BIRDS AS ART BULLETIN 158
JANUARY 2, 2005
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR
 
"THE ART OF NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY; IT AIN'T JUST BIRDS" WEEKEND SEMINARS
 
BREEZEBROWSER PRO
 
HOMER EAGLE IPT OPENING
 
BEAR TRIPS
 
SW FLA POST X-MAS IPT
 
ANNOUNCING TWO NEW SW FLA ITPs
 
IPT UPDATES
 
 
Great Blue Herons/territorial dispute, Venice Rookery, FL
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon EF 400mm L lens and EOS 1D Mark II (handheld).  ISO 400.  Took Evaluative Meter reading off of green water in the same light -1/3 stop and set it manually: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6. AFPS (45-point) AF in AI Servo AF Mode.
 
My old "Toy Lens" is still a great flight and action lens.  Handholding an intermediate telephoto lens allows you to frame more quickly and to follow the action more easily.  The old 400 yields an effective focal length of 520 mm with the 1D Mark II and an amazing 640mm with the Canon EOS 20D.  The latter combination makes a great starter kit for beginning bird photographers.  
 
Photo Theme:  My favorite images from the SW FLA Post-X-mas IPT
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR
 
Jim, Jennifer, and I hope that 2005 will find you and yours happy, healthy, and safe. 
 
 
Piping Plover, winter plumage, Little Estero Lagoon, Fort Myers Bch., FL
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 2XII teleconverter and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod with Wimberley head. ISO 250.  Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/11. AI Servo AF with central sensor only (by necessity).
 
After noting a group of shorebirds feeding on a clean wet sand beach several of us approached slowly and had some excellent chances with this bird and with a Black-bellied Plover holding a tasty tidbit in its bill.   
 
"THE ART OF NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY; IT AIN'T JUST BIRDS" WEEKEND SEMINARS
 

The Art of Nature Photography; It Ain't Just Birds!

Weekend Seminars

Sponsored by Canon USA

In conjunction with Photo Road Shows

Atlanta, Georgia, July 30-31, 2005

Dallas, Texas,  September 24-25, 2005

 

Click here for full details:  http://www.birdsasart.com/photoroadshow.htm

 

 
crab (sp?), Little Estero Lagoon, Fort Myers Bch., FL
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS lens with a 25mm extension tube, the 2XII teleconverter, and the EOS 1D Mark II on the Skimmer Ground Pod (info on the Skimmer will be in the next Bulletin).  ISO 250.  Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/320 sec. at f/16. One-Shot AF with central sensor.  
 
One of the advantages of photographing with a group is that more sets of eyes will always find more subjects.  Here I placed the teleconverter on the lens and then added the extension tube behind it.  Setting up in this manner allows you to utilize autofocus.  (See the Snowy Plover and Burrowing Owl images below for more on using extension tubes in combination with a TC on big lenses.) 

BREEZEBROWSER PRO

Regular readers know that I have long considered Breezebrowser as the premier image handling and management software in the world and that the Canon raw conversions are as good or better than any others, regardless of price. Well, the best has gotten better.  Breezebrowser Pro V1.0 was released on December 16, 2004.  BB Pro is faster than BB and allows side by side comparisons of two to four high resolution images.  (Please note that Breezebrowser products require a PC platform.  BB is not and will never be available for MAC users.)

BreezeBrowser Pro helps the photographer to:

  • Convert, resize, sharpen and level raw images from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta and Olympus cameras (see below for list).  
  • Select images for presentation
  • Generate attractive, captioned web pages with watermarking and online ordering (optional)
  • Produce contact sheets and proofs (print straight to your printer or print to file)
  • Batch rename images and managing folders
  • Caption and edit comments and IPTC data

BreezeBrowser Pro also enables photographers to:

  • Compare up to four high resolution images side by side
  • Rotate JPEGs with no loss of quality
  • Display images and shooting data from most major formats and makes of camera (including RAW, JPEG, TIFF)
  • Display sharp preview images using the unique HQ mode
  • Present slideshows on laptop or pc
  • Adjust date and time for batches or single images

BreezeBrowser Pro's unique combined conversion is available for the following Canon cameras: EOS D30, D60, 10D, 300D/Digital Rebel, 20D, 1D, 1D Mark II, 1Ds, 1Ds Mark II, PowerShot G2, G3, G5, G6, S30, S40, S45, S50, S60, S70, Pro1

