December 15th, 2010

Birds As Art Bulletin #352




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Thanks to Denise Ippolito for the note card designs (and images). Be sure to check out her blog here. Note: there are two openings on Denise’s Barnegat Workshop: Saturday December 18, 2010. That’s soon!


From now until January 7th, 2012, BIRDS AS ART will be glad to include a free personalized gift card with any order upon request. With products that will be shipped, we will print your card roughly 4 X 6″ and include it with your order. For PDFs sent via e-mail, we will insert the card into the e-mail. It will look like this:

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For phone orders, Jim will be glad to transcribe your short message. For PayPal orders, you can type the text of your message into the box that they provide for comments. Be sure to specify the card that you would like: Rose, Shorebird, X-mas Tree, or Menorah. If you would like a gift card sent with an order made through the BAA On-line Store, please e-mail Jim the text to within one hour of placing your order. Be sure to include your order number and again, be sure to mention the card that you would like: Rose, Shorebird, X-mas Tree, or Menorah.


I have been using Lens Clens to clean my gear for about 15 years. Their #1 version is designed for coated optics. That is all that I use and will be the only Lens Clens product that we carry. I try to keep a bottle on my desk to clean the laptop screen, a bottle in my X-tra Hand vest for use in the field, a bottle in the Think Tank Rolling Bag that holds an amazing amount of my gear most of the time (including the time that I spend on planes), and a bottle in my laptop bag and my luggage for emergency use, i.e., when I can’t find one of the other bottles (which is often).

In the field I put a few drops of Lens Clens on the absorbent cotton that I keep in my vest, clean the front element of the lens that needs cleaning, and then use a second dry piece of cotton to polish the surface. If I am cleaning the lenses inside at home, I use an old cotton undershirt. If I am in a motel I use a dirty cotton undershirt. I moisten one part of the shirt, clean the front element, and then use a dry portion of the shirt to polish it.

On rare occasion, I actually do clean the outer surfaces of camera bodies and my lenses, especially if I have abused them with dirt or mud. Same deal except that I put more of the Lens Clens fluid on the the undershirt than I do when cleaning the front elements of the lenses. I also keep a few Q-tips in my vest. I moisten one end of a Q-tip to clean the viewfinder. Then I polish it with the dry end. Lastly I break the cotton off one end, wrap some cotton or a corner of the undershirt around the shaft, and finish polishing the viewfinder at the same time as I get into the corners. For the laptop screen its moisten the undershirt time again.

Not only is the stuff designed to be 100% safe with all the glass and all the surfaces of your gear, it will get your stuff cleaner than you have ever seen it since it came out of the box. And it dries in seconds. (Do not of course be tempted to use it on the sensor of your camera; that’s what Lens Pens and Sensor Scopes are for.)

I began to investigate the possibility of adding Lens Clens to our mail order line-up as it met the two major criteria: I use it all the time and it works. The final straw was a comment by IPT veteran Myer Bornstein at Nickerson Beach after I loaned him a few drops (generous fellow that I am 🙂 actually, a few drops is all it takes). He said something to the effect that the Lens Clens worked about a hundred times better than the stuff he had been using.

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Lens Clens product shot, Indian Lake Estates, FL
Image Copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 24-105mm IS L lens (hand held at 70mm) with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/50 sec. at f/11.

Even with what seems like a nothing image there are lots of lessons to learn: 1: Be creative, all the time. 2: Avoid making images indoors if you can do them outdoors. Why? Natural light is nicer and light levels are higher during the daytime. I took one of the two cases of Lens Clens out to the driveway…. 3: Know your gear. With the lens that I was using I knew that sharp at 1/50 sec. with a bit of extra d-o-f was child’s play.


We are pleased to announce that we have two cases of Lens Clens available as follows:

One 1 3/4 ounce bottle: $10.99 plus $7.00 S&H to all US address via Priority Mail $17.99
Two 1 3/4 ounce bottles: $9.99 each plus $7.00 S&H to all US address via Priority Mail $26.98
Three or more 1 3/4 ounce bottles $8.99 each plus $7.00 S&H to all US address via Priority Mail you do the math 🙂

A bottle or three would be the perfect holiday gift for any photographer.

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Fall Color rainbow blur, shot, Indian Lake Estates, FL
Image Copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 50. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/4 sec. at f/14.

With the recent cold snaps, the single deciduous tree in my driveway had some nice fall color a few days ago. I had wanted to go down to the lake that morning to try for some birds but it was 100% foggy. By 10am it had brightened just a bit so I popped a Delkin 32gb flash card into one of my Mark IV bodies, mounted the 70-200 f/4L IS lens on it, and made the short trip to the end of my driveway. I made about 60 images and kept one. Creating pleasing blurs is like playing the lottery. For this one I did a diagonal pan blur with a bit of jiggle on the way down. To learn this technique and dozens more, check out A Guide to Pleasing Blurs.


Below are links to some of our most popular products. Each would make an ideal gift for the photographer in your life.

Lens Clens see immediately above 🙂

Lens Pen Combo Kit Use the small Lens Pen to clean your sensor and the large one to clean the rear elements of your teleconverters. Purchase includes our free detailed instructions (sent by e-mail) for safely cleaning your sensor.

