- Fort DeSoto Morning In-the-Field Workshop
- Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II vs Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS: And the Winner Is!
- Swan Island Dahlia Farm Instructional Photo-Tour
- Canon Live Learning/Birds of the Everglades/Destination Photography Workshop
- Barnegat Jetty IPT II
- Used Camera Gear
- IPT Info
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This beyond spectacular American Kestrel flight shot was created by Arash Harzeghi with the hand held Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens,
Central sensor Expand/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF active at the moment of exposure. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Arash Harzeghi. Note the incredible high ISO performance of the 1D X. Arash does all of his RAW conversions with Digital Photo Professional; that’s why I wrote the DPP (Digital Photo Professional) RAW Conversion Guide with Arash’s help. Consider also Arash’s Professional Guide to Noise Reduction.
Be sure to see the “Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II vs Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS: And the Winner Is!” below.
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We are a bit short-handed at BAA this week. Jim is away on family business until Monday, January 28. Jennifer will be in most days or every day this week usually between 11am and 2pm. If you call and nobody answers, please leave a message and Jennifer will get back to you at the earliest possible moment. Please be just a bit patient with us this week 🙂
On a related note, BAA is a family run business. Note: after so many years of great and reliable service Jim Litzenberg is considered a family member. If you place an order on Friday afternoon please understand that it will be sent as early as possible on the following Monday. Sending 6 angry e-mails over the weekend will not get your MP4 Photoshop Tutorial Video or your Site Guide or Digital Basics or Camera User’s Guide to you any faster. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
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This Yellow-crowned Night-Heron image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus lens and the Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Central sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Most visits to Fort DeSoto turn up a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. If you cannot make the In-the-Field Workshop on February 25 (see immediately below) you will want to get yourself a copy of our Fort DeSoto Site Guide.
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Fort DeSoto Morning In-the-Field Workshop
Fort DeSoto In-the-field Workshop: FEB 25. Pre-dawn -10:30am. Limit 16/openings: 12. Includes a great lunch: $275.
On Monday morning, February 25, Denise Ippolito and I will be leading a morning In-the-field Workshop at Fort DeSoto, south of St. Petersburg, FL. We should get to photograph a variety of very tame herons, egrets, gulls, terns, and shorebirds. Spoonbills possible. There will be lots of individual and small group instruction. We will cover exposure and histograms, seeing the situation, creating sharp images, and lots more. Each registrant will have a personalized gear and set-up check. The more questions you ask, the more you will learn.
A great working lunch at the Sea Porch Café on St. Petersburg Beach is included. All are invited to bring a laptop along for image sharing at lunch. After the workshop, all are invited to send us three 1024 wide or 800 tall JPEGs for critiquing. Call 1-863-692-0906 to register or send us a Paypal. Either way, be sure to note Fort DeSoto I-T-F.
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Note: the bird in this image is actually an adult Neotropic Cormorant. Thanks to Rasta-man Faraaz Abdul for opening my eyes to that.
This Double-crested Cormorant image was created by Patrick Sparkman with the hand held Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) w/FREE Bonus Item – $446.45 Value! [expires soon]!. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/100 sec. at f/8 in Av Mode.
The 1/100 sec. shutter speed is not a typo. Getting sharp results at 1000mm (20X maginification) hand held at 1/100 sec. is a testament to Patrick’s strength, skill, and sharpness techniques and to the remarkable 4-stop Image Stabilization technology that was first introduced with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens.
Central sensor (by necessity) Expand/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 see a larger, sharper version.
Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Patrick Sparkman.
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Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II vs Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS
This article, with a different collection of spectacular images, was published on the blog here.
I announced in the blog post here that I would soon be selling my beloved 800mm f/5.6L IS lens. Many were astounded that I would be going from the 800 down to the 600. Melissa Groo commented, “600mm plus full frame? Can’t wait to hear your explanation.”
First we need to consider that on page 6 of “The Art f Bird Photography II” (ABP II: 916 pages on CD only) I wrote, “… it is routine for me to use either the 500 or 600mm IS lenses with the 2X II teleconverter and produce razor-sharp images consistently at shutter speeds of 1/60 sec. and—at times—with shutter speeds even slower than that.” And that was before Series III TCs and before 4-stop Image Stabilization.
With the above in mind, let’s take a look at the maximum effective focal length of the two lens with a professional digital camera body.
800mm f/5.6 with the 1.4XIII TC (at f/8): 1120mm.
600mm f/4L IS II with the 2XIII TC (at f/8): 1200mm.
