BIRDS AS ART BULLETIN #26 JULY 10, 2000
THE BIRDS AS ART COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT
& THE KIRK HUGGER BEANBAG
> I receive many e-mails each week thanking me for my generosity in sharing
> information relevant to bird photography on my web site, in Bulletins, and
> via e-mail. Those e-mails are very gratifying, especially for an
> ego-driven person like myself.
> Sometimes, however, I receive e-mails of a different type. For your
> reading pleasure, I offer you the following exchange between myself and an
> un-named visitor to my web site. (Please note that the BIRDS AS ART
> Complaint Department is closed until further notice.)
> Dear ????,
> " I tried ordering from these guys (from Hunt's) on your recommendation. I
> spoke with Will here like you said. Despite ordering the film almost 2
> weeks in
> advance, they totally screwed up."
> I am sorry to hear that.
> " Despite calling them 5 days before I needed the film and REMINDING them
> to process my order, they STILL SCREWED UP!! They had assured me, "When
> arrive in San Francisco, your film WILL BE WAITING for you at the address
> you specified.
> > I got there and there was NO FILM."
> "It showed up the day I left some 5 days after they assured me it would be
> there, so I refused to receive the shipment and had it sent back."
> "They still haven't credited my account, claiming to have only received it
> > back yesterday -- 14 days after it was sent back!!!"
> " If you value your reputation, I suggest NOT recomended
> Hunt's to anyone on your website."
> I have used B&H, Adorama, and Hunt's, and been screwed by them all, just
> like anyone who deals with these suppliers over an extended period of
> In general, Hunt's gives good service and offers great film prices. But,
> with any photo lab, if you use a supplier long enough, they will screw you
> to some degree every now and then. That is why, when I recommend Chelsea
> Color Photo Labs in NYC, I always say, "I trust them with all my film and
> best originals for duping. If you, however, send them 500 rolls from
> $15,000 once-in-a-lifetime Antarctica trip AND THEY LOSE THEM ALL OR RUIN
> THEM IN SOME NEW WAY, PLEASE DON'T CALL ME. I simply do not want to hear
> Karl continued: " However, if you're getting some sort of kickback for
> referrals, or mentioning their name on your sight -- well, I'll let your
> conscience determine whether or not you can leave that recommendation in
> place without losing sleep."
> I resent your remarks, above. In my on-line Bulletins (perhaps you are
> a subscriber?) I state plainly that I am a Canon contract photographer.
> receive no "kickbacks" from Hunt's; if I did, I would mention that fact
> recommending them. When and if I need guidance for my conscience, I
> e-mail you.
> I will, however, send a copy of your e-mail and my reply to Gary Farber at
> Arthur Morris
> Hi Again ????,
> >" In retrospect, I think I do owe you something of an apology."
> I agree. But I do not see any apology in this e-mail, just more
> and a restatement of what you said originally.
> "> I did not intend to lay blame on you. Or bitch at you for recommending
> You did both.
> " Simply though to warn you that you should be conscious of the
> you have on your website."
> I am conscious of all of the info there, after all I put it there. Some
> the info, though, may be a bit out of date, as my opinions on some
> do change over time.
> " Amateurs, and hobbyists like myself very frequently turn to
> like yourself for advice and guidance,"
> I understand that very well. That is why I provide tons of free
> information on my web site and in my Bulletins.
> " whether explicit, or implicit (ie, "I > buy all my film from Hunt's
> in Boston. They have the lowest film prices around (by far), they are
> reliable, and they do not rip you off on shipping ... reach them toll
> at ... ")!"
> " But it's not your fault that Hunt's was incapable of delivering on their
> > promises to me, and indeed, my only intention in writing the email to
> was to let you know that perhaps they're not a place to recommend as
> Yours is the first complaint that I've gotten. It's good to know that
> must be perfect, never once have made a single mistake in any area of your
> life. Except for one occasion when they Hunt's screwed me, there service
> has been great. Just last week I called fairly late on a Friday afternoon
> and asked that a Quantum Turbo Z be Fed-Xed to a motel for SAT delivery.
> was waiting for me the next day when I arrived. In addition, lots of
> have ordered both film and product from Hunt's and been very satisfied.
