November 5th, 2009

Birds As Art Notes, November 5th 2009


  • WHY I LOVE MY 800MM F/5.6
  • ROBERT O’TOOLE’S APTATS II/Pre-Publication Discount Offer


  • Each Bulletin or Notes has this near the top of the page: If you have any trouble at all viewing this Bulletin, you can access it in the Bulletin Archives here: Instead of a phony link, the link will take you to the Bulletin Archives where you will be able to see all of the images all of the time as long as you are online 🙂 We had a few problems with some folks being unable to see the images. Rather than reading the note above they chose to e-mail As much as l love hearing from all of you, it would be best if you simply click on the link so that I can get some work done :D. I do try to answer every e-mail. Thanks!
  • If you are responding to a Bulletin via e-mail please take the time to delete all irrelevant text and images. Doing so makes my life a ton easier. Thanks.
  • Many times I respond to an e-mail only to have it kicked back for a variety of reasons.
    • My favorites are the ones that tell me to go this or that website, try to de-cipher some illegible word or non-word, type it in the box, and then hit OK. If you are writing to someone and asking for information it would seem that you could take the time to add their e-mail address to your list of folks that you would not mind talking to To do otherwise strikes me as rude.
    • Many times my response is kicked back from me with various notes that might include “mail box full or over-quota” or “recipient address does not exist.” The latter after I hit Reply! Man, you gotta love that. Then I try once or twice more to re-send these e-mails almost always with the same results. As I said above, I strive to answer every one of the hundreds of e-mails that I receive each week. Therefore, if you have e-mailed a question to me and you know that I am home and have not received and answer after a few days, please try to give us a buzz.


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Turkey Vulture, Indian Lake Estates, FL
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D MII. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/160 sec. at f/8.

I was able to get closer to this bird and use the 800 alone but I moved the car back and added the 1.4X II TC to reduce the angle of inclination. WIth the set-up above the equivalent focal length was 1456mm = 29.12X magnification. The BLUBB plus perfect sharpness technique helps me to produce sharp images from the car:

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Turkey Vultures in dead tree, Indian Lake Estates, FL
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 24-105mm IS lens handheld at 35mm. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1 250 sec. at f/ 4. (Even the pros screw up: the exposure compensation here should have been at least +2 stops and I should have used a smaller aperture).

Here’s the view from the Sequoia using the 50D with the 24-105mm at 35mm. Equivalent focal length: 51.2mm = 1.02X magnification. That about what your eyes would see. Therefore, you gotta love the magnifying power of those long lenses…. The bird in first image was the one on the lower perch.


If you are a member of a local camera club and would like to share this info via the club’s web site or e-mail list in order to take advantage of the $15 club discount, please cut and paste the information below and let us know of your efforts. Thanks! artie



See here for details, location, directions, and to register:

In this practical and educational slide program you we will learn which Canon lenses I use to create a variety of my amazing images, how, why, and when I use each of them, and what I am thinking as I depress the shutter button. Many folks will be surprised to learn that a long lens with a teleconverter is often not the best tool for the job. A selection of books, educational materials, and prints will be available for purchase.

Please note these important basics for the Friday evening program: Date & time: Friday Nov 6th, 2009, 6:30pm. Free with a non-perishable food item for the Dayton Foodbank. Location: Wegerzyn Gardens. Please register here: See you there! .


DAYTON, OH. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2009: 9am-5:30pm. (Lunch break noon til 1:30pm)

LOCATION: Cox Arboretum, 6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton, OH 45449 (937-434-9006) Limit: 48/Openings: 6.

There will be two programs on Saturday morning. The first will be “Composition and Image Design.” The second will be “Tips on Getting Close.” Each segment will feature well more than a hundred spectacular images and will include the tips, techniques, and ideas that I have learned, developed, and refined over the past 26 plus years. The afternoon session will cover understanding and adjusting histograms in the field, the complete BAA digital workflow (including ACR conversions), and a slew of simple, easy to learn Photoshop tips including the use of the Clone Stamp, the amazing Patch Tool, creating and using Quick Masks for dozens of applications, and the Average Blur Color Balance trick among others. I like to work quickly yet have my images look great. There will be a 30-minute break morning and afternoon. Whether you photograph general nature or just birds, all who attend will leave as better photographers.

(Do note that the Saturday seminar will be a continuation of the free Friday evening program; Saturday registrants are urged to attend Friday night if at all possible.)

