December 7th, 2012

BAA Urgent Notes: 12/7/2012

  • Walk-ins Welcome at the NYC Seminar
  • Pet Peeve
  • Best-ever Interview
  • December MiniMag On-line Now
  • BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Barnegat Jetty IPT
  • The Barnegat Jetty Site Guide
  • IPT Updates

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This image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Autofocus lens and the Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR . ISO 100. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/8 sec. at f/18 in Manual mode. Two sensors below the central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Learn everything that I know about the great new AF system of the 1D X in our 1D X AF Guide here. (Pretty smart title, no?) This eGuide includes my custom Case for photographing birds in flight.

The seminar “Creating Pleasing Blurs/Using slow shutter speeds, panning, camera movement, and more” segment is scheduled for Saturday at 3:15pm. Do consider joining us.

Walk-ins Welcome at the NYC Seminar

Walk-ins are indeed welcome at the NYC Seminar. You can bring a check, cash, or a credit card with your driver’s licence. When? This coming weekend at the Hilton Garden Inn on Staten Island. Alternatively, you can call Jim today before 5pm or Friday before noon and register by phone. Click here for more info, for the complete schedule, and to learn about the valuable registration incentives that include a free copy of Digital Basics. On Saturday we will teach you how to capture great images in the field and on Sunday how to evaluate and process (optimize) those images. Throughout the weekend we will be working hard to help you become more creative both in the field and at the computer.

It is 8:47 am on December 6, 2012. I am sitting on the Amtrak Auto Train going at about 70mph headed towards Lorton, VA. My laptop is plugged in and I am on line via a tethered wireless connection courtesy of my Verizon Android Razr 48 cell phone. Man, what an amazing world we live in.

I just finished working on my “Tools of the Trade/Choosing and using lenses for bird and wildlife photography” segment and am excited about presenting it on Saturday at 11am. It is truly amazing how often the longest lens in your arsenal is the worst in your bag for a given situation. This afternoon I will be working on the “Seeing the Situation” segment where Denise and I will teach you to see and think like a pro.

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This image, “Daisy, with Hydrangea background,” was created by Denise Ippolito with the Canon 100mm macro lens and the EOS-5D hand held. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/100 sec. at f/4.5 Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Denise will open the proceedings at 9am on Saturday with her “Blooming Ideas/Creating new and different images of flowers and trees” segment. Don’t miss it.

The gear above has been replaced by the following:

Pet Peeve

Regular readers know that one of my pet peeves is folks who have 3,000, $5000, $10,000, heck, even $20,000 or more worth of great gear and assume that their purchases will make them better photographers. Study? Learn? Practice? No way. They believe that as long as they spend lots of money on great lenses and camera bodies that their skills will improve. Not! If you live within a few hours of Staten Island and wish to become a better photographer make plans, as above, to join denise and me this weekend for tons of learning and fun. Not to mentions zillions of great images.

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.

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Best-ever Interview

On November 18, Tim Grey interviewed me by phone for the December issue of his Pixology magazine. It was a chilling experience as I did the interview while taking my 40-minute ice bath–in 59 degree water. (Want more info? See Cold Thermogenesis here and here.)

After reading the interview I sent the following e-mail to Tim:

Yo Momma, I just read the interview. I’ve done a ton of them, and I gotta say that yours is the best-ever by far. What I liked most about it was that you did not clean up my New York speech> When you transcribed it, you did not attempt to calm me down or slow me down. My frenetic pace showed in every segment. As I was reading it I wanted to read faster and faster to catch up with myself and my thoughts. Though I have mellowed considerably over the last decade (see The Work of Byron Katie here), it was good to realize that I am still driven and passionate about my life and about photography. Later and love, artie

Tim Grey’s Pixology Magazine

Pixology magazine, an e-Magazine written and produced by Photoshop guru Tim Grey, debuted this past August. I just received my copy this week and the first thing that I read of course was–as above, Tim’s very fine interview of yours truly: “For the Love of Birds: Arthur Morris.” There is of course lots of great additional content in the December issue including detailed informational pieces on Windows 8, Sampling Colors in Photoshop, Keeping Level, and Photoshop CS6 Preferences among others. (The above reminds me that I need to do a short piece on using a Double Bubble versus using the in-camera electronic levels; I actually prefer to use a Double Bubble; I will share why with you soon.) All of the articles are of course written in Tim’s pleasant, easy-to-read, easy-to understand style with a examples of his wry sense of humor sprinkled throughout. You can learn more about back issues by clicking here and scrolling down to item 6.

