December 7th, 2009

Birds As Art Bulletin #308



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Sandhill Crane drinking at dusk, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-7D. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/125 sec. at f/5.6.

I enjoyed sharing my silhouette (as her) and blasting highlight tips with the Bosque IPT group. Kevin Watson made a killer image on this evening with the handheld 400 DO. I hope that he sends me an 800 wide JPEG so that I can share it with you here.


Jim Liztenberg, Jennifer Morris, and I would like send everyone best wishes for a joyous holiday season. I will be visiting my Mom in Holbrook, Long Island. I leave today and will fly home on the 28th. My younger daughter Alissa and her two sons (Ilyas and Idris) have moved from Bratislava, Slovokia to Holtsville where they will be living for a while at least with my former wife Dana (mother of Jennifer and Alissa) and her 2nd husband, my good friend Grandpa Kenny Geils. Alissa’s wonderful husband Ajiniaz will be staying on in Bratislava while looking for a job in the US as an environmental biologist. Any and all leads are appreciated 🙂 Jennifer, husband Erik, and my first two grandkids, Sam and Maya, will also be be on Long Island for the holidays so it should be a great time for all. And I plan on taking lots of images of the grandkids.

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Snow Geese in the pre-dawn, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 200mm f/4L IS lens (handheld at 70mm) with the EOS-50D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/400 sec at f/5.6.

I think that this one is pretty good considering that I took it off the junk pile (after realizing that I could restore the sunrise colors after properly exposing the original and making it look drab). This image was created at a most unusual spots, a spot that you would not think of as a prime sunrise location. Folks who have purchased the Bosque Site Guide will be receiving their free updates this week; they will learn of this “new” sunrise location. If you have not received your update by this Thursday, please e-mail us at after checking your spam folder and checking your security settings. Please do not e-mail us before then unless you are traveling to Bosque this week. We will check you flights and motel reservations before we send 🙂 The original capture is below.

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To create the optimized file from the original I simply followed the steps in our digital workflow: ACR conversion (including raising the color temperature), Levels, Curves, Hue/Saturation, and Selective Color adjustments. All as described in detail in our Digital Basics PDF File: To see what others thought of this image click on the link to the BPN thread here:


First a word on the store. For the past several years we have done more than half a million dollars in mail order sales. That with a staff of two and half of a two-car garage as our warehouse. What gives? For well more than a decade folks have known that they can e-mail me for advice on cameras, lenses, tripods, heads, flash cards, and accessories. and lots of other photograph related topics. I have striven to answer each and every e-mail honestly and as promptly as possible. I share everything that I know.

At other on-line stores, you are often mystified by the large number of choices when the time comes to select a tripod, winter footwear, or a lens plate. With rare exception, the BIRDS AS ART On-Line Store sells only what I use. (We carry a few exceptions like the Wimberley Sidekick because of popular demand.) And most importantly, we do not carry junk. We will , therefore, never sell you junk. We know what works and what doesn’t work. We do not carry every photography book that is published. We only carry those that I have personally read, marveled over, enjoyed, and learned from. When I am offered a sample of a new product to test, I let the manufacturer know that I would be glad to test it, let folks know what I discovered, promote it and sell it if it is worthwhile, and return it in silence if it is is not. I cannot tell you how many times folks have said to me, “But if you say something good about it you will certainly be able to sell lots of them.” And while that is surely true, I just will not go there.


“The Art of Bird Photography” (soft cover) and “The Art of Bird Photography II (916 pages on CD only) Combo; on sale for $70. (Save 10 bucks.):

Know somebody who makes their images look worse in Photoshop? Get them a copy of Digital Basics (only $20/includes free annual updates):

Know someone who is pretty good in Photoshop and wants to get to the next level. Copies of APTATS I & II will help them grow their Quick Masking and Layer Masking skills (and the quality of their optimized images) by leaps and bounds:

Andy Rouse’s “Concepts of Nature” is sure to inspire all nature photographers as it has inspired me:

Know someone who likes to photograph in their backyard? We should begin shipping Alan Murphy’s “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography” towards the end of this week:

