April 9th, 2012


  • MIDWAY 2013

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Join me on Midway and photograph three species of albatross until your arms are too tired to lift your rig…. Click on the composite image to enjoy a larger version.


MIDWAY ATOLL BAA IPT: March 25, 2013 (from Honolulu, Oahu, HI) 7-FULL DAYS OF PHOTOGRAPHY: $7895 ALL INCLUSIVE FROM HNL. Trip dates and price tentative. Limit: 14/Openings 9.

The trip is pending government approval which, if it comes, will be within a week or two at most. The price is firm barring any fee increases on Midway. If the 2013 trips does not go the great likelihood is that Midway will once again be closed to tourism (as it was for almost ten years not long ago…)

The group will fly to Midway from the Charter Aircraft Hangar on the late afternoon of March 25, 2013. You will need to be in Honolulu by late morning on the 25th. For safety’s sake, I will be arriving in Honolulu on March 24 to avoid missing the charter flight. You should do the same. If you plan to arrive on the 25th and are delayed, you will miss the charter flight and will not be able to get to Midway. Period. If you do choose to arrive on the 24th as advised, the hotel is on your dime.

We will arrive at Midway after dark on the 25th. We will leave Midway well after dark on April 1 arriving in Honolulu during the very early morning of April 2, usually between 1 and 2 am. The cost of a hotel day-room is included in the trip. If you need late check-out (after noon on the 2nd) that will be on your dime too. Most flights back to the US are red-eyes.

We will enjoy seven full days of photography. We will enjoy hundreds of thousands of nesting albatrosses both Laysan and Black-footed. We will see and photograph (and video if you like) chicks of all sizes and the incredibly intricate courtship displays of both species. You will be able to create head portraits of both species with a 70-200 lens. We will enjoy hours of albatross flight photography. The morning runway flight photography is incredible. It is likely that we will see and get to photograph the exceedingly rare Short-tailed Albatross (though briefly because of access restrictions). We will see and photograph White (formerly Fairy) Tern as well as Red-tailed Tropicbird. After lunch on sunny days the skies in front of the Clipper House will be filled with courting Red-tailed Tropicbirds. Other likely subjects include Lasyan Duck, Pacific Golden-Plover and Bristle-thighed Curlew. Those who bring their flashes will be able to photograph Bonin’s Petrel after dark. I will likely leave my flash at home as there are severe weight restrictions on this trip; each of us will be limited to about 60 pounds total.

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These courting Red-tailed Tropicbirds were photographed with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 1.4X III TC (hand held at 280mm), and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Make sure to bring a flight lens to lunch every day!

We will make a one day boat trip, about a 15 minute ride, to Eastern Island where we will see and photograph nesting Red-footed Booby and nesting Great Frigatebird with inflated red gular pouches. Grey-backed Tern and several other species are possible. And of course there will be zillions of nesting Laysan Albatrosses there. We can expect two species of noddy on the trip, Brown and Black–I think that the Black Noddies are more likely on Eastern Island. Both islands are rife with historical significance, derelict buildings and hangars, and artifacts; the naval battle of Midway was the turning point in World War II.

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Midway is a world renowned wildlife photography destination that ranks right up there with Antarctica, East Africa, Japan in winter, and the Galapagos. And like the Galapagos, most of the wildlife is inordinately tame. Click on the composite image to enjoy a larger version.

In order to cover the huge expense of the round-trip charter aircraft to and from Midway Island this trip needs to fill in order to run. In the almost unimaginable event that this minimum is not met, or if the trip is denied government approval, your deposit will of course be refunded in full. It is otherwise non-refundable. Once the trip is confirmed you will be advised to purchase trip cancellation insurance. I do expect this trip to fill in very short order. A waiting list will be created for those who are late to respond. Please hold off purchasing plane tickets until you hear that the trip is a go. Do note that while many trips are advertised as once in a lifetime, this one may very well be that once in a lifetime opportunity as there is constant talk that each season may be the very last.

