April 23rd, 2011




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This image of courting Black-footed Albatross on Sand Island, Midway Atoll was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 1.4X III TC (hand held at 185mm), and the Canon EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/6.3 set manually after being confirmed by blinkies/histogram check.

The courtship dance of this species is utterly amazing. From a photographic standpoint, the trick is to find them in a good situation with a pleasing background with the birds remaining relatively parallel to the back of the camera. Though that is a tall order, I did just that here :).


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Check out some of my very favorite Laysan Albatross images here and learn a ton in the process.

Learn how I removed an ugly branch from a Great Frigatebird nest in How to Combat Murphy’s Law of Nests.

In I’ll Miss This Place I share my thoughts on the great photographic destination that is Midway.

I share four powerfully moving images in Tsunami Evidence on Midway.

See the results of my finding a very tame Masked Booby on Midway in Taking Advantage.

You won’t want to miss Spectacular Midway Silhouette.

And you will learn a ton in Silhouette Flash Lessons.

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This Laysan Albatross was using the albatross runway. I created this image of with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens (hand held at 185mm) and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/2.8 set manually after being confirmed by blinkies/histogram check.

On our last morning I created about 300 images in the 30 minutes before and the 30 minutes after sunrise. This was my very favorite. Lots of folks on BPN did not like it; learn why in my Roadrunner Albatross post.


With a great group, a world-class photographic location, great weather, and great food, this trip was a huge success. Even getting there and back was a pleasure. We flew on a Gulfstream G-2 corporate jet that served as President Obama’s transport of the first four months of his presidential campaign and took Janet Jackson to and from the 2004 Super Bowl. It was a pleasure seeing and working with IPT veterans Lou Newman, Jean-Luc Valliant, Isobel Wayrick, John Dupps, Garrett Lau, and world-class photographer Paul Mckenzie (even though Paul spent the bulk of his time in solitude via bike travel). We were joined by a cast of great new folks including Kevin Dowie (who made the trip from Down Under, Dick Evans from Alaska, Isobel’s friend Lorraine Novinski (who was a real trooper), and Jon Portis and John Drouilhet (both from Honolulu!). Three folks were forced to cancel at the last moment…. That is why we strongly recommend travel insurance; I and my family use Travel Insurance Services; I purchased their “Cancel for any reason” coverage for my upcoming Antarctica (late DEC 2011) and Falklands/South Georgia (OCT 2012) trips.

Both albatross species performed in typically spectacular fashion and their large chicks were as cute as ever, we got some decent stuff on Bristle-thighed Curlew and Pacific Golden-Plover, the Red-tailed Tropicbirds went nuts with their courtship flights every sunny afternoon, there were lots of White Terns, and we enjoyed our allotted single chance to photograph the immature Short-tailed Albatross on Sand Island. Our day-trip to Eastern Island via park service boat yielded great chances with Red-footed Booby, Great Frigatebird, and Grey-backed Tern among others. And we did get to see Midway’s first-ever and very huge Short-tailed Albatross chick there as well.

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This Grey-backed Tern was photographed on a WWII runway at Eastern Island with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/10 in Av mode. (Note: this is a color photograph!)

I spent quite a while trying to stalk these guys without getting very close. Two of us were walking well behind the group with Park Ranger Laurel Logue when this bird landed right in front of us! I would have loved to have gotten down on the runway to photograph this bird but it was littered with lovely, nearly invisible thorns close to 1/2 inch from end to end. They always land fat-end down, business-end up, and they resemble some sort of medieval torture instrument. Despite my care I was impaled by several of them last year and several more this year when I could not resist the urge to kneel down for just a moment. Yikes!

One of the great things about Midway is the warm welcome proffered by and the wonderful cooperation of the refuge staff especially Park Ranger (Visitor Services specialist) Laurel Logue and the refuge manager (whose name escapes me at the moment).

After the two weeks that I spent on Midway last spring I sort of amazed myself this year by recognizing a variety of excellent photographic situations that I had simply missed last year. That happens to me often. In any case, one of the things that I have been doing more and more recently on IPTs is trying to teach folks to recognize quality photographic situations. With well more than a million albatrosses on Midway each season it would obviously be quite easy to go out and fill a dozen 32 gb flash cards every day. (BTW, even on this amazing trip I never once filled one of my Delkin 32gb cards.) The trick is not to make lots of images but to make a few good ones…. And you can only do that by learning to recognize the good situations.

