June 11th, 2011




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This image of a Piping Plover chick was created at Nickerson Beach, Long Island, NY with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, a25mm Extension tube, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1000 at f/8 set manually. Lens/Camera Body Micro-Adjustment: +3.

Denise Ippolito and her private-day client Jon Saperia and I stayed with a family of Piping Plovers one morning for about two hours. Most of the time we photographed them from great distances with 2X and stacked TCs…. When they made their way down to the tide line to feed we sat and at times had the three tiny chicks–about eight days old–walk right in front of us. (One of the original four disappeared over-night.) That’s when it got very frustrating! They are so, so fast and unlike the parents–step, step, step, stop, step, step, step, stop, they use a slightly different strategy; run, run, run, pause for a millisecond, run, run, run….. Most times when they were close and right down sun angle I could not even get them in the viewfinder much less focus and fire. I got very few decent images. To see the next frame that I took and what the boys and girls on BPN had to say about it, click here.

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My friend Helen Longest-Saccone, founder and editor of Nature Photographer Magazine, has seen the light. She worked very hard for many months creating an iPad app application so that her magazine could better reach folks around the world in a killer beautiful format with the images looking stunningly beautiful. Helen feels that paper may be on the way out. Kudos to her for executing her foresight and vision.

Nature Photographer’s app are in the Apple iPad app store. The present cost of the app is $3.99.

The magazine app has been redesigned in landscape format with larger text for easier reading on the tablet as well as to better showcase the photography. Each app has all of the editorial content of that season’s print issue. There will be four apps each year: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Each app has additional articles, slide shows, video, additional images in the showcase, and interactive links.

The Spring 2011 app that includes my article “Bright Ideas/Photographing Nature in Harsh Light” is available here.

The Winter 2010/2011 app that includes my article “The Gapapagos” can be purchased here.

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This image of a Black Skimmer landing at the colony was created at Nickerson Beach, Long Island, NY with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1000 at f/8 set manually. Lens/Camera Body Micro-Adjustment: +3.

See the original image below.

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This original image is above. As you can see, I failed to follow my universal advice for improved flight photography, “Pan faster.”

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Next I expanded canvas left. Then I used the Rectangular Marquis Tool to grab a section of relatively clean background from the image (as seen) and used the Move Tool to fill in the added canvas. The next steps were the most difficult: I needed to remove the rear end and tail of one bird and blend the added area seamlessly with the vegetation to its right. To do this I used a series of small Quick Masks, the Patch Tool, and the Clone Stamp Tool. As I was using only the central (by necessity with the 1.4XTC) I needed to crop from the right and from below when I was finished. It wound up looking pretty good. Everything above is of course detailed in our amazing Digital Basics File.


THE 2012 SW FLA IPT: FEB 8-15, 2012.

Slide program on the evening of Tuesday, FEB 7. 6-FULL DAYS: $2899. (Non-refundable deposit: $500; click here and scroll down for full details, terms, deposit requirements, and our cancellation policy). Limit: 10. Co-leaders TBA. Escape winter’s icy grip to enjoy a wide array of Florida’s tame birds including herons, egrets, Wood Stork, ducks including Mottled and Black-bellied Whistling, both pelicans, shorebirds, gulls, terns, skimmers, raptors, and lots more.

With Homer almost sold out (see details below, with Bosque 2010 long sold out, and with my ever-shrinking teaching schedule, this trip represents a rare opportunity to learn from the best so do not wait too long before sending your deposit.

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Soft Light Shorebird Flock was created at Westhampton Beach, Long Island, NY while photographing with my friend Mike Lotito after my hand infection surgery with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops: 1/500 at f/5.6 set manually. Lens/Camera Body Micro-Adjustment: ).

I lowered my tripod just a bit to include the strip of beach grasses on the lower right.


When I posted Pet Peeve to the blog on June 2, 2011 I did not expect what turned out for the most part to be a love-fest. The results were, however, quite rewarding. Below are a few of the highlights. There were so many good ones among the 50 comments that it was hard not to post them all here. There are some real gems of wisdom below. It was of course wonderful to hear from friends like Pat and Mike and Clemens and John and others, but having strangers take the time to write while sharing tales of my kindnesses to them or others was very rewarding.

Via e-mail:

Dear Arthur – I met you once, it was at the 2009 Midwest Birding Symposium at Lakeside OH when you led about 20 of us on a morning photo shoot. You taught us what settings to use and you told us where to position ourselves. With great patience and in spite of the fairly large group you took time to review our screens to make sure that we were each doing it right. And you answered all of our many questions. As a result we got some great BIF shots of gulls and the morning sunrise plus we learned a lot. If that were all I would say you were a basically a nice guy who knows a lot about photography. But your real colors came through when you noticed a young fellow, maybe 11 yrs old, in the group with his Mom. He was quietly following your every word and, while the rest of us stood, he often sat down cradling the camera between his knees to get his photos. You stopped the session and asked us all to look at the boy’s technique which you emphasized was excellent. Your encouraging words to that boy showed that above all you are a great teacher and a wonderful person. Additionally, I have had the great fortune to be able to attend 3 outstanding photo workshops conducted by Matthew Studebaker who lists you as a mentor. So beyond your excellent photos and technical instruction, your positive influence extends widely from the young people like that boy at the symposium to the pro’s like Matthew to the amateurs like me. All in all I’d say that’s pretty good. Very Sincerely, Bob Rafferty

Artie: I recently attended a workshop you presented at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm where I was one of just a few students that Saturday morning. There were other workshops with attendees being led by other presenters and, at times, we all seemed to be in the same spots vying for good vantage points to get some memorable shots. Not only were you polite and patient with our group but I also remember how you took a few moments to give some instruction to participants in another group who were not understanding what their instructor was presenting. You patiently gave an explanation of a technique that, although explained by their workshop leader, was presented by you in a different way that they seemed to understand. You did not have to do that but I felt that you just wanted them to learn and understand.
My own session ended with you stating to me “You didn’t ask a lot of questions.” I told you I was there to learn what I could from you and I felt I would learn more from listening to you rather than to myself. Some people instruct—-some teach! Thanks for teaching! Micheal Nardini

From the Comments on the blog:

Tim, June 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm: Artie, I must run in different circles as I have never heard anything negative when I mention your name. I do hear admiration and awe. I would guess there are many, many more who think of you fondly versus those that do not. Keep up the good work and thank you for all you do in teaching us mere mortals.

Kent Wilson, June 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm: Hi Artie – I have spoken to you on the phone and met you once at the Alligator Farm a few years ago when I was attending one of the First Coast Festivals in St Augustine. There is no reason you would remember. I had heard a few similar slightly negative stories about you. Anyway, you were with an IPT and not part of the program I was attending. I am usually a bit shy, but I walked over and asked if you were Arthur Morris. You said “yes”, we chatted briefly, and you told me that I’d be welcome to come to the evening program you were giving for your group, but that there would probably be standing room only.

Michael M, June 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm: Artie, I’ve met you only once and it was brief. I look forward to my next opportunity. We’ve shared emails a few times and each have been moments of magic; you give more than is expected and your responses are warm and concise. warm regards… M

John Snodgrass, June 2, 2011 at 1:02 pm: Artie, I can with authority “Say It Ain’t So!” When I first learned of your work and the IPTs I was intimidated by the quality of what you represented versus my amateur experience. I took the leap and joined in. It’s been great and I’m looking forward to my fourth IPT with you on the Bear Boat in August. As a now experienced IPT participant, I can say that you are a fantastic teacher and mentor. They boo birds on the fence don’t know what they are missing! John

Cissy Donaldson, June 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm: Art, I’ve never met you or been on an IPT ( I’d kill for the chance) but just from reading your blogs and bulletins I can tell what a kind and gracious person you are. Nobody would devote that much time and effort to help others if they were not. I use Nikon gear and would not hesitate one second if I had the time and money! I also love “The Work”. Thanks for all the info online and in Digital Basics. Cissy

Herman Hiel, June 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm: In my country we have a saying: a high tree catches a lot of wind… And on trips in East Africa I learned that a lion, which bugged by a mosquito, will only shake its manes. Thank you for all the information you’re sharing. Best, Herman

George Cottay, June 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm: You have strong opinions and express them directly, often in some detail. That is offensive to some. That your opinions are based on facts, experience and logic can be even more of a problem. Since you cannot be proven witless then you must be faulty in some other way. Unless you wish to change your character your fan base will be pretty much limited to those who appreciate straight talk backed by expertise. George

(Note from artie: wit·less/ˈwitlis/Adjective 1. Foolish; stupid.)

Pat Fishburne, June 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm: Art, my husband Stokes and I know firsthand (after several IPTs with you) how willing you are to share what you know. Also, how willing you are to share “space” when shooting — you always tell people that if they want a good shot, come stand by you. And, as you remember all too well, when we went to Galapagos with you, three of the participants were among the nastiest, most unappreciative and miserable people we’d ever met! Even then, you treated them nicely (but when one of them tried to sign on for another IPT you turned him down, saying that you were looking for a “different group dynamic”). Love, Pat

Deirdre Sheerr-Gross, June 2, 2011 at 4:22 pm: Artie… You don’t need my comments on this thread… It is obvious, and wonderfully so, that you are well loved, avidly admired and enjoyed immensely… No, but I did need to write for myself…
I am new to photography and birding… and I have a HUGE learning curve… There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank you NOT for just your knowledge, competency and creativity… But for your generosity, your tireless (and I mean tireless.. when do you sleep?) willingness to share, your sense of humor, and your ability to know and offer what I need to know…. You demonstrate this with your incredibly specific instructions, your excellent equipment advice, links to other great sites, and with introductions to other professionals who are doing what you are doing (others might call them competitors, but not you….) And this list could go on… Yes, you have funny long hair… but you have a great smile and a warm heart… I find you amazing! Thank you. Deirdre

(Heck, I hadn’t been to the beauty parlor in a while and I did let my hair down!)

Patrick Sparkman, June 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm: OK, I held back on replying but now I feel compelled. Artie, doesn’t suck as a photographer, teacher, person, or friend. For those of you who know what this means, you can comment about him. If you don’t know what this means, then you should personally get to know him until you do. Then you can comment! Patrick

(Note: I am headed to arctic Norway with Patrick and his wife Robin on 18 June. Patrick knows that when I say, “This doesn’t suck,” that I am giving it my highest accolades. :))

Bryan Reynolds, June 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm: We met very briefly at the Bosque del Apache sometime in the mid 90′s. I was in the Air Force stationed at Kirtland AFB and paid a visit to the Bosque. I was very near the entrance to the visitor’s center laying across the sidewalk (blocking your path) photographing a Rufous-sided towhee with a 105mm lens, the only one I owned at the time. You came out and quietly waited for me to finish. After I was done, you made a comment about how good it was to get down at the bird’s eye level and how close I was able to get to it. I had no idea who you were, but some of the people there were all excited about you being there. I just appreciated your patience and subtle and encouraging comments. You also helped me recently to select a great digital projector for my non-profit. I also purchased a tripod from you last year that I really like. I know you didn’t make anything from my projector purchase and you probably made very little from the tripod. You did however, take time out of your busy schedule to help me, someone you’ve never met. Thank you. Bryan

Roger Botting, June 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm: Art, I have met you and have been on an IPT (when they were cheap:-) You were a nasty drill sergant who got us up at 3:30 AM to stand in the freezing air at Bosque to take photos of a moon set and sun rise and thousands of sqwaking birds. Later you forced us to have lunch on your dime! Then we stood around and took photos of geese and cranes while basking in the afternoon warmth. This was followed by a tasty meal at a reasonably priced restaurant. And this went on for 3 days. And all I have to show for it is hundreds of great photos. Keep on being a miserable SOB, its good for us. Roger

Mike Lotito, June 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm: Artie, I have always found you a pleasure to be around. Its a shame that people mistake someones intensity and passion for their art as negative behavior. You started in the mud in and around Jamaica Bay and built a name and reputation that most could only wish to have. The information and tips you share on your website and blog are a sign of a very giving person. Yes you have a right to be proud! No one put you where you are today but yourself and all the hard work and time you have invested. Keep up the great work you have more fans than you will ever know! Mike

Clemens Vanderwerf, June 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm: One thing I have learned is that you can not please all the people. If you are good at something there will always be people that envy you. I have been an Art Morris IPT junkie for over a year now, and can only say that my photography has improved tremendously. This is only because of one person: Art Morris! The best teacher you can think of, but only if you want to take your photography seriously. No BS and straight down to the core. Thumbs up for Artie! Clemens

Jeff Carlson, June 2, 2011 at 8:06 pm: Artie, last February I had the pleasure of attending your Canon-sponsored Birds of the Everglades seminar in Homestead, Florida. I also saw you when you spoke at a Sarasota Audubon Society meeting. My first hand experience was nothing like what your critics have had to say about you. At one point during the Everglades seminar, three or four of us including you were shooting an American Bittern in a difficult location as it popped up and down in the tall grass. We took our shots as the bittern appeared and disappeared while you provided a stream of commentary on bird photography. Nothing like listening and learning from the master. I distinctly remember at one point when the bird moved that I had the best spot to shoot without all those pesky grass stalks getting in the way. As you repositioned to get a better angle, I offered to move over to give you some room. Your comment was “Stay where you are, I’ll find a place.” Certainly that comment would never have been heard from the person the critics talk about. Throughout the seminar you were always available and always providing meaningful insight and commentary that led to a great learning experience. I look forward to the next workshop I attend. Stay well, Jeff

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This image of an adult Piping Plover brooding her chicks was created at Nickerson Beach, Long Island, NY with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 2X III teleconverter, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/100 at f/11 set manually.

Because my eyesight is not keen enough to focus accurately with the 2X III TC on the 800 (AF is normally not possible with this combination), I use a great Live View trick taught to me by early 7D User’s Guide purchaser Dave Hardcastle: focus in Live View with Live Mode AF. Details are available in both the 7D User’s Guide and in the Mark IV User’s Guide. Not every image is sharp when I use this mega-advanced technique but I have made some very sharp ones with stacked Series III TCs.

How is it possible to make sharp images at 1/100 sec. with 41.6X magnification? I use the advanced sharpness techniques detail in ABP II. Other than that, you will need to ask the Canon engineers who came up with the 4-Stop Image Stabilization…..


Here, in part, is another comment from the Pet Peeve blog post:

“Since you are successful and extremely knowledgeable and experienced in this field, you have your own principles and beliefs. You know what works and what doesn’t work. Perhaps you are straight and direct, and sometimes very busy answering so many emails that your tone in writing could be perceived as arrogant and harsh. I think that is your style. Straight to the point and no BS.”

After reading and re-reading Ken’s comment several times I asked if he would be OK if I responded frankly. Ken e-mailed and said that that would be fine.

Here are the facts:

Ken first e-mailed me with a gear question on 2-8-11. When he did not receive an immediate response he re-sent his e-mail to the samandmayas address the next day. (He had sent his first e-mail to one of the birdsasart addresses.) After I replied he sent me two more e-mails on the 10th and 11th asking about tripods and heads. He replied questioning my advice. From March 1-9 I received 9 more e-mails from Ken each with several questions about flash and the Better Beamer. At some point I let him know that as all of the info that he was requesting was readily available in ABP II that I would need to keep my replies to his multiple question e-mails brief.

On March 6 he ordered ABP II. On March 14 and 15 he e-mailed asking about the best times to visit Bosque and LaJolla. I answered briefly and politely even though that info could be found easily with a quick search of either the Bulletin Archives or the blog and suggested that he consider purchasing our Site Guides for those two locations. In his e-mails of March 16 and 24 he asked a spate of Lens Align MkII questions, all of which were answered in our free tutorial on line. Again I answered briefly and politely while pointing him to the info online.

From March 24 though April 12 he sent 8 more e-mails asking advice about big lenses, the Series III TCs, and Lens Clens. Again I answered his multitude questions briefly and politely while pointing him to the info that again was all available online. Are you seeing a pattern yet? By this time Ken had also purchased Digital Basics. At some point he wrote asking additional questions that were clearly answered in ABP II and/or in Digital Basics adding that he had not had the time to do the studying yet…. After he purchased DB he sent 4 more e-mails each with questions about exposure. I answered each politely and suggested that he consider purchasing the original ABP and studying the material on Exposure Theory.

