October 19th, 2009

Birds As Art Bulletin #302


  • GALAPAGOS 2010
  • ALAN MURPHY’S “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography”

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Pink Sunrise with tern, Little St. Simons Island, GA
Image Copyright 2008 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the 2X II TC and the EOS-40D. (Manual focus.) ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/8.

Most folks who see this image think that the pink was created in Photoshop; actually, this is exactly what it looked like on that deserted beach on the morning of May 19, 2008. We get several e-mails each week from folks who do not understand why their Canon 50D camera bodies (or with other pro-sumer bodies like the 40D) do not autofocus with the 1.4X TC on an f/5.6 lens or with the 2X TC and an f/4 lens. Simply put, these camera are designed to autofocus only to a maximum effective aperture of f/5.6…. Canon pro-bodies will AF to a maximum effective aperture of f/8 so in both of the situations above, the pro bodies would autofocus.

Read on to learn what this and the next two images have in common.




See here for details, location, directions, and to register: http://www.focusphotoclub.com/arthurmorris.html

In this practical and educational slide program you we will learn which Canon lenses I use to create a variety of my amazing images, how, why, and when I use each of them, and what I am thinking as I depress the shutter button. Many folks will be surprised to learn that a long lens with a teleconverter is often not the best tool for the job. A selection of books, educational materials, and prints will be available for purchase.

Please note these important basics for the Friday evening program: Date & time: Friday Nov 6th, 2009, 6:30pm. Free with a non-perishable food item for the Dayton Foodbank. Location: Wegerzyn Gardens. Please register here: http://www.focusphotoclub.com/arthurmorris.html


DAYTON, OH. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2009: 9am-5:30pm. (Lunch break noon til 1:30pm)

LOCATION: Cox Arboretum, 6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton, OH 45449 (937-434-9006) Limit: 48: 9 seats left.

There will be two programs on Saturday morning. The first will be “Composition and Image Design.” The second will be “Tips on Getting Close.” Each segment will feature well more than a hundred spectacular images and will include the tips, techniques, and ideas that I have learned, developed, and refined over the past 26 plus years. The afternoon session will cover understanding and adjusting histograms in the field, the complete BAA digital workflow (including ACR conversions), and a slew of simple, easy to learn Photoshop tips including the use of the Clone Stamp, the amazing Patch Tool, creating and using Quick Masks for dozens of applications, and the Average Blur Color Balance trick among others. I like to work quickly yet have my images look great. There will be a 30-minute break morning and afternoon. Whether you photograph general nature or just birds, all who attend will leave as better photographers.

(Do note that the Saturday seminar will be a continuation of the free Friday evening program; Saturday registrants are urged to attend Friday night if at all possible.)

The cost of the Saturday Seminar is $159. Members of participating camera clubs may apply a $15 discount. In addition, $15 from each registration fee will be split and donated to the Dayton Foodbank and to Five Rivers Metro Parks. Students under 22 years of age with a valid driver’s license and a student ID may register for $99. With a strict limit of 48 attendees, registration is by phone only: please call 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand. Due to the short notice the registration fee is non-refundable. We will be here pretty much all day every day to process your registration; feel free to call between 7am and 9pm seven days a week.

Register with a friend or a spouse and apply a $15 discount to each reservation. To encourage out of town folks to register, those traveling more than 150 miles or flying to the event, may apply a $50 discount to registration fee.

See you there! A selection of books, CDs, and prints will be available for purchase on Saturday.

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Beach grass in fresh snow, Jones Beach State Park, Long Island, NY
Image copyright 2008: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 15mm fish eye lens handheld with the Canon EOS-1D MIII. Bubble Level. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops: 1/200 sec. at f/9.

To say that I was captivated by the beauty of the grasses in the snow would be an understatement… I created this image right along side the parking lot at West End. Have you figured it out yet?


I received this e-mail this morning at 9:45am. It put a huge smile in my heart and more than a few tears in my eyes.

