September 8th, 2012


  • Canon 500mm f/4L IS Lens For Sale
  • Why Join a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour?
  • Nickerson Baby Beach-nesting Birds IPT
  • Denise Ippolito’s MiniMag
  • New York City Weekend Nature Photography Seminar
  • Galapagos Woman Roommate Needed
  • Africa Photo Safari: August 2013
  • IPT Updates

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This image of an adult Black Skimmer in flight with a killifish for its chick was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-1DX. ISO 800: Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops off the light blue sky: 1/1600 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger, more spectacular version.

Canon 500mm f/4L IS Lens For Sale

With the price tag on the new and still hard to get Canon 500mm f/4L IS II lens reading $10,499 the older versions have been in high demand and hard to locate. Multiple-IPT veteran Geri George has had the 800mm f/5.6L IS lens for a while and has finally decided to sell her old 500.

She is offering her used EF Canon 500 mm f/4L IS lens for $6800 (the price includes UPS Ground shipping to the continental US). The lens comes with most of the original stuff including the lens hood, the carrying case (with the key!), and the rear dust cap. A Wimberley P-40 plate is included. The lens is in excellent condition with a very few minor blemishes; unlike me, Geri takes very good care of her gear.

You can contact Geri via e-mail but you will probably be too late; better would be to call her as follows: day & evening phone: 970-226-1510, cell: 970-219-4493. Check must clear before lens is shipped.

My gut feeling is that this lens with the P-40 plate and shipping included will sell instantly at $6800 as many have been sold recently on eBay for more than $7K.

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This image of an adult Black Skimmer calling near a snow fence was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the unfortunately discontinued Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/125 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus and recompose. (I was seated with the rig braced on my left knee.) Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger, more spectacular version.

Images that show the bird filling about 75% of the frame can be quite interesting but at times seeing and working wider to show the environment can pay big dividends. On an IPT, we will point out situations like this while we are in the field. See also the chapter on Advanced Composition and Image Design in The Art of Bird Photography II (ABP II: 916 pages on CD only).

Why Join a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour?

Why join a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)? They are expensive. They do not include transportation or lodging. I’ve heard that artie does not care if you learn and that he will push you out of the way to get his shot. What gives? Why are most IPTs sold out far in advance?

Denise Ipplolito and I recently co-led my Nickserson Beach/Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. We had a full house of 10 including four repeat clients. After the IPT we received the e-mails below.

If you’ve ever spent a single dime on improving your skills as a nature photographer I urge you to read every e-mail presented here.

From Canon-gal Dierde Sheer-Gross:

To Artie and Denise, and to all of my new fellow bird photography adventurers, Many Thanks! The IPT was the GREATEST!!!! I so loved our time together. I learned a “ton,” so many new things about photography (equipment; technique; composition; anticipation and positioning; remembering to “tell the story;” the importance of the background; I could go on. And I learned a “stack” about birds and their behaviors; and the post production tips and techniques were terrific: Photoshop, Nik & beyond; and I even learned some about life–that Artie really is a sweetie. Many, many, many thanks. I am looking forward to the next ones and to seeing you both at the NYC Seminar. With affection and a passion for the birds, Deirdre
ps: I hope that you don’t mind but I going to post this on your web sites.
pps. The was quite a punch seeing that shot of the Black Backed Gull.The realities of survival: whew.

From Canon-using Scotsman Malcom MacKenzie:

Artie It was great to spend some time with you both. It was a terrific workshop and I was surprised at how sloppy I had become in my approach to bird photography: Thanks for getting me back on track! Artie, you work so hard at making sure that we all have a great learning experience that I wonder if you forget yourself in the equation. Please take care of your health; you mean a great deal to a lot of people out there in the world. Regareds, Malcolm

Note: I let Malcolm know that his more than kind words brought tears of happiness to my eyes.

