December 28th, 2011



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Roseate Spoonbill incoming in soft light, Image courtesy of and copyright 2011: James Shalde


Simply put there is no better place in the world to photograph Roseate Spoonbill. And know one better to get you there and guide you than James Shadle, my partner in crime at BirdPhotographer’s.Net.

“In the Field Workshops” Workshops and Tours with James Shadle: Tampa Bay’s Original Spoonbill Workshop Leader

Arthur Morris/Birds As Art Approved and Recommended. James is a licensed US Merchant Marine holding an OUPV (6-pack license) from the US Coast Guard.

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White morph Reddish Egret in mega-breeding plumage, Image courtesy of and copyright 2011: James Shalde

Workshops and Tour Rates on the Hooptie Deux:

Full Day

1 Photographer, $450
2 Photographers, $400 each
3-4 Photographers, $350 each

Half Day

1 Photographer, $300
2 Photographers, $275 each
3-4 Photographers, $250 each

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Roseate Spoonbill, mega-breeding plumage adult preening, Image courtesy of and copyright 2011: James Shalde

In most cases I am able to charge the lower rate by booking multi-photographer trips. Each workshop is limited to 4 photographers. Call or write in advance to inquire about group discounts for up to 6 folks (only by prior arrangement. You can get in touch with James for additional info or to schedule a Custom Workshop or Tour via e-mail, by cell phone at (813) 363-2854 or on his home phone (early evenings best) at (813-689-5307). If by cell phone it is best to call back rather than to leave a message.

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Snowy Egret fledgling with fiddler crab, Image courtesy of and copyright 2011: James Shalde

James Shadle’s “In the Field Workshops” is the original Tampa Bay nature photography (by boat) workshop and tour leader. He has an exciting list of locations that will give you the opportunity to create incredible images of dramatic behavior and stunning plumages. He knows the bay better than anyone as he has been doing it longer than anyone and as the images show, he knows how to make great pictures and can teach you to do the same. James owns and operates a 20′ tri-toon boat (The Hooptie Deux) that has been customized specifically for photography workshops. It’s roomy, comfortable, and stable. The boat is equipped with a quiet and environmentally friendly E-Tec outboard motor. It also has a powerful, silent, electric trolling motor with wireless remote control. The boat can be configured with no top for on-board photography or with a bimini top to provide shelter from sun and rain. Refreshments are available at all times.

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Roseate Spoonbill braking to land, Image courtesy of and copyright 2011: James Shalde

You may photograph from the boat; however the best opportunities for spoonbills are almost always when you exit the boat and wade in the shallow water. The bottom is hard but you do of course need to wade slowly and carefully. By wading we under James’ careful supervision and with his guidance, you will be able to get much closer to the birds and have more control over light angle and perspective. Waders will be provided for those who need them.

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Roseate Spoonbill, head portrait of adult in breeding plumage with spoonbill pink background, Image courtesy of and copyright 2011: James Shalde

New For The 2012 Season

The Hooptie Deux has been completely re-fitted with new seats, new carpeting, a new sound system and all new safety features. Three new rookery locations are available. New waders and boots are available for client use. You can learn more here.

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For greater appreciation of the compostie image, click on the photo; then click on the larger version to close it.


Morro Bay, CA IPT. APR 2-4, 2012. 3-DAYS: $1499. Introductory Slide program: 7pm on 4/1–no fooling! Limit: 10/Openings: 7. Shorebirds including Long-billed Curlew; gulls, sunrises and sunsets, California poppies, and more.

With only five slots open, the Morro Bay IPT is filling nicely. Do consider joining us for three days of Long-billed Curlews and California Poppies. Click here for more info.

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Left to right and top to bottom: Brown Pelican at sea level, Little Estero Lagoon. Red Knot flock in flight at sunset: film!, Little Estero Lagoon. American Oystercatcher in condo reflections, Little Estero Lagoon. Brown Pelican silhouette–I was up to my neck in the Gulf!, Little Estero Lagoon. Great Egret with pinfish, Sanibel Causeway. Snowy Egret landing in early morning light, Little Estero Lagoon. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron with fiddler crab, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel. Snowy Egret swallowing baitfish, Sanibel fishing pier. White morph Reddish Egret in mega breeding plumage, Little Estero Lagoon, Turkey Vulture, flash flight, Sanibel Causeway.

