April 13th, 2009

Birds As Art Bulletin #288




Well, I may be crazy, but as detailed in BAA Bulletin 287 I will be leaving home with my Sequoia packed at midday on April 13th and will not be back in the office until the late afternoon of May 26th. The targets: warblers and other migrant passerines, and Texas specialty birds. Jim will be here to help you with your mail orders and Jennifer with tour reservations. I will have limited e-mail access so please hold your photo-related questions until late May. I will try to get a small Bulletin out from the road but most of the action will be on the BAA Blog.

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Black Skimmer in flight, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL
Image Copyright 2008: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm f/4L DO lens handheld with the EOS- 50D. 9-Point AI Servo AAFPS AF. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3. Hot shoe fill flash at -1 1/3 stops with the Better Beamer.

It has taken me a while to get in the habit of not quitting on flight shots as the bird gets closer and closer. I am not all the way there as far as breaking old, bad film habits, but I am getting some good ones. To see a discussion of the clipped wings composition and to see the original capture, click here. To see more recent DeSoto images, visit the blog.


The Panama Combo IPT was, as I predicted, sold out within hours after being announced in yesterday’s BAA Notes. If you would like to be placed on the interested list for the next Panama trip (dates tba; we are unsure at the moment even of the month) please send us an e-mail with the words “Next Panama Trip” in the Subject Line.


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BIRDS AS ART prouldy announces the limited sale of a classic Arthur Morris image, “Fire in the Mist.”

This spectacular image was created at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Reefuge in San Antonio, New Mexico. It was honored in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and was selected as cover art for “Light on the Earth,” a collection of the best of 30 years of winning entries.

The thick gallery wrap (1 ½ inches) canvas is hand-made in the US under the supervision of the artist and is available only through BIRDS AS ART.

This will be the first of a series of Arthur Morris’ digitally signed, numbered, limited edition gallery-wrapped canvas prints. The canvas is stretched over custom-made wood supports. The canvas has no frame and appears to float on the wall. There’s no need for a frame for stability since the structure is inside the art. These fine canvas limited edition prints are covered with a rear black dust cover. The hanging wire is neatly attached and a courtesy package with two clear bump-ons, a nickel plated hanger and nail are included.

This edition will be limited to 100 pieces of any size. Once the final print is sold the edition will be permanently closed making each Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART print a valuable collectible. Each 16 x 24 inch print is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

The first fifty prints will sell for only $349 plus $20 shipping and handling to all US addresses. Once 50 prints are sold, the price will rise to $424. The last five prints will sell for $499. (Please e-mail for prices on other sizes and for framing options.)

Prints ordered before June 1, 2009 may apply a $50 discount. The first batch of prints will be shipped no later than June 15th, 2009.

Shipping and handling to Canada will require an additional $35 handling fee. (Canadian orders may be subject to Customs delays and duties and require payment via personal check or money order in US funds.)

Each image will be professionally packed to avoid damage during transit. All fees are due and payable in advance in US funds. (We cannot be responsible for delays at customs.)

Payment may be by check or money order mailed to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855, by Paypal to birdsasart@att.net, or by credit card. Please call 863-692-0906 for credit card orders.

We offer a 100% money back guarantee. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied we will gladly accept a return for exchange or refund provided that the item is returned within seven days of receipt and is in saleable condition. We refund only the purchase price plus the shipping and handling. Return shipping is the responsibility of the customer. This guarantee does not include prints that you damage or that are damaged in shipping. If your print is damaged in shipping, please let us know and we will arrange to have a replacement sent. Please allow 14 days for your check to clear.

We are 100% positive that “Fire in the Mist” will become a collector’s item; thank you for your support of Artie’s work.

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Laughing Gull, displaying, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL
Image Copyright 2008: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm f/4L DO lens handheld with the EOS-50D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/7.1. Hot shoe fill flash at -1 1/3 stops with the Better Beamer.

Many of the birds at DeSoto are so tame that the 800 is too much lens. With the 400 DO (or another intermediate telephoto, usually a zoom like the 70-200 f/4 or the 100-400) on my shoulder, I can grab it quickly and easily when needed.


BIRDS AS ART Site Guides are designed to have you photographing at various bird photography hotspots that you visit for the first time as if you had been visiting for two decades. Why spend 10-20 thousand dollars on equipment and travel and then waste several days trying to figure out where to be on what wind and during what tidal stage??? Traveling with a BAA Site Guide on your laptop is the next best thing to being on an IPT.