By a small margin, the edge when considering reach goes to the 600II. In effect, competent photographers actually have a longer lens when they are using the 600II than when they are using the 800. Note: 1200mm is longer than 1120mm 🙂
Do realize that when using a 1.6 crop factor camera like the EOS-7D that the edge again goes to the 600II as follows: 840mm (at f/5.6 with the 1.4X III TC) is greater than 800mm (at f/5.6).
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This Brown Pelican flight shot was created by Patrick Sparkman with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) w/FREE Bonus Item – $446.45 Value! [expires soon]!. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop off the blue sky: 1/5000 sec. at f/5.6.
Central sensor (by necessity) Expand/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 see a larger version.
Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Patrick Sparkman. I love the position of the breaking wave. Simply getting the bird in the frame with 1200mm effective focal length is a huge challenge for most folks including me. Keeping the sensor on the bird’s eye, face, or neck is even more difficult.
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800mm f/5.6: 9.86 lbs or 4.47 kgs.
600mm f/4L IS II: 8.65 lbs or 3.92 kgs.
By a healthy margin, the edge when considering weight goes to the 600II. For the younger and the stronger among us (like Patrick and Arash!), hand holding the 600II for an entire photography session is a reality. At 66, I have trouble hand holding the 500II for an extended time. I could easily hand hold the 600II in a pinch for a few minutes. One thing that I have forgotten to mention is that the weight of the 600II (and the 500 and 400II lenses as well) is concentrated towards the rear of the lens. This makes these lenses seem even lighter than they are.
|Canon EF 600mm f/4.0 L IS II||8.65 lbs||3.92 kg||14.77 ft||4.5 m||0.15x||52mm
|Canon EF 800mm f/5.6 L IS||9.86 lbs||4.47 kg||19.68 ft||6 m||0.12x||52mm
Canon Telephoto Lens Specs Chart
The info above is excerpted from the comprehensive chart here. All are advised to bookmark the page.
800mm f/5.6: with a pro body you have two focal lengths to choose from: 800 and 1120. With a 1.6 crop factor camera you have access to only one focal length: 800mm.
600mm f/4L IS II: with a pro body, you have three focal lengths to choose from: 600mm, 840mm, and 1200mm. With a 1.6 crop factor camera you have access to two focal lengths: 600mm and 840mm.
Add to the above the fact that with either a pro body or a 1.6 crop factor body you can often be too close at places like Gatorland and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm where you simply cannot move away from your subject.
By a huge margin, the edge when considering versatility goes to the 600II.
Close Focus and Magnification
Do note that close focus and magnification are very closely intertwined.
800mm f/5.6: the minimum focusing distance of the 800 is 19.68 feet (or 6 meters) which yields a magnification of only .12X.
600mm f/4L IS II: the minimum focusing distance of the 600II is a very impressive 14.77 feet (or 4.5 meters) which yields a magnification of .15X.
Again by a huge margin, the edge when considering close focus and magnification goes to the 600II. In fact, the 600II blows the 800 out of the water in this category. When working with birds at close range the 600II will enable you to make images with the subject taking up a well larger portion of the frame.
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This unsharpened test image is courtesy of and copyright 2013: Patrick Sparkman. Clicking to enlarge is recommended.
Thanks to Patrick Sparkman for sharing his composite comparative sharpness test above. The results above are unsharpened. Both Patrick and I agreed on our analysis of the results. As expected sharpness at the edge of the frame with all combos is less than in the middle of the frame. Unexpected was that the 600II alone was perceptibly sharper than the 800 alone, that the 600II with the 1.4X TC was sharper than 800 alone, and that the 600II with the 2X III was at least as sharp as the 800 alone. Considering that the 800 is the sharpest long lens that either of us have ever used the sharpness of the 600II with and without TCs is astounding.
By a large margin, the edge when considering sharpness goes to the 600II. Again, the 600II blows the 800 out of the water in this category.
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This sharpened test image is courtesy of and copyright 2013: Patrick Sparkman. Clicking to enlarge is recommended.
At this point some folks might be thinking that the 800mm f/5.6L IS is a real pile of junk. But just a glance at the sharpened test results reveals the that 800 with and without the 1.4X III TC is fully capable of creating sharp images like those you have been seeing on the blog and in Bulletins for the past few years. The 600II is just that much sharper….
Right now, you can purchase a new Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens from B&H for $12,799.00 (in your shopping cart). Please note: the listed price is reduced only after you put the item in your cart.
And you can purchase the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS lens for $13,249.00 (in your shopping cart). Please note: the listed price is reduced only after you put the item in your cart.
Here the lower price of the 600II is easily quantified: $450.