Hello Mr. Morris, My name is Nelson Gonzalez. I don’t know if you remember me, but you were my sixth grade teacher at P.S. 106 (Class 6-306) in the late 70’s. I’m the one who played the rich guy in the Happy Days play that we did (Cynthia, please come along, the cocktail guests are waiting at the club.”) I was browsing the net and came across BIRDS AS ART. As I looked at the pictures, I was caught by surprise when I came across a picture of you. I’m happy you followed your dream after teaching for so many years. Now I know why you always took our class on trips to Gateway National Park and to natural history museums. I just wanted to take the time to let you know that you had a big impact on my life. From all the grades, I have fond memories of being a student in your class. I remember you taking students to your home and your wife serving us spaghetti and meatballs. I don’t know how many other students have told you that you were a great teacher, but I felt the need to tell you. Although we came from a poor and rough neighborhood, you gave your students hope by teaching us that we could accomplish anything if we put our minds to work.

I wanted to tell you that I came out okay. I joined the Navy after high school and served 6 years. After the Navy, I attended Long Island University, and I now work as a relationship manager at a bank. I have been married for 21 years and have 2 daughters and a son. My oldest daughter Melissa is a junior in college. Denise is a senior in high school and Nelson Jr. is a junior. Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Mr. Morris, thank you for being my giant. Take care and I hope to hear from you.

Nelson Gonzalez, U.S. Bank Corporate Trust Services


Note: most BAA specialty trips and cruises almost always fill after being announced to the BIRDS AS ART Friend’s List that includes all the nice folks who have attended IPTs. The Midway trip below was filled but we have had a cancellation that is being announced publicly for the first time here.

Midway Island, richly steeped in WWII history, has been a fabled wildlife photography destination for decades. For quite a while recently, it was CLOSED. Period. A year or two ago, two companies were—after highly competitive bidding—awarded franchise permits allowing each to run something like four week-long trips a year. I have been asked by one of the franchise holders, Joe Van Os, to lead one of those trips as a BAA IPT under his auspices.

If you have no idea what you will find at Midway, or have no desire to go, check out this slide program: http://www.photosafaris.com/photography-trips-2010/midway-photo-tour/midway-slideshow/.

If you know about Midway and have been dying to get there, skip to the registration info below and call us immediately. .

Here are the basic details:


$6395 ALL INCLUSIVE FROM OAHU. Co-leaders: Joe Van Os and Robert O’Toole. Limit: 12 or 13—not sure at present.

Fly to Honolulu. Show up at the Charter Aircraft Hangar about mid-day on March 8. Arrive Midway after dark on the 8th and leave Midway after dark on the 15th. That makes seven full days of photography: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15. Your hotel on the night of the 15th is included. Fly home on the 16th. Arriving a day early to get acclimated is advised. Details on that to follow.

While many trips are advertised as once in a lifetime, this one may very well be that once in a lifetime opportunity as there is constant talk that each season may be the very last. March is a perfect time as we will see albatross courtship behaviors and chicks.

Quoting Joe: “Imagine hundreds of thousands of courting Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses from horizon to horizon, comical fuzzy chicks in such numbers you can trip over them, the Red-tailed tropicbirds’ incredible aerial courtship maneuvers, and Fairy Terns balancing their one egg on an eye-level tree limb and you can get a sense of this place. But wait, there’s more! Nesting Red-footed Boobies, Great Frigatebirds in full courtship display with inflated red gular pouches, bow-riding spinner dolphins, green sea turtles, endangered Hawaiian monk seals and Laysan Ducks!”

Midway is a world renowned wildlife photography destination that ranks right up there with Antarctica, East Africa, and the Galapagos. At present there is only a single opening on this trip (but we may have room for one more after that; I will know for sure when Joe Van Os gets back from Africa. If you are a happy camper and wish to register for this trip (the deposit is $800) call 863-692-0906 immediately for registration instructions. Leave a message to hold your spot or call us right back as I would be shocked if this single opening lasted more than a few minutes after the Bulletin is sent. We will have a waiting list in case there is another spot opens up.

Please e-mail me if you are interested in a 2011 Midway trip: birdsasart@att.net. (Remember: happy campers only.)