We currently offer the following Site Guides: Fort DeSoto, San Diego, Bosque Del Apache NWR, Southwest Florida, Central Florida, Ohio, and Merritt Island/Brevard County. In addition, we offer the Antarctica Travel and Site Guide that is primarily designed to get you to the Southern Oceans with the right gear and to keep it and yourself safe and dry once you get there.

We should be sending a second short update to the DeSoto Guide on Monday. (We sent one not long ago.) The purchase of most BAA Site Guides includes free updates.

To learn more about Site Guides or to order, click here: https://www.birdsasart.com/baacom/siteguides.htm

I recently received the following e-mail from BPN member Keith Carver:

Artie, I just got back from five days on Sanibel (my first visit) and just wanted to say how very much I appreciated your Southwest FL Guide. It was my bible while I was there, saved me an enormous amount of time at Ding Darling, and helped me find other good sites both on and off island. Thanks a million. Keith


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Airport InternationalTM V2.0

ID: 13” W x 6.5” ­ 7.5” D x 18.5” H
OD: 14” W x 8” D x 21” H

Airport SecurityTM V2.0

ID: 13” W x 7 ­ 8” D x 21” H
OD: 14” W x 9” D x 22” H

Regular readers know that I have used and depended on the Lowepro Roadrunner AW for all of my photographic travels (is there any other kind of travel?) for close to a decade. The bag was discontinued about two years ago. I recently secured each of the above roll-aboards for testing and evaluation.

The very first thing that I did was weigh and measure each of the three bags, the slightly smaller Think Tank Airport International, the Lowepro Roadrunner AW (no longer available; for comparison only), and the larger Think Tank Airport Security. Do note that Lowepro carries a large line of great photographic accessories but no longer offers a rolling bag for large lenses. I will never put any type of bag on my back so I am only looking at rolling carry-ons here.

The stripped weight is the weight without the included dividers (that I do not use) and with all needless straps (and harnesses/Roadrunner only) cut off. Do note that my measures are approximations that differ with those of the manufacturer.

type stripped weight average inside height average inside length average inside width outside height outside length outside width
Airport International 10 lbs 7 inches 18 5/8 inches 13 inches 8 1/2 inches 22 3/4 inches 14 1/2 inches
Roadrunner AW 10 1/4 lbs 5 3/4 inches 20 inches 13 inches 8 1/2 inches 23 3/4 inches 14 3/4 inches
Airport Security 10 3/4 lbs 7 3/8 inches 21 inches 13 1/2 inches 9 inches 23 3/4 inches 15 inches

I will be making my SUV road trip (see above) with the relatively huge Airport Security Bag and will be using it on my flights to Bonaventure, Alaska, Ecuador, and Panama this summer. I packed the Airport Security yesterday to see what it could hold and was amazed. Without any problem at all it held the Canon 800mm f/5.6L, the 400mm IS DO, the 70-200mm f/4 L IS, the 24-105 IS L zoom, the 15mm fish eye, two EOS 1D Mark III bodies, two 50D bodies, three extension tubes, one 2X and two 1.4X II teleconverters, one flash, the Mongoose Integrated Flash Arm, and the Canon CP-E3 Compact Battery Pack. It weighed in at about 47 pounds packed using my wool hat method. Though this is far above the 40 pound US limit, I have never had a carry-on weighed in the US. The Airport Security bag was sized and designed to be legal for US flights but airline restrictions vary. It is too large for meet most foreign carriers’ restrictions but I plan to use it for international travel until proven otherwise On my many international flights, I have been busted for the weight of my bag but never for the size, and that only in Africa on the return flights. I have never been hassled at all on flights to Ecuador, Canada, or Panama. Being able to carry on three or four bodies plus the 800, the 400 DO, and the 70-200 is a huge plus.

As the 800 without the lens hood just makes it into the Airport International bag (and I think that the same would be true of the 600 lenses), there is not much room for much more gear so folks with those lenses would be best with the larger Airport Security and be forced to gamble a bit—as I have always done (don’t quote me!) when traveling internationally. The huge capacity of both Think Tank bags is due to the taller inside heights as compared to my old faithful Roadrunner (despite comparable outside heights). Folks with 500mm lenses traveling with a normal complement of equipment would be best off with the Airport International (but would still be at risk of being busted for weight when flying internationally).

Now here is the best news, to check out these great bags or the rest of the Think Tank line-up or to make a purchase and receive a free camera bag (up to a $50 value), click here: http://www.thinktankphoto.com/affiliate and then enter this special code: AP-246.

I will follow up with additional information after I get back from Alaska. Linda Robbins will be testing the Airport International on her upcoming flights.

