September 1st, 2012


  • Huge Gear News: 1DX/Kenko 1.4X TC/800mm f/5.6 L IS
  • Nickerson Beach/JBWr IPT Report
  • Denise Ippolito’s MiniMag
  • New York City Weekend Nature Photography Seminar
  • Woman Roommate Needed
  • Africa Photo Safari: August 2013
  • Shopper’s Guide
  • IPT Updates

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This preening adult Semipalmated Plover image was created with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter, and the Canon EOS-1DX. Mongoose M3.6 with the Skimmer II Ground Pod.

ISO 400: Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/000 sec. at f/9. Why -1 stop in early morning light??? The Canon system does not note the loss of one stop of light from the Kenko TC; I figured this out right from the start when my first few images were about a stop over-exposed…. Live and learn but well worth the inconvenience.

AI Servo/Rear Focus AF and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Huge Gear News: 1DX/Kenko 1.4X TC/800mm f/5.6 L IS

I was stunned to learn recently that not only does the Kenko 1.4X Teleplus Pro 300 (teleconverter) for Canon autofocus with the 800 and the 1DX (note: it does not work with the 5D III and the 800), but that I have access to all the AF sensors and all of the AF Area Selection modes. And best of all AF was fast, responsive, and accurate. And the images and image quality were all excellent by my standards. See and read the whole story here. The blog post includes lots more info on the phenomenal 1DX along with dozens of great comments and questions. Do understand that the metering with the above combo is screwed up; everything is one stop too light. This is, however, a very small price to pay for superb AF at 1120mm.

ps: Though I am the guy who writes, says, and teaches that 99.9% of successful images of preening birds have the bird’s face parallel to the imaging sensor and a good view of the eye the unique pose and the feather in the bill puts this one well into the .01% for me. This image was made possible by the amazing 12 fps frame rate that comes with the 1DX.

See comments on this image or chime in on my BPN post here.

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Black Skimmer flock blur, Nickerson Beach, NY. This image was created while I standing at full height behind the tripod-mounted Canon 500mm f/4L IS II lens and the (discontinued) Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 50. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Two sensors below the central sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image for the larger version.

This image and denise’s sunflower multiple exposure garnered so much interest at our recent B&H Event Space event that it took us nearly a half hour to get through the first two images. Read the whole story here.

Nickerson Beach/JBWT IPT Report

Wow. This was surely one of the best IPTs ever, even after I put a kinahurra on my good weather karma…. The group, comprised of ten very happy campers, was enthusiastic and eager to learn. Other than getting thunder-stormed out on Thursday afternoon after I mentioned that I had lost only a single half day to rain in 20+ years of doing tours, the weather, and more importantly, the winds, were great. And the skimmers and terns performed and posed superbly. Even the food was great.

Denise got things off to a great start with her introductory slide program on Tuesday evening; great images from Nickerson with tons of plover, tern, and skimmer chicks, and a great spiel. My segment was quite lacking in chicks but everyone appreciated the helpful info. Denise got the biggest cheers by far. It was the first time that we had done any sort of joint program: we interacted quite well without stepping on each other’s toes.

Kitty Kono of Philadelphia had been on several trips with Denise. She was thrilled by the bird life and all the great behaviors that we witnessed. The always smiling sweet-as-sugar Dierdre Sheer-Gross was along with her new 500 II that we had had expedited from B&H. If you would like help getting one in a timely fashion, please get in touch via e-mail. It was her second IPT. Malcolm MacKenzie has been all over the planet with me. He brought along his good friend Stanley Goldberg who enjoyed his first IPT. Gaurav Mittal traveled all the way from India–again, to attend another IPT; he was with me in Morro Bay. Micheal Goodman, Tim Thompson, Eric Loken, and Sue Malspeis were all along for their first IPT ride as was Pierre Giard, a professional nature photographer from Canada who hopes to lead several trips to US bird photography hotspots for French-speaking groups. Denise’s client/friend Sally Jo Sperraglia joined us on Friday after Stanley left early. A great time was had by all.

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Black Skimmer readying for aerial skirmish, Nickerson Beach, NY. Created while standing at full height behind the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF Surround active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image for the larger version.

The original capture is on the left, the next frame in the sequence on your right. The latter served as source material for the two missing primary tips. It is easy to see that I needed to rotate and warp each wing tip so that they would fit and match perfectly. As detailed in Robert O’Toole’s APTATS I.

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Clipped Wingtips?

You can see above that I clipped the tips of first and second primaries of the bird’s near wing…. First I added the needed canvas to the top of the frame and then individually grabbed the two primary tips (each with ample sky surrounding it) from the next frame in the sequence. To do that I painted a Quick Mask (Q, B) to make the selection, placed it on its own layer (Control J), and then used the Move Tool (V) to bring it onto the original frame. Then–working on one at a time, I carefully moved the tip into place and rotated and warped it as needed for a perfect fit. The last step was to use Curves on a Layer (Control M) to match the tonality of the sky perfectly. Everything above is described in detail in Digital Basics which includes dozens of great Photoshop tips, my complete digital workflow, and directions for creating the personalized keyboard shortcuts that I use.