Are you headed to Africa to make some pictures? Todd Gustafson’s “A Photographer’s Guide to the Safari Experience” is a must:

Know a photographer with a tropical bent? “The Hummingbird Guide; How to Photograph Hummingbirds Using High-Speed Multiple Flash” by LINDA ROBBINS with Arthur Morris would be the perfect gift;

Would you like to share 20 years of winning images from the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competitions? The spectacular “Light on the Earth” will ring your chimes:

We are currently offering three different BIRDS AS ART Fine Art Canvas prints. Each would be the perfect gift for home or office: Collect five and the sixth one is free.

LensCoats, LegCoats, and Hoodies to protect your valuable investments and make your life easier:


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Arthur Morris with Heerman’s Gull, La Jolla, CA
Image Copyright 2009 and courtesy of Debbie Beals
Thanks Debbie for sending me this fine image.


Can you learn anything from the image above? Let us count the ways:

  1. Point your shadow at the subject, especially when working in fairly bright sun.
  2. Use fill flash with a Better Beamer when working with a long lens in bright sun; the flash will fill in the shadows. Appropriate flash settings would usually range from -1 stop to +1/3 stop.
  3. When you use a long lens with a teleconverter getting low is not as important as when you are using a shorter lens.
  4. When you are using a tripod-mounted long lens having an intermediate telephoto lens hanging by a camera strap on your shoulder is always a good plan; you may be able to use it to create some great flight or action images. A long lens is not always the best tool.
  5. When you will be working one area removing your vest and placing it in a safe (and dry) place can vastly reduce fatigue. (For information on the X-tra Hand Vest that I use and love, visit
  6. In situations like this, it is imperative that you work in manual exposure mode; as you can see here, the background is about to change from blue water to white breaking surf in an instant.
  7. Even when traveling to warm places, having a pair of NEOS overshoes along can be quite helpful. Not wanting to get salt water on my only pair of hiking boots, I donned my NEOS to keep them dry. NEOS are great for folks in snow and rain but they serve me well whenever and wherever I need to keep my feet dry. Learn more about NEOS or order a pair or two by scrolling down here: (Lots of folks purchase one pair to wear over their sneakers and a second larger pair for their hiking boots.
  8. Notice the wet sand on my left pants knee? Despite my desire to keep my boots dry I got between two large sandstone rocks and took a wave over the top of my NEOS. Notice my soaking wet butt? Earlier that morning I chose to sit down in a puddle to improve the sandpiper images that I was making. I’m reading “The Moment it Clicks,” a cool book of photography tips by Joe McNally. One of his tips: “Get your camera in a different place.” Though he happened to be talking about the top of the Empire State Building, the same lesson can be applied to nature photography. And you need to be willing to get your butt and your boots wet every so often.

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Heerman’s Gull, immature winter, La Jolla, CA
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4 X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/8. Flash did not fire.

This could be the bird in Debbie’s image. The best thing about this photo is the perfect head angle. hen the bird is facing away leaving only an over-the-shoulder portrait, having the head perfectly square to the back of the camera is almost the way to go.


Alan Murphy received 2,000 copies his “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography” in Houston late Friday. A thousand are on their way to BAA as we speak via UPS ground. We should have them on either Thursday or Friday (DEC 10 or 11). Jim will be working very hard as we have more than 500 orders to ship. Barring any delays, most if not all of those being mailed to US addresses should make it to their destinations before the holiday.

We should be receiving Robert O’Toole’s APTATS II quite soon after Alan’s songbird guide gets here. (It is being shipped directly to us.) Jim will do his best to get as many of those in the mail before the holiday but as we have stated from the get-go there will be no guarantee on that. Jennifer will be helping Jim out as time permits.

Thanks to all who pre-ordered. Note: once we receive Robert’s CDs the price will rise from $25 to $30. You can order now and save the 5 bucks.

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Marbled Godwit, La Jolla, CA
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm f/4 L DO lens (handheld) with the EOS-50D. ISO 200. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6.