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Snow Geese, skeins against stormy sky, Bosque Del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 2008: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 28-300mm L IS lens (handheld at 50mm) with the Canon EOS-1D MIII. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/8.

While doing a good deed last Thanksgiving afternoon I was well rewarded. When we left Socorro it was raining. The recipients of the good deed wanted to know if it was “worth it” to go to the refuge. I said, “At Bosque, we pray for bad weather. Clear skies and the challenging northwest winds are all too common.” As we drove north on the East Farm Loop Road and admired the incredible clouds, long skeins of geese filled the skies, but the sun angle was wrong. When we got to the area just before the Farm Deck, the sun angle was perfect but there were no birds. I decided to hang out for a bit. In only a few minutes ore birds from the corn fields in the far north end of the refuge once again filled the skies. Above is the image that I had visualized as we headed north….

Got it yet? The three images above made it to the final round of judging in the 2009 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. None was awarded a prize. Lots of curious stuff here. None of these images are representative of my style: clean and tight images of birds with backgrounds or pure color. And do note that only one of the three was created with a telephoto lens. Of the three the geese with the stormy sky is my favorite but I liked many of my other entries a lot better. It is difficult to try and figure out which images will do well in any contest. I have had six images honored in the BBC contest (but only one in the past several years; I guess I am getting worse 🙂


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Blue-footed Booby feet with eggs, Punta Suarez, Hood Island, Galapagos, Ecuador
Image copyright 2008: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L L IS lens (handheld at 145mm) with the Canon EOS-1D MII. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/100 sec. at f/8.

Though this was one of my first-ever Galapagos images, it is still one of my favorites. I have since switched from the f/2.8 L IS to the f/4L IS saving both weight and packing space.

As noted above, most BAA specialty trips and cruises almost always fill after being announced to the BIRDS AS ART Friend’s List that includes the nice folks who have attended IPTs. The Galapagos trip below had been filled but we have had a single female (to share a berth on the ship) cancellation that is being announced publicly for the first time here.

Before you read on, do realize that if you are a serious photographer and plan on attending a standard Galapagos tourist cruise you will be incredibly frustrated by their late starts, the limited time on each island, and their early departures just when the light is getting nice. But after all, breakfast at 8 and dinner at 6pm sharp are important to non-photographer tourists. On a BAA Galapagos cruise we will exhaust you But you will surely enjoy the countless incredible photo opps that we will experience.

2010 Galapagos Photo Cruise IPT of a Lifetime/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience

13 1/2 days of photography plus the last morning panga ride: $10,999.

Fly to Quito: July 4, 2010. Travel insurance and rest day: July 5 (optional hummingbird day trip). Fly to Galapagos, board boat: July 6. Fly back to Quito: July 20. Fly home: July 21

Cost: $10,999 includes three nights in the luxury hotel–the Hilton Quito Colon, round trip airfare to and from Baltra, all meals on the boat, killer buffet lunch with the tortoises!, all park fees and related costs, all transfers, and a five star thank you dinner on the evening of July 13th.

Includes 13 full and one half day of photography plus a 90 minute early am panga ride on the last morning. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. The greatest ever itinerary. By far. We visit every great spot on a single trip. I have been to most but there are several new exciting stops that I am thrilled about, most with nesting frigatebirds. The great spots that I have visited on various trips will include: Tower Island (including Prince Phillips Steps and Darwin Bay), Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world’s only nesting site of the Waved Albatross, and Gardner Bay)—each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway), Fernandina, Peurto Ayora for the tortoises, Puerto Egas—James Bay, North Seymour, South Plaza, Black Turtle Cove, Floreana, Urbina Bay, China Hat, and I believe Rabida. Plus tons more.

And the world’s greatest Galapagos guide. By far. We will be the first boat on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island every afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast weather, we often spend as long as 6 ½ hours on our morning sessions. Midday snorkeling will be an option on most sunny days depending on location.

Note: some of the walks are strenuous. Great images are possible on all landings with a hand held 70-200mm lens (but I will have my 800 with me :).

Not included: Your round-trip airfare from your home to and from Quito, beverages, phone calls, and the $500/person tip for the guide and the crew.