> "This is not a company _I_ would associate my name with personally,"
> Then please don't.
> "and I've got no reputation to be damaged."
> Is that my fault also?
> "I figured that because you are a professional with a reputation, you
> want information about one of the companies you associate your name with,
> and that they might not be fair representatives of the values that you
> My values? Karl, you are getting a bit carried away. All I want from a
> supplier is good service, and Hunt's has provided that. I understand
> your order was for ten whole rolls of film. Let me see if I get this
> straight: because you had a minor problem with a company that has served
> and dozens of other nature photographers well for more than a year, I
> should not recommend them to save my reputation?
> THE KIRK HUGGER BEAN-BAG
> Every sunny morning when I am working in my home office, I head down to
> Walk-in-Water to photograph birds in the large grassy fields adjacent to
> lake. Subjects include Sandhill Crane families, Whooping Crane, adult and
> young Bald Eagle, Limpkin, and on occasion, a variety of other species.
> Three weeks ago, I got to shoot a roll of a tame Crested Caracara.
> I do 90% of my shooting from my car with either the Canon 600mm f/4.0L IS
> lens, or the Canon 100-400mm IS zoom. EOS 1v bodies all around. At
> such as when the cranes begin dancing, I need to be able to jump out of
> car quickly. When working with my tripod set up inside the car (as
> described in detail in "The Art of Bird Photography," getting out quickly
> impossible. Bulletin subscriber and long-time IPT client Robert Royce,
> recommended the Kirk Hugger beanbag to me and I must recommend it
> wholeheartedly to anyone who works from a vehicle. (Robert is a highly
> skilled photographer; I am very glad that he is so busy with his regular
> playing the English Horn for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra that he does
> not have time to market his wonderful images.) I especially enjoy Bob's
> work as I influenced him to switch from Nikon to Canon. He now shoots the
> 600 Image Stabilizer lens, often with the 2X TC at slow shutter speeds,
> is a huge advocate for this wonderful technology. Robert is a regular
> valued contributor to the photo.net Nature Photography forum.
> Anyway, on to the Kirk Hugger. This unique beanbag is actually two
> sewed together with heavy-duty thread and connected by two fabric straps.
> You place the "v" between the two beanbags over you car window raised
> two to three inches and then pound down the centers of the two beanbags
> a bit with your fist to make a curved "seat" for your lens. The result is
> far more stable platform than you would get with any flat beanbag.
> Panning is not to difficult. You can raise the window when you need to
> point the lens upwards. The set-up is extremely versatile. Using an
> Stabilizer lens is of course a big plus as you are not able to "lock the
> ballhead" when using a beanbag. I do, of course, place my left hand atop
> the lens barrel for stability when making photographs, especially when
> working at slow shutter speeds. Shooting at 1200mm with the Kirk Hugger
> child's play. The attached Osprey image was made down by the lake with
> 600 IS/2X TC combination supported by the Kirk Hugger at a shutter speed
> of 1/125 sec at an effective focal length of 1200mm. When speaking of
> shooting songbirds from the car with this set-up, Robert Royce says, "It's
> incredible, the slower that you shoot (for more depth of field, the
> the images (even at 1200mm with slower and slower shutter speeds).
> One drawback is that you'll need to rely completely on autofocus, as the
> manual focusing ring on most telephoto lenses will be resting on the
> Hugger. IMPORTANT NOTE: You cannot rotate the lens on the beanbag after
> you AFed, as this will turn the focusing ring. You first need to square
> lens to the world (I use the Hama Double Bubble to do this) and THEN
> You can see or purchase a Kirk Hugger (I use the larger size) at:
> Well, it's 7:24 a.m, it's sunny, I've been working for two hours, so I am
> heading down to the lake to see what's around!
> P.S. I receive no consideration from Kirk Enterprises.
> NOTE: I am looking forward to seeing all NYC area nature photographers at
> one of the two Art of Nature Photography Full Day How-To seminars late
> summer. E-mail us for details. Bring a friend and/or let all of your
> photographer friends know about these exciting seminars.
> > >
> Best and great picture making to all.
> > >
> Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART