Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the closest bird and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.
We will get to photograph a great variety of breeding behaviors on the 2nd New Concept IPT, the Fort Desoto/Hooptie Deux–Roseate Spoonbill Short Notice IPT.
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Fort Destoto/Hooptie Deux Short Notice IPT Report
The Fort Destoto/Hooptie Deux Short Notice IPT was a great success on all counts. Four photographers signed up for the whole thing. Steven Blandin lives in Tampa. He came with his 600 IS II. Mutliple-IPT veteran John Snodgrass flew from Atlanta with his new 600 II. First timer and virtual bird photographer beginner A. Collier Smyth flew in from Pennsylvania with his brand new 600 II. Lastly many-times-over multiple IPT veteran Monte Brown flew in from Indiana with his lowly 800mm f/5.6 L IS. Steven is young and talented and very eager to improve his skills. John has been improving and is about the nicest person you could ever hope to meet. He was constantly helping others. Collier learned and retained more in a 5 day period than anyone I’ve ever taught. On day 1 he felt that he could never even get a flying bird in the frame. By day 5 he was nailing spoonbills in flight with a mangrove background. And all of his images were super sharp. Monte had been away for a while and was eager to get back into the swing and rhythm of long lens photography. I remember one year on the Bear Boat when Monte killed on Bald Eagles in flight with his Canon 100-400.
Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s neck active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.
The toughest thing to do when photographing scratching birds is to get a good head angle. This godwit’s head cooperated very nicely.
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We successfully battled cold and NW winds for the first two days and actually did quite well. (See Impossible Conditions here.) Every day everyone was eager to get out, eager to learn, and eager to put their newly learned skills to the test. We were all on the ground and in the water at Desoto getting cold and wet and sandy. Well, at least Monte and Collier were. John and I fortunately had lightweight chest waders along and wore them religiously. All in all we had good chances with a great many species at Desoto including: Royal, Sandwich, Caspian, and Forster’s Terns, Laughing, Lesser-black Backed, Ring-billed, and Herring Gulls, Black Skimmer, Mottled Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, White Ibis, Great Egret, Reddish Egret, Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, and, on the side trip to Indian Lake Estates, Sandhill Cranes with chicks of varying ages. (See What, No Itinerary? for the full story on that). Yikes, I almost forgot the shorebirds. They included Willet, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, American Oystercatcher, Sanderling, Wilson’s Plover, and lots of tame and beautiful Marbled Godwits. The latter was my spark species, the bird that got me hooked on birding back in 1977. And on the Hooptie trips we enjoyed photographing the spoonbills, the great blues, the ibises, the cormorants, and the pelicans in flight.
As good as the photography and the instruction was, everyone really enjoyed the meals: Ruby Tuesdays, Sea Porch Cafe, Good Times, and Bonefish Grill all shined. Oh yes, and a flounder lunch at my place with steamed broccoli and baked butternut squash.
Central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s chin active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.
This is a tough bird to get close to. She was sleeping as I approached but kindly woke for a portrait.
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Announcing a 2nd New Concept IPT: the Fort Desoto/Hooptie Deux–Roseate Spoonbill Short Notice IPT/April 3-7, 2013/5 DAYS: $2399. Strict limit: six photographers.
Early April can be superb at Alafia Banks. Early April is almost always superb at Fort DeSoto.
Here is the structure and schedule: I will be leading the first three days of this IPT. James Shadle will be leading the last two days. We will do three Hooptie Deux trips, one full day and one morning only trip. The first day and one of the next two full days will be at Fort Desoto where the Laughing Gulls will be in splendid breeding plumage with their full black hoods, their wine-red bills, and white eye crescents. They are one of our most under-appreciated species. The Royal, Sandwich, and Forster’s Terns will also be in breeding plumage. And all of these species will be displaying, courting, and mating. You can also expect a variety of wading birds, especially Reddish Egret, and a variety of shorebirds including Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Dunlin, American Oystercatcher, and many more. And you will need to beat the Willets off with a stick. The additional possibilities are too numerous to mention.