This image got my boots flooded. I grabbed the 400 DO and left the 800 behind on the tripod. I was so close that the 800 would have been worthless. Not only did I need to get between the two huge rocks but I needed either to sit or to get down on one (also wet) knee to get low enough to create the image that I wanted. Getting down to the bird’s level will always yield more intimate images than those made when you are standing behind your tripod.


Here are Scott’s comments on the 7D as a still camera:

And here are two links to his comments on the 7D as a video DSLR: and

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Brown Pelican, California race, La Jolla, CA
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens handheld with the EOS-50-D. ISO 200. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3.

Though this is a gorgeous bird the pelicans will look a lot better in mid-January on the IPT than they did in mid-November. This image features an absolutely perfect head angle for this vertical head and neck portrait; turned about 3 degrees towards me.


I signed up another participant yesterday; this one could very well be sold out quite soon.

San Diego IPT JAN 13-17, 2010 5 Full Days: $2395 (Limit 8/Openings: 2)

Slide program on the evening of TUES 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: 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. La Jolla 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: 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.

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Western Sandpiper, winter plumage adult, La Jolla, CA
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
These are the birds that got me a wet butt! I took lots of images of the winter westerns in the shade a a house along the shoreline. When rapid firing, the flash will often not have enough time to recharge even with my external battery pack. That’s what happened here with the very best head position… The bird’s feathers are showing some noise as a result of my having had to lighten the image.


BIRDS AS ART proudly announces the limited sale of a classic Arthur Morris image, “Great Blue Herons Courtship.”

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This intimate and timeless image was created at the Venice Rookery in South Venice, Florida. It is the cover of the original and the reprinted “The Art of Bird Photography” and has thus become the signature image of Artie’s career. It was honored with the Grand Prize in Wildlife in the first-ever Nature’s Best Photography Contest.

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 is the third in the 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. Most folks viewing the canvas prints for the first time ask, “Is that a painting?”

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 25 prints sold will be priced at $349 plus $20 shipping and handling to all US addresses. Once 25 prints are sold, the price will rise to $474. The last five prints will sell for $599. (Please e-mail for prices on other sizes and for framing options.)

Prints ordered before December 20, 2009 may apply a $50 discount. The prints are in stock; all orders will ship immediately.

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, 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 “Great Blue Herons Courtship” will become a collector’s item; thank you for your support of Artie’s work.

Purchase any five limited edition canvas prints and receive a sixth free.


I will be presenting “Lenses for Nature Photography BIRDS AS ART-Style for the Nature and Wildlife Photographers of Long Island group in Bay Shore on December 8, 2009 at Bay Shore High School. After a short break I will present an optional Photoshop session for those who wish to stay on. For directions click here: This program is free and open to the public.

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$6395 ALL INCLUSIVE FROM OAHU. Co-leaders: Arthur Morris & Joe Van Os. Limit: 12/Openings: 5. For complete information, details including registration information click here:

BOSQUE del APACHE 2010 IPT: “The Complete Bosque Experience.” NOV 20-26, 2010

Slide program on the evening of Friday, NOV 19. 7-FULL DAYS: $3199. (Non-refundable deposit: $500; see details below.) Limit: 10. Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole and Jim Heupel. Live, eat, and breathe photography with one of (if not the) world’s premier photographic educators at his very favorite locations on the planet. Plus two great co-leaders and lots of top-notch Photoshop instruction.

A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold a spot for this IPT. Deposits may be paid by check, PayPal, or credit card. Payment in full (by check or money order only) 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. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check of running your credit card. We regret that we must implement this new policy but we have been plagued by last minute cancellations that make it impossible for others to participate and deprive us of essential income.

Important note: please print, fill out, and sign the registration and release forms and include them with your deposit check (made out to “Arthur Morris.” ) If you use a credit card to register, please fill out, sign, and mail the two forms asap. Your registration will not be complete until we receive your paper work. You can find the forms here: and Release Forms.pdf.


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/Sold Out. Please e-mail me if you are interested in next year’s trip.

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