You can subscribe today by clicking here or on the logo-link above.

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“Camargue Horses” courtesy of and copyright 2012: Malcolm MacKenzie.

December MiniMag On-line Now

The December Issue of Denise Ippolito’s killer beautiful and informative MiniMag is on-line. This month’s theme is Favorite Places. Right now the MiniMag is free and is available by clicking here. There are so many great features, all with beautiful and provocative images, that I don’t know where to start. The piece by multiple IPT veteran Malcolm MacKenzie, a guest contributor, “Camargue, France,” has been extremely popular as has friend Scott Vincent’s “Bryant Park, New York City” article.

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“HDR Scenics from North Shore Drive, Lake Superior” are courtesy of and copyright 2012: Steve Adkins.

Steve Adkins’ favorite place is “Lake Superior in Minnesota.” You will enjoy reading his piece and viewing the additional images. Rookie writer Paul Lagasi has offered up a fine piece on the owls of Amherst Island, near Kingston, Ontario, Canada: “This Place is a Hoot.” Click here and be sure to dress warmly! Cheryl Slechta, a co-moderator with Denise Ippolito in BPN’s Out of the Box Forum, was a participant on the recently concluded Bosque IPT where she fell in love with the place as I did about 20 years ago. It was her first visit. You can read her “Bosque del Apache NWR” favorite places article by clicking here. YOu can learn why she became captivated so quickly and see some of her inspiring images here.

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“Macro Composite” is courtesy of and copyright 2012: Mary Stamper.

Mary Stamper, who sometimes helps out co-leading Denise’s Creative Adventure Workshops, shares her two favorite places in “Swarthmore College and Scott Arboretum.” As you can see above, she is a skilled photographer. Lisa Cucharo , who is attending the NYC seminar tomorrow along with her husband Tom, did a wonderful piece on Bombay Hook NWR. It looks to me like the Bosque of the east.

Lord, I wish that I had the time to list all of the great articles and share more images but Denise and I need to head to Staten Island soon and put the finishing touches on the seminar programs. When you visit the MiniMag here, place your cursor over the words December Edition, 2012 on the tool bar to see the complete list of great articles.

Yikes, I almost forgot my contribution, Japan in Winter.

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This image shows the jetty and the lighthouse in front of a very pink pre-dawn sky. The image was made with the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS EF USM AF lens hand held at 58mm with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/20 sec. at f/11. If you head to a new spot to photograph birds it is always a great idea to create a few establishing shots that show the place or a few folks birding. Such images are great for slide programs and can help sell an article or two. Don’t think of this B-roll stuff as “just snapshots.” Look for wonderful light, design a pleasing image, and take as much care as you would with an image of a hard to photograph sea duck.

I never leave home without the 24-105mm lens in one of the large pockets of my Xtrahand vest.

BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Barnegat Jetty IPT Announced

Barnegat Jetty IPT, Barnegat Light, NJ: 2 1/2 DAYS. DEC 20 (1:30pm), 21, and 22, 2012: $999. Limit 6/Openings: 4. Includes 5 photo-sessions, both lunches, introductory slide program (DEC 20), Photoshop session (DEC 21), and image sharing at lunch DEC 22.

Join Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito for a 2 1/2 Day Instructional Photo-Tour at the infamous Barnegat Jetty in Barnegat Light, New Jersey. Artie and Denise will teach you how to get close to the ducks and shorebirds that frequent this famed winter birding and photography hotspot, how to get the right exposure every time, and how to see, understand, and tackle a variety of photographic situations. Each will conduct a killer Photoshop session. We should have some excellent chances with Harlequin Duck and Purple Sandpiper, the two headliner species. With any luck we should get to photograph most of these species: Long-tailed Duck (formerly Oldsquaw), Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Red-breasted Merganser, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, Common Eider, Brant, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-bellied Plover, and Sanderling . Great Black-backed, Herring, and Ring-billed Gulls are also likely. Sunning Harbor Seals are possible. With the right winds we may have some good flight photography also.