Right now finding a used 600II would be akin to finding a needle in a thousand haystacks. Heck, it is nearly impossible to find a new one to buy. It is very likely that more and more used 800s will come onto the market. Right now they are going for about $11,000 in excellent condition, about $9,500 in good to very good condition.
For folks who would like to move into the true super-telephoto arena while saving several thousands dollars the 800mm f/5.6L IS lens is a more than viable option.
Large Advantage: 800.
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This White-tailed Kite flight shot was created by Arash Harzeghi with the hand held Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens,
Central sensor Expand/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF active at the moment of exposure.Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Arash Harzeghi.
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Patrick and Arash
Thanks a stack to both Patrick Sparkman and Arash Harzeghi for allowing me to use their great images here. As an aside, I am pretty sure that Arash, with his great concern for extremely sharp fine detail, would rarely if ever use the 2X III TC with his 600II while Patrick often reaches for his 2X. I will be in Patrick’s camp on the 2X.
To see a spectacular larger version of Arash’s White-tailed Kite image, click here. The sharpness and image quality at ISO 1600 border on the unbelievable. That’s why I wrote the DPP (Digital Photo Professional) RAW Conversion Guide with Arash’s help. Consider also Arash’s Professional Guide to Noise Reduction.
And the Winner Is!
As the 600mm f/4L IS II is lighter, sharper, less expensive, more versatile, and, surprise, effectively longer than the 800mm f/5.6 L IS, it is, for folks for whom cost is not an issue, clearly the best choice. As stated above, a used 800 is a viable option for folks with budgetary constraints. I guess that the only folks who will be buying new 800s are those who have their heads stuck in the sand with regards to using the 1.4X III and the 2X III teleconverters.
As for me, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new 600II.
Questions or comments on the 600II vs 800 article; click here.
Within a week or two I hope to be addressing 500II vs 600II considerations on the blog.
Announcing the Swan Island Dahlia Farm Instructional Photo-Tour
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All images courtesy of and copyright 2012: Denise Ippolito. Click for a larger version.
A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Swan Island Dahlia Farm Instructional Photo-Tour, September 11-15, 2013: 5 FULL DAYS: $1649
Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris at the Swan Island Dahlia Farm in Canby Oregon (just south of Portland) for a great learning and photography experience. Swan Island features more than 40 acres with over 350 varieties of dahlias in a plethora of colors, shapes and sizes, making it one of the largest growers in the United States.
Daily Photo Schedule
We will enjoy four morning (7:00am till 10:30am) and five afternoon (3:30pm till 6pm) photography sessions. While we will do most of our photography at the Swan Island Dahlia Farm, we will also visit the Portland Rose Garden and/or the Portland Japanese Garden on this IPT. The in-the-field instruction will include seeing the situation, the use of selective focus, creative use of depth of field, histogram and exposure guidance, designing creative images, choosing your background, isolating your subject, lens options, and the use of reflectors and diffusers. Our field sessions will include challenging photography assignments geared to make you think creatively. Both personalized and small group instruction will be provided. All times are tentative and subject to change based on the weather and on local conditions.
Seminar Morning: Friday, September 13: 8:30am till 12:30pm
Denise will begin by presenting her “Bloomin’ Ideas” program, an overview of the in-the-field and post-processing techniques that she has used and developed over the past few years to create her signature look. Artie will follow with a Photoshop session that will be geared towards all levels. He’ll be sharing some of his favorite techniques and tips while working on images from the first two days of the IPT. Denise will conclude the seminar portion of the IPT with a Photoshop demo; she will share her creative workflow using a variety of Photoshop filters and effects. The entire morning is designed to give you a peek into the minds of two very skilled and creative folks.
The group will have lunch together daily. All are invited to bring their laptops for image sharing. We hope that you can join us for an intense five days of learning and some of the best flower photography to be had in North America.
Deposit Info and Cancellation Policies:
A $449 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance is due 5 months before the date of the IPT and is also non-refundable. If the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.
Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. We will be short-handed in the office until January 21 so please leave a message and we will call you back. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail
Canon Live Learning/Birds of the Everglades/Destination Photography Workshop
Join me in the Everglades for a long weekend of great photography and instruction: February 8-10, 2013, based in Homestead, FL. Click here for more information or to register. Click here for the complete schedule.
Last year a great time was had by all. Denise Ippolito will again be along to help out and share her incredible creativity with the group. Having been so busy with travel, photography, teaching, and family, I have been remiss as far as announcing this event; my understanding is that there are still a very few openings. If you are seriously interested in joining us, do not tarry.
BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Barnegat Jetty II IPT
BIRDS AS ART/Barnegat Jetty IPT II, Barnegat Light, NJ: 2 1/2 DAYS. JAN 18 (1:30pm), 19, and 20, 2012: $999. Limit 8/Openings: 4. Includes 5 photo-sessions, both lunches, introductory slide program, image review, sharing, editing, and Photoshop.
Note: On cloudy days we grab a quick lunch and spend most of the day photographing. If you can’t make the whole thing, you can join what will likely be a small group as follows: Full Day with lunch: $400. Afternoon (1:30-dusk): $250. Call to arrange: 1-863-692-0906. Weekends OK. For more info, click here and scroll down.
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Weekend Creative Nature Photography Seminar, Tampa, FL: February 23 & 24, 2013: $149 Limit: 50/Openings: 7
Join Denise Ippolito and me on the weekend of February 23-24 on the outskirts of Tampa, FL for a great weekend of fun and learning. Learn to improve your photography skills, your skill at designing images in the field, your creative vision, and your image optimization skills. Sunday critiquing session. Click here for additional details and the complete schedule.
Best to register soon as the seminar is filling up nicely.
Used Camera Gear Including Some Great New Items
Ramona is offering the following used items for sale:
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS lens with its trunk, leather cover, hood, rear lens cap, drop in filter holder, forest green Lens Coat, strap, and 4th generation NP 51 low foot. All in very good condition. Just serviced by Canon: $5900.
Please contact Ramona with any questions: 1-719 231 5874 or via e-mail.
Mary is offering a used Canon (USA) EF 400mm DO-IS f/4.0 (USM) lens for sale for $5,300.00, firm. No taxes or buyers fees plus free shipping to anywhere in USA. The lens, used only twice, is in like-new condition. Purchase includes lens hood, strap, protective cover, manual and storage case – plus tripod collar and Wimberley Arca-Swiss P-20 Lens Plate. (No key for the carrying case but can get from Canon USA if this is a problem.)
Shipping is first business day after funds are received via USPS, Priority with insurance and delivery confirmation. Accepted form of payment: PayPal (which includes credit cards). No money orders or money grams. Serious folks can contact Mary by phone/text at 512-366-0320 (CST) or via e-mail
I used and loved the 400 DO for years. It is a great flight lens, great from any type of watercraft, and, at only 4.28 pounds, makes a great super-telephoto prime for folks who cannot carry either 500mm f/4 L IS lens. It weighs less then 4 pounds with the removable tripod collar removed. Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II: 5.19 pounds–tripod collar not removable. Canon 500mm f/4L IS II lens: 7.04 pounds. Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens: 8.54 pounds. You can check out the weights and specs for all Canon telephoto lenses here.
Steve Vige is offering the following used gear for sale:
Canon 70-200 f4L IS lens (price reduced!) in excellent condition includes pouch and original Canon box: $899 buyer pays shipping.
Please contact Steve on his cell at 661-305-0307 or via e-mail. Note: I used this sharp, lightweight lens for about two years and loved it.
Shelly Goldstein/Price Reduction
Multiple IPT-veteran and all around nice guy Sheldon Goldstein is offering the following Canon lenses for sale; each of them has recently been checked and cleaned by Canon Jamesburg. Wire transfers preferred or wait until your check clears. All sales include shipping and insurance.
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens in excellent condition with LensCoat, the RRS LCF-50 Arca style replacement foot, the original foot with all the screws, and all the original stuff including the lens trunk and leather hood. This one is an absolute steal at $6699.
Contact Shelly by phone at 1-646-423-0392 or via e-mail.
On all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. 🙂
Support the BAA Blog. Support the BAA Bulletins
We want and need to keep providing you with the latest free information, photography and Photoshop lessons, and all manner of related information. Show your appreciation by making your purchases immediately after clicking on any of our B&H or Amazon Affiliate links in this blog post. Remember, B&H ain’t just photography!
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….
Gizo GT3532 LS CF Tripod. This one replaces the GT3530LS Tripod and will last you a lifetime. Learn more about this great tripod here.
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.
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.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.
Delkin Flash Cards. I use and depend on Delkin compact Flash Cards and card readers most every day. Learn more about their great 700X and 1000X cards here or about my favorite Delkin card here.
BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo Tours (IPTs)
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.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.
Please scroll down for info on each of the following:
- Gatorland Mini-IPT: 1 1/2 days: AM and PM shooting sessions on Saturday, March 4 and a morning session on Sunday, March 5.