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This albatross chick image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

These guys are too cute when they sit back on their haunches with their feet up in the air. Here again I have found a great situation with the chick set against that killer azure blue water of the lagoon.


Here is an e-mail conversation with the aforementioned Dick Evans.

AM: Hey Dick, It is good to hear from you. re:

DE: Thanks for the great learning experience; although I may not have asked a lot of questions, I was watching and listening.

AM: That is good!

DE: It was a real treat for me to watch how you obtain such outstanding images.

AM: I just push the button like everyone else :).

DE: I also appreciate your understanding that a great deal of my Midway motivation was nostalgic after making many stops there in the mid-60’s as a Naval Flight Officer. Additionally, the military history of Midway has always interested me. Lastly, as a former military officer with considerable combat experience, it is obligatory to pay respects to those who lost their lives defending Midway. All told; the trip was a success and I will likely return in the next couple years.

AM: You are most welcome. The satisfied smile on your face after you got to tour some of the old building was wonderful to see; I knew how special that was to you. Midway is special to me in a similar way. Not sure if I mentioned it to you but my Dad’s right arm has been pushing up daisies on Okinawa since April 1944. He was severely wounded and spent 19 months in the hospital, that after being left for dead in a field hospital. They did not want to waste a spot for him on the Red Cross ship which suffered great damage from a kamikaze attack that killed something like 80 folks in the operating theater (where my Dad would have been had he been on the ship….)

DE: Do you plan a return trip to Midway? If so, and if you’re willing for me to tag along, please inform me as I’m interested.

AM: I will be skipping next year but sincerely hope to get out there again in the spring of 2013 if all is well. I will start and interested list and you will be #1.

DE: I was a total basket case early Tuesday morning at the Honolulu airport and after boarding the flight to Seattle. Have no recollection of pushback, takeoff, etc.! After that nap, I felt OK the rest of the way.

AM: That is par for the jet-lag course.

DE: Thanks for the information on upcoming trips; I’m considering a couple and will be in touch. Dick

You are most welcome; I hope that I get to spend more time with you somewhere down the road. later and love, artie


As I will be in Japan for most of March 2012, speaking in Morro Bay, CA and running an IPT here in early March, and then spending three weeks in the Netherlands photographing birds and tulips and doing a few trips, I will not be returning to Midway in 2012. I hope to return some time in the spring of 2013 assuming that I will continue to be blessed by good health and lots of energy. I will know for sure in less than a year. If you would like your name put on the interested list, please shoot me an e-mail.

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This image of courting White Terns was created the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 1.4X III TC (hand held at 170mm), and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/4 in Av mode.

This was a rare situation for me. While I never like photographing birds in filtered light I learned after seeing this series of images on the laptop that the combination of subject in the shade/background lit by filtered light can be quite nice; I was pleasantly surprised.


I am presenting a full day program in Storrs, CT on May 15th. My appearance is being generously sponsored by the Canon USA/Explorers of Light. The full day program is entitled, “A Day of Learning with Arthur Morris/It Ain’t Just Birds.” It’s a steal at only $49 for the whole day, 9am till 5pm, and that includes lunch! To learn more, to see the day’s schedule, or to register, click here. There is a great photo contest open to all who register for the event; the contest ends on May 3.

Thanks a stack to Mike Wenglowski of Photo Connection of Colchester for putting the whole thing together.

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Remember, it ain’t just birds! 🙂 This image of courting Spotted Eagle Rays was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 1.4X III TC (hand held at 150mm), and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/5 in Av mode.
With a 77mm warming circular polarizer set to darkest.

This for me was an astounding capture. Several folks spotted the smaller male rays pursuing the larger female. Once I got set up and pointed my lens at them, she never once lifted her wings. Except for the tiny fraction of a second depicted here. After I gave up I had zero hopes of getting a single keeper much less a family jewel. You gotta love nature photography.


IPT veteran Louise Burky is looking to buy a used Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. Please e-mail her at lbburky@comcast.net. She might very well be interested in a used Canon 1.4X II TC as well. I sold both of the above recently cheap 🙂

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This image of a molting Pacific Golden-Plover and a large Laysan Alabatross chick was created in front of Charlie Barracks after a late breakfast with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

I am always on the lookout for juxtaposition images; this opportunity lasted a relatively long time, long enough for me to create four images. I focused on the shorebird’s eye using rear focus/central sensor AI Servo AF and re-composed.