Do note that there is still room on the June 2nd Bear Boat trip as follows.


Who has not dreamed of photographing the coastal grizzlies at close range as they go about their daily business? If you are at all interested in joining me for the trip of a lifetime, please e-mail (birdsasart@att.net) or call me at 863-692-0906.

Do check out the brand new Katmai Bear Boat Gallery here. If you do not think that you can make this trip, it would be best not to look at the gallery….

Bear Boat #1: June 4-10, 2009: $6749.

Openings: 3. (It is advised that you be in Anchorage on the afternoon of June 2nd to be assured of not missing the boat!). This trip will feature an afternoon (and possibly more) of otter photography (weather permitting), Bald Eagles with chicks in the nest probable, puffins possible, and lots and lots of coastal Brown Bears clamming and eating luscious green grass. Football sized cubs and copulations possible. One-and two year old cubs likely.

Bear Boat #2: Sept 4-10, 2009$6999.

Openings: 3. (It is advised that you be in Anchorage on the afternoon of the September 2nd to be assured of not missing the boat!). This one is the bears catching salmon trip. In addition, Glaucous-winged and Mew Gulls eating roe are a certainty. Dark phase Northern Fulmars and Black-legged Kittiwakes (including the gorgeous immatures), Harbor Seals, and Stellar’s Sea Lions are likely. Did I mention bears catching salmon? And more bears catching salmon?

If you are curious about either of the bear trips or have any questions and would like to explore the possibility of joining me for the trip of a lifetime, please e-mail (birdsasart@att.net) or call me at 863-692-0906. I will do my very best to make it happen. And please call to inquire about the late registration discount for the June trip only: 863-692-0906.

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Brown Pelican wheeling in flight, Placida, FL
Image Copyright 2008: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 100-400mm f/4 IS L lens handheld with the EOS-50D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/7.1. AI Servo AF/central sensor only.

In the original capture, the subject was centered and there were two pelican heads on the left frame edge. I cropped from the right, expanded canvas left, and used a series of Quick Masks to seamlessly cover the added canvas. You can learn all of these techniques from our Digital Basics File. Advanced Quick Masking Techniques are covered in APTATS.


The first update to The Hummingbird Guide – How to Photograph Hummingbirds Using High-Speed Multiple Flash by Linda Robbins (with Arthur Morris) was e-mailed yesterday. Several of the updates were kicked back; if you purchased the Guide and did not receive your update, please e-mail Linda at lindaasrt@aol.com.

To learn more about this great educational guide, click here.


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Contact: Gary Farber Tel 800-221-1830 or 800-924-8682 ext. 2332

Fax 800-336-3841 Email digitalguygary@wbhunt.com

Hello to all my BIRDS AS ART friends!

Thanks to the support of great customers like you, Hunt’s has continued to prosper despite the tough economic situation facing the country. To say thank you we have been hard at work creating unbeatable deals to offer our email subscribers. If you are not on our email list, head over to www.huntsphotoandvideo.com and sign up today. Below we have a number of great specials being offered to BAA subscribers. And don’t forget we offer free shipping on most orders. (Make a phone order that includes any photographic accessory, mention BAA, and receive free shipping (in the contiguous USA only).

A limited supply of the Epson 3800 factory refurbished printers are now in stock which includes a one year warranty and free shipping when ordering for a price of $799.99

A limited supply of the Canon 5D Mark II Bodies are now in stock. Please call for availability.

The Canon 50D Body; currently in stock has a new low price of $1199.99

Call to request the price on Artie’s latest favorite lens; Canon 800mm 5.6L IS.

Canon G10 has received terrific reviews since it has come out…$435.00

Nikon D300 Body …..$1499.99

Nikon D700 Body……$2400.00

Call for price and availability on Nikon D3X, 500mm, and 600mm VR lenses.

Sigma 300-800 is an alternative to Canon or Nikon long glass. Call for the price being offered to BAA subscribers.

When picking up that large glass, don’t that forget Hunt’s carries a full line of Kirk Enterprise products.

Tokina 11-16 lens is another alternative for the Canon or Nikon wide angle lenses. Call for pricing and availability.

Ask for the BAA subscriber price on the Epson 7900 Printer. Hunt’s is an authorized Canon and Epson printer Dealer.

Call for pricing on the Canon IPF5100 and 6100 printers.

Contact Hunt’s expert printer salesperson Oral Lea at olea@wbhunt.com for specific details.

Hunt’s carries over 20,000 products. We are happy to supply you with your any of your requests.

As always, I appreciate your loyalty, and look forward to serving the Birds as Art Subscribers for all their photo/video/digital needs for many years to come!