Denise Ippolito’s MiniMag

The September issue of Denise’s fabulous MiniMag is out; you can access it here. Articles include Kathy Urbach on using the Topaz Simplify-Buz Sim filter with fall color images, Dan Brown’s fabulous piece on Chinese Brush Painting along with a great tutorial, a killer tutorial on dealing with blue skies in HDR images by Maureen Allen, a sweet save of an out-of-focus hummingbird image with Fractalius b Andrew McLachlan, and lots, lots more by Scott Vincent, Winnie Gustafson, Cheryl Slechta, Dave Woeller, Mary Stamper, and denise on flipping.

Yikes I almost forgot my very own Exposure Simplified Simplified that was written especially for the MiniMag. Unless you get every exposure right every time this one is must reading for you.

If you enjoy this issue–you will, be sure to subscribe.

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“The Birds and the B’s and the Flowers and the Trees”
The B’s: Become a better nature photographer. Best ways to optimize your images. Bone up on lenses; when and how to use them. Bring forth your creativity. Brush up on your in-the-field stalking and sharpness techniques.

NYC Weekend Nature Photography Seminar

Presented by Denise Ippolito/A Creative Adventure and Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Hilton Garden Inn, Staten Island, New York. December 8-9, 2012 from 9am-4:30pm.
Weekend: $169. SAT or SUN: $99. Lodging available for out of town guests.

Registration Incentives

A Free copy of Digital Basics and a discount on a choice of Educational Materials

All weekend Seminar Registrants will receive a copy of Digital Basics (a $20 value) that will include the free updates. In addition, all weekend Seminar Registrants are invited to apply a $20 discount on one of the following items:

The Art of Bird Photography. The original soft-cover How-to classic.
The Art of Bird Photography II. The all-new follow-up: 916 pages on CD only.
The Two-Book Bundle. One of each of the above.
A Guide to Pleasing Blurs. By Arthur Morris & Denise Ippolito. Learn everything that you need to know about creating the eye-catching pleasingly blurred images that are doing so well in all major photography contests.
A Guide to Creative Filters and Effects. By Denise Ippolito. Denise shares dozens of her best creative techniques.
Any of our Camera User’s Guides. Learn to set up and use your Canon or Nikon camera like a pro.

Phone orders only. Folks who have already registered qualify for the benefits above and will hear from us via e-mail.

For Small Groups

Get together with a group of four (or more) friends–five (or more) folks in all and apply a $40 discount to each registration fee. Here’s how: put five checks in an envelope and be sure to include an e-mail address for each registrant. Then mail the envelope to us. Or, send an e-mail to Jim with a list of the names and e-mail addresses for each registrant. Then call Jim at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand and then collect from each of your friends.

To Register

To register for the seminar you can call Jim or Jennifer between 9am and 5pm weekdays (2:30 pm on Fridays) or call artie on weekends or evenings at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand. You can send a PayPal to us at or to Or you can send a check made out to “Arthur Morris” for the full amount in US dollars to us here: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855; be sure to include a note with your clearly written e-mail address and phone number on it and print the words “NYC Seminar” on your check. You will receive a confirmation letter approximately 3 weeks before the seminar. Please e-mail for lodging options.

Camera Club Discounts

We are offering a $20/person discount to members of camera clubs or natural history organizations that promote the seminar on their websites or via an e-mail blast to their membership list. Have your club president or webmaster e-mail us for details.

What You Will Learn at the NYC Seminar:

  • 1-How to become a better nature photographer.
  • 2-How to create technically perfect, artistically designed images in the field.
  • 3-How to make your images look better during the image optimization process: RAW conversions, image clean-up, Quick Masking, Layer Masking, saving the WHITEs, and lots more.
  • 4-New ways to photograph flowers and trees.
  • 5-How to get the right exposure every time in ten seconds or less.
  • 6-How to create the truly pleasing blurs that are so popular today in many prestigious contests.
  • 7-Why the longest lens in your bag is often not the best lens for bird photography.
  • 8-How to use NIK Color Efex Pro to revamp your digital workflow and dramatically improve the look of your images.
  • 9-How to evaluate your images; each registrant will be asked to submit two 1400 X 1050 jpegs via e-mail before November 25; a selection of the submitted images will be chosen for critiquing at the seminar.
  • 10-flight photography tips.

Click here for the complete Saturday and Sunday schedules.

In-the-Field Seminar Follow-up Workshop

Put your newly-learned skills to use by joining denise and artie in the field at a nearby Queens, NY location on the Monday following the seminar. The subjects will—for the most part—be routine: gulls and Canada Geese. But we will be close to the birds and should have some flight photography opportunities. And we just might have some good chances with Brant and who knows what as well. Most important, the opportunities for learning will be pretty much unlimited.