Strictly limited to 12 photographers plus the leader.

This year’s hugely successful trip consisted of 5 full and ½ day of photography. At $6,999, this worked out to $1272.55 per day of photography. None-the-less, all 13 of the photographer clients were beyond thrilled with the trip. The 2010 trip will represent an incredible value at $812.33 per day of photography.

If you would like to join us, a $5,000 non-refundable deposit is due immediately. As there is—at this time—only one opening, that for a lady photographer (with a shared berth on the ship), please call us at 863-692-0906 before sending your deposit check. If you are the lucky lady, you will be asked to print, sign, and return these two forms: https://www.birdsasart.com/baacom/Registration%20and%20Release%20Forms.pdf along with your deposit check.

Two additional non-refundable payments as follows: $3000 due on NOV 1, 2009. Final payment: $2,999 FEB 1, 2009. $400 off the total if you register with a friend or a spouse; $200 off per person on the final payment.

Travel insurance is beyond highly recommended. No payments will be refunded unless a replacement is secured. I just learned of a Midway registrant who had a quadruple bypass operation….

I hope that you can join me for what will be an extraordinary trip. Photographers of any sex who are happy campers are invited to e-mail if they are interested in receiving early notice on the 2011 Galapagos Photo-Cruise IPT.

ALAN MURPHY’S “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography”

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Alan Murphy’s “Songbird Set-up Photography Guide.” Available December, 2009. We have accepted 500 pre-publication orders for this runaway best seller. We are and will continue to accept pre-orders at the full price.

The book is lavishly illustrated not only with Alan’s killer images but with dozens and dozens of step-by-step photos that will show you exactly how to create your own successful set-ups. The writing is clear and concise and the directions are easy-to-follow and inclusive. As Alan shows in the book, if you have only a small backyard, heck, even just a patio or a balcony, he can help you to create some stunning avian images on a consistent basis.

BIRDS AS ART is currently accepting pre-publication orders for Alan Murphy’s Guide to Songbird Set-Up Photography (SSUP). The professionally designed, packaged, and burned CD will be available some time in December, 2009. It will sell for $50 plus $3.00 shipping and handling to US addresses. Shipping to Canada is $6.00. It is $8.00 for all foreign orders. Florida residents will need to add 7% sales tax ($3.50) on the cost of the CD only. (Note: Shipping charges with BAA On-line Store orders will likely vary by small amounts from those noted above.)

We are still accepting pre-orders for Alan Murphy’s Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography. You can send us a Paypal, call us at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand, or order SSUP from the BAA On-line Store (with secure credit card data transmission) by clicking here: Alan Murphy’s “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography”.

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Snow Geese, “Blizzard in Blue,” Bosque Del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 1998: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm f/5.6L lens (tripod-mounted) with the Canon A2 body. Fuji Velvia pushed one stop to ISO 100. Evaluative metering +1/2 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/5.6.

This image, created less than two weeks after Elaine’s death in 1994, was my first (and most highly) BBC-honored image. It was runner-up in the Composition and Form category in the 1998 competition. To create a similar look on a cloudy morning, try setting your White Balance to 3,000. (As long as you are using RAW capture as all serious photographers should be, you can change the White Balance after the fact.)


For the past 14 years I have visited Bosque during the holiday season in part to honor the memory of my late-wife, Elaine Belsky Morris. And for more years than I can remember, I have hosted a Thanksgiving Luncheon for visiting photographers and birders. For years it was held at the Val Verde Steakhouse in Socorro. When that closed, we traveled up I-25 to the wonderful and historic Luna Mansion. Now that that facility has closed, we will be holding this year’s luncheon at the Stage Door Grille (http://www.stagedoorgrill.net/) in Socorro. In part due to my frantic pleading, Terry Eilers will be open this Thanksgiving Day.

Here’s the menu: Choice of turkey or ham, stuffing, mashed potato and gravy, vegetable, and choice of apple or pecan pie. Vegetarian special: eggplant parmigiana. Soft drink and tip are included: $20.

If you would like to join us please send a check made out to “Arthur Morris” for $20 to us here:

Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
PO Box 7245 4041Granada Drive
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855

Sorry: no credit cards or Paypals for this party.