Raw file conversion is also available for the following cameras:
Canon PowerShot G1, Pro90 IS
Nikon D1, D1X, D1H, D2H, D70, D100, e5700
Pentax *ist D and *ist DS
Minolta DiMAGE 7i, A1, A2, Maxxum 7D
Olympus cameras E-1, C5050WZ, C5060WZ, C8080WZ

If you are not using Breezebrowser Pro to edit, convert, and manage your digital images you are simply working in the Dark Ages, and that goes double if you are not using Downloader Pro.  To purchase Breezebrowser Pro (or upgrade), or to order the bundle (Breezebrowser Pro and Downloader Pro), click here: http://www.birdsasart.com/breezebrowser.htm  

Do note that Breezebrowser Pro and Downloader Pro are compatible only with PCs.   Folks using MACs cannot use these great programs.

Black-bellied Plover with tidbit, Sanibel, FL
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4XII teleconverter, and the EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod with Wimberley head.  ISO 250.  Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/11.  AI Servo AF with central sensor.  
 
With the central sensor on the bird's near-wing, it was necessary to use a small aperture to ensure that the eye would be sharp.  When the sun dipped behind a cloud for a moment, I was able to parallel the subject without worrying about the light-angle.  Note the perfect head-angle. 

HOMER EAGLE IPT OPENING

Due to a late cancellation, we have a single slot open on the first Homer Eagle trip: FEB 4-8, 2005.  5-DAY: $1599.   If you are seriously interested in joining us, contact co-leader Greg Downing immediately by e-mail at: greg@gdphotography.com

Burrowing Owl, Cape Coral, FL
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS lens with one 25mm and one 12mm extension tube, the 2XII teleconverter, and the EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod with Wimberley head.  ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/60 sec. at f/8.  Manual focus.  
 
For maximum close focus, place the extension tube or tubes on the lens and the teleconverter behind it or them.  When using this setup, you will need to turn off AF and focus manually.   

BEAR TRIPS

There is a still a single slot left on the September 10-15, 2005 Bear Boat trip to Katmai National Park.  You will need to be in Anchorage on the 10th.  The cost of the trip is $5,000.  The bears will be fishing for salmon in the streams and there is a fair chance of photographing yearling cubs on this trip.  Please e-mail for additional details.  If  you are seriously interested in filling the last slot, please e-mail us at birdsasart@verizon.net immediately and let us know that you will be sending a deposit check made out to "Arthur Morris" to us at PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.
 
In addition, I am leading an informal bear photography/fishing trip to Silver Salmon Creek Lodge after the Bear Boat trip.  It will almost surely begin on September 16, 2005 and run for 5 or 6 days.  So far Wes and Patti Ardoin and Robert O'Toole have committed.  If you are at all interested, please let me know via e-mail ASAP. 
 
 
Great Egret with baitfish, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel, FL
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4XII teleconverter, and the EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod with Wimberley head.  ISO 250.  Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6. One-Shot AF with central sensor.  
 
While scouting the day before the IPT, I was fortunate to encounter a decent feeding spree at Ding.  The birds were chowing down on a variety of fish that seemed somewhat lethargic, possibly from the cold...  I have been teaching folks to use -1/3 stop for brilliant white against blue for more than a decade, and it works as well with digital as it did with film.
 
SW FLA POST X-MAS IPT REPORT
 
Each time I head for an IPT, I think, "My luck has to change.  This time there will be at least one bitter unhappy person...  But each time I am wrong.  (Heck, in more than 12 years of leading IPTs there only three folks have been banned for life...)  This year's Post X-mas IPT group was no exception:  it was comprised of many sweet, happy folks wishing to improve their photographic and PhotoShop skills.  We were blessed as the weather took turn for the better after several weeks of cold, rain, and high winds.  I am not sure why I have such great weather luck (knock on wood), or why our IPTs continue to attract so many nice folks, but I am not complaining, and I do hope that I do not give myself a kain-uh-HUR-ah.  We were plagued a bit by east winds on all three afternoons, but they hurt us only on the first afternoon.  With the sun in the west and the wind strong from the east, the birds are flying and perching into the wind and away from the light.
 
The Venice Rookery was excellent with three really good situations on the western end of the island.  The rookery is a great place to begin an IPT as everyone is within easy reach of the leader (and visa versa).  That first afternoon my pelican spot was excellent as always though there were only five Whites at the dock.  We finished up with a sunset cruise on Captain Marian Schneider's large pontoon boat, "Recovery Room."  As usual, there were several hundred White Pelicans on the bar and hundreds of wading birds flying into roost on a nearby island.  If you will be spending a morning at the rookery any time in the next few months, get a small group together and make arrangements to sail that afternoon with Marian.  You can contact her at mulletsMa@aol.com  or visit the Grande Tours web site at: http://www.grandetours.com/.
 
