sail away from great photography. We work a lot from from the boats and do ,again depending on conditions, spend some time on land to do both perched and flying birds. Even with “only” four hours per day of photography you will head home exhausted with the best Bald Eagle images of your life (unless we encounter unexpectedly bad weather). We have chosen out dates carefully with regards to weather. Temps should be moderate to cold with a mix of sun, clouds, and possibly some drizzle. Snow is not likely on either trip. That said we are going to Alaska and there is always a chance, a very small chance, that it might pour every day that you are there. There will be as many or more eagles on these trips as there were on the March trips. We will be collecting a $20 per day tip for our captain guides at the end of each trip. Most folks opted to kick in additional and we were fine with that.

What’s included: lots of eagles and lots of instruction. Ground transportation from the motel to the dock. As above we cover all boat fees and boat-related expenses but for the tips. Breakfast at the motel. We may be able to pick you up at the airport to save you the cost of a cab. Note: some folks may wish to rent a vehicle so that they can photograph on their own during free and nap time.

What’s not included: your round trip airfare from home to Homer. (Driving from Anchorage is recommended only for the adventurous….) The cost of your room. Meals other than breakfast.

To learn more about the Homer eagle experience, click on each link below:

Universal Advice for Better Flight Photography with a Zoom Lens
Finally, Finally, and Finally in Homer!
Enhancing Silhouettes
What Makes a Great Bird Portrait?
Insanity, Exhilaration, Exhaustion, and Home

And click here to read the Homer IPT Report.


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American Oystercatcher, small chick stretching wings. Nickerson Beach, NY. Image copyright © 2010: Denise Ippolito

Nickerson Beach Creative Photography Workshop. June 3-5, 2011: $799.

Join Denise Ippolito for 4 sessions of bird photography over 3 days for a hands on workshop at Nickerson Beach, Long Island, NY. Subjects will include nesting Common Tern (tiny chicks possible) and nesting American Oystercatcher (chicks likely). Black Skimmers will be setting up their territories and they and the terns will be exhibiting a variety of courtship behaviors. Meet in the parking lot at Nickerson on Friday June 3rd at 6:00pm for an afternoon/evening session followed by dinner on your own. On Saturday June 4th, after breakfast on your own, meet at the parking lot at Nickerson Beach at 6:00am sharp for a morning session. The morning session will be discussed during a lunch that will include image sharing for those who bring their laptops. You will have lots of time during the afternoon break to download and review your images. The afternoon/evening session will again begin at 6:00pm (again followed by dinner on your own) The last photography session will take place on the morning of Sunday June 5th. Meet in the parking lot at 6:00am. This will be followed by image sharing at lunch. Rain or shine. A sturdy tripod and a long lens are recommended. The cost of both lunches is included.

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Common Terns, pre-copulatory stand, Nickerson Beach, NY. Image copyright © 2010: Denise Ippolito

Manhattan Skyline Creative Photography Workshop. Saturday August 6: $195.

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Manhattan skyline: Canon EOS-5D with the 24-105mm lens. ISO 100: 5.0 sec. at f/5.6. Image copyright © 2011: Denise Ippolito

The Manhattan Skyline CPW will be held in Weehawkin, NJ from 6:30pm sharp until 9:30pm. (Rain date: Sunday August 7.) It will be jointly led by Denise Ippolito and Scott Vincent. Scott has been photographing at this location for many years and will share a variety of tips and tricks for creating successful late afternoon, twilight and post-sunset images. Scott, a skilled photographer who started photographing birds with Arthur Morris at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in the mid-1980s, has been published nationally in a variety of magazines and newspapers. He is well versed in both Nikon and Canon bodies. A sturdy tripod is mandatory. Scott and Denise will teach you to make great images using a variety of short lenses including wide angle zooms, short zooms, and fish eyes. Topics covered will include composition, long exposures, stitched panoramas, HDR’s, and a vareity of pleasing blurs.

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Manhattan skyline: Canon EOS-5D with 15mm fish eye lens. Image copyright © 2011: Denise Ippolito

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