- BIRDS AS ART Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Workshop (ITFW) on the morning of April 22, 2017: $99
- Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/April 19, 2017 (meet & greet and afternoon session) through the full day on April 22, 2017. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1599.
- 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT, July 3-10, 2017: $5999.
- 2017 Bear Boat Coastal Brown Bear Cubs IPT: July 18-24, 2017 from Kodiak, AK: 5 FULL & 2 Half DAYS: $6699
- 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour: June 8-14, 2017: $2,499
- GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. August 8-22, 2017 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half DAYS of photography: $12,499. Limit: 12 photographers plus the leader: yours truly. Sold out!.
- 2018 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT: Monday, JAN 15 thru and including the morning session on Friday, JAN 19, 2018: 4 1/2 days: $2099
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Great Egrets in breeding plumage are a beautiful sight …
Gatorland Mini-IPT: 1 1/2 days: AM and PM shooting sessions on Saturday, March 4 and a morning session on Sunday, March 5: $749. Limit 6/Openings 4.
Join me in Kissimmee, FL in early March, prime time to to photograph Great Egrets in breeding plumage. We should get to make lots of head portraits with most any lens and to photograph them building nests, displaying, copulating, and flying. Eggs for sure. Tiny chicks likely. And most likely breeding Wood Storks as well. Learn to see, find, and make the shot in cluttered settings. Learn exposure and how to handle the WHITEs. Learn fill flash and flash as main light. Includes a working lunch on me on Saturday with image review and Photoshop. We may see and photograph some early Snowy Egrets and Tricolored Herons. And of course, we will see and photograph the captive American Alligators. All of the birds are free and wild.
To pay in full via credit card, call Jim or Jen in the office weekdays at 863-692-0906. You will be responsible for the cost of your Gatorland Photographer’s pass. Early entry both mornings and late stay on Saturday.
DeSoto in spring is rife with tame and attractive birds. From upper left clockwise to center: breeding plumage Dunlin, dark morph breeding plumage Reddish Egret displaying, breeding plumage Laughing Gull/front end vertical portrait, breeding plumage Laughing Gull with prey item, Laughing Gull on head of Brown Pelican, screaming Royal Tern in breeding plumage, Royal Terns/pre-copulatory stand, Laughing Gulls copulating, breeding plumage Laughing Gull/tight horizontal portrait, Sandwich Tern with fish, and a really rare one, White-rumped Sandpiper in breeding plumage, photographed at DeSoto in early May.
Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/April 19-22, 2017. (meet & greet at 2pm on Wednesday April 19 followed by an afternoon session) through the full day on Saturday April 22. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1599. Limit 10. To save your spot, please call and put down a non-refundable deposit of $499.00.
I will be offering small group (Limit 3) Photoshop sessions on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning if necessary. Details on that TBA.
Fort DeSoto is one of the rare locations that might offer great bird photography 365 days a year. It shines in spring. There will Lots of tame birds including breeding plumage Laughing Gull and Royal and Sandwich Terns. With luck, we will get to photograph all of these species courting and copulating. There will be American Oystercatcher and Marbled Godwit plus sandpipers and plovers, some in full breeding plumage. Black-bellied Plover and Red Knot in stunning breeding plumage are possible. There will be lots of wading birds including Great and Snowy Egrets, both color morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue, Tricolored and Little Blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, and killer breeding plumage White Ibis. Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork are possible and likely. We should have lots of good flight photography with the gulls and terns and with Brown Pelican. Nesting Least Tern and nesting Wilson’s Plover are possible.
We will, weather permitting, enjoy 7 shooting sessions. As above, our first afternoon session will follow the meet and greet at 2pm on Wednesday April 19. For the next three days we will have two daily photo sessions. We will be on the beach early and usually be at lunch (included) by 11am. We will have three indoor sessions. At one we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me choose my keepers and deletes–why keep this one and delete that one? The second will be a review of your images so that I can quickly learn where you need help. For those who bring their laptops to lunch I’d be glad to take a peek at an image or three. Day three will be a Photoshop session during which we will review my complete workflow and process an image or two in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. Afternoon sessions will generally run from 4:30pm till sunset. We photograph until sunset on the last day, Saturday, April 22. Please note that this is a get-your-feet and get-your-butt wet and sandy IPT. And that you can actually do the whole IPT with a 300 f/2.8L IS, a 400 f/4 ID DO lens with both TCs, or the equivalent Nikon gear. I will surely be using my 500 II as my big glass and have my 100-400 II on my shoulder.
