March 7th, 2013


  • Want Spoonbills?
  • NIK Color Efex Pro Detail Extractor
  • The Blog is the Bomb
  • TPPA Convention Keynote
  • Swan Island Dahlia Farm Instructional Photo-Tour
  • Used Camera Gear Including Some New Items
  • IPT Info

Want Spoonbills?

We still have room for one more photographer on James Shadle’s customized pontoon boat, the Hooptie Deux on the mornings of March 8-10, Friday through Sunday. If you would like to explore the possibility of joining us for a morning on the Hooptie Deux please e-mail me asap.

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This image of a sleeping White Ibis was created on the first morning of the Fort DeSoto/Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Short Notice IPT with the tripod-mounted Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/14 in Manual mode confirmed via histogram check.

Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

The 500 makes a great super-telephoto when you are working with relatively tame birds and wish to go light. And you can grab it off the tripod for hand held flight photography.

NIK Color Efex Pro Detail Extractor

For the image above I ran a 100% layer of Detail Extractor on the whites after selecting them with the Quick Selection Tool. It is almost unheard of for me to use Detail Extractor at 100% but this image, created in bright sun on a clear day at 8:37am needed it. That despite the fact that I brought the image into Photoshop after the RAW conversion in DPP with the highest white RGB values right at about 230, exactly where I like them. See the animated GIF below for the dramatic before and after comparison. Note also that I took the blue out of the whites on the layer with a Hue/Saturation adjustment (Control U) on the blue channel. Then I selected the face and lores and ran a 25% layer of Tonal Contrast to juice up the bill. Lastly I ran a Contrast Mask on the same area and then lightened the layer a bit with a Curves adjustment (Control M) by dragging the curve up a bit to taste.

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NIK Color Efex Pro

As regular readers know, NIK Color Efex Pro has drastically changed my digital workflow and little by little I have begun using Viveza to solve more than a few sticky image optimization problems. And I also use Silver Efex Pro for fast, dramatic B&W conversions. You can save 15% on all NIK products (including Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, and Viveza) by clicking here and entering BAA in the Promo Code box at check-out. Then hit Apply to see your savings. You can download a trial copy that will work for 15 days and allow you to create full sized images.

All of the above is detailed in our Digital Basics file. Digital Basics includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, Layer Masking for Dummies, Eye Doctor work, NIK Color Efex Pro basics, all of my Keyboard Shortcuts, and tons more. This PDF, sent via e-mail, will be the best $25 you’ll ever spent on your photography.

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This winter plumage Caspian Tern image was created on the first afternoon of the Fort DeSoto/Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Short Notice IPT with the the hand held Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/14 in Manual mode confirmed via histogram check.

Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

When hand holding the 500II for static shots I try to sit and brace my left elbow on my left knee; this makes life a lot easier and results in sharper images overall. This image is surely not in the BIRDS AS ART style but I like it–Caspian Tern lost in a crowd of Laughing Gulls and skimmers.

The Blog is the Bomb

To see more images from our first difficult morning at Fort DeSoto see “Impossible Conditions here.

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 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 more links to recent posts of interest:

Learn why my thoughts on the superiority of the 600II over the 800 may not hold for all folks here.

If you have never created a stitched panoramic image of a bird or an animal you will not want to miss this one.

Incredibly to me, there are some folks who do not agree that at times Sharp Just Does Not Cut It.

Check out my surprising conclusions as to which is best by far, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II or the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS lenses here.

You’ll surely want to bookmark this one: click here for complete specifications and info on all Canon telephoto lenses. Includes weights in lbs and kgs, minimum focusing distance in feet and meters, filter size, and year of introduction.

Like flowers or photography? Check out Depth-of-Field Lesson.

Learn why I love my 5D Mark III here.

Want to learn to be a more creative photographer? Check out “Blacklight and Creativity.”

In “Chestnut-mandibled Toucan Magic” I shared my NIK Color Efex Pro repost of a fine image from the Avian forum at BPN (Bird Photographer’s.Net).

If you have ever misplaced something near and dear to you you will enjoy reading “Barnegat Miracle.

