May 7th, 2012


  • NG Photographer Tim Laman Fills in as Contest Judge for Honeymooning Andy Rouse
  • The Blog is the Bomb
  • Cheap, Short-Notice, Practically Private Instruction at the Santa Clara Ranch, near McCook, TX
  • Used EOS-1D Mark III for Sale
  • B&H Double Rebates: Canon & Nikon

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Tim Laman often spends a month in a single tree in rain forest in Southeast Asia in hopes of photographing and videoing a rare Bird of Paradise species displaying. All the while living in a bug-infested tent. So you wanna be a National Geographic photographer do you?

NG Photographer Tim Laman Fills in as Contest Judge for Honeymooning Andy Rouse

With 20 National Geographic Magazine articles, 10 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year honored images, and 7 Nature’s Best honored images my friend and professional colleague Tim Laman is more than well-qualified to fill in for Andy Rouse who is on his honeymoon at the time of judging (that being now–see more below). Andy’s absence is surely due to the one-month extension. Thanks a stack to Tim for pitching in. Especially since he is under the gun putting the finishing touches on his latest book, a National Geographic publication on Birds of Paradise.

Tim is a Ph.D. rain forest biologist with a thirst for exploration who discovered he had an artistic side and has turned his camera into a tool for communicating the stories of earth’s little-known and endangered species and wild places. From the canopy of the rain forest to the coral reef depths, Tim spends many months each year on expeditions to study and document the biodiversity of earth’s richest realms for National Geographic magazine and other top publications.

You can view a sampling of Tim’s photography and learn about the research, exploration, and conservation projects he is involved by clicking here. You will be amazed if you take a few minutes to enjoy the various still and video galleries. And you can learn lots more about this amazing man and photographer by clicking here.


For three straight days beginning on Tuesday May 1 Peter Kes, Denise Ippolito, and I spent about 24 hours doing the initial cuts on the more than 5,500 images entered in the BIRDS AS ART 1st International Bird Photography Competition. On the first round we got down to about 500 images. After the second round we wound up with 163 images in eleven categories to go to the judges. While working through that many images was tedious it was also thrilling as we came across gem after gem. Getting to 163 images from the 500 that survived the first cut took about twice a long as it did to go from 5,500 down to 500. We were meticulous. When it was time to cut a very good image, we asked each other the same question: if this image were awarded a prize would you be happy with it?

Here’s a huge thanks to Denise and Peter for their hard work earlier this week. It was Denise who first came up with the idea of a BAA contest. And it was Peter who did 99% of the behind the scenes work that got the contest off the ground. He designed the upload and the judging pages from scratch and helped dozens of folks who had difficulties uploading their images. Kudos also to my right-hand man Jim Litzenberg who likewise assisted many of you with your registrations and passwords. We learned a ton and made a few mistakes along the way (especially me). Next year things will much smoother.

Darrell Gulin was the first judge to complete his task. Here’s what he had to say, “I just finished judging. I was blown away by the quality of the images. Later today I will e-mail you with my top choice for each category as several in each got a score of 5; there were just too many just outstanding images.”

I cannot tell you how proud that made me feel. We expect the judging to be completed this week but are unsure as to when we will be announcing the winners. Thanks to all who entered. The fun comes next! Announcing the winners, see them in Nature Photographer Magazine, and distributing the booty!

I just heard from a second judge, avian artist Julie Zickefoose, an old friend who knew my late-wife Elaine Belsky-Morris; she nicknamed her “The Belsky-woman.” Here is what she has to say:

“OK, I’m done! What a fantastic 2 1/2 hours. As you can imagine, I gave lots of fives. Since there were several in most categories I have boldfaced the ones that brought me to my knees. Thanks for letting me look at these. I feel utterly unworthy to judge them, but you asked, didn’t you?”

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These Wood Stork chicks were photographed with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at +1/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode.

Central sensor AI Servo/Rear Focus AF and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Here I went to the 800/Mark IV to fill the frame with the subjects with the prime lens alone thanks to the Mark IV’s 1.3 crop factor. Learn more here.

The Blog is the Bomb

I continue to put in 20+ hours a week towards making the blog informative, timely, and beautiful. And it has been paying off. The blog alone had 462,178 page views and 3,839,749 hits in March 2012 alone! Most 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. If you have a problem subscribing, please contact us via e-mail.

Here are some links to recent posts of interest:

Check out “EOS-1DX, EOS-5D Mark III, & EOS-1D Mark IV Thoughts” here.

Learn when and how to create the wake shot by clicking here.

Everything that you ever wanted to know about Canon telphoto lenses in a simple, easy to read chart. You will surely want to bookmark this post.

If you think that it is impossible to focus automatically with the Canon EOS-5D Mark III, the 2X III TC, and the 800mm f/5.6L IS lens you might want to click here to learn how to do it.

Learn to set up rear focus on your 5D Mark III here.

Learn the five basic rules for avian image composition by reading and studying Know This Cold or Give Up Bird Photography. This post is another one that you will want to bookmark.

