October 10th, 2011



  • Nikon DSLR User’s Guide for the D300s/D700/D3S/d3x

no images were found

This Sandhill Crane head portrait was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens and the 2X III teleconverter (handheld at 400mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV). ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/11 set manually.

Central Sensor AI Servo/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Do note that many on-line photography “experts” state clearly that it is impossible to create sharp images with the fine detail that you see on the top of the crane’s head with the 70-200 IS L II and a 2X teleconverter; does the image above look sharp to you???

Note also that with focus on the base of the beak that the bill tip is not sharp even at f/11. Most folks, even those who own and use telephoto and super-telephoto lenses, simply do not understand how shallow depth of field is with lenses in either class. For nearly three decades I have been advising, “Focus on the eye and let her rip.” And that even when I am working wide open which regular readers know is most of the time. For an interesting discussion on depth-of-field with big lenses (and two very different opinions on the subject) click here, scroll down to Pane 17, and start reading.

Lens/camera body Micro-adjustment: -13.

For a greater appreciation of the image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.


As of late Monday afternoon, the BAA On-Line Store is back up. Thanks a stack for your patronage and your patience. artie


To better serve you we recently opted (at considerable expense) to move the BAA On-Line store to an upgraded server. The move was made late on Friday night into Saturday morning to avoid any major inconvenience. Our web developer ran into some small problems that have turned into larger problems. On the weekend folks were able to access the store but were unable to check out and pay for their orders. (Thanks to all those who e-mailed to advise us.) As of last night the store was down till lunchtime Monday. Right now some folks are able to access the store while others are not; we do appreciate your trying and are sorry for any inconvenience. Though we are doing our best to get everything working properly I am unsure as to when service for all will be restored; we will of course let you know via Bulletin and Blog.

Here’s the good news: you can place your order by phone between 7am and 9pm eastern time seven days a week (at least until I head to AK on 24 October. After that Mondays thru Fridays). Give us a buzz at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand and Jim, Jen, or I will be glad to help. Alternatively you can send a Paypal to us via e-mail. If you need info or guidance feel free to call or to e-mail.

no images were found

Bald Eagle at sunset, talons out. Image copyright 2010: Robert O’Toole Photography. Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO Autofocus Lens for Nikon handheld at 350mm with the Nikon D700. ISO 640. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

In Robert O’Toole’s Nikon DSLR User’s Guide for the D300s/D700/D3S/d3x he shares with you the AF and metering settings that he uses to create sharp, perfectly exposed images. In addition he details his entire camera set-up from soup to nuts. Learn to use your Nikon camera like a top professional.

Nikon DSLR User’s Guide for the D300s/D700/D3S/d3x

Well, it took long enough–at least two years from concept to the final PDF–but Robert O’Toole has out-done himself by creating a masterpiece user’s guide for using Nikon gear. I just had my first look at the finished document and all that I can say is “Wow! Many Nikon folks show up on IPTs knowing little about properly setting up their cameras. “How do you see the histogram?’ “Don’t know….” “Can you set your camera so that we see the RGB histogram and blinkies in the same frame? “I once saw it done but don’t know how….” For me, it has long seemed that operating a Nikon camera required degrees in Physics, Language, and Logic. With Robert’s new guide those days are over.

You will learn when, how, and why to work in Manual mode and when, why, and how to work in one of the auto-modes (by setting exposure compensation). You will learn the various camera control options and custom settings so that you can fine-tune your camera to suit your shooting style. You will learn how and why many top pros works at higher ISOs than the regular Joes. And you will learn how Robert uses both Auto-ISO Control and Exposure Compensation while working in Manual Mode to routinely create perfectly exposed action photographs. He explains exactly how he sets the important camera controls. And why. Those include Release Mode, Focus Mode, and Rear Button Focus. You will learn how to set your camera and your flash to create flash blurs. You will learn which AF Mode Robert uses 90% of the time and how he sets it up using Menu/Custom Settings Menu.

He will teach you how and why to set a variety of buttons and dials. How and why to use Live View. About the only metering mode he uses. How, why, and when to switch AF points with the Multi-Selector. How and why to use the often-overlooked Info Button and the often over-looked My Menu feature. Then he takes you through the Camera Menus while dealing with the hows and whys of how he sets up the important items.

If you use Nikon gear then you simply cannot live without Robert’s great new guide. The Nikon DSLR User’s Guide is a comprehensive 45-page PDF that is sent by e-mail. There are dozens and dozens of diagrams and screen captures and even a few photos to illustrate key points. You can purchase your copy (no sharing digital files please :)) for only $32 by calling BIRDS AS ART at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand, sending a PayPal to us at birdsasart@att.net, or by sending a check for $32 made out to “Arthur Morris” to us at Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL. If by check be sure to include your e-mail address. When the store is back to normal you will be able to save $2 by ordering your Nikon Guide there. See item next :).

Important Pricing/Discount Note

As the BAA On-line Store is down for some of you and we have not yet been able to get the Nikon Guide into the store, we will honor the $2 discount on phone orders until close of business on Tuesday, or if the store is not back up by then, we will honor the discount until the store is, well, re-stored…. Call us right now at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand and we will be glad to send you Robert’s great new guide. We are expecting land-office business so if the number above is busy, try me at 863-692-2806.

This Just In!