More from Malcolm:

Denise, I just wanted to thank you again for all the hard work that you put in on the Nickerson IPT. From your great opening presentation on Tuesday evening–I love your creative approach, to the farewells on Friday at sunset, you were fantastic. As I mentioned to Artie, I had become somewhat sloppy I had become in my approach to bird photography… You and Artie got me tuned up (translated: kicked my butt) and I feel much better about my readiness for my trip to Africa on Friday. I am looking forward to joining you on some more workshops in the near future. I am wishing you well as you ramp up your career; I am sure that it will be a successful one. Malcolm

From Nikon-user Tim Thompson:

Art/Denise, The Nickerson IPT was fabulous!! What a super group led by two very dedicated and informative professionals. Artie, I loved the way you and Denise led the IPT and made adjustments as needed. Positive, creative energy from the get-go and it flowed with us until the end. We had super IPT participants/teammates who really love photography. As I sit here writing to you, I am having withdrawal symptoms for Nickerson and JBWR!!! Three for three on the Merrick Bagel Shop outings and two for two on restaurant selections. Loved the IPT format and have zero complaints. Enclosed please find five of my favorites from the trip. I did slight cropping (very minor and when/where needed) and in some cases exposure adjustments (when/where needed). I welcome your comments. Wishing you continued good health and keep on doing the amazing …..inspirational things you guys do! Tim

Note from artie: on our two Nickerson mornings we homesteaded for brunch at a great bagel store in Merrick with lots of room. And did the same thing in Broad Channel after our East Pond morning. We actually did some high level instruction in both spots while enjoying lox and cream cheese and chicken salad and lots more. Brunches and lunches are always on me. The group was so wonderful that I treated everyone to dinner not once but twice. At two great places: Center Thai Bistro in Rockville, Centre and Prime Catch Seafood Grill and Bar also in Rockville Centre. Both were superb.

From Canon shooter Pierre Giard, a professional photographer who drove from Canada to join this IPT:

As was said previously by my colleagues, this was a fantastic IPT and I really loved every minute of it. One of the many reasons I attended the IPT was to get inspirations for my future workshops and this was definitively achieved and more. I feel it will be difficult to be surrounded by a better group of talented and dedicated photographers in the future. Thanks again Denise and Artie: you are great leaders and both of you are models to follow for my own business. Kind regards to all. Pierre

From Nikon shooter Eric Loken:

Art and Denise, Thanks for a great session. Great instruction, great group of photographers and a great venue. We couldn’t have asked for more. I even got a few nice images. I will send some along shortly for your review. Thanks again, Eric

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This sweet image of a juvenile Least Sandpiper was created on the IPT by participant Kitty Kono with the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR II AF lens and the Nikon D3X. Image courtesy of and copyright Kitty Kono (with thanks). I chose this image to represent the many fine images that were sent to Denise and I for critiquing after the IPT. In addition, Kitty had presented this image for critiquing during an afternoon group review session in the motel.

From Nikon user Kitty Kono:

Dear Art and Denise, Again, I cannot thank you both enough for four exceptionally wonderful days. I loved every minute and learned so much. Here are five of my favorite photographs for review. Hope you all had a restful weekend. And I so hope to join you in another adventure sometime in the near future. Take good care and I will be connecting with you through your websites. My best, Kitty

From Canon user Gaurav Mittal who again traveled from India to join his 2nd IPT this year:

Hello Guru Artie, It was nice to see you again and to meet Denise. It was a pleasure to meet everyone in the group. I hope that no one caught a cold from me as I have now come down with a bad cold and fever and had to take a lot of breaks on my way back to DC. As always it was a great learning experience and will email you some images soon. Love and regards, Gaurav

Note: Gaurav got sick in the Pribilofs the week before and it has been taking him a long time to recover. Get better soon!

From Nikon guy Mike Goodman:

Artie, Denise & group, Let me add my voice to the thanks for a great workshop, amazing photo ops & a most delightful & dedicated group of serious photographers. I learned lots & am appreciative of the energy & genuine caring that Art & Denise brought to the IPT. It was a fabulous & intense 3 days. I will be emailing my images in a week or so as I am currently on a business trip to lovely Brookings, South Dakota… Mike

Note: as to the “intense,” we were in our vehicles every day between 4:30 and 5:00am to take advantages of pre-dawn opportunities to create pleasing blurs. And we were on the beach every day till about 8pm. And, we did a program each afternoon at the motel after our naps…. Yes, IPTs are intense photographic experiences.

From Malcolm’s friend Stanley Goldberg:

Dear Artie and Denise, You guys could not have done more for myself and my fellow participants at the recent Nickerson IPT. Your energy level and enthusiasm along with your knowledge of the birds and photography made this experience extraordinarily enjoyable and educational. Regards, Stanley

From Canon newbie Susan Malspeis:

Denise, Thanks for the great workshop and all the help. I have never been on a workshop where someone checked in with me and set me on the right course as often as you did at Nickerson. It was amazing and your efforts were super-appreciated. Sue

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This image of wayward Black Skimmer chick was created with the the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the unfortunately discontinued Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/160 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

Central Sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Rear Focus active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger, more spectacular version.

