BIRDS AS ART BULLETIN 192
January 15, 2006
 
Visit www.birdsasart.com
 
SAN DIEGO IPT REPORT
LOST AND FOUND?
ON THE ROAD AGAIN/e-MAIL QUESTIONS
THE BOOK...
BAA BIG LENS BEANBAGS IN STOCK
ANTARCTICA 2007/IMPORTANT NOTICE 
CONTEST WINNER
MONGOOSE M-262 KUDOS
IPT KUDOS
IPT ANNOUNCEMENT AND UPDATES
WIMBERLEY HEAD V2 COMING SOON
 
Photographic Theme: my favorite Images from the San Diego IPT

Brown Pelican, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (handheld at 310mm) with EOS 1D Mark II.
ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +2/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/5.6.  
 
I was positive that I had created this lens with the 500 IS but I was wrong...  My, oh my, that 1-4 is so, so versatile.
On most LaJolla's pelicans, the base of the bill pouch is red; it is always fun to find a yellow-orange one like this.
 
SAN DIEGO IPT REPORT
 
After a year or two of some pretty good weather (with a bit of atypical drizzle and even some rain), this year's group was blessed weather-wise and bird-wise.  We had clear blue skies for four days with east winds in the mornings and west winds in the afternoons.  Our days on the cliffs were superb as high surf kept the pelicans up top.   The day after the IPT was over the birds had moved to the lower cliffs...  Santee was superb as was Coronado. 
 
Most amazingly, this IPT featured a surprise guest, John Shaw.  Though having been acquaintances for years, it was the first time that we have photographed together and I must say that it was a great treat for all.  John graciously answered a few hundred questions a day from the 10 folks on the IPT, did several slide programs for the group, and ended that third evening of classroom instruction with some great Photoshop tips.  John has a great slide program that features images of some of the strange and funny signs that he has encountered on his travels.  And he shared with us some amazing travel photographs that he created with a point and shoot digital camera on a trip to Venice, Italy.  What I tried to impress upon the group was that whether John was photographing a silly sign or some elegant architecture, he put as much care and thought and passion into designing each image as if he had been photographing a dewy spider web or an iconic scenic.  
 
Kings Fish House right near the Best Western Seven Seas Motel was dependably good, as was Brigantine in Coronado.  And, I discovered a great new place to dine, the South Park Bar and Grill, 1946 Fern St in North Park.  This is a tough one to find, but it will be well worth it to give them a call because the food is great and so is the atmosphere.  You can reach them by phone at 619-696-0096.  On a sad culinary note, the fabulous Indian Buffet in downtown LaJolla on the corner of Girard Ave and Pearl St. went out of business so we ate lunch a few times at Sam's Woodfired Pizza and at the Wahoo Fish Taco joint.  Both are about 3 or 4 blocks west of Girard on Pearl.  Try the La Dou's Barbecue Chicken pizza at the former and the Teriyaki chicken plate at the latter.  If you do get some fish at Wahoo's, be sure to have it blackened as the plain stuff was, well, rather plain...
 
If  you will be visiting San Diego for the purpose of bird photography, do consider our San Diego Site Guide: http://www.birdsasart.com/siteguides.htm#SAN%20DIEGO%20SITE%20GUIDE%20NOW%20AVAILABLE
 
 
Brown Pelican flared landing, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (handheld at 260mm) with EOS 1D Mark II.
ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +1 stop off of distant gray fog set manually: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6
 
Wow, the more I use the 100-400 the more I love it.  I sold mine a while back but I keep borrowing one from CPS and I keep loving it.  45-Point AFPS worked perfectly here.
 
 
LOST AND FOUND?
 
I have been photographing for more than 23 years now and until my recent San Diego trip I had never lost a camera (or had one stolen...)  On the day before the IPT began (January 5th, I believe), I photographed at the cliffs at LaJolla in the morning, took a Mark II 1D off of my big lens, placed it in its wool hats, and shut the trunk.  That day I received my Mark II 1Ds from the Canon repair facility in Jamesburg, NJ.  Since I had brought two camera Mark II 1D bodies with me, that made a total of three.  Trouble is, when I went to the car the next morning, there were only two camera bodies in the trunk.  There was no sign of a break-in and the trunk was closed...  Twilight Zone???  Surely.  If anyone knows the location of my missing EOS 1D Mark II body (serial #: 218703) I would of course love to hear from you.
 