Please note “Thanksgiving Luncheon” on your check. If you are registered for the The Complete BOSQUE Experience 2009 IPT, not to worry: this one’s on me.

If you are gonna be in Socorro, you should consider joining us as good food is scarce there on Thanksgiving Day. And the event has always been a feel-good one.

Note: Whether you are visiting Bosque for the first time or have been there many times, a BIRDS AS ART Site Guide is the next best thing to attending an IPT: https://store.birdsasart.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=19.


One of the principles that we teach at Bosque (and other locations as well) is that of the clean lower edge. Unless you are creating a pure pattern image of a massed flock of birds it is almost always best to frame your image so that the lower edge does not clip any standing birds along the bottom frame edge. If at all possible, leave a strip of dirt, mountain, vegetation, or water along the bottom edge of the frame.

For an interesting discussion of this concept, check out this BPN thread here: http://birdphotographers.net/forums/showthread.php?t=46593. (Note: Mike Landwehr’s image was created on a BAA IPT )

Below are two examples of the clean lower edge. To see lots more examples, simply do a search in the Bulletin Archives for “Bosque Trip or IPT Reports.” (It is a common theme with many of my Bosque images including “Fire in the Mist.”

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Snow Geese, “Orange Dawn Fly-in,” ” Bosque Del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens (tripod-mounted at 148mm) with the Canon EOS-1Dn Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/50 sec. at f/11.

When a flock of birds does not present itself on a flat plane it is best to go for some extra depth-of-field so that the closest birds are not distractingly out of focus. In most years this is a typical pre-dawn scene. Clear weather is abundant at Bosque; you need to be in place early to capture the boldest pre-dawn color, but even if you are there in time, you still need the birds An intermediate telephoto zoom is my #1 choice at dawn in Bosque.

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Snow Geese, “Cornfield Zoom Blur,” ” Bosque Del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 2004: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (handheld at 235mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/10.

Even when creating zoom blurs I strive for the clean lower edge. Detailed instructions for creating zoom blurs can be found on Page 257 of the spreads version of ABP II (The Art of Bird Photography II/916 pages on CD only): https://store.birdsasart.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=32


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The 2009 Bosque Open Windows Volunteer Crew, Bosque Del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
From left to right: Kathleen Hilley, Debbie and Jerry Stevens, Christian Cho, Steve Garner, Gary Rouleau and Bill Lloyd.

The Bosque Open Windows Volunteer Project that I founded last year was a great success, and thanks to lots of hard work by Gary Rouleau and the rest of his 2009 crew, a ton accomplished on their recent week-long visit (September 26-Oct 2). I was unable to attend this year due to a scheduling conflict. Each of the folks in the image above traveled to Socorro on their own dime and worked very hard to improve photographic conditions at the refuge. Shawn Gillette and John Vradenberg were the point men at the refuge. The Socorro Super 8 once again donated lodging for the entire group for their whole stay so a big time kudos to Louise Darnell and her staff. In addition to supporting this project the Super 8 has also hosted the NANPA Scholarship students on a complimentary basis. The rooms at the Super 8 are clean and neat and they serve the earliest breakfast in town; in view of the support that they have consistently provided to the nature photography community, be sure to call then for a reservation whenever you will be staying in Socorro: 575-835-4626. (Note the new area code.) The motel is located right off of I-25 at the north end of town next to K-Bob’s. (Note: the folks at K-Bob’s have also been exceedingly generous in supporting various nature photography endeavors and they likewise deserve your patronage. The fajitas are great.

Here are some e-mail notes from Gary:

Hi Artie, Well we now are four days into the cleanup. The Animals worked as usual, full steam ahead. We have cleaned up eight windows so far. The overgrowth is incredible this year. We cleaned two windows on the farm loop they should work very well as cut them really low. The crew is looking pretty beat. It has been more than 85 degrees each day, often with no wind. Debbie Stevens took a fall and broke her wrist. I really hope the folks at Bosque keep their promises to us as they did last year; the flooding has begun but there is still lots of work that needs to be done before the birds (and the photographers) return.