The cost of the Saturday Seminar is $159. Members of participating camera clubs may apply a $15 discount. In addition, $15 from each registration fee will be split and donated to the Dayton Foodbank and to Five Rivers Metro Parks. Students under 22 years of age with a valid driver’s license and a student ID may register for $99. With a strict limit of 48 attendees, registration is by phone only: please call 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand. Due to the short notice the registration fee is non-refundable. We will be here pretty much all day every day to process your registration; feel free to call between 7am and 9pm seven days a week.

Register with a friend or a spouse and apply a $15 discount to each reservation. To encourage out of town folks to register, those traveling more than 150 miles or flying to the event, may apply a $50 discount to registration fee.

Hope to see you there! A selection of books, CDs, and prints will also be available for purchase on Saturday.


I will be doing two seminars for Delkin at Photo Expo West in Delmar, CA (just above San Diego) on the weekend of November 14-15, 2009. My appearance is of course being sponsored by Canon USA. In addition; jeez, I am not sure what you call it–they put you on a small round stage sort of in the middle of the circus and then you get to yak and show off. Anyway, I will be doing two of them, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. You can check out the details here:

I hope to see many of you there.


David McNicholas is offering a used Canon 100 – 400 mm f/4.5 – 5.6 L IS USM lens in excellent shape with the lens case, and lens hood in the original box with the original manual. It is a one-owner lens that has been sitting on the shelf since I started using the 400 mm f/4 IS DO lens. He is asking $999 for it and will ship it insured at buyer’s expense. Contact David by email at or give him a buzz at 239-352-0616 or on his cell: 973-452-4940.

Note: the 100-400 is a great started lens for bird and nature photography and is one of my favorite Bosque lenses.

ROBERT O’TOOLE’S APTATS II/Pre-Publication Discount Offer

Robert and I sat at my dining room table for the better part of two full days editing the text for his great new Advanced Photoshop Tips and Techniques Simplified guide, APTATS II. For years I have been stating that I could never learn to use Layer Masks: paint with black to hide, paint with white to restore. It was all too confusing. But with Robert’s explanations and tutoring and my dogged insistence on hammering out text that would be clear, concise, straightforward, and easily understandable I have to say now, “I got it!”

Robert O’Toole’s APTATS II CD

(Advanced Photoshop Tips and Techniques Simplified II). We are aiming for late-December, 2009 before the holidays…. Order now; save $5.00. See below for details.

APTATS II will include sample images for each tutorial so that you can easily follow along and practice. Dozens and dozens and dozens more screen captures will make your trip through each tutorial both pain-free and mistake-free. After working the sample images you can try each technique on some suitable images of your own. In short order you will own the techniques. Once that happens you will find countless new uses for the techniques. For me the great revelation that I garnered from APTATS II is that using Layer Masks (paint with black to hide, paint with white to restore) and Hide All Layer Masks is actually simple. And if you do make a small error while painting, you can simply hit X and paint to correct your error. (When using a Quick Mask you need to go back in History in order to correct mistakes.)

Here are the tutorials in APTATS II:

  • Composition Correction: Increase Lead Room Without Cropping/Basic
  • Composition Correction: Increase Lead Room Without Cropping/Intermediate
  • Composition Correction: Increase Space Near a Frame Edge/Advanced
  • Super-Fast Element Removal: Basic
  • Super-Fast Element Removal Plus Composition Improvement
  • Gradient Background Blur
  • Mask Blending for Mega-Depth-of-Field
  • Selective Highlight Detail Enhancement
  • Selective Noise Reduction and Sharpening
  • Selective Sharpening with Finely Detailed Edges
  • Average Blur Color Balance Trick

BIRDS AS ART is currently accepting pre-publication orders for Robert O’Toole’s APTATS II CD (Advanced Photoshop Tips and Techniques Simplified II). Unlike APTATS I, APTATS II will be a professionally designed, packaged, and burned CD. We are striving to have them here at BAA in time to ship them before the holiday season. APTATS II will sell for $30 plus $3.00 shipping and handling to US addresses. Shipping to Canada is $6.00. It is $8.00 for all foreign orders. Florida residents will need to add 7% sales tax ($2.10) on the cost of the CD only.

Now here’s the best news: you can save $5 by pre-ordering your copy of Robert O’Toole’s APTATS II now (only through BAA). You can send us a Paypal, call us at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand, or order APTATS II from the BAA On-line Store (with secure credit card data transmission) by clicking here:

(Note: Shipping charges with BAA On-line Store orders may vary by small amounts from those noted above.)

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