 
 
Western Gull with pink-blue sky, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (handheld at 260mm) with EOS 1D Mark II.
ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +11/3 stops off of the light blue sky: 1/80 sec. at f/5.6.
Flash with Better Beamer at -1 stop
 
Score another for the 100-400.  When I tell IPT groups that we will be getting up at oh-dark hundred to photograph, most folks are puzzled.  And when we arrive at the location and it is still dark, they are even more puzzled.  To be all set up and in postion to make images like the one above, you need to get up early...
 
ON THE ROAD AGAIN/e-MAIL QUESTIONS
 
I am headed to Tanzania on Sunday January 15.  Jim and Jennifer will be here to help you with BAA mail orders, with your Site Guide, Digital Basics, and MAD-W orders, and with IPT registrations.  
 
Because of my extensive travel schedule and the lack of DSL in the wilderness areas of Tanzania, I regret that I will be unable to answer your e-mail queries as I usually do.  I will be back in the office briefly on February 2 before heading off to the NANPA Forum.
 
 
 
 
Heerman's Gull, head portrait, Coronado, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1Ds Mark II.
ISO 640.  Evaluative Metering +2/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/10.
 
At my late afternoon gull spot in Coronado, creating soft de-focused backgrounds comes with the territory.  This breeding plumage Heerman's Gull was in absolutely perfect condition.  You can learn the location of this spot and get the down and dirty on all of my favorite San Diego spots by ordering our San Diego Site Guide here: http://www.birdsasart.com/siteguides.htm#SAN%20DIEGO%20SITE%20GUIDE%20NOW%20AVAILABLE
 
 
THE BOOK...
 
I worked hard for 14-16 hours a day on finishing the book ever since I got back from San Diego.  By the time that this is sent, I will be on a plane bound for Tanzania (leaving Sunday, JAN 15).  On the preceding Thursday, it looked as if I would never finish the book in time to have it ready for NANPA in early FEB even though Jim Litzenberg had been helping me with a last second read of each chapter.  I could not figure how to insert the automatic page numbers.  And, when I assembled the chapters as a book, many pagination errors occurred.   By that evening, however, I had conquered those demons in short order prepared the final PDF.  It looked great, but a careful check revealed that there were two spots in the "Advanced Composition and Design" chapter where the text had been garbled when I converted to PDF...   I tried a few things without success, and then--out of frustration--succeeded in ruining most of the formatting on all eight major chapters (which I thought that I had safely backed up...)   So as I head off to Africa I will have about 20 hours of work to do, work that had already been done.  Yikes!  I have sent the offending file to Tim Grey to see if he can detect the problem and offer a solution.  Stay tuned...
 
 
Brown Pelican and Double-crested Cormorant, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens with EOS 1D Mark II.
ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +2/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/22. 
 
My advice to bird photographers is to shoot wide open unless you can verbalize a reason to stop down.  Here, the cormorant was about 8 inches behind the pelican so I chose f/22 in an effort to render both heads and eyes sharp.  Then it was a matter of waiting for two good head angles...
BAA BIG LENS ULTIMATE BEANBAG (BLUBB) ANNOUNCEMENT

We will be shipping BLUBBs this Tuesday.  (Monday is a holiday).  We have more in stock.   See Bulletin 191 for BLUBB details. 

 
Wood Duck, Santee Lakes Park, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1Ds Mark II.
ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/640 sec. at f/8.
 
To make this image at ground level, I got down on my belly with the rig resting on an upside-down BLUBB. 