I’ll re-visit in a week or two to check out the progress and to put the finishing touches on a few windows if we do not get to them. Gary. (9/30/2009 at 7:59 pm.)


Hey Artie, We had to re-do a few windows; it was six times harder than it was the first time around. Each limb we cut last year grew six to ten new branches. Debbie was a real trooper; on the day she broke her wrist—first thing in the morning—she waited until we finished working at around 4:00 pm to go to the hospital. The next day she was right there pulling cut branches of out the ditches with one hand. The break was a clean one so she should have no problems, she just can’t draw or paint for awhile. When the swelling goes down she’ll get a cast. We cleared eight big windows in six days and plus cleaned up a lot of tall brush off to the left of the flight deck. The view from there is pretty much wide open now. Jerry Stevens is going to get his tractor permit so that he can do some plowing at the Bosque next year. Me too! We both are hoping to plant corn next year and do lots of mowing.

The Bosque management promised that the slope cutting along the ditches at the farm loop would be done as it was last year. In addition, they stated that they will put up a new snag closer to the flight deck. We would like to thank Super 8 for the rooms and the Stage Door for a great meal. We’ll be back next year again. Best, Gary. (10/9/09 at 9:52 am.)

When you are at Bosque enjoying clear unobstructed views of the geese and cranes this year, be sure to remember the hard work that was done by this incredible volunteer group. Thank you notes may be sent to Gary Rouleau here: garyrouleau@comcast.net. I am sure that he will be glad to forward your note to the group.


Jim Neiger

Fly South with the Birds/2010 Winter Workshops

Ah… Winter in Florida! Enjoy warm temperatures, dry sunny days, and an abundance of birds that make Florida their home for the winter. It’s the perfect winter setting for birds and photographers.

Flight School Photography is pleased to announce three new “Fly South with the Birds” winter workshops in central Florida. Your instructor and guide, Jim Neiger, is intimately familiar with this region and its avian subjects; he knows the hotspots like no one else. He is the author of the Central Florida Site Guide and several articles about the birds of central Florida. Jim is also well known for his awesome images of birds in flight obtained by using his pioneering techniques for hand-holding long telephoto lenses.

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Red-winged Blackbird attacking Snail Kite
Image copyright 2008: Jim Neiger/Flight School Photography

Each of the Fly South with the Birds winter workshops will include eight 3 to 4 hour photo sessions: four photo sessions via boat and four photo sessions on land. You will photograph many different species of birds in a variety of habitats. The list of possible subjects is too long to include here but includes Snail Kite, Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Red Shouldered Hawk, Crested Caracara, Osprey, Whooping Crane, numerous wading birds, song birds, woodpeckers, ducks, etc.

Each 5-Day workshops will begin with an afternoon classroom session; you will learn the techniques for hand-holding long telephoto lenses to photograph birds in flight. You will also learn how to safely use recorded bird songs to increase your photographic opportunities. The classroom session will be followed by 4 full days in the field. The group will explore remote and highly productive areas of central Florida. The boat sessions will give us access to some of the most difficult and desirable subjects: Snail Kite, the rarest raptor in North America, is the star of the show. Refreshments will be provided during all sessions.

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Barred Owl in flight
Image copyright 2008: Jim Neiger/Flight School Photography

Jim’s 2007 pontoon boat was purchased and customized specifically for photography; it is roomy, comfortable, and stable. The boat is equipped with an extremely quiet, four-stroke motor for silent cruising. It also has a powerful, silent, electric trolling motor with wireless remote control. This allows Jim to position the boat precisely. The boat can be configured with no top, a half canopy to provide shelter from sun and rain, or with a half enclosure that can completely protect participants from the elements. The boat has a capacity of twelve people, but Jim limits the number of participants to only 5 so that everyone has room to photograph in comfort.