In-the-Field Seminar Follow-up Workshop: Queens, NY. Monday, December 10th, 2012. Includes two sessions: 5:45-10:30am and 2:30-4:30pm. Two great leaders: Limit: 16 photographers/Openings: $350 per person.

We will consider an overflow session on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 if the first day sells out and/or for folks who wish to do two full days. Payment in full is due at sign-up. To register, please call Jim or Jennifer between 9am and 5pm weekdays or artie on weekends and evenings at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand. Or send a PayPal to us at or to Or send a check made out to “Arthur Morris” for the full amount in US dollars to us here: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Be sure to include a note with your clearly written e-mail address and phone number on it and print the words “In-the-Field Follow-up Workshop” on your check. You will receive a confirmation letter approximately 4 weeks before the workshop.

Woman Roommate Needed

We are in dire need of a single female roommate on the Galapagos 2013 trip. See below for details on this great trip. Please e-mail for additional info and discount info.

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I am looking forward to returning to Africa after a somewhat protracted absence due to a health problem, a severe gliaden allergy reaction that messed up my gut. This running Wildebeest image was created in 2006 with the Canon 500mm f/4L IS, the 1.4X TC, and Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II. ISO 200. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/20.

Learn everything there is to know about pleasing blurs in A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris.

Africa Photo Safari: August 2013

Serengeti Summer Migration Safari: 12 full and two half-days of photography: $12,999/person double occupancy. Limit: 12/Openings: 7.

Leaders: Todd Gustafson, Denise Ippolito, and Arthur Morris.

Leave the US AUG 3, 2013. Fly home from Arusha, Tanzania on the evening of August 18. Day 1 of the safari is August 5. Our last morning of photography is August 18. We will be visiting Taranagire National Park, Seronera Lodge–aka Leopard City!–twice, an exclusive mobile tented camp in the Serengeti, and at the end, the spectacular wildlife spectacle that is Ngorongoro Crater.

A deposit of $4,000 is due now. We will not cash your check until we have 7 deposits in hand. If the trip does not run, we will return or tear up your check. As there has been great interest already, we fully expect that the trip will run.

Happy Campers only please.

Once we cash your check you will be strongly advised to purchase travel insurance. While we all assume that we will be fine, health and family emergencies do arrive unexpectedly. You may wish to consider using Travel Insurance Services. Do understand that most policies must be purchased within two weeks of our cashing your deposit check.

The 2nd payment of $4000 is due NOV 30, 2012. The final payment/balance is due MAR 30, 2013.

Sign up with a friend or a spouse and apply a $300 per person discount.

Minimum to run as noted above: 7 photographers. Guaranteed maximum no more than 12 photographers plus the three great leaders. 3 persons/van. You get a row of seats for yourself and your gear. In addition to rotating in-the-field instruction with each of the co-leaders, artie, Todd, and denise will be available for image sharing and review and informal Photoshop instruction during breaks and after meals. And–with apologies to Miss Manners–even during meals!

The lodging is all first class. Please e-mail for a PDF with additional details, the complete itinerary, and a description of the unparalleled photographic opportunities that we will enjoy.

Please write or call with any questions. As always, we will work with the first 12 deposits that we receive. I hope that you can join us.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used or mentioned in this Bulletin. 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.L IS lens Right now this is my all time favorite super telephoto lens. But my 600 II is coming soon…. It has great reach, AFs with my EOS-1D Mark IV, is relatively light, and the the four-stop IS is amazing.
Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter. A life-saver for those who own the 800 f/5.6 and either the 5D III or the 1DX. It is sharp and light.
Canon EOS-5D Mark III. Man, I am in love with this camera body. Both the files and the AF system are superb.
Canon EOS-1DX. This superb full frame professional digital camera has changed my approach to bird photography like no other body ever has. Lightning fast with a killer AF system; as predicted, it is a 5D III on steroids.
Canon 500mm f/4L IS II lens. I decided to leave the 800 at home for the bear boat trip and quickly fell in love with the 500 II for its light weight, great versatility, and four-stop IS. A complete review will be coming soon.
1.4X III TC The latest version of the 1.4X TC is designed to work best with the Series II Super-telephoto lenses.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body has been discontinued. With the new professional body, the full frame EOS-1DX, focusing only to f/5.6, it is my belief that discontinuing the Mark IV is quite unfortunate for a variety of reasons.
Canon EOS-5D Mark III. Man, I am in love with this camera body. Both the files and the AF system are superb.

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 🙂 And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
Gizo GT3532 LS CF Tripod. 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.
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.

Delkin 700X CompactFlash Pro UDMA Enabled Cards

All of the images above were catpured on Delkin’s new 64gb 700X CompactFlash Pro UDMA Enabled Card. Learn more about these great cards by clicking here and learn why the more expensive 1000X cards are overkill for still photographers.

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