How does the EOS-5D Mark III do at the higher ISO settings? Click here to find out.

If you’ve been dreaming of making a trip to the Antarctic Continent you will surely want to click here.

Remember, you can subscribe to the blog posts by clicking here. Coming soon there will be a detailed comparison of the 800mm f/5.6L IS and the long-awaited 600mm f/4L IS II in response to a zillion e-mails.


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Join me on Midway and photograph three species of albatross until your arms are too tired to lift your rig…. Click on the composite image to enjoy a larger version.

MIDWAY ATOLL BAA IPT: March 25, 2013 (from Honolulu, Oahu, HI) 7-FULL DAYS OF PHOTOGRAPHY: $7895 ALL INCLUSIVE FROM HNL. Co-leader: Denise Ippolito. Limit: 14/Openings 1.

Due to a cancellation, there is now a single opening on the formerly sold out Midway trip. Click here for additional details. Call 863-692-0906 or e-mail immediately if you are good to go.

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Midway is a world renowned wildlife photography destination that ranks right up there with Antarctica, East Africa, Japan in winter, and the Galapagos. And like the Galapagos, most of the wildlife is inordinately tame. Click on the composite image to enjoy a larger version.

What’s included? The round trip charter airfare from HNL to Midway and back, all lodging and meals on Midway. The food, both American and Thai, is killer good so do not plan on losing any weight, all associated national park fees as well as transport via large golf cart. For the most part we will stay together as a group. Those wishing to photograph on their own with some restrictions may rent bikes. Also included is in-the-field instruction. Informal image sharing and Photoshop instruction will be available most days for those sitting next to me or looking over my shoulder in the lobby of Charley Barracks early mornings, evenings, and during break time. I do try to catch a short nap each day.

What’s not included: The cost of the airfare from your home to and from HNL. Your meals in Honolulu. The cost of your hotel room on March 24th and late check out if needed on April 2. Personal items and souvenirs purchased on Midway.

If you are a happy camper and wish to register for this trip please call us at 863-692-0906 immediately. If no answer please leave a message but send an e-mail to me at You will be given instructions for sending your deposit check for $800 to us here: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245 (mail) or 4041 Granada Drive (courier), Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Do note that while many trips are advertised as once in a lifetime, this one may very well be that once in a lifetime opportunity as there is constant talk that each season may be the very last.

For the folks who have never traveled with us, please remember, happy campers only. If you are a bitter and unhappy person we do not care to travel with you. If you are pleasant, fun, easy to get along with and know how to act in the field with a group, we would be delighted to have you along.

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Painted Bunting, male, Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County, TX This image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the EF 25mm Extension Tube, and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/100 sec. at f/5.6. Fill flash at -3 stops with the 580 EX II Speedlite and a Better Beamer.

The extension tube allows for close focus inside the minimum focusing distance of the lens.

We got to photograph several male Painted Buntings on my first visit to Santa Clara. When you are working at 1/100 sec. as I was here, it is imperative that the subject not move during the exposure….

Cheap, Short-Notice, Practically Private Instruction at the Santa Clara Ranch, near McCook, TX

I am looking for no more than four photographers to join me and two other leaders (one of whom is named Denise Ippolito) at the ground level water hole blinds on the Santa Clara Ranch near McCook, TX. Amazingly, Google Maps has never heard of McCook, TX. But not to worry, it is on Mapquest πŸ™‚ I first visited Beto Gutierrez’s ranch in early May 2010. You can learn more about that visit here or check out the ranch here.

With the three leaders the likely group size will be six–one student per leader, but might–depending on the level of interest–wind up at 8. You would need to be in McAllen, TX on the late afternoon of Monday May 14, 2012. If you are on our flight to McAllen (United 1621) know that we might stop to do some giant sunflower photography on the way to the ranch which is about an hour west of McAllen. There will be morning and afternoon photography sessions on Tuesday & Wednesday, May 15 and 16th and a final shorter session on the morning of Thursday May 17th. The three leaders will be flying out of McAllen on the 1:27 United flight to Houston.

We will have a variety of songbirds coming to the water along with some snakes and possibly a few mammals that will surely include Mexican Ground Squirrel. Bird species will likely include Painted Bunting, Northern Cardinal, Black-crested (Mexican) Titmouse, Bronzed Cowbird, Long-billed Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, and Olive Sparrow. As migration is underway we may very well be in for a surprise or two. Other possibilities include Green Jay, Lark Sparrow, Pyrrhuloxia, Groove-billed Ani, and Audubon’s Oriole among others.

What’s included: lodging in the simple but modern ranch-house which has ac and wi-fi! Blind fees. Image sharing and individual and small group Photoshop lessons. We will share the cost of a shopping trip and all will get to experience some BIRD AS ART home cooking (unless the want to do some cooking themselves). I don’t cook breakfasts. πŸ™‚ Lunches and dinners will be healthy and simple but oh so good.