DeSoto in spring is rife with tame and attractive birds. From upper left clockwise to center: Laughing Gull in flight, adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, copulating Sandwich Terns, Roseate Spoonbill, Great Egret with reflection, Short-billed Dowitcher in breeding plumage, American Oystercatcher, breeding plumage Royal Tern, white morph Reddish Egret, and Snowy Egret marsh habitat shot.
What You Will Learn
You will learn to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to understand the effects of sky and wind conditions on bird photography, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you are scared of it).
The group will be staying at the Red Roof Inn, St. Petersburg: 4999 34th St. North, St Petersburg, FL 33714. The place is clean and quite inexpensive. Please e-mail for room block information. And please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 to register. All will need to purchase an Annual Pass early on Tuesday afternoon so that we can enter the park at 6am and be in position for sunrise opportunities. The cost is $75, Seniors $55. Tight carpools will be needed and will reduce the per person Annual Pass costs. The cost of three lunches is included. Breakfasts are grab what you can on the go, and dinners are also on your own due to the fact that we will usually be getting back to the hotel at about 9pm. Non-photographer spouses, friends, or companions are welcome for $100/day, $350 for the whole IPT.
BIRDS AS ART Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Workshop (ITFW): $99
Fort DeSoto Spring In-the-Field Cheap Meet-up Workshop (ITFW) on the morning of April 22, 2017: $99
Join me on the morning of April 22, 2017 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.
You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive morning workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.
To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place one week before the event.
Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.
2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT
Monday July 3 through Monday July 10, 2017: $5999: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 6). Two great leaders: Arthur Morris and BPN co-owner, BPN Photography Gear Forum Moderator, and long-time BAA Webmaster Peter Kes.
Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on July 2 and arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday July 3 no later than 10am (or simply meet us then at the Edinburgh Airport–EDI, or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe). Stay 7 nights in one of three gorgeous modern country cottages.
There are five days of planned puffin/seabird trips and one morning of gannet photography, all weather permitting of course. In three years we have yet to miss an entire day because of weather… In addition, we will enjoy several sessions of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level.
Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.
We will get to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet; Arctic, Sandwich, and Common Terns, the former with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks. We will be staying in upscale country-side lodging that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the limited single supplement info below.
All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared by you in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day.
If you wish to fly home on the morning of Monday July 10 we will get you to the airport. Please, however, consider the following tentative plans: enjoy a second Gannet boat trip on the afternoon of Monday July 10 and book your hotel room in Dunbar. If all goes as planned, those who stay on for the two extra days will make a morning landing at Bass Rock, one of the world’s largest gannetries. We will get everyone to the airport on the morning of Wednesday July 12. (We may opt to stay in Edinburgh on the night of July 11.) Price and details should be finalized at least six months before the trip but you will need to be a bit patient. It would be ideal if I can get all the work done by the end of September so that folks can arrange their flights then.
Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2016.
If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on March 29, 2017. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.
Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.
Single Supplement Deposit Info
Single supplement rooms are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.
Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. 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 that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even 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: Travel Insurance Services. 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. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print careful even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.
Images and card copyright Arthur Morris/BEARS AS ART 🙂
2017 Bear Boat Coastal Brown Bear Cubs IPTs: July 18-24, 2017 from Kodiak, AK: 5 FULL & 2 Half DAYS: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 8/Openings 3.
Join me in spectacular Katmai National Park, AK for six days of photographing Coastal Brown Bears. Mid-July is prime time for making images of small, football-sized cubs. The cubs, and these dates, are so popular that I had to reserve them three years in advance to secure them. There are lots of bears each year in June, but the mothers only rarely risk bringing their tiny cubs out in the open in fear of predation by rival bears. In addition to making portraits of both adults and cubs, we hope to photograph frolicking and squabbling youngsters and tender nursing scenes. At this time of year, the bears are either grazing in luxuriant grass or clamming. There will also be some two- and three-year old cubs to add to the fun. And we will get to photograph it all.
We will live on our tour operator’s luxurious new boat. At 78 feet long its 24 foot beam makes it quite spacious as well. And the food is great. We will likely spend most of our time at famed Geographic Harbor as that is where the bears are generally concentrated in summer. On the odd chance that we do need to relocate to another location we can do so quickly and easily without having to venture into any potentially rough seas. We land via a 25 foot skiff that has lots of room for as much gear as we can carry.
Aside from the bears we should get to photograph Horned and Tufted Puffin and should get nice stuff on Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Harbor Seal, and Steller’s Sea Lion as well. A variety of tundra-nesting shorebirds including Western Sandpiper and both yellowlegs are also possible. Halibut fishing (license required/not included) is optional.