What’s included? The round trip charter airfare from HNL to Midway and back, all lodging and meals on Midway. The food, both American and Thai, is killer good so do not plan on losing any weight, all associated national park fees as well as transport via large golf cart. For the most part we will stay together as a group. Those wishing to photograph on their own with some restrictions may rent bikes. Also included is in-the-field instruction. Informal image sharing and Photoshop instruction will be available most days for those sitting next to me or looking over my shoulder in the lobby of Charley Barracks early mornings, evenings, and during break time. I do try to catch a short nap each day.

What’s not included: The cost of the airfare from your home to and from HNL. Your meals in Honolulu. The cost of your hotel room on March 25th and late check out if needed on April 2. Personal items and souvenirs purchased on Midway.

If you are a happy camper and wish to register for this trip please call us at 863-692-0906 immediately. If no answer do not leave a message but do send an e-mail to me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net. You will be given instructions for sending a deposit check for $800 to us here: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245 (mail) or 4041 Granada Drive (courier), Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. In the almost un-imaginable event that the minimum of 14 folks is not met, or if the trip is denied government approval, your deposit will of course be refunded in full. It is otherwise non-refundable.

For the folks who have never traveled with us, please remember, happy campers only. If you are a bitter and unhappy person we do not care to travel with you. If you are pleasant, fun, easy to get along with and know how to act in the field with a group, we would be delighted to have you along.

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This Great Frigatebird with its pouch inflated was photographed on the Sand Island outing with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/13 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.


The BIRDS AS ART 1st International Bird Photography Competition has been going great guns. Additional folks are getting in on the fun each day. And many folks who had previously finished their entries have been taking advantage of the extension by uploading even stronger images. Thanks to those who responded to my Hand of Man pleas; it is now one of our strongest categories. While each of the following categories has some very strong images there is still room for improvement: Small in the Frame/Environmental, Pleasing Blurs, Youth, and especially Captive (photographs of captive, zoo, pet, or rehab birds).

Those of you who have been in the dark can learn more about the BIRDS AS ART 1st International Bird Photography Competition here or by visiting the main contest page here.

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Judge’s Favorite from the Action category. Image copyright 2012 in the name of the creator. This is obviously a superb image. What will the other judges think of it?

Important Contest News

While you may upload images until 11:59pm eastern time on April 30, 2012, the very last day for registering for the contest and for making eligible B&H purchases will be Monday, April 23, 2012. This will give us time to process your registrations and verify your B&H purchases and will give you time to upload your images successfully. Good luck to all.

Do save your e-mail receipts for eligible B&H purchases made after Monday, April 23 as you will be able to use them for entry into the BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition; details will be announced in several months. Please remember, only B&H purchases made using the product-specific BAA B&H affiliate links in the Bulletins or on the blog or the more general link here qualify. See additional details by scrolling down to item 2 here. If in doubt, simply start your B&H searches by clicking here:


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Judge’s Favorite from the Action category: American Bittern head portrait; I love the way the background works with the bird. Image copyright 2012 in the name of the creator. What will the other judges think of it?


Even while in Morro Bay I continued to put in 20+ hours a week towards making the blog informative, timely, and beautiful. Most of the educational features that formerly appeared in BAA Bulletins now grace the BAA Blog. If you have a problem subscribing, please contact us via e-mail. 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 some links to recent posts of interest:

If you have ever been upset over getting poor customer service from any big firm you will not want to miss Seven Miles Off Topic; Powerless?

If you like to photograph flowers, check out Unexpected.

Like shorebird photography? Check out my 5D MIII Long-billed Curlew images here.

Learn what to do when the winds gust to 50 mph in Frozen and Battered (in California no yet!)

And with over 5,000 hits in a single day, The Canon EOS-5D Mark III; I’m In Love post was the most popular ever.

If you’ve been dreaming of making a trip to the Antarctic Continent you will surely want to click here.

Be sure to subscribe to the blog posts by clicking here if you do not want to miss more great stuff on the 5D Mark III including some high ISO images. And coming soon there will be a detailed comparison of the 800mm f/5.6L IS and the long-awaited 600mm f/4L IS II. The latter in response to a zillion e-mails.


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Great Egret – Gatorland – ©2010 Robert Amoruso. I envisioned this image for years and finally created it in 2010. Understanding how to balance ambient light with flash exposure allowed me to do this. Canon 7D with 70-200mm @98mm. 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, Manual, Evaluative, ISO 400, E-TTL Flash.