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Brown Pelican with nesting material, Alafia Banks, Tampa Bay, FL
Image Copyright 2008: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm IS DO lens (handheld) and the EOS-1D MIII body. ISO 400. Manual exposure: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 at 9:20 am. EXP to the right confirmed via histogram check.

This image was created on a James Shadle/Hooptie Deux trip. When the birds are flying by at close range, I switch from the 50D to the Mark III (which has a 1.3 multiplier effect as compared to the 1.6 multiplier effect with the 50D).


Here is an e-mail exchange with Roger Dillon:

RD: Hi Artie, I just wanted to tell you that Mary and I thank you as well.

AM: Thanks for that!

RD: While the SW Fla Presidents Week IPT was a bit more than we were physically prepared for (our fault, not yours), it was richly rewarding for both of us.

AM: Bosque is physically easier with not much walking (except me on the golf course during breaks!)

RD: Mary was very inexperienced as you know, but came away with a passion and confidence far beyond even what I had hoped for. I came away looking at every photo op differently, quite often saying to myself or to Mary , much to her chagrin, “Don’t waste the shot: bad lighting, bad angle or head angle, cluttered background, etc.”

AM: 🙂

RD: We grew by leaps and bounds in 5 short days.

AM: Though that is the plan, some folks do not take advantage of the opportunities to learn. You guys did. And I am glad for that. (That it was a great group helps a ton; when folks are attentive and interested I just want to give more and more.)

RD: We returned to Fort Desoto the day after the IPT ended and were completely different photographers than the two who had been there only a week before. Daniel Cadieux and Scott Bourne were both very helpful as well and we gained from their expertise.

AM: Thanks. That is also part of the plan

RD: I see you’re heading for our neck of the woods (Texas Hill Country) and then all the way to Canada. I hope your trip is as productive as you wish it to be.

AM: Thanks for your good wishes and more importantly for taking the time to write and for your kind words.

RD: Thanks again for a unique, beneficial and extremely pleasant trip in Fla. It was the best as are you. We’re really looking forward to Bosque in November.

AM: Thanks and me too! And later and love, artie

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Burrowing Owl at nest, Cape Coral, Placida, FL
Image Copyright 2008: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-50D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/8. 9-point AI Servo AAFPS AF.

There is no substitute for knowing your equipment; with the bird’s head and breast presenting to me on pretty much the same plane, I went to a bit of extra d-o-f and with Automatic AF Point Selection. Burrowing Owls are pretty much guaranteed on the SW FLA IPTs


I will be teaching fewer and fewer IPTs each year. If you want to learn from the very best, do consider signing up ASAP.


“The Complete Bosque Experience.” NOV 21-27, 2009. Slide program on the evening of Friday, NOV 20. 7-FULL DAYS: $3199. Limit: 10/Openings: 4. Co-leaders Scott Bourne and others TBA.

Revised dates: SW FLA PRESIDENT’S DAY IPT: FEB 10-15, 2010

Slide program on the evening of FEB 9. Slide program on the evening of FEB 11. 6-FULL DAYS: $2799. Limit: 10/Openings: 8. Co-leaders: Alfred and Fabiola Forns. Escape winter’s icy grip and join me in Florida in the land of ridiculously tame birds. This IPT will visit Little Estero Lagoon which has been fantastic for the past three years (and been getting better each year), the Venice Rookery, several killer Burrowing Owl nests on Cape Coral, and several spots on Sanibel including Blind Pass, the Sanibel Fishing Pier, and the East Gulf beaches (for Snowy Plover). If we have a foggy drizzly morning we may visit Corkscrew Swamp and Sanctuary. We have arranged for morning low tides at Little Estero and a setting full moon for our Saturday visit to the Venice Rookery For the first time ever, we will not be visiting Ding Darling NWR as photographic opportunities there have been diminishing steadily for the past decade. As you can see, I am teaching less and less, taking fewer folks, and lengthening the IPTs to allow for a slightly more relaxed pace with repeat visits to the best locations.

A non-refundable deposit is required to hold a spot for each BAA IPT, Photo-Cruise, or Photo-Safari. Deposits may be paid by check, Paypal, or credit card. Payment in full (by check or money order) is due four months before the start of each trip is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out. You will be required to sign a statement of understanding to this effect. Travel insurance is of course highly recommended. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options, you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage, which expands the list of reasons for your canceling to an infinite list, from a sudden work or family obligation to a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. We regret that we must implement this new policy but we have recently been plagued by last minute cancellations that make it impossible for others to participate and deprive us of essential income.

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