Having at least a 500mm f/4 lens with a 1.4X teleconverter is recommended. Participants should be in good physical condition with a good sense of balance. A $500 per person non-refundable deposit by check only made out to “Arthur Morris” is required to hold your spot. Please click here and then scroll down and read our cancellation policies. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us with your deposit check. Deposit due immediately. That leaves a balance of $499, due on NOV 20, 2012.

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This vertical front-end portrait of a Harlequin Duck drake was created at the Barnegat Jetty, Barnegat, NJ in 2009 with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 500. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/250 sec. at f/8.

I was pleasantly surprised to meet old friend IPT veteran Alan Nodes at the jetty that day. After Alan had created some images of this bird and seemed to be done, I asked if I could try for a close approach and he said, “Go for it.” I positioned myself so that there was a big jetty rock between the birds (he was with a hen) and me. Once I showed myself over the top of the huge boulder, I made sure to move very slowly. I started off in horizontal format but quickly realized that I was missing out on the beautiful mahogany-red patch on the side of the breast….


Thursday, December 20, 2012. Meet at the Jetty at 1:30 pm sharp after lunch on your own to go over basic safety rules and our approach to jetty photography. Photograph till dark. After a quick dinner Artie and Denise will share the Barnegat possibilities with you in a joint slide program. Friday, December 20: Early morning field shoot, break for lunch (included), break time for downloading images, etc… followed by an afternoon field shoot., group dinner, evening Photoshop instructional program. Saturday December 21: Early morning field shoot, break for lunch (included) with image sharing–be sure to bring your laptops. Afternoon field shoot. Goodbyes.

Artie and denise combine to form a powerful and effective teaching team. Click here to see what folks on the recent Nickerson Beach IPT had to say about the dynamic duo. From beginners to professionals, Nikon folks and Canon users, all were thrilled with our efforts.

The Barnegat Jetty Site Guide

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Though I lived in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area for nearly two decades as a birder and bird photographer (and for 46 years in all), I never made it to the famed Barnegat Jetty until December (2009). Why famous? It is the best place in the Northeast to view and photograph a variety of sea ducks and wintering shorebirds most noticeably Harlequin Duck and Purple Sandpiper. When I got there, a 26″ snow storm sent me running back to my Mom’s home in Holbrook, Long Island, leaving the motel in Ship Bottom at 3am to drive through the storm. Yikes! I returned a week later and with Denise Ippolito as my guide and created many wonderful images. The jetty is very long. And can be very dangerous. Denise, who spends many days each winter season on the jetty, knew right where the birds would be, took me right to them, and gave me more than a few tips on how to avoid killing myself

Denise Ippolito has written a fabulous Site Guide for the Barnegat Jetty. (I helped out just a bit.) The Barnegat Jetty Site Guide will help to ensure that your very first visit to this great bird photography location is both productive and safe. Denise explains the effects of the winds and the tides and the light on the photographic opportunities. She lets you know what birds you will find there and where and when you will find them. She shares her favorite conditions and her tricks for getting close. And she will keep you safe while you are there, the same way she kept me safe. A good portion of the guide deals with safety issues. Kudos to Denise for a job well done.

The Barnegat Site Guide (6190 words, 68 images) is available from BIRDS AS ART by e-mail as a PDF for only $22. You can call Jim with a credit card in hand at 863-221-2372, send us a Paypal to, or purchase it through the store here.

Just for the record book, Barnegat is located on Long Beach Island less than 30 minutes from Manahawkin, NJ.

2 comments to BAA Urgent Notes: 12/7/2012

  • avatar Ron Sprunger

    Artie, when I read the latest Pixology this morning, I was delighted to find that it was not only Tim’s best yet, but that he had the great interview with you. Congratulations on a job well done! It truly was the best and most informative such interview I’ve read.