In “Two Drake Harlequin Duck Images; So Many Lessons” there are tips on using NIK Tonal Contrast’s Tonal Contrast and Detail Extractor filters judiciously and why to use Rear Focus along with the usual image clean-up magic.

How good a flight photography camera is the Canon EOS-1D X? Click here to find out.

TPPA Convention & Keynote Presentation

I will be presenting the keynote address at the Texas Professional Photographer’s Association Convention in Arlington, TX on the evening of March 16. My appearance is being generously sponsored by Canon USA/Explorers of Light. I hope that you can make it. Here is additional information on the convention:

Weekend Photo Event: 24 programs and Trade Show only $49: March 15-17, 2013

Attend the event with the best photographic education value in America! For only $49 you can attend your choice of 24 different programs from Landscape Photography, Understanding Exposure, How to enter Print Competition, People Photography, Fashion and Boudoir Photography, Pet photography, How to Get Published, Adobe Lightroom, Nature Photography, Sports Photography, How to Turn your photos to Art and much more! On Saturday evening we have Arthur Morris, one of the nations top bird photographers, doing his “A Bird Photographers Story” program!

How would you like the chance to have your work published in our award winning, regional photography magazine. You can participate in the Print Competition and get into the Trade Show absolutely FREE! Just announced, win a LexJet trophy and $100 if your entry was printed on LexJet product. We also have several Hands-On programs on Friday March 15 on PhotoShop, Posing, Lighting, How to Market Your Photo Business and more for a small additional cost. You must pre-register for the event at but you DO NOT have to register for the classes on Saturday and Sunday. You can attend as many or as few as you want! All will take place be at the Arlington Convention Center just 15 minutes from DFW.

Regardless of your skill level, you’ll find something for you! Please join us! Even if you and only attend one day! Learn more here.

Swan Island Dahlia Farm Instructional Photo-Tour

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All images courtesy of and copyright 2012: Denise Ippolito. Click for a larger version.

A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Swan Island Dahlia Farm Instructional Photo-Tour, September 11-15, 2013: 5 FULL DAYS: $1649

Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris at the Swan Island Dahlia Farm in Canby Oregon (just south of Portland) for a great learning and photography experience. Swan Island features more than 40 acres with over 350 varieties of dahlias in a plethora of colors, shapes and sizes, making it one of the largest growers in the United States.

Daily Photo Schedule

We will enjoy four morning (7:00am till 10:30am) and five afternoon (3:30pm till 6pm) photography sessions. While we will do most of our photography at the Swan Island Dahlia Farm, we will also visit the Portland Rose Garden and/or the Portland Japanese Garden on this IPT. The in-the-field instruction will include seeing the situation, the use of selective focus, creative use of depth of field, histogram and exposure guidance, designing creative images, choosing your background, isolating your subject, lens options, and the use of reflectors and diffusers. Our field sessions will include challenging photography assignments geared to make you think creatively. Both personalized and small group instruction will be provided. All times are tentative and subject to change based on the weather and on local conditions.

Seminar Morning: Friday, September 13: 8:30am till 12:30pm

Denise will begin by presenting her “Bloomin’ Ideas” program, an overview of the in-the-field and post-processing techniques that she has used and developed over the past few years to create her signature look. Artie will follow with a Photoshop session that will be geared towards all levels. He’ll be sharing some of his favorite techniques and tips while working on images from the first two days of the IPT. Denise will conclude the seminar portion of the IPT with a Photoshop demo; she will share her creative workflow using a variety of Photoshop filters and effects. The entire morning is designed to give you a peek into the minds of two very skilled and creative folks.

The group will have lunch together daily. All are invited to bring their laptops for image sharing. We hope that you can join us for an intense five days of learning and some of the best flower photography to be had in North America.

Deposit Info and Cancellation Policies:

A $449 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. Your balance is due 5 months before the date of the IPT and is also non-refundable. If the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.”) You can also leave your deposit with a credit card by calling the office at 863-692-0906. We will be short-handed in the office until January 21 so please leave a message and we will call you back. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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This image of a Royal Tern flapping after its bath was created on the first afternoon of the Fort DeSoto/Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Short Notice IPT with the hand held Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II lens, the Canon 1.4x EF tele-extender III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode confirmed via histogram check.