The BAA On-Line Store is up; you can order your Nikon Guide here for only $30.

no images were found

Bald Eagle Striking, Image courtesy of and copyright 2010: Robert O’Toole Photography. Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO Autofocus Lens for Nikon handheld at 350mm with the Nikon D700. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/1600 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Purchasing Robert’s new Nikon DSLR User’s Guide will not guarantee that you will make images as good as the one above but you will learn how to get the most out of your gear for nature and action photography. (Sports photographers take note.) Or, purchase the guide and join us in Homer–see below–for personal lessons from Robert!

$1000 DISCOUNT OFFER on the OCT/NOV 2011 HOMER-BASED BALD EAGLE IPTs with Arthur Morris and Robert O’Toole

no images were found

Save $1000. Join Robert and me in Homer soon.

To see a 1024 pixels wide version, click on the photo above. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.


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

Robert and I have an opening on the second trip below. We need to fill one more hotel room. We are offering a $1,000 discount.strong> If you can take advantage of this amazing offer, please call me at 863-692-0906 immediately. We even have a single opening on the Extra Day on October 30. Save an additional $50 on that at $500.

OCT 25-29, 2011. Limit 10 (six photographers per boat)/Openings: Sold Out). 5-FULL DAYS: $3399.

You will need to be in Homer no later than the evening of October 24.

OCT 31-NOV 4, 2011. Limit 10 (six photographers per boat)/Openings: 1). 5-FULL DAYS: $3399.

You will need to be in Homer no later than the evening of October 30.

These trips are based in Homer, AK. We will enjoy virtually unlimited photographic action. Each 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.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) General Information.
Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Deposit and Cancellation Policies.
Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Registration and Release Forms.

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 last Homer IPT Report.

Please e-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net with any questions or call the office/home at 863-92-2806 (7am till 9pm eastern).

From Mike Landwehr: I had been itching to photograph eagles for years; the Homer IPT last March exceeded my expectations. We photographed eagles soaring, diving, perched, eating, fighting for perches, and fighting in mid-air. We photographed them against green water, blue water, shaded hillsides, and snow-capped mountain ranges. We photographed in the soft light of early morning, and were out in the evenings until after the sun dropped over the horizon. Robert was a super co-leader. The 70-200 f/2.8 II was brand new to me; I found that the 70-200 with the 1.4x TC on a 7D (I didn’t have a Mark IV) was a deadly combination for eagles in flight. The glaucous-winged gulls were a nice bonus–I love some of my photos of hovering gulls. If October in Homer is anything like March was, participants will want to take lots of memory cards!

(Note from artie: the OCT/NOV trips should be a bit better. Better weather on average, and the eagle’s tail feathers will not be as worn as they were in the spring.)

(ps to all: Be sure to check out one of Mike’s great images here. )

From Charlie Scheffold: I was on the March IPT. If I could, I would go back in a second! But there no way I could justify going twice in one year. Or could I? It was an incredible experience for a Bald Eagle fanatic like me. Do not hesitate to join artie and Robert. I will never forget the sound of a Bald Eagle’s feathers rustling in the wind as it soared 3 feet above my head. Ever.

$500 DISCOUNT OFFER on the BOSQUE del APACHE 2011 IPT: “The Complete Bosque Experience

no images were found

For a greater appreciation of the composite image, click on the photo. Click on the enlarged version to close it.


With two recent cancellations, there are now two spots available on the 2011 Bosque IPT. If you would like to join us, a $500 discount will be applied to your balance. And we would be glad to apply the Spouse/mMltiple Registration discount as well. Click here and scroll down a bit for details on that.

Here are the basics:

BOSQUE del APACHE 2011 IPT: “The Complete Bosque Experience.” NOV 19-25, 2011.

Slide program on the evening of Friday, NOV 18. 7-FULL DAYS: $3299. (Non-refundable deposit: $500; see details below.) Limit: 10/Openings: 2. Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole & Jim Heupel. Geese, cranes, ducks, sunrises, sunsets, and blast-offs. 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. Please see terms and deposit info below.

This will make 17 consecutive Novembers at Bosque for me. Nobody knows the place better than I do. Join us to learn to think like a pro, to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather, especially the light and the wind direction. Every time we make a move we will let you know why. When you head home applying what you learned will prove to be invaluable.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) General Information.
Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Deposit and Cancellation Policies.
Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Registration and Release Forms.

With my ever-shrinking teaching schedule and many of the specialty trips sold out, this trip may well represent a rare opportunity to learn from the best….

no images were found

For a greater appreciation of the composite image, click on the photo. Click on the enlarged version to close it.

Earn Free Contest Entries and Support the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

More and more folks are earning multiple contest entries with their B & H purchases. See here for details on that. Eleven great categories, 34 winning and honored images, and prize pools valued in excess of $20,000. Click here to visit the competition home page.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s blog post. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot with the 1.4X III TC.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO Autofocus Lens for Nikon. I’ve seen the great images that Robert has created with this lens on his laptop at full resolution…. This lens is also available in Canon mount. See item next.
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO Autofocus Lens for Canon. This is the Canon version of one of Robert’s favorite Sigma lenses.
Nikon D700. This is Robert’s favorite camera body.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV User’s Guide. Learn to use your Mark IV the way that I use mine. Also available for the 7D and the Mark III here.

Comments are closed.