We will spend a full day on the Hooptie Deux with James Shadle on either Thursday or Friday depending on the weather. The morning will be at Alafia Banks with spoonbill as the main target species. There will be lots of great flight photography not only with spoonbills, many of which will be in full breeding plumage, but with Brown Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants, Reddish Egret and White Ibis in full breeding plumage, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Turkey and Black Vultures, and lots more. The afternoon Hooptie trip will be at one of several fresh water heronries. James will trailer his customized pontoon boat to the best rookery. Subjects, depending on location, will likely include Cattle Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Great Blue Heron, White Ibis, Black-crowned Night-heron, and Double-crested Cormorant. All nesting and in flight. Most but not all of the photography on a boat trip to the Banks with James is done while standing in the water with your tripod. James has lightweight chest waders and surf booties on board for all at no charge. Folks who wish to keep their expensive Gitzo tripods saltwater free often opt to use Drypods. Learn more here.
Opportunities on the fresh water rookery afternoon will be superb and varied.
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Saturday and Sunday with James will feature a morning on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks and one or more sessions at Honeymoon Island State Park where many dozens of pairs of Osprey are nesting. There will of course be lots of flight photography. Depending on the winds and weather there may be an afternoon session at a Wood Stork rookery or some local beaches that James knows well. All of the above (except for the leader schedule) is of course subject to change depending on the weather including wind and sky conditions as well as local conditions. James has an intimate knowledge of each location and has visited them regularly for many years. We will be staying in St. Petersburg, FL where we will be 30-45 minutes at most from all of our shooting locations.
One sensor below the central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.
There will be lots of opportunities to hand hold big glass for flight on the 2nd New Concept IPT: the Fort Desoto/Hooptie Deux–Roseate Spoonbill Short Notice IPT/April 3-7, 2013.
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All of the above plus practically private access to two of the planet’s premier photographic educators represents a rare opportunity to grow as a nature photographer. A $500 deposit is needed to hold your spot; call Jim or Jennifer asap at 1-863-692-0906. Your deposit may be placed with a credit card. Your payment in full by personal check will then be due along with your completed paperwork both sent via US Mail. Please print, read, and sign the release form here and include it with your check. If you would rather pay in full via personal check, please call or e-mail immediately to save your spot. As always, this IPT will run with only a single registrant. Yeah, I know that it might seem nuts but neither James nor I can live with telling folks who have arranged to take time off from work and made travel plans that we are cancelling a trip because we will not be making enough money to justify running it….
You can learn more about New Concept IPTs by clicking here and scrolling down. Be sure to check out the killer white morph Reddish Egret image there.
EOS-5D Mark III User’s Guide
In the EOS-5D Mark III User’s Guide You can learn everything that I know about the following important topics: 5D III exposure fine points, handling the WHITEs, the top LCD and all camera control buttons, 5D Mark III drive modes, how to manually select an AF sensor, choosing an AF Area Selection Mode, and Menu Item access. Coverage of almost all Menu Items and Custom Functions including: Image Quality, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Highlight Tone Priority, AF Configuration Tool (includes details on the custom Case setting that I use), Acceleration/deceleration tracking, Tracking sensitivity, Lens drive when AF impossible, Orientation linked AF point (I love this feature on the 5D III!), Highlight alert, Histogram display, Auto rotate, Custom Shooting Mode set-up, Safety shift, using the Q button, and setting up rear focus.Plus detailed instructions on how to set up for both in-camera HDR and in-camera multiple exposures.
The guide is–of course–written in my informal, easy-to-follow style. Learn more or purchase here.
Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the pelican’s eye and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.
I am not sure what it was about this pelican sitting in the mangroves but for some reason it looked great; I created lots of horizontal and lots of vericals.
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TPPA Convention & Keynote Presentation
I will be presenting the keynote address at the Texas Professional Photographer’s Association Convention in Arlington, TX on the evening of March 16. My appearance is being generously sponsored by Canon USA/Explorers of Light. I hope that you can make it. Here is additional information on the convention:
Weekend Photo Event: 24 programs and Trade Show only $49: March 15-17, 2013
Attend the event with the best photographic education value in America! For only $49 you can attend your choice of 24 different programs from Landscape Photography, Understanding Exposure, How to enter Print Competition, People Photography, Fashion and Boudoir Photography, Pet photography, How to Get Published, Adobe Lightroom, Nature Photography, Sports Photography, How to Turn your photos to Art and much more! On Saturday evening we have Arthur Morris, one of the nations top bird photographers, doing his “A Bird Photographers Story” program!