One sensor 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 for a larger version.

The 500 makes a great hand holdable for most folks super-telephoto when you are working with relatively tame birds and wish to travel on the light side.

Used Camera Gear Including Some New Items

Walt Novinger

Walt is offering a used Sigma 300-800 f/5.6 EX DG APO IF HSM Autofocus Lens for Canon EOS, aka The Sigmonster in like new condition. Used only 4-5 times: $6,000. The sale includes the original shipping box and the original soft lens case. Includes shipping in the continental US. You can call Walt at 1-442.222.4081 or by e-mail. James Shadle used the Nikon mount version of this lens to create many great images. Strong folks can save a bundle as this is a steal at $2,000 below list.

Brent Bridges

Multiple IPT veteran Brent Bridges is offering a selection of used gear, most of it at give away prices. Most amazingly, all sales include shipping and insurance. Below is the list. See the end for contact info.

Canon EOS 1D MK 11N camera -Only 1772 actuations. It comes with all cables, two batteries, battery charger, owner’s manual and original box. The camera is in mint condition: $495.

Canon EOS 7D with EF 28-135 IS lens with the original box, strap, battery pack, one battery charger, interface cable and stereo AV cable, manuals and CD. The camera and everything else are in mint condition: $950.

Canon electronic flash speedlite 580EX in excellent working condition. On the frontside is a Fresnel lens burn but it does not affect the Speedlite. The Speedlite comes with original box, Soft Case, Mini Stand, the Canon instruction manual and Canon purchase paperwork all in excellent condition. Used only about 15 times: $35.

Promaster Flash Extension Cord Off Camera for Canon in mint condition: $10.

Canon compact battery pack CP-E4-I had lost my original one and ordered this as a replacement. It is in mint condition and has never been used. Includes box, carrying case, camera attachment wheel and instruction booklet and Canon warranty papers. I am throwing in eight Duracell Ultra batteries: $40.

Powerex MH-C801D Battery charger for AA and AAA rechargeable batteries from one to eight batteries can be charged and you can mix AA and AAA batteries: $15.

Urban Disguise 50 Version 2.0 shoulder bag never used mint condition: $50.

Please call Brent at 1-770-565-5012 or contact him via e-mail for additional details. Checks must clear before merchandise is shipped.

Dr. Steve Bein

Steve is offering a mint condition lightly used Canon 600mm f/4L IS L lens for sale, used only once for $7,000 insured ground shipping included. The purchase includes the lens trunk, a LensCoat, the 4th generation foot, and the original Canon foot all in the original box.

Please contact Steve via e-mail or call him at home at 1-310-838-2346. As a last resort try him on his cell at 1-310-850-6061.

Ramona Boone

Ramona is offering the following used items for sale:

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS lens with its trunk, leather cover, hood, rear lens cap, drop in filter holder, forest green Lens Coat, strap, and 4th generation NP 51 low foot. All in very good condition. Just serviced by Canon: $5900.

Please contact Ramona with any questions: 1-719 231 5874 or via e-mail.


On all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. 🙂

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4 comments to BIRDS AS ART BULLETIN #433

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    My bad. I was referring to the Royal Tern image that I did replace. I will repost this evening. Thanks for being persistent.

  • avatar Julian Mole

    Hi Arthur,

    Just thought I’d let you know your captions are currently reading “+ /23 stops” and you a few dust spots showing in your winter plumage Caspian Tern image.

    Hope this helps,


    PS. I love the Royal Tern flight image, nice wing position, gorgeous light and the small water splashes are great! 🙂

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Good catch on those typos. I had seen the dust spots and already replaced the tern image early this morning. You must have somehow seen the first version. But thanks anyway. Let me know what you are seeing now; you may have to clear you cookies….. artie

      • avatar Julian Mole


        Dust spots still showing, even after clearing BAA cookie. I tried my laptop also and it was no different.