The SW FLA IPT: FEB 8-13, 2012. Introductory Slide program: 7pm on 2/7/12. Six Full Days: $2899. Limit: 10/Openings:1). Mention the BAA Blog and we will gladly apply a $200 discount to your balance.

Due to a late cancellation the formerly sold-out SW FLA IPT now has a single opening. Do consider joining us for six days of tame wading birds, nesting Great Blue Herons, Burrowing Owls, both pelicans, and tons more. Click here for more info.


Here’s the deal: I am looking for a strong healthy human capable of lugging around my 800mm lens on a tripod and my vest loaded with gear. You get to the SW FLA IPT on your own dime and pay for your own room. You get to attend all the IPT in-the-field and in-classroom sessions including the introductory session. Selected meals with the group are on me. You get to carry an intermediate telephoto lens on your shoulder on a strap (I love my Black Rapid RS-7 Strap and will be using it extensively on the Antarctica trip). At selected locations like the Venice Rookery where little walking is involved you can grab a tripod and a long lens once I am set up. If you are seriously interested and physically able you can e-mail now but I will be unable to respond until at least 26 January when I return. In your e-mail tell me why you would be the perfect person for the job. ps: this is not a joke :).


I continue to put in 20+ hours a week towards making the blog informative, timely, and beautiful. Most of the educational features that formerly appeared in BAA Bulletins now grace the BAA Blog. If you have a problem subscribing, please contact us via e-mail. 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.

Important Note

As noted above, I will on a Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica cruise from DEC 28, 2011 through JAN 26, 2012 without internet access except possibly for a day or two at the beginning and/or the end of the trip. Despite my absence on the Southern Oceans trip, blog folks will scarcely notice that I am gone: Peter Kes will be posting lots of great stuff for me on the blog pretty much every other day. (I have been working hard preparing posts in advance.) I will not, of course, be able to respond to your comments until I get back.

Here are links to recent posts of interest.

Learn what happened to the 400mm f/2.8L IS lens that I was gonna bring to Antarctica here!

Check out what I had to think about the “For Your Critique Images” #2, #3, and #4 by clicking here, here, and here respectively.

If you have not seen my killer lap pool and the construction sequence or you do not know why I named it “Digital Basics,” click here.


From now through January 3, 2012, B&H is running some killers specials on a great variety of lenses. All include instant rebates and free shipping in the US. The best deal as far a I am concerned is the $300 Instant Savings on one of my two favorite lenses, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens. But there are lots of other great deals including several other 70-200 lenses, the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Lens, and my old workhorse, the Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Autofocus Lens (with a $170 instant rebate. There are two pages of great lens deals in all and you can find them by clicking here.

You can save $150 on Photoshop CS_5 for MAC only be clicking here. (My best understanding is that there will be a MAC laptop in my future….)


(Note: Most of what is in the Guide applies also to the D80, the D90, and the D300.)

Here is a recent blog comment from Peter Noyes:

This book is a must for nikon users!! I have a nikon D300 and a D700 and read the book twice, once with each camera on my lap. What a difference it made! I took pictures mostly with flash at Christmas parties at the Dayton VA hospital. Almost all of the pictures were keepers – and that is way up from where I was before. I also noted a significant improvement on pictures taken without flash. Thank you very much, Robert, for taking the time and effort to write this most useful book.

Well, it took long enough–at least two years from concept to the final PDF–but Robert O’Toole has out-done himself by creating a masterpiece user’s guide for Nikon dSLR cameras. When I took my first look at the finished document all that I could say was “Wow! Many Nikon folks show up on IPTs knowing little about properly setting up their cameras. “How do you see the histogram?’ “Don’t know….” “Can you set your camera so that we see the RGB histogram and blinkies in the same frame? “I once saw it done but don’t know how….” For me, it has long seemed that operating a Nikon camera required degrees in Physics, Language, and Logic. With Robert’s new guide those days are over.

