April 16th, 2012



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

Contest Update

Only One Week to Enter and One Week for Qualifying B&H Purchases. Only Two Weeks to Upload Your Photos!

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.

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Judge’s Favorite from the Action category. Image copyright 2012 in the name of the creator. Whoa! Talk about spectacular.

Help Needed!

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 Behavior category. Image copyright 2012 in the name of the creator. This is another sweet image with very sweet light. I wonder how it will fare?

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.

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Judge’s Favorite from the Digital category. Image copyright 2012 in the name of the creator. This lovely Great Blue Heron Fractalius image should do well in the competition. But who knows?

Save Your B&H Receipts

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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Here’s my Eckla Beach Rolly loaded with about 45 pounds of gear; getting my gear from the parking lot into the facility was a breeze; I pulled it behind me with a two-handed grip. Even getting up a curb was a snap. Loading and unloading took only a minute at most. Note that the Cargo Net is holding everything safely in place. Best of all, the rolly folds pretty much flat so that it can be easily stowed in most vehicles.


I had a chance to try out the Eckla Beach Rolly on my a trip to one of the gator rookeries this past weekend. Wow! Did it make my life easier. If you stick your roller in first as I did with my Think Tank Rolling Bag you do not need to purchase the Multi-holding Bar as the Cargo Net holds everything in place. I used just four clips on the cargo net, one in each corner of the net; this system worked perfectly. I would, however, recommend the Multi-holding Bar if you are headed to the beach with several lenses and one or more tripods.

You can learn more about this great product or purchase one by clicking here. (Note: the Eckla Eagle Car Door Camera Support is junk; I know–I tried it. Get yourself a BLUBB instead. 🙂 For additional photos and info click here.


I continue to put in 20+ hours a week towards making the blog informative, timely, and beautiful. And it has been paying off. The blog alone had 462,178 page views and 3,839,749 hits in March 2012 alone! Most of the educational features that formerly appeared in BAA Bulletins now grace the BAA Blog. 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. If you have a problem subscribing, please contact us via e-mail.

Here are some links to recent posts of interest:

Want to find out if the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS/2X III teleconverter/EOS-5D Mark III is a viable combination? Click here.

Learn how I am using by EOS-1D Mark IV and my EOS-5D Mark III in the field in the Gear Strategy post.

How does the EOS-5D Mark III do at the higher ISO settings? Click here to find out.

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

Remember, you can subscribe to the blog posts by clicking here. Coming soon there will be a detailed comparison of the 800mm f/5.6L IS and the long-awaited 600mm f/4L IS II in response to a zillion e-mails.

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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 4.

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.

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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Leopard, Ndutu,Tanzania. Image copyright 2010/Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari


Gustafson Photo Safari 14-day Tanzania Safari: Dates: January 26, 2013 Leaving US/February 10 Returning: $11,999 double occupancy

In nature photography timing is everything! Being in the right place at the right time is crucial as is the choice of photo safari tour leader. Let Gustafson Photo Safari put you in the best position to photograph all that East Africa has to offer! We have the right vehicles, stay in the best lodges and work with expert guides who’s goal is to find great wildlife situations for you to photograph. For our safari the story begins in Tanzania’s Serengeti eco system in February when an estimated 2.5 million wildebeest and zebras arrive in the southern Serengeti to give birth. The grass is green and the time is right for new calves to be born. We will also visit Lake Manyara, Ndutu, and the world famous Ngorongoro Crater. With no shortage of subjects to choose from; including the “Big Five, plains animals and 1,500 species of birds to chase, this is a trip of a lifetime!

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Greater Flamingos, Ndutu,Tanzania. Image copyright 2010/Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari

Todd Tips: Pack the right equipment. A common problem on safari occurs when a photographer has too much camera gear. They are prepared for every photo situation. Their equipment list includes super telephoto, macro, wide angle zoom, mid telephoto, fisheye, four camera bodies, two flash units (plus a macro flash) as well as Quantum batteries, two computers, four extra hard drives and battery chargers for everything. I’m out of breath just thinking about getting all that gear from my room to the safari vehicle much less getting it though airport security and onto the airplane. More importantly, there is so much equipment to sort through that by the time you have decided what equipment will suit your vision of a scene, the moment is past. I have found over the years that you can use fewer lenses, shape your photographic vision to that set of optics, do less equipment juggling and make a higher percentage of dramatic images. My lens of choice is a 600 mm f/4 lens and a 1.7 teleconverter.

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Cheetah family, Ndutu, Tanzania. Image copyright 2010/Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari

Over the years Gustafson Photo Safari has had requests for a shorter safari; a version that fits people’s increasingly busy schedules. We are listening to you!

Following the proven model of our classic 15 day safari GPS is now offering the “Migration Safari”. We have carefully selected 10 days that exemplify what an East African photo safari should be. These days coincide seamlessly with the full length Migration Safari. Fewer days doesn’t translate into fewer photo opportunities! The locations and timing were specifically chosen to minimize travel, thereby maximizing photography time in the field and relaxing time at the beautiful lodges.

Those who choose this safari will transfer directly from Arusha to Ngorongoro Crater, one of Africa’s premier game parks and a World Heritage Site. From the Crater we transfer to Ndutu center of the Great Migration’s birthing season. Photo ops abound as we spend 7 nights at the classic Ndutu Lodge. Experience 10 days of action packed safari photography in the most dramatic locations at the exact right time of year for only $9,600 double occupancy.

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Auger Buzzard, Ndutu, Tanzania. Image copyright 2010/Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari

Request the full color PDF for both trips by e-mail.

Learn more about Todd here.

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Cheetah cub, Ndutu,Tanzania. Image copyright 2010/Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari

For more info on HD video click here.

And be sure to get a copy of Todd’s great book: The Photographer’s Guide to the Safari Experience.

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Cheetah mother and cub, Ndutu,Tanzania. Image copyright 2010/Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari

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