What’s not included: ground and ranch transportation and the shared cost of the food. We would be glad to try to set you up with a car pool partner.

Recommended gear: a minimum of a 500mm f/4 lens with both teleconverters and an extension tube. A sturdy tripod along with a Mongoose M3.6 or a Wimberley V2 head, your flash, a Better Beamer, and a flash bracket. An intermediate telephoto would be a huge plus if we are lucky enough to have deer, armadillo, opossum, collared peccary, or dare I even say it aloud–a bobcat come in for a drink. There might be some flowers around….

Cheap, Short-Notice Practically Private Instruction at the Santa Clara Ranch, near McCook, TX. May 14-17, 2012. 2 FULL and one half-day (includes lodging and blind fees): $999. Limit: 5/Openings: 4)

To register or to check on availability please call me immediately at 863-692-0906 and e-mail as well. If there is no answer and you wish to leave a message please call 863-692-0906. A non-refundable $500 is required and may be placed by credit card.

Click here to see the original post and several additional images.

Used EOS-1D Mark III for Sale

Todd Levine is offering a used Canon EOS-1D Mark III camera body for sale in Excellent + condition for $1400 plus $25 towards shipping and insurance. The sale includes the original box and everything that was in it. Please call Todd at 407-234-5858 or e-mail him here.

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B&H Double Rebates Include the 5D Mark III

Click here. Select one of four current Canon camera bodies–both the EOS-5D Mark III and the EOS-7D are in the group. Add a lens–there are 30 in the group, a Series III teleconverter, or a Speedlite, and enjoy large double rebates. The lenses include lots of my favorites: the 70-200mm f/4 L IS, the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, the circle lens, the 180 macro, and the 300mm f/4L IS. You can check the specs on all Canon telephoto lenses here. This double rebate offer expires on April 2, 2012.

Nikon Dslr + Lens Bundle Rebates

Click here for details. Offer includes the brand new D3200 and the D7000.


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Great Egret chick – Β©2010 Robert Amoruso.

The ORIGINAL Gatorland Photographic Instructional Workshops

Three-Day Long-Weekend Workshop: May 18, 19 and 20. All 2012. Extensive in-the-field instruction at East Central Florida’s best rookery location: Gatorland in Kissimmee, FL. Includes morning and afternoon classroom presentations: Successful Strategies in Avian Rookery Photography and image editing and post-processing workflows. The three-day workshop adds indoor presentations on thinking creatively. In-the-field instruction includes learning to isolate your subject, understanding light, getting the proper exposure, using depth of field to your advantage, using fill-flash and lots more. Classroom sessions are held onsite at Gatorland. A CD with lesson plans is included.

Learn more here.

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American Alligator – Β©2011 Robert Amoruso.

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Roseate Spoonbill – MINWR – Β©2011 Robert Amoruso. A light colored bird against a bright water background (pre-dawn) required a +3 increase in exposure over the metered metered exposure. Join us to learn why. Canon 1D Mark III with 600mm f/4 IS + 1.4x TCII. 1/80 sec, f/5.6, AV, Evaluative, EC +3 stops, ISO 800.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR) and Viera Wetlands – November 29 to December 2, 2012

This workshop lead by Robert Amoruso will visit some of the most diverse wildlife and avian photography locations in East Central Florida including Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR), Canaveral National Seashore and Viera Wetlands.
Both MINWR and Viera Wetlands will be flush with avian activity. Migratory ducks are normally present in great numbers. White Pelican opportunities are excellent. The year-round residents include Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tri-colored Heron, Great Blue Heron, White and Glossy Ibis and Roseate Spoonbill. Reddish Egret populations are quite abundant so expect to see many. If time allows the threatened Florida Scrub Jay will be a primary query at a nearby scrub habitat sanctuary. The Scrub Jays are particularly cooperative at the sanctuary offering excellent photographic opportunities of this handsome bird.
This workshops concentration is on field technique. Indoor sessions include presentations on Visual Dynamics in Avian photography, Using Manual Exposure, and image editing and post-processing workflows.

Learn more and check out the great slide show images here.

Private Photographic Instructional Workshops

As good as a group workshop can be, sometimes private one-on-one instruction is the ticket. My private workshops cater to your individual needs. In advance of the workshop we will discuss your objectives and how they can best be met. Then I design your workshop to meet those goals. These workshops generally include areas close to my home as I know them well but I can travel to other locations in Florida if you have a specific locale in mind.

Learn more here.


E-mail Robert to receive his educational newsletter. Robert’s blog covers photographic locations, how-to tips, workshop information, and more.

Learn more about Robert and check out his images here. You can contact him with questions via e-mail or call him on his cell: 407-808-7417.

Shopper’s Guide.

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

Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the Wood Stork image 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.

Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. The very best professional digital camera body that I have ever used.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders πŸ™‚ And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
GT3532 LS. This one replaces the GT3530LS Tripod and will last you a lifetime. I’ll be commenting on this new model soon. In short, I like it.
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.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

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