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Bald Eagle returning to nest with American Coot
Image copyright 2008: Jim Neiger/Flight School Photography


FSB-1: January 16-20, 2010

FSB-2: January 30-February 3, 2010

FSB-3: February 13-17, 2010

Workshop Cost and payment:

The cost of each workshop is $1400 per person and includes a four hour formal classroom instructional session, a welcome dinner, and morning photography and afternoon photography sessions each day. A $700 non-refundable deposit is required. The remaining $700 is due 45 days before the start date of the workshop. If you are unable to attend the workshop after paying the balance your payment will be refunded only if your spot can be filled on short notice from the waiting list. All workshop payments must be made by check or money order. Credit cards are not accepted. Please make checks payable to Flight School Photography, Inc. and send them to: Flight School Photography, Inc., Jim Neiger, 550 Basin Drive, Kissimmee, Fl 34744

Participant Requirements:

Participants should be able to create a properly exposed image, have a telephoto lens of 400mm or more (a 300mm with a teleconverter is acceptable), and be physically capable of holding their camera and lens up to their eye in shooting position for at least 20 seconds. Participants must also have a vehicle to travel to and from the photography locations.

Contact Info: Phone: 407-247-5200. Email: jimn@cfl.rr.com.

Flight School website: www.flightschoolphotography.com. Jim will be happy to provide you with any additional information that you may need.


Great news: Todd Gustafson will be joining me as co-leader on the San Diego IPT. Check out Todd’s spectacular images from Brazil (including some killer jaguars) here: http://gustafsonphotosafari.net/galleries/brazil2009/index.html

San Diego IPT JAN 13-17, 2010 5 Full Days: $2395 (Limit 8/Openings: 4)

Slide program on the evening of TUE JAN 12. Payment in full is due now. We can accept your $500 deposit via credit card and will await the check for your balance. You may pay your deposit with either a personal check or with a credit card and a phone call (863-692-09060. To complete a valid registration, please fill out and complete the Registration and the Release & Assumption of Risk forms that can be found here: https://www.birdsasart.com/baacom/Registration and Release Forms.pdf If you call with a credit card to register, please be sure to print, sign, and return the Registration and the Release & Assumption of Risk forms within ten days.

The gate at the Cave Store Cliffs has been unlocked for many, many months and my understanding is that the fence has now been removed as well. (Though I am not quite positive on the cause and effect here I do know that Scott Bourne had a show-cause order filed with regards to public access at this location.)

We will get to photograph killer breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with the red bill pouches at close range and in flight. Santee Lakes will yield close-up Wood Ducks and lots more; White Pelicans are likely there. LaJolla Shores Beach will yield Marbled Godwits in beautiful buff reflections and this spot and Coronado will give us chances on a variety of gorgeous gulls and several shorebird species as well. I selected dates that feature perfect tides for both our morning and afternoon coastal locations. And we will have extensive time for image review and Photoshop techniques.

100 Reasons to Register for the San Diego IPT You can view a gallery with my 100 favorite San Diego images here: www.birdsasart.com/sandiego800. Click on the first image to see and then click on next to view the images as a slide show. Scroll down to see the EXIF data for each image (including those above and below). Then send your deposit check 🙂 I do hope that you can join us.

Note: Whether you are visiting San Diego for the first time or have been there many times, a BIRDS AS ART Site Guide is the next best thing to attending an IPT: https://store.birdsasart.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=19.


BOSQUE del APACHE 2009 IPT: “The Complete Bosque Experience.” NOV 21-27, 2009

Slide program on the evening of Friday, NOV 20. 7-FULL DAYS: $3199. (Non-refundable deposit: $500; see details below.) Limit: 10/Openings: 1. Co-leaders: Scott Bourne and Robert O’Toole. Live, eat, and breathe photography with one of (if not the) world’s premier photographic educators at one of his very favorite locations on the planet. Plus two great co-leaders and lots of Photoshop instruction.


Slide program on the evening of FEB 9. Slide program on the evening of FEB 11. 6-FULL DAYS: $2799. (Non-refundable deposit: $500.) Limit: 10/Openings: 1. Co-leaders: Tim Grey and Alfred and Fabiola Forns.

Imagine having Photoshop guru Tim Grey at your side to answer your Photoshop questions for 6 full days! 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 of $500 is required to hold a spot for each of the above IPTs. 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 and 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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