Note: Robert leads trips to three great spots that I used to visit regularly when I lived in Deltona, FL and traveled less than I do now. I will be getting up to Gatorland very soon and hope to make it up to St. Augustine in May or June. I know that Robert knows his stuff because I taught him :).

The ORIGINAL Gatorland Photographic Instructional Workshops

Three-Day Long-Weekend Workshop: May 18, 19 and 20. All 2012. Extensive in-the-field instruction at East Central Florida’s best rookery location: Gatorland in Kissimmee, FL. Includes morning and afternoon classroom presentations: Successful Strategies in Avian Rookery Photography and image editing and post-processing workflows. The three-day workshop adds indoor presentations on thinking creatively. In-the-field instruction includes learning to isolate your subject, understanding light, getting the proper exposure, using depth of field to your advantage, using fill-flash and lots more. Classroom sessions are held onsite at Gatorland. A CD with lesson plans is included.

Learn more here.

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Roseate Spoonbills – SAAF – ©2011 Robert Amoruso. Understanding bird behavior will help you to capture images like this. Canon 7D with 100-400mm @169mm. 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, Manual, Evaluative, ISO 400, E-TTL Flash.

St. Augustine Photographic Instructional Workshop

April 19-22, 2012 – three and one-half days of extensive field and classroom instruction at the famous St. Augustine Alligator Farm with Robert Amoruso and Robert O’Toole. We will be using the Alligator Farm’s Education Center for meetings and equipment storage between morning and afternoon sessions. The weather is pleasant and the birds will be courting, building nests, and copulating. There will likely be a few tiny Great Egret chicks. This workshop includes cover the same topics as the Gatorland workshops. Sigma Pro Robert O’Toole will provide additional in classroom and in-the-field instruction; we will have both Nikon and Canon equipment covered; don’t fret all camera systems are welcome. Robert O’Toole will also be sharing his Quick Masking techniques with you. CD with Amoruso lesson plans included.

Learn more here.

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Roseate Spoonbills – MINWR – ©2011 Robert Amoruso. A light colored bird against a bright water background (pre-dawn) required a +3 increase in exposure over the metered metered exposure. Join us to learn why. Canon 1D Mark III with 600mm f/4 IS + 1.4x TCII. 1/80 sec, f/5.6, AV, Evaluative, EC +3 stops, ISO 800.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR) and Viera Wetlands – November 29 to December 2, 2012

This workshop lead by Robert Amoruso will visit some of the most diverse wildlife and avian photography locations in East Central Florida including Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR), Canaveral National Seashore and Viera Wetlands.
Both MINWR and Viera Wetlands will be flush with avian activity. Migratory ducks are normally present in great numbers. White Pelican opportunities are excellent. The year-round residents include Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tri-colored Heron, Great Blue Heron, White and Glossy Ibis and Roseate Spoonbill. Reddish Egret populations are quite abundant so expect to see many. If time allows the threatened Florida Scrub Jay will be a primary query at a nearby scrub habitat sanctuary. The Scrub Jays are particularly cooperative at the sanctuary offering excellent photographic opportunities of this handsome bird.
This workshops concentration is on field technique. Indoor sessions include presentations on Visual Dynamics in Avian photography, Using Manual Exposure, and image editing and post-processing workflows.

Learn more and check out the great slide show images here.

Private Photographic Instructional Workshops

As good as a group workshop can be, sometimes private one-on-one instruction is the ticket. My private workshops cater to your individual needs. In advance of the workshop we will discuss your objectives and how they can best be met. Then I design your workshop to meet those goals. These workshops generally include areas close to my home as I know them well but I can travel to other locations in Florida if you have a specific locale in mind.

Learn more here.


E-mail Robert to receive his educational newsletter. Robert’s blog covers photographic locations, how-to tips, workshop information, and more.

Learn more about Robert and check out his images here. You can contact him with questions via e-mail or call him on his cell: 407-808-7417.

Earn Free Contest Entries and Support both 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 gear that I used to create the image in this 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 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂 And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
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.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

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