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Daisy with Purple Hydrangea background/Image copyright © 2011: Denise Ippolito

Chanticleer Gardens Creative Photography Workshop, Wayne, PA

Friday, May 20, 4:30pm- 7:30pm (rain date May 27): $195 (admission included).

Join Denise Ippolito and co-leader Arthur Morris (May 20 date only) for a half-day workshop at beautiful Chanticleer Gardens in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The gardens are filled with a vast array of perennials mixed in with natural settings that include a meandering brook, an Asian garden, and even a teacup garden. There will be lots of flowers to see and photograph. We will work on compositions, macro photography with natural lighting, and even creating impressionistic blurs. Plan on spending some time before the workshop begins to relax and enjoy the sights. (Save your admission receipt if you wish to be reimbursed.)

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Tulip, with Fractalius Soft Fix/Image copyright © 2011: Denise Ippolito

The Softer Side of Macro Creative Photography Workshop, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA

Sunday May 22nd, 9:00am – 12:00noon (rain or shine): $195 (admission included).

Join Denise Ippolito and co-leader Arthur Morris at beautiful Longwood Gardens in PA for “The Softer Side of Macro” workshop. We will explore creative compositions and use natural lighting. If you like the soft dreamy looks but have had trouble recreating them then this workshop is for you. We may even have the chance to create some impressionistic blurs.

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Pansy with partial radial zoom blur/Image copyright © 2011: Denise Ippolito

For information on Denise’s love of flowers and her publications, please scroll down.

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American Oystercatcher chick, Nickerson Beach, LI, NY/Image copyright © 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Nickerson Beach Creative Photography Workshop. June 3-5, 2011: $799.

Join Denise Ippolito for 4 sessions of bird photography over 3 days for a hands on workshop at Nickerson Beach, Long Island, NY. Subjects will include nesting Common Tern (tiny chicks possible) and nesting American Oystercatcher (chicks likely). Black Skimmers will be setting up their territories and they and the terns will be exhibiting a variety of courtship behaviors. Meet in the parking lot at Nickerson on Friday June 3rd at 6:00pm for an afternoon/evening session followed by dinner on your own. On Saturday June 4th, after breakfast on your own, meet at the parking lot at Nickerson Beach at 6:00am sharp for a morning session. The morning session will be discussed during a lunch that will include image sharing for those who bring their laptops. You will have lots of time during the afternoon break to download and review your images. The afternoon/evening session will again begin at 6:00pm (again followed by dinner on your own) The last photography session will take place on the morning of Sunday June 5th. Meet in the parking lot at 6:00am. This will be followed by image sharing at lunch. Rain or shine. A sturdy tripod and a long lens are recommended. The cost of both lunches is included.

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Manhattan skyline: Canon EOS-5D with the 24-105mm lens. ISO 100: 5.0 sec. at f/5.6. Image copyright © 2011: Denise Ippolito

Manhattan Skyline Creative Photography Workshop. Sunday, May 15: $195.

The Manhattan Skyline CPW will be held in Weehawkin, NJ from 6:00pm sharp until 9:00pm. It will be jointly led by Denise Ippolito and Scott Vincent. Scott has been photographing at this location for many years and will share a variety of tips and tricks for creating successful late afternoon, twilight and post-sunset images. Scott, a skilled photographer who started photographing birds with Arthur Morris at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in the mid-1980s, has been published nationally in a variety of magazines and newspapers. He is well versed in both Nikon and Canon bodies. A sturdy tripod is mandatory. Scott and Denise will teach you to make great images using a variety of short lenses including wide angle zooms, short zooms, and fish eyes. Topics covered will include composition, long exposures, stitched panoramas, HDR’s, and a variety of pleasing blurs.

Denise Ippolito

Denise has been involved with flowers for much of her life. She is a fifth generation florist who owned a flower shop from 1989 to 1995. She followed that up by running first one and then another garden center for the next thirteen years. What can I say; the girl likes flowers. In recent years she has worked hard at becoming a skilled flower photographer and has succeeded admirably. Her incredibly creative mind led her to experimenting with a variety of filters and Photoshop effects. That led to her becoming the moderator at BPN’s Out of the Box Forum. She has written or co-authored several BAA educational publications. The first was A Guide to Pleasing Blurs that I proudly co-authored with her. Next came the Barnegat Site Guide–no flowers there! That was followed by A Guide to Creative Filters and Effects. And most recently, The Softer Side of Macro. All have been well received and highly successful.

You can learn more about Denise by visiting her blog, A Creative Adventure or her website.

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