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Bulletins and Notes Archive

Listing of Archived Bulletins

BIRDS AS ART ON-LINE BULLETIN #41 January 1, 2001

  • Another Holiday Gift Bag of Miscellany
  • Great News From WildBird Magazine
  • Pulitzer Prize Nominated Book
  • More on Sending Film to the Lab

Amazing Bosque Image by Charlie Bush

  • Dear Friends and Bird Photographers

  • GREAT NEWS  FROM WILDBIRD MAGAZINE

    Beginning with the March/April issue,  yours truly--Arthur Morris--will be the photography columnist for WildBird magazine.  WildBird is always chock full of solid birding INFO, especially the WHERE-TO kind that bird photographers relish.  Topics tentatively scheduled to be covered in the first year include my photo-style and philosophy, tips on getting close, bird photography with short lenses, flight photography, and photographing at ground level.

    If you would like to subscribe, you can do so on-line at www.wildbirdmagazine.com, or by phone: 1 (800) 542-1600.  The current annual rate is $19.97.

  • A  bonus bit of info from subscriber Mike Forbes: If you can get the WB website subscription page to work,  the price is $9.99 for one year. If you can't get the page to work, call the 800 number and tell them that you want the $9.99 price and save $10.00!  Thanks Mike. 

  • PULITZER PRIZE NOMINATED BOOK

  • Scott Weindensaul became a lifelong friend moments after we met about 9 years ago in Marietta, Ohio at the formative meeting of the never-to-exist "Dead Alpaca Society."  The meeting was hosted by Bird Watcher's Digest' s founding publishers Bill and Elsa Thompson (who gained a wonderful daughter-in-law and now two grandchildren in the deal--it's a long story--don't ask!)

    In any case, Scott was then quite a writer.  He has written about as many books as I have good images.  Recently, he outdid himself with the publication of Living On the Wind; Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds. (North Point Press, NY).  The book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction writing, but they screwed up and gave the award to some else!  I just finished reading the book (in segments, on the StairMaster each afternoon, and all that I can say is "WOW!" 

    Here are just two examples of Scott's amazing talent: 

    From the preface: "This book covers a lot of ground.  Over the course of more than six years, I traveled virtually the length of the hemisphere, logging nearly seventy thousand miles by jet, car, bush plane, sailing ketch, tundra buggy, dugout canoe, horseback, and one foot--yet traveling fewer miles than a single small sandpiper  would in its short lifetime, propelled only by muscle and the instinct to migrate." 

    From the afterword : "..... I open my eyes and he's right in front of me, in a low willow thicket that was half-flattened by the winter ice floes.  He is no bigger than my thumb, all black except for the colorful patches on his wings, flanks and tail- the same pink-orange color, it occurs to me, as the meat of the native brook trout that still live in the small headwater streams hereabouts, the same color as a monarch butterfly's wings, and the wild turk's-cap lilies that bloom her in summer.  That symmetry feels proper, somehow, almost preordained.

    The redstart is unaware of me; sitting motionless, I am simply another misshapen log to his eyes.  He flits restlessly through the willows, fanning his tail, flicking his wings, zipping out to snatch midges from the air, his bill making a dry little snap! each time he does.  Every thirty seconds or so, he stops, points his head skyward, and sings; I am so close I can see his small, pointed tongue and the tiny  black feathers of his throat trembling.  I can see the minute bristles around his mouth, the way his body feathers are layered like shingles, the nostrils that pierce the needle of his beak, the way the sun reflects a white-hot speck in his obsidian eyes, the way the shafts of the black feathers mingle with the orange where they meet. 

    What I cannot see, no matter how closely I look, is what drives this small creature, barely heavier than air, to make the journeys that it must make.  I may have seen this same redstart in an acacia forest in Jamaica, among the ruins of a Maya city in Belize, or in a half-dozen other places in the tropics.  I can only imagine what has happened to it in its life- what near-brushes with predators it has escaped, what storms have tried to rake it from the sky, what females have taken it as a make, what dynasties of redstarts it has founded.  What thousands of miles have passed beneath its stubby wings, which seem so ill suited to the task but which have carried it back here again, to this mountain, this stream, this willow thicket.  Its secrets are locked in that tiny packet of brain and muscle and instinct, a few feet away but separated from me by an immense, uncrossable distance.  It knows, and I do not.  And there seems to a proper symmetry in that, too."

    Goose pimples covered my body when I read the first passage, again when I read the last, and dozens of other times in between.  What can I say about a young man whose writing is so wonderfully inspired and wonderfully inspiring that it makes me want to throw my keyboard into the lake?

    MORE ON SENDING FILM TO THE LAB

    In the last Bulletin I wrote: "Each batch of rolls (same film, same push) it placed in a sealed Fed-X PAK (Free for the taking - don't tell them that I sent you)."  One subscriber wrote saying that it was wrong for me to give such advice.  She continued, "It's sort of stealing;  if you live an honest life all the time, you will be rewarded.  If not, ........"   She was of course correct and I thank her for pointing out the error of my ways.  Today, when I sent film to the lab, I grabbed some supermarket plastic bags and taped a label written on scrap paper to the baggie.  And I felt good about it. 

    AMAZING IMAGE BY CHARLIE BUSH

    Charlie Bush of Massachusetts recently attended a Bosque IPT with me.  He is an expert on digital photography and used the Nikon D-1 almost exclusively.   He edited his images during our down time and on several evenings he graced two of my groups with excellent digital presentations.  As a teacher, the digital approach added a new wrinkle--easy-as-pie critiquing of the day's images. 

    After the tour, Charlie wrote: "I want to thank you for the excellent workshop. I learned more in those three days than I would have in a year." 

    He was kind enough to attach the image below and added, "I made this shot when you left the flight deck that last morning. How do you like it?"  I  had left because I had concluded that with the sun coming up in a clear eastern sky there were no more good photographic opportunities.  I responded by congratulating him his creative vision, his artistic eye, and his flawless execution. The image was instantly placed on my "All-Time Top-Ten Bird Photographs" list, and may very well be my favorite Bosque image of all time.  And it's not even mine......

    If you'd like to comment on the image, please e-mail Charlie at:  charlesebush@earthlink.net

    STILL THREE OPENINGS ON THE FIRST CALIFORNIA IPT!

    Due to seemingly un-ending numbers of cancellations, there are now THREE openings on the January 11-16, 2001 IPT.  See the web site for details.

    ANOTHER  CHANCE TO ORDER THE "BEAUTIFUL BIRDS" CALENDAR.

    Thanks to all of you who ordered my "Beautiful Birds" 2001 calendar, either for themselves or for gifts. We still have 132 calendars left, so any last minute orders would be greatly appreciated.

    Best and great picture making to all,

    Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Listing of Archived Bulletins



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