It is mandatory that you be in Kodiak no later than the late afternoon of July 17 to avoid missing the float planes to the boat on the morning of July 18. Again, with air travel in Alaska (or anywhere else for that matter) subject to possible delays, being on Kodiak on July 16 is a much better plan.
Barring any delays, we will get to photograph bears on our first afternoon and then again every day for the next five days after that, all weather permitting of course. On our last morning on the boat, July 24, those who would like to enjoy one last photo session will have the opportunity to do so. The group will return to Kodiak via float plane from late morning through midday. Most folks will then fly to Anchorage and to continue on red-eye flights to their home cities.
What’s included? 7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS on the boat as above. All meals on the boat. National Park and guide fees. In-the-field photo tips, instruction, and guidance. An insight into the mind of a top professional nature photographer; I will constantly let you know what I am thinking, what I am doing, and why I am doing it. Small group image review, image sharing, and informal Photoshop instruction on the boat.
What’s not included: Your round trip airfare to and from Kodiak, AK (almost surely through Anchorage). Your lodging and meals on Kodiak. The cost of the round-trip float plane to the boat and then back to Kodiak as above. The cost of a round trip last year was $550. The suggested crew tip of $200.
Have you ever walked with the bears?
Is this an expensive trip? Yes, of course. But with 5 full and two half days, a wealth of great subjects, and the fact that you will be walking with the bears just yards away (or less….), it will be one of the great natural history experiences of your life. Most folks who take part in a Bear Boat IPT wind up coming back for more.
A $2,000 per person non-refundable deposit by check only made out to “BIRDS AS ART” is required to hold your spot. Please click here to read our cancellation policies. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us by mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.
Your deposit is due when you sign up. That leaves a balance of $4699. The next payment of $2699 will be due on September 15, 2016. The final payment of $2000 is due on February 15, 2017. I hope that you can join me for what will be a wondrously exciting trip.
Palouse 2016 Horizontals Card
Announcing the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour
In what ways will the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour be different from the most other Palouse workshops?
There are so many great locations that a seven-day IPT (as opposed to the typical three- or five-day workshops) will give the group time to visit (and revisit) many of the best spots while allowing you to maximize your air travel dollars. In addition, it will allow us to enjoy a slightly more relaxed pace.
You will be assured of being in the right location for the given weather and sky conditions.
You will learn and hone both basic and advanced compositional and image design skills.
You will learn to design powerful, graphic images.
You will visit all of the iconic locations and a few spectacular ones that are much less frequently visited.
You will learn long lens landscape techniques.
You will learn to master any exposure situation in one minute or less.
You will learn the fine points of Canon in-camera (5D Mark III, 5DS R, and 7D II) HDR techniques.
You will learn to use your longest focal lengths to create rolling field and Urbex abstracts.
You will learn when and how to use a variety of neutral density filters to create pleasing blurs of the Palouse’s gorgeous rolling farmlands.
As always, you will learn to see like a pro. You will learn what makes one situation prime and another seemingly similar one a waste of your time. You will learn to see the situation and to create a variety of top-notch images.
You will learn to use super-wide lenses both for big skies and building interiors.
You will learn when, why, and how to use infrared capture; if you do not own an infrared body, you will get to borrow mine.
You will learn to use both backlight and side-light to create powerful and dramatic landscape images.
Palouse 2016 Verticals Card
The 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour
June 8-14, 2017. Seven full days of photography. Meet and greet at 7:30pm on Wednesday, June 7: $2,499. Limit 10/Openings: 7.
Rolling farmlands provide a magical patchwork of textures and colors, especially when viewed from the top of Steptoe Butte where we will enjoy spectacular sunrises and at least one nice sunset. We will photograph grand landscapes and mini-scenics of the rolling hills and farm fields. I will bring you to more than a few really neat old abandoned barns and farmhouses in idyllic settings. There is no better way to improve your compositional and image design skills and to develop your creativity than to join me for this trip. Photoshop and image sharing sessions when we have the time and energy…. We get up early and stay out late and the days are long.
Over the past three years, with the help of a friend, we found all the iconic locations and, in addition, lots of spectacular new old barns and breath-taking landforms and vistas. What’s included: In-the-field instruction, guidance, lessons, and inspiration, my extensive knowledge of the area, all lunches, motel lobby grab and go breakfasts, and Photoshop and image sharing sessions. As above, there will be a meet and greet at 7:30pm on the evening before the workshop begins.