ANTARCTICA 2007/IMPORTANT NOTICE 

Greg Downing and I have filled all of the slots allotted to us for the 2007 Antarctica trip (January 4-24, Miami to Miami).  The details and prices have been finalized.  We have yet to receive deposits from four folks who have been traveling.  If they decide not to come, we will have four slots open, and even if they do come, Zegrahms will surely have some cancellations.  If you are at all interested in getting on the waiting list for this amazing trip, I urge you to call Janie Bullard immediately at 1-888-419-6677 (leave a message if she does not answer), and also be sure to send e-mail her at janie@distinctive-journeys.com

Brown Pelican against peach sky, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (handheld at 400mm) with EOS 1D Mark II.
ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +1 2/3 stops off of the peach sky: 1/250 sec. at f/5.6.
Flash with Better Beamer at -1 stop
 
I stayed low and worked hard to get close enough to make this image without  having the boulder that the bird was sitting on appear in the lower left-hand corner of the image.  On clear days the pre-dawn colors are most intense opposite the sunrise (or a bit farther to the south...)

 

CONTEST WINNER!

Carol Fuegi was the first of several to correctly pick my two favorite images from the Bulletin 191 contest: #4 and #1.  Several folks before her had come up with #1 and #4, but you do of course need to pick them in order.  Carole won a $25 BAA Mail Order credit.

If you cannot transform the image above into the image below in short order, then you need our Digital Basics File: http://www.birdsasart.com/digitalbasics.htm

Brown Pelican landing before sunrise, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with EOS 1Ds Mark II.
ISO 500.  Evaluative Metering +1 stop off of water: 1/500 sec. at f/4.
Flash at -1 stop.
 
Images created before sunrise often have a significant cyan cast (see top image).  While optimizing this image I used Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, and Selective Color Adjustments to create a more natural looking image, at least to my eyes.
 
MONGOOSE M-262/GITZO 1325 CF TRIPOD KUDOS

Here is an e-mail that I received recently from Arni Bossalto:

Hi Art,

Iím in love! I received the Gitzo 1325 and the Mongoose M-262 tripod head from BAA yesterday afternoon.  I threw my Canon 20D and 100-400 L on top and went for a short test drive . After struggling for 4 plus years with my slightly-too-short Bogen 3021 and my sometimes too-tight or sometimes too-loose but always floppsy Giotto MH-2000 head, I now have a setup that works 1000 times more easily and comfortably. Iím ecstatic!!!!!!!  (My wife bought the ball head for me one Christmas.   Her heart was really in the right place, but what was I to do?)

Thanks and best,  Arni

If your main lens is an intermediate telephoto, you need a Mongoose M-262 in  your life.  You can learn about it here: http://www.birdsasart.com/mongoose.htm

Cave Shop Cliffs, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 24-70mm L zoom lens on ball-head (at 35mm) with EOS 1Ds Mark II.
ISO 1250.  Evaluative Metering at zero confirmed via histogram check: 20 seconds at f/18.
 
This image was created in near-darkness.  I was able to focus (with CF-4-3) with the light  from the buildings behind me.  Folks who are unaware of the amazing capabilities of digital would surely have deleted this one...  The dreamy water was a result of the very long shutter speed and the big surf.  Thanks to Bill Hewitt for the loan of the lens and to Jean Luc Vaillant for the loan of the lens.  (Jean Luc's crtique images blew everyone--including and especially me--away...)

 

Western Gull yawning, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (handheld at 400mm) with EOS 1Ds Mark II.
ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop set manually: 1/1250 sec. at f/13.
 
On-line reports that the 100-400 lens is not sharp at the long end are greatly exaggerated...


IPT KUDOS

Here is an e-mail that I received from SW FLA Post-X-mas IPT participant Martin Schiff:

Hi Art,  Thanks for a totally memorable and extremely informative IPT this past  week. I learned a tremendous amount, and will be putting it to good use. I thought you might be interested in this shot of what looks like the same pelican you had in the bulletin (but taken a split second later):  http://www.pbase.com/mschiff/image/54267155.    Best, Martin

Brown Pelican, preening twins, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (handheld at 275mm) with EOS 1D Mark II.
ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/11.
 
I made a long series of images of these guys preening and this was my favorite by far.  BTW, it was the only one of the series that I kept.

IPT ANNOUNCEMENT AND UPDATES

To thank the amazingly high number of repeat IPT customers, we are increasing our repeat customer discounts as follows:  If you attend a 2 1/2 day-IPT, take $40 off the cost of your next IPT.   If you attend a 3-day-IPT, take $50 off the cost of your next IPT.   If you have attended a 4-day-IPT, take $75 off the cost of your next IPT.  If you have attended a 5-day-IPT, take $100 off the cost of your next IPT.    These discounts are earned only on IPTs in North America.  
 