We spent our second day on Sanibel and had some decent photo opps at Ding, but since the decision to restore tidal flow to the three pools on the left side of the road the huge feeding sprees and spectacular photographic opportunities there were nearly an everyday occurrence for years are a thing of the past.  If you are visiting Ding do not get your hopes up...  Though there were only a few fishermen, Blind Pass was good; we had chances with a totally tame Great Blue Heron, some pelicans, several tern species, and a Great Egret that got a handout from one of the fisherman and then posed atop the ladies room.  The Fishing Pier was a total bust, but we found (thanks Sharon!) 12 tame Snowy Plovers on the Gulf beach in the afternoon and finished up with a pretty neat sunset on the Causeway.
 
On Thursday morning we visited Little Estero Lagoon and those who chose to get their feet wet had many excellent chances with all five plovers, Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones, a single Greater Yellowlegs, white and dark phase Reddish Egrets, Snowy and Great Egrets, Tricolored Herons, and an amazing large crab found by Richard Curtain.  That afternoon we visited Cape Coral and did well on Burrowing Owls (though continued development there is really taking a toll on this species).  Cape Coral is the epi-center of the Burrowing Owl population and the existing "protective" laws are a joke.
 
 
Brown Pelican at sunset, Sanibel, FL
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon EF 100-400mm IS L zoom lens at 365 mm with the EOS 1D Mark II (handheld).  ISO 800. Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6.  AFPS (45-point) AF in AI Servo AF Mode.  
 
IPT folks often ask, "Where will be this afternoon?"  I usually laugh and tell them that I have no clue as I always adapt my plans depending on the wind, the light, and how we are doing at a given spot.  We were headed for a location near the on-island toll booths where I had done well before the IPT started when I noted the possibility of a decent sunset...   We stopped and had great fun!  Another thing that really makes me laugh is the acceptance of the on-line gospel that the 100-400 is not sharp at the  long end...  I have made thousands of sharp images with this lens at 400mm.  
 
ANNOUNCING TWO NEW SW FLA ITPs
 
I have just scheduled the next round of SW Florida IPTs:  The 2005 Post X-mas SW FLA IPT will run in its usual time slot: DEC 28-30, 2005.  The introductory slide program is at 7pm on the 27th. 3-DAY: $929. (Limit 12).  The 2006 President's Holiday SW FLA IPT will run from FEB 17-21, 2006.  The introductory slide program is at 7pm on the 16th. 5-DAY: $1459 (Limit 12.)  It is--of course--best to register early to avoid disappointment.
 
 
Snowy Egret dip feeding, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel, FL
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon EF 100-400mm IS L zoom lens at 400 mm with the EOS 1D Mark II (handheld).  ISO 250. Evaluative Metering -2/3 stop in Tv Mode: 1/30 sec. at f/14.  AFPS (45-point) AF in AI Servo AF Mode.  
 
When we encountered a feeding spree on the right side of the road in the mangroves, I quickly explained the proper technique for creating intentional blurs.  Note that in spite of the low light (the birds were in the shade) I chose a relatively slow ISO and chose to work in Tv mode for absolute control of shutter speed.   This image violates just about every photographic rule and guideline but--with its dark, foreboding, and mysterious mood--it works for me. 
 
 
 
IPT UPDATES
 
It is extremely gratifying that except for two slots on the second Lake Martin Roseate Spoonbill IPT, next fall's recently announced Bosque trips, and the two IPTS announced above, all regularly scheduled BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours are sold out with waiting lists.  I would again like to thank each and every one of you who joined us on a 2004 IPT. 
 
2005 SW FLA President's Holiday IPT: FEB 18-22, 2005, 5-DAY: $1399 w/Ellen Anon co-leading (Sold out with one participant joining us from Finland!) 
 
San Diego IPT : January 6-9, 2005, 4-DAY: $1299  (Sold Out)
 
Homer, AK, Bald Eagle IPTs w/co-leader Greg Downing  FEB 4-8 (one opening) & 9-13 (Sold out), 2005.  5-DAY: $1599.  
 