To Sign Up
Your non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold your spot. Please let me know via e-mail that you will be joining this IPT. Then you can either call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 during business hours to arrange for the payment of your deposit; if by check, please make out to “BIRDS AS ART” and mail it to: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail: artie.
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 that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.
Tame birds and wildlife. Incredible diversity. You only live once…
GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. August 8-22, 2017 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $12,499. Limit: 12 photographers plus the leader: yours truly. Sold out!
Same great trip; no price increase!
My two-week Galapagos Photo-Cruises are without equal. The world’s best guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), and two great leaders with ten Galapagos cruises under their belts. Pre-trip and pre-landing location-specific gear advice. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea!
The great spots that we will visit include Tower Island (including Prince Phillips Steps and Darwin Bay), Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world’s only nesting site of Waved Albatross, and Gardner Bay)—each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway. We will also visit Fernandina, Puerto Ayora for the tortoises, Puerto Egas—James Bay, and North Seymour for nesting Blue-footed Boobies in most years, South Plaza for Land Iguanas, Floreana for Greater Flamingoes, and Urbina Bay, all spectacular in their own right. We visit every great spot on a single trip. Plus tons more. And there will be lots of opportunities to snorkel on sunny mid-days for those like me who wish to partake.
It is extremely likely that we will visit the incredible Darwin Bay and the equally incredible Hood Island, world home of Waved Albatross twice on our voyage. The National Park Service takes its sweet time in approving such schedule changes.
We will be the first boat on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island every afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast skies, we will often spend 5-6 hours at the best sites. And as noted above, mid-day snorkeling is an option on most sunny days depending on location and conditions. On the 2015 trip most snorkeled with a mega-pod of dolphins. I eased off the zodiac to find hundreds of dolphins swimming just below me. Note: some of the walks are a bit difficult but can be made by anyone if half way decent shape. Great images are possible on all landings with either a hand held 70-200mm lens and a 1.4X teleconverter or an 80- or 100-400. I sometimes bring a longer lens ashore depending on the landing. In 2017 I will be bring the Canon 400mm IS DO II lens. In the past I have brought either the 300mm f/2.8L IS II or the 200-400mm f/4 L IS with Internal Extender.
Do consider joining me for this once in a lifetime trip to the Galapagos archipelago. There simply is no finer Galapagos photography trip. Learn why above.
An Amazing Value…
Do know that there are one week Galapagos trips for $8500! Thus, our trip represents a tremendous value; why go all that way and miss half of the great photographic locations?
August 6, 2017: We arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador a day early to ensure that we do not miss the boat in case of a travel delay.
August 7, 2017: There will be an introductory Galapagos Photography session and a hands on exposure session at our hotel.
August 8, 2017: We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2015 trip some people made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!
August 22, 2017: We disembark late morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; most will overnight there.
Most will fly home on the early morning of August 23 unless they are staying on or going elsewhere (or catching a red-eye flight on the evening of the 22nd).
$12,499 includes just about everything: all transfers, guide and park fees, all food on the boat, transfers and ground transportation, your flights to the archipelago, and three nights (double occupancy) in a top notch hotel in Guayaquil. If you are good to go, a non-refundable deposit of $5,000 per person is due immediately. The second payment of $4,000 is not due until 11/1/16. The final payment of $3449 per person will be due on 2/1/17. A $200 discount will be applied to each of the balances for couples or friends who register at the same time.
Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On two fairly recent cruises a total of 5 folks were forced to cancel less than one week prior to the trip. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same.
Not included: your round trip airfare from your home to and from Guayaquil, beverages on the boat, phone calls, your meals in Guayaquil, personal items, and a $600/person cash tip for the crew and the guide—this works out to roughly $40/day to be shared by the 7 folks who will be waiting on us hand and foot every day for two weeks. The service is so wonderful that many folks choose to tip extra.
Please e-mail for the tentative itinerary or with questions. Please cut and paste “Galapagos 2017 Tentative Itinerary Please” into the Subject line.
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2017 in San Diego was a very good year ….
2018 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT: Monday, JAN 15 thru and including the morning session on Friday, JAN 19, 2018: 4 1/2 days: $2099.
Limit: 8: Openings: 4
Meet and Greet at 6:30pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Sunday, Jan 14, 2018.
Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (usually nesting and displaying) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Wood Duck and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seal (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lion; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Please note: formerly dependable, both Wood Duck and Marbled Godwit have been declining at their usual locations for the past two years …
San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….
With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You can do most of your photography with an 80- or 100-400 lens …
Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?
Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.
The San Diego Details
This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, four lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. Dinners are on your own so that we can get some sleep.
A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 9/11//2016. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.