 
We have also increased our Spouse/Multiple Registration discount to $60.  If you register as a couple or with a friend, each of you will enjoy a price deduction of $30.
 
Many of this springs IPTs are filling quickly, so if you are seriously interested in joining us, please do consider sending your deposit soon.

FORT DESOTO/SARASOTA IPT,MAR 24-26, 2006  3-DAY: $899 with co-leader Ellen Anon  (limit: 14, openings: 6) ROYAL & SANDWICH TERNS  & LAUGHING GULL: COURTSHIP BEHAVIORS, REDDISH EGRET (dark and white phases),  OTHER HERONS  & EGRETS, LONG-BILLED CURLEW & OTHER TAME SHOREBIRD SPECIES. 

LAKE MARTIN, LA SPOONBILLS, 3 -DAY: $949.  APR 8-10 (Limit: 12, Openings: 5) & 28-30, 2006 (limit: 12, openings: 6).  ROSEATE SPOONBILL (& GREAT EGRET) ROOKERY IN CYPRESS SWAMP; COURTSHIP & NEST BUILDING.  500 or 600mm LENSES RECOMMENDED, RENTALS AVAILABLE.   ALSO GREEN & LITTLE BLUE HERONS, BOTH NIGHT-HERONS, SUNRISE SCENIC; FLOWERS.  INCLUDES A COMPLIMENTARY CRAWFISH ETOUFFE DINNER: HOSTS: WES & PATTI ARDOIN

ST. AUGUSTINE ALLIGATOR FARM IPT  MAY 12-14, 2006.  2 1/2 DAY IPT: $649   (limit: 12, openings: 9)   HERON AND EGRET ROOKERY.  NESTING GREAT EGRETS WITH CHICKS, NESTING SNOWY AND CATTLE EGRETS AND TRICOLORED HERONS (close enough to touch...)  COURTSHIP BEHAVIORS, COPULATIONS, EGGS, NESTS AND POSSIBLY TINY CHICKS.  INCLUDES TWO CLASSROOM SESSIONS.   

GALAPAGOS PHOTO CRUISE/YACHT BELUGA JUNE 30-JULY 7, 2006.  E-MAIL FOR DETAILS. Sold out.                                                                                                                                                     

KENYA FLY-DRIVE PHOTO SAFARI, AUG 2006.  SAMBURU, MAASAI MARA, AND MORE.  Leave the US AUG 21.  Amsterdam to Nairobi: AUG 22.  Amsterdam to US: SEPT 7.  $9499 per person (round trip airfare to Kenya not included).  Please e-mail for itinerary.  Only 5 slots left.

BOSQUE IPTS  NOV 14-16, 19-21, 25-27, and DEC 4-7.  All 3-DAYs: $929.   For details see Bulletin 189 in the archives.

 

 
Western Gull landing, flash-blur, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (handheld at 310mm) with EOS 1D Mark II.
ISO 500.  Evaluative Metering +12/3 stops off of the light sky: 1/8 sec. at f/5.6.
Manual Flash with Better Beamer at 1:4 (1/4 power). 
 
This image is a combination of a blurred ambient light image and a sharp flash as main light exposure. It was created just after there was enough light to use autofocus.

WIMBERLEY HEAD V2 UPDATE

I received my brand new Wimberley V2 head yesterday by Fed-X just in time to bring it to Africa...  All that I can say is that it is sweet, sweet, sweet (not to mention one full pound lighter than the last model).  I put a big lens on it and everything worked as expected: perfectly.  I will issue a complete report when I get back from Tanzania.

We should be receiving product to ship with the next 10-14 days.  Thank to all of you who have pre-ordered with us.  We are taking orders and they will be filled on a first come, first served, product-available basis. 

 

 
John Shaw, IPT guest, LaJolla, CA
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
 
It was a great pleasure having John along. 
 
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 BAA sponsor as it Delkin Devices.  Back issues of all BAA Bulletins are archived in the Bulletin Archives which may be accessed from the home page at www.birdsasart.com