It was late in the season for such a small chick–it would be lucky to survive. I decided to take a walk down to the ocean when I came across this little one. I eventually picked it up and placed it under some beach grass just inside the colony ropes.

On next year’s Nickerson Baby Beach-nesting Birds IPT we should get to see and photograph lots of chicks smaller than this in the nest scrapes; that of course barring any natural disasters–the lives of the skimmers, terns, oystercatchers, and yikes, I forgot that might will have some decent chances with juvenile Piping Plovers….

Nickerson Baby Beach-nesting Birds IPT: July 23-25, 2013: $1099. Introductory slide program: Monday, July 22, 2013. Limit 12/Openings 10. Co-leader: Denise Ippolito.

I am proud to announce the brand new July 2013 Nickerson Baby Beach-nesting Birds IPT. Join Denise and me on Long Island, NY next summer to photograph Common Tern chicks, baby American Oystercatchers, and just-hatched Black Skimmer chicks along with the adults. The opportunities will include chances to photograph a variety of breeding behaviors including courtship feeding, display flight and combat, and copulations. Car-pooling is recommended; if we opt to return to the beach before 5pm there is a $30/vehicle parking fee that is not included so it is best to share that expense. Parking in the morning is free.

I expect that many who have photographed with us at Nickerson before at different seasons will wish to join us for this very special Nickeron IPT. Both Denise and I will be speaking at the 2013 NECCC event the weekend before this IPT.

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I created this image of another hungry Great Black-backed Gull on the last afternoon before I headed from my Mom’s back to the home office with the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-1DX.
ISO 800: Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

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

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 by 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.
Saturday: Image Capture Sunday: Image Evaluation and Processing

Click here for complete details including the Saturday and Sunday schedules, club and group discount info, and registration incentives and for more info on the In-the-Field Seminar Follow-up Workshop.

Artie, the grizzled veteran, is widely noted as one of the premier bird photographers, tour leaders, and educators on the planet. Denise, who specializes in flowers, is the mega-creative up-and-comer, a popular lecturer, a skilled field instructor, and an amazing Photoshop wizard who will share her tips and tricks with you. Both artie and denise are full time professional nature photographers.

What You Will Learn:

How to become a better nature photographer and to create technically perfect, artistically designed images in the field. How to get the right exposure every time in ten seconds or less.
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.
New ways to photograph flowers and trees, how to create the truly pleasing blurs that are so popular today in many prestigious contests, and a slew of flight photography tips.
Why the longest lens in your bag is often not the best lens for bird or wildlife photography.
How to use NIK Color Efex Pro to revamp your digital workflow and dramatically improve the look of your images.
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.
Pro Gear Handling Tips including tripod, lens handling, and flight photography tips. How to clean your sensor without trepidation!
How to expand your creative vision.
And a heck of a lot more than we have room for here!

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This image of a Brant (Atlantic race) was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 600mm f/4L IS lens with the 1.4X II teleconverter and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 800: Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Brant is a difficult species to get close to. With any luck at all, we should have some good chances with Brant at one of my very few secret spots on the In-the-Field Seminar Follow-up Workshop.

In-the-Field Seminar Follow-up Workshop

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.

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This image of an adult Black Skimmer in flight was created with the hand held Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS II lens, 1.4X III TC, and the unfortunately discontinued Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus Surround active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger, more spectacular version.

There are ample flight photography opportunities on pretty much all IPTs. We will teach you about the hugely important relationship between wind direction and flight photography.

Woman Galapagos 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 moving image of a zebra stallion mourning the loss of his mate was created on a visit to Tanzania about a decade ago with the Canon 28-135mm IS lens (hand held at 135mm) with the EOS-10D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/100 sec. at f/14.

I shed many a tear that morning, and now, with the loss of my good friend Wes Ardoin (“Pops” to me) last year–Wes and wife Patti were in the van with me that day, the image carries that much more meaning. For the whole story and 6 more photos see pages 453-457 in The Art of Bird Photography II (ABP II: 916 pages with more than 900 images).

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.

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Sunrise, Nickerson Beach, Long Island, NY. Created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens, the Canon 2X III Teleconverter, and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode.

Manual focus. Be sure to click on the image for the larger version.

If you like sleeping in, then a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour is not for you; we get up very early most every day.

Shopper’s Guide

Thanks a stack to all who have used our B&H affiliate 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.

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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