How would you like the chance to have your work published in our award winning, regional photography magazine. You can participate in the Print Competition and get into the Trade Show absolutely FREE! Just announced, win a LexJet trophy and $100 if your entry was printed on LexJet product. We also have several Hands-On programs on Friday March 15 on PhotoShop, Posing, Lighting, How to Market Your Photo Business and more for a small additional cost. You must pre-register for the event at www.tppa.org but you DO NOT have to register for the classes on Saturday and Sunday. You can attend as many or as few as you want! All will take place be at the Arlington Convention Center just 15 minutes from DFW.
Regardless of your skill level, you’ll find something for you! Please join us! Even if you and only attend one day! Learn more here.
Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the eye of the nearest bird and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.
The 500 makes a great super-telephoto when you are working with relatively tame birds and wish to go light.
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EOS-1D X AF Guide
You can learn exactly how I set up and use this camera’s great new AF system in our EOS-1D X AF Guide. And you can learn about our other camera User’s Guides here.
Used Camera Gear Including Some New Items
Walt is offering a used Sigma 300-800 f/5.6 EX DG APO IF HSM Autofocus Lens for Canon EOS, aka The Sigmonster in like new condition. Used only 4-5 times: $6,000. The sale includes the original shipping box and the original soft lens case. Includes shipping in the continental US. You can call Walt at 1-442.222.4081 or by e-mail. James Shadle used the Nikon mount version of this lens to create many great images. Strong folks can save a bundle as this is a steal at $2,000 below list.
Dr. Steve Bein
Steve is offering a mint condition lightly used Canon 600mm f/4L IS L lens for sale, used only once for $7,000 insured ground shipping included. The purchase includes the lens trunk, a LensCoat, the 4th generation foot, and the original Canon foot all in the original box.
Please contact Steve via e-mail or call him at home at 1-310-838-2346. As a last resort try him on his cell at 1-310-850-6061.
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.
Posse News: Robert Amoruso
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Note: Robert leads trips to two great spots that I used to visit regularly when I lived in Deltona, FL and traveled a lot less than I do now! I will be getting up to Gatorland this spring and hope to make it back to St. Augustine in May or June. I know that Robert knows his stuff because I taught him. 🙂
The ORIGINAL Gatorland Photographic Instructional Workshops for 2013, March 23-24, April 12-14 or May 18-19.
Join Robert at Gatorland’s native avian rookery with unparalleled up-close access to mating and nesting birds in full breeding plumage. Morning and afternoon classroom presentations include “Successful Strategies in Avian Rookery Photography” (a mainstay of my rookery programs), “Manual Exposure” along with image editing and post-processing workflows. The three-day workshop adds indoor sessions on thinking creatively capped by my presentation “How I Create”. In-the-field instruction includes learning to isolate your subject, understanding light, making the proper exposure, using depth-of-field to your advantage, fill-flash, and lots more. Classroom sessions are held onsite at Gatorland. A CD with presentations is included. Prices lower than 2012 so book now as they are filling up. Learn more here.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm Semi-Private Photographic Instructional Workshop
Join Robert April 26-28, 2013 for photographic instruction in a semi-private workshop setting at the famous St. Augustine Alligator Farm (SAAF) native avian rookery. This workshop experience is limited to three persons. Morning and afternoon outdoor instruction will be at SAAF with indoor instruction conducted nearby in my private suite. Everything covered at the Gatorland workshops (see above) is included here and enhanced with close one-on-one interaction and personal attention. Learn more 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.