BLUBB (Big Lens Ultimate BeanBag) does your photographer struggle trying to make sharp images while photographing from their vehicle with a big super-telephoto lens? The BLUBB is the perfect solution. (Recommended for lenses of 500mm or more.)

The Art of Bird Photography Two Book Bundle For photographers who are willing to study and see their skill levels increase by leaps and bounds.

NEOS Overshoes With winter coming, this is the perfect gift for those who will be out photographing in the snow. We have just added the insulated Navigators to our line-up. Good to -20 F!

Digital Basics Do you hear muttering and cursing while your photographer is attempting to optimize their photographs? DB will teach them to make their images look great in short order. (Some studying required Smile emoticon)

The 7D User’s Guide If your special person has one of these fabulous and fantastic cameras but is not confident when using it, this reveal-all guide will make the perfect gift.

A Guide to Pleasing Blurs The recipient of this great guide will learn to have fun while creating a variety of artistic blurs.

A Guide to Songbird Set-Up Photography If your gift-getter has a bird feeder and a telephoto lens this guide will teach them how to create artistically designed set-ups. And winter is a great time for doing so. Tip: find some branches with little red berries on them. The guide teaches how to get the birds to land exactly where you want them to.


George Lepp’s latest book is another winner. In “Stories from the Field,” George shares his favorite images from several decades behind the camera. As good as the images are, it’s the stories behind the images that make this book special. The writing is superb. I picked the book up and could not put it down. I felt as if I were there right beside George, seeing what he saw, understanding what was going on inside his head as he made the myriad decisions that go into a single successful image, and feeling his excitement. You will learn a bunch along the way, after all, George has been one of the leading nature photography educators since before I ever picked up a camera, but here it will be the writing that grips you. The essays in the beginning of the book are particularly interesting, moving, and revealing. Get yourself a copy and learn a lot about what it is that makes nature photographers click :). This book is about the passion, the thrills, the journey, and at times, the danger that leaves the reader aching to get into the field with their gear as quickly as possible.

You can purchase a copy here or here. Learn more about George and Kathryn on their web site. On their home page you will find links to several excerpts from the book on where the Lepps are contributing bloggers.

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George Lepp at Photo Expo West, Del Mar, CA
Image Copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS lens (hand held at 170mm) with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 3200. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/2.8.

At times, there is nothing like a fast lens to save the day :). You’ve gotta be impressed with Auto White Balance and the ISO 3200 performance of the Mark IV (no flash). George cannot help himself; he loves to make pictures.


As I just ordered my very own Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens through the Explorers of Light program, I am selling two excellent lenses. They are priced to leave the building so if you are interested, do not tarry.

Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens in very good condition: $900 includes the tripod collar and front and rear caps only. No original box. Just the expected wear marks; Glass and performance are perfect. Buyer pays insured shipping. If I do not know you, I will not be able to ship the lens until your check clears.

Canon 100-400 IS L zoom lens in very good to excellent condition: hand holders special; includes front and rear covers only. No tripod collar. Thus, I am giving this one away for $650. Buyer pays insured shipping. If I do not know you, I will not be able to ship the lens until your check clears.

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Magellenic Penguin, adult, Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands
Image Copyright 2007: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS-1Ds Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative Metering -1 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/14.

This bird was constantly looking from side to side. I waited for the perfect moment to trip the shutter so that the image would feature the perfect head angle. Click here to learn about Head Angle Fine Points.


Several dozen folks have contacted me for the info on the killer South Georgia/Falklands Expedition that will run October 18 to November 11, 2012. If you missed that feature, see item one here. If you are seriously interested in this trip it would be best not to tarry AS 15 BAA folks are already on board at present with lots more in the wings; please e-mail me at immediately for details and the sign-up info. I am good to go. And I hope that you can join us.

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King Penguin, immature, “Oakum Boy,” Gold Bay, South Georgia
Image Copyright 2007: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 100-400mm IS L lens handheld at 190mm with EOS-1D Mark IIN. ISO 400.
Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6.

We will be seeing thousands of oakum boys on the South Georgia/Falklands trip. Here is the derivation of the “oakum boy” nickname for the young King Penguins: Working alongside the shipwrights were the Caulkers, who with the shipwrights were the highest paid dockyard workmen. The caulkers filled the seams between the planking with oakum, old hemp rope picked loose by his assistant the “oakum boy “ to make the seams of carvel-built ships watertight. Once the seams had been packed full of the fibres it would be water proofed by smearing the seams with hot pitch .The “oakum boy “ brought the pitch in liquid form from a boiler… From an interesting article here.

4 comments to BAA Bulletin 352, Dec 15th 2010

  • Artie –

    Are you dropping the 100-400 from your arsenal? Or is there a MKII on the way that no one knows about yet ?


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Loren, Where have you been? I have been writing and raving about the new 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II zoom lens both here on the blog and in recent Bulletins. The 100-400 is no longer in my gear bag. It served me well for a long time but I prefer the 70-200 II with both the 1.4X and the 2X II TCs.

  • avatar Scott w Kody

    Hello. I’m interested in the 100-400mm lens if it isn’t spoken for yet. Please advise.



    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Scott, I price the stuff to fly out of here. Both lenses sold within minutes. Thanks for you interest. artie