Lake Martin, La, Nesting Spoonbill IPTs  3 -DAY: $899  MAR 19-21, 2005 (Sold Out)  May 13-15, 2005  (2 Openings) 

Fort DeSoto/Sarasota IPT:   April 1-3 3-DAY: $869  (Sold Out)  

St. Augustine Alligator Farm IPT  April 28 (aft) thru May 1, 2005.  3 1/2-DAYS: $1049  (Sold out)
 
Bosque IPTs  3 -DAY: $929.  All with co-leader Ellen Anon. NOV 15-17, 2005 (Limit 14, 12 openings), NOV 20-22 (Limit 14, 11 openings) & NOV 26-28 (wide open).

Register early!  You snooze, you lose!

August 2005 Fly/Drive Kenya Photo-Safari

 

August 15-31, 2005--16 days on the ground: $8,200/person.

$500 deposit

(Single supplement: $1,700.) Airfare to and from Nairobi, Kenya not included.

14 full and two half days of photography

When comparing the cost of this safari with others please note that we do NOT include travel days to and from Africa...

Limit: five vans of three photographers including the leaders.
Luxury accommodations on a twin-share basis with private facilities.
Full American breakfast daily, 16 lunches and 15 dinners

Transport via 4WD vehicle with fully removable roof-hatch with English speaking driver-guide (maximum 3 passengers per vehicle).
All park entry fees and hotel taxes

Air Transport from Nairobi to Maasai Mara and from Maasai Mara back to Nairobi. (This eliminates a killer drive over horrific roads.)

Complimentary water (1/2 liter per person per day) on Days 2-16.

 

Price does Not Include:

Passport and visa fees and airport taxes. 
Airfares to and from Kenya (usually via Amsterdam).  
Beverages, laundry, telephone calls or any other items of a personal nature. 
Gratuities to hotel porters, wait staff, room attendants and driver-guides. 

(The suggested tip for driver guides is $15 US per person/day.) 

 

To see some spectacular Kenya images click on any of the following links:

 

http://www.martinplant.com/photo/photos.php  or: http://www.birdsasart.com/bn146.htm or: http://www.birdsasart.com/bn147.htm or: http://www.birdsasart.com/n147.htm

 

Galapagos Cruise, July 2005 (Sold Out)  

 

Nome, Alaska  IPT June 10-20, 2006: (Please note the year: 2006 is not a typo!) Sold Out, but please contact me if you are interested in joining us as part of a second group being led by Greg Downing. We will be sharing our talents on this trip and sharing nest sites and other info via GPS.  In addition, we will be holding joint critiquing and Photoshop sessions.  Long lenses are a necessity.

Antarctica/South Georgia/Falkland Islands Zegrahms Cruise with Arthur Morris and Greg Downing:  January 2007.  Please e-mail birdsasart@verizon.net for details.

For general IPT info, deposit and registration details, and cancellation policies, please visit: http://www.birdsasart.com/tours.html

If you would like your name placed on the waiting list for one or more trips, please e-mail, indicate the trip or trips that you are interested in, and be sure to include day, evening, and cell phone numbers.  We often have late cancellations...

Brown Pelican in flight, Gasparilla Sound, Boca Grande, FL
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4XII teleconverter, and the EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod with Wimberley head.  ISO 3200.  Evaluative Metering +1 stop off of the empty sky set manually:  1/500 sec. at f/5.6.  Flash at -1 stop with Better Beamer FX-2.  AFPS (45-point) AF in AI Servo AF Mode.      
 
It was really dark when this image was made.  The results when using "night-flash" techniques are often terrible but once in a great while it works to perfection.  With digital, experimenting is great fun, and is totally "free" (after your initial investments).  I used Breezebrowser Pro's High Noise Reduction during conversion.  Captain Marian always does a great job of getting the boat in perfect position, even when the conditions are difficult. 

Best and love and great picture-making to all,  
Artie
 

Note: Arthur Morris has been a Canon contract photographer since 1994 and continues in that role today.  Hunt's Photo of Boston, MA is a BIRDS AS ART sponsor, as is Delkin Devices.  Do feel free to forward this Bulletin to one or more photographer-friends. Those wishing to subscribe click here: mailto:http://birdsasart.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=94ad23bd96f48a1de2ca612b3&id=bdb4a511a0?subject=subscribe  To unsubscribe, click here:  mailto:birdsasart@verizon.net?subject=unsubscribe.   Back issues of all BAA Bulletins and relevant BAA Notes are archived on the web site at:  http://www.birdsasart.com/bn.html