You will learn when, how, and why to work in Manual mode and when, why, and how to work in one of the auto-modes (by setting exposure compensation). You will learn the various camera control options and custom settings so that you can fine-tune your camera to suit your shooting style. You will learn how and why many top pros works at higher ISOs than the regular Joes. And you will learn how Robert uses both Auto-ISO Control and Exposure Compensation while working in Manual Mode to routinely create perfectly exposed action photographs. He explains exactly how he sets the important camera controls. And why. Those include Release Mode, Focus Mode, and Rear Button Focus. You will learn how to set your camera and your flash to create flash blurs. You will learn which AF Mode Robert uses 90% of the time and how he sets it up using Menu/Custom Settings Menu.

He will teach you how and why to set a variety of buttons and dials. How and why to use Live View. About the only metering mode he uses. How, why, and when to switch AF points with the Multi-Selector. How and why to use the often-overlooked Info Button and the often over-looked My Menu feature. Then he takes you through the Camera Menus while dealing with the hows and whys of how he sets up the important items.

If you use Nikon gear then you simply cannot live without Robert’s great new guide. You owe it to yourself to make your life easier, to learn to make better images, and to learn exactly how a top professional does things. The Nikon DSLR User’s Guide is a comprehensive 45-page PDF that is sent by e-mail. There are dozens and dozens of diagrams and screen captures and even a few photos to illustrate key points. Your best bet is to save $2 by ordering your Nikon dSLR User’s Guide through the BAA On-line Store here for only $30. Or you can purchase your copy for $32 by calling BIRDS AS ART at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand, by sending a PayPal for $32 to us at, or by sending a check for $32 made out to “Arthur Morris” to us at Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL. If by check be sure to include your e-mail address. (Please remember: no sharing digital files please :))


By e-mail from Andy Hays, Chicago, IL: Robert, Your Nikon treatise was a revelation to me. I am a life-long and fanatic birder, but a notoriously inept, point and shoot photographer; you have moved me to new plateau. Nikon should buy your work product. Not only that the company should make you a board member and a Japanese citizen! I could not have learned from their instruction manual what I learned from your Nikon dSLR Guide. Well done. Andy Hays

By e-mail from Edward Delaney, Ireland: Dear Robert, I can honestly say that I have learned more from your Nikon guide than from all of my other books on the Nikon system put together. Thanks for a wonderful guide. Edward

By e-mail from Yannick Bulicaut: Robert, Your Nikon dSLR Guide is truly useful; even though I’ve been using using SLR’s for almost 40 years–and probably because of that–I never took the time to check all the cool controls that Robert highlights with precision, the view finder focus for instance. The guide is well worth the 30 dollars since I know I could never have sat through the entire Nikon D3S camera body manual! Thanks, Yannick

By e-mail from Dennis Kirland: Hi Robert, I just finished going through your Nikon dSLR User’s Guide and wanted to thank you. It is very well written, clear and concise. I learned more than I thought I would. Excellent job! I mostly photograph static scenes, but I will try your suggestions on 51 point 3D Dynamic AF and see how I like it. I also changed the settings to activate the AF-ON button for AF instead of the shutter button. That’s going to take some getting used to!
Anyway, the guide has lots of great tips! Thanks,

By e-mail from Raleigh & Beret Harmon: Robert, Thank you for writing the “Nikon DSLR User’s Guide,” It is well written, clear and in a word… great! It has made me rethink my entire approach to my camera. I have long been an admirer of your colleagues Art Morris and recently Dennise Ippolito and have often thought, how great it would be to have someone like them who was a Nikon person and who would have a web site with great information focused on Nikon. Please send me the link to your site. Thank you again and keep up the great work. Raleigh & Beret Harmon

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Shopper’s Guide

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Left to right and top to bottom: Great Blue Heron, Venice Rookery. Roseate Spoonbill, Little Estero Lagoon. Burrowing Owl, Cape Coral. Great Egret with baby blowfish, Little Estero Lagoon. Wood Stork and Great Egret, pleasing blur, Little Estero Lagoon. Back of American Alligator, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel. Brown Pelican–in the water up to my neck again!, Placida. Gulf sunrise feeding spree silhouette, Little Estero Lagoon. White Pelican face portrait, Placida.

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