Bald Eagle/midair squabble. Image courtesy of and copyright 2012: Jim Neiger/Flight School Photography
Alaska Bald Eagles Workshops, Haines, Alaska: October/November, 2013
Flight School Photography introduces a newly developed workshop to take place at the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines, Alaska. Each fall, hundreds of Bald Eagles gather along the Chilkat river to feed on spawned out salmon that are accessible due to the open running water. A natural phenomenon in the area warms the water in the river and prevents it from freezing. More than three thousand Bald Eagles congregate here each fall to feed on the Salmon in the shallow open water streams flowing thru the river valley. Towering snow covered mountains surround the river valley providing magnificent backgrounds for our Bald Eagle images. The Eagles soar over the valley and swoop down to attack each other as they battle for their share of the Salmon from the river. We will have front row seats for this spectacular show. If you like Bald Eagles in action and gorgeous scenery, this is a workshop that should not be missed. While our focus will be on photographing the Bald Eagles, we will also have opportunities to photograph the magnificent scenery and other wildlife. Possibilities include bear, moose, and other species of birds.
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Incoming Bald Eagle. Image courtesy of and copyright 2012: Jim Neiger/Flight School Photography
Two workshops will take place during the fall of 2013. The workshops will be conducted by expert bird photographer, Jim Neiger. Jim has perfected unique techniques for photographing birds in flight using large telephoto lenses, hand held. The focus of the workshops will be to learn Jim’s hand held, long lens techniques for photographing birds in flight and in other action. Jim is known for his consistent production of amazing flight images and images of the most desirable subjects. His Flight School Photography Workshops are a must for any serious nature photographer.
Each workshop will last 6-days and will include a four hour classroom session and 5 days of photography in the field. The workshops will be limited to six participants so that everyone may receive personalized instruction in the field.
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Bald Eagle top shot. Image courtesy of and copyright 2012: Jim Neiger/Flight School Photography
Workshop AK-1: October 27th – November 1st, 2013
Workshop AK-2: November 3rd – November 8th, 2013
Day 1 (afternoon/evening ): Arrive in Juneau, Alaska which is the base location for the classroom portion of the workshop. There will be a four hour classroom session from 2:00pm to 6:00pm in the hotel meeting room. The classroom instruction will focus on using hand held techniques for photographing birds in flight to prepare participants for the subsequent photography sessions.
Day 2: Morning ferry ride to Haines, Alaska where we will check in to our hotel and spend the afternoon exploring the small town and getting ready for the in the field portion of the workshop.
Days 3-5: In the field photography sessions in the Bald Eagle Preserve.
Day 6: We will spend the day photographing in the preserve followed by an evening ferry ride back to Juneau.
Workshop Cost and payment:
The cost of each workshop is $2200 per person or attend both workshops for $3900 per person. Each workshop includes a four hour formal classroom instruction session and 4 full day photography sessions. The photography sessions include personalized instruction in the field. Discounted lodging is available, but is not included in the workshop fee. A $1000 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve a spot in a workshop. The remaining $1200 is due 30 days before the start date of the workshop. If you are unable to attend the workshop, after paying the balance, the balance payment will be refunded ONLY if your spot can be filled, on short notice, from the waiting list. All workshop payments must be made by check or money order. Credit cards are not accepted.
For additional information, contact Jim by phone at 407-247-5200 or via e-mail.
Seriously Huge B&H Savings on Nikon and Canon Gear
For the first time in many years NIKON is going to be deeply discounting many legacy pro lenses individually for the next 2 weeks only with discounts up to $350. There are also many amazing deals on NIKON Buy together and Save packages as well. Click here to save.
Nikon DSLRS Bundles with Lenses & Flash: Save up to $750. Click here to save. Make sure to add each item to your shopping cart to see the absolute lowest price.
Canon Lenses & Speedlites: Save Up to $300
Click here to save. Make sure to add each item to your shopping cart to see the absolute lowest price.
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. 🙂
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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 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.
Just a quick question about your Brown Pelican (in the mangroves) image. How come the evaluative metering comes up with -1 2/3 stops as framed? As the scene doesn’t look to average to much darker than a midtone to my eyes, so was surprised by the large negative reading, despite small white patches on the neck.
Apologies for yet another exposure question, just keen to learn!