He wrote back stating that he wished that exposure theory had been included in ABP II…. In my 39th e-mail to Ken I responded by writing, “I wish a had a million dollars. ABP II was designed as a continuation of ABP so it would not have made sense to include it there….” I continued, “…very few folks who purchase our educational materials feel that I should be required to answer their daily e-mail questions (especially in view of the fact that the answers are already in print….)”

Recently I e-mailed Ken asking him how many e-mail questions he thought that he had sent. “”Ten” was his answer. All in all I received 40 e-mails with questions from Ken. I will admit that by the 39th e-mail my response (above) was a bit testy. Perhaps that is why he wrote that is was possible that my “tone in writing could be perceived as arrogant and harsh.” Go figure.

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This image of a Gray Treefrog was created by Andrew McLachlan with the handheldNikor 105mm Micro lens, theNikon D-200, and the Nikon SB-400 Speedlight. (The B&H links will take you to the latest gear.)

Here’s what Andrew had to say about this image: “Here’s another Gray Treefrog capture from a few nights ago with Fractalius Glow 100 applied. The Gray Treefrogs I photograph behind my home are a very beautiful green due to the field grasses that grow in and around the vernal pond, while the ones I photograph at the family cottage near Parry Sound are a charcoal gray color. The color-changing abilities of these guys is amazing.”


I began seeing the work of Andrew McLachlan on BPN well more than a year ago, usually in the Landscape Forum and in the Out of the Box Forum. He is a skilled photographer from Ontario and I quickly learned from his OOTB posts that he is quite skilled at creating images with the Fractalius plug-in. A month or so ago he began posting his Fracted Treefrogs; I was blown away and wanted to share one with you here. If you would like to see some more Fracted frogs or more of Andrew’s images, click here. Be sure to visit Andrew’s website and his blog where you’ll see a frog with a black tongue and a killer hibiscus Fract. Click here to check out a great Fractalius tutorial by Denise Ippolito or here to purchase the Fractalius plug-in (PC only).

We will soon be announcing Andrew’s Landscape Guide and hope to persuade him to do one on frog photography as well.


I continue to put in 20+ hours per week into the blog in an effort to make it informative, timely, and beautiful. Many of the educational features that formerly appeared in BAA Bulletins now grace the BAA Blog. If you are not subscribed, you are missing a ton of great stuff almost daily. You can subscribe to the blog posts by clicking here. Check out some of the great stuff you have been missing by clicking on the links below.

The May 29 blog post should be required reading for all digital photographers. Learn why you must ETTR, Expose to the ight. The proof is right there before your eyes.

If you missed my all time favorite blurred image in the last Bulletin, check out 1 in 400.

If you must at times carry a ton of gear into the field as I do and are looking for the world’s greatest photography vest, learn about the custom made Magnum by Vested Interest in Watch My Back.

Having trouble making great flight images with your big lens, check out the super-popular Long Lens Flight Photography Tips post.

If you enjoy creating pleasing blurs–heck, they do great in the BBC Competition–learn to put Variety into your work by utilizing some of the techniques detailed in the June 10 blog post.

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This Black Skimmer/Common Tern blur was created at Nickerson Beach, Long Island, NY with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 2X III teleconverter (hand held at 140mm), and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 3200–it was dark! Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/30 sec. at f/5.6 in Tv Mode. You can see four more sweet skimmer/tern blurs and learn a ton about creating them here.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the images above. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot with the 1.4X III TC which is designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses. I used the 70-200 alone to create all of the images at Scott’s place.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.

Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable. Clicking on the link below will bring you to the Delkin web site. There is lots of great stuff there. If you see a product that we do not carry let us know via e-mail; we will be glad to have it drop-shipped to you and save you a few bucks in the process.

I pack my 800 and tons of other gear in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag for all of my air travel and recommend the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 for most folks. These high capacity bags are well constructed and protect my gear when I have to gate check it on short-hops and puddle jumpers. Each will protect your gear just as well. By clicking on either link or the logo below, you will receive a free gift with each order over $50.

1 comment to BIRDS AS ART BULLETIN #375

  • avatar Sherri

    I love the photo of the plover with her chicks under her, and the one of the peeping frog. Awesome work!