December 18th, 2009

Birds As Art Bulletin #310


  • ALAN MURPHY’S “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography” IN STOCK AND SHIPPING NOW!

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Harlequin Duck, drake on seaweed covered rock, Barnegat Inlet, NJ
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6 L IS lens with a 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/8 set manually. One-shot AF on the eye and recompose with the central AF sensor.

Drive more than three hours, show up at a new spot totally blind, find my way to the jetty, and make a pleasing image of the number 1 target species within the hour. You gotta love that. At +1 stop I had a few blinkies do I went a third darker to ensure a perfect exposure.


Though I was photographing for the last ten years that I lived in New York City I never made it to the famed Barnegat Jetty in winter to try for Harlequin Duck and Purple Sandpiper. Yesterday afternoon I visited for the first time. To read my thoughts on photographing safely from rock jetties see the two blog posts from last night here: So what makes me an expert on jetty photography after a single visit? I spent more than two decades fishing from rock jetties in and around New York City often in the pitch dark.

How dangerous is the Barnegat Jetty? You can read what I think in the blog posts above. It is dangerous enough to kill you if you are not careful. Think that I am being overly dramatic; check out this thread:

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Purple Sandpiper in shade, Barnegat Inlet, NJ
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6 L IS lens with the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/50 sec. at f/5.6. AI Servo central sensor on the breast AF.

This species spends most of its time on wave tossed rocks in the shade. This image was made just before 9am so I was glad for the shade especially since we had wind against sun conditions.

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Purple Sandpiper in sun, Barnegat Inlet, NJ
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6 L IS lens with the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/13. One-Shot AF; focused on the eye and recomposed.

This is the same individual as in the frame above it. I got as far to the left as possible. If I had gone for the perfect sun angle I would have been swimming 🙂


I have been besieged by questions about the Canon EOS-7D and the Canon EOS-Mark IV. As careful readers know, I have not had much time with either of these cameras and at present am only able to answer in generalities. I am hoping to get my two Mark IV bodies very soon and have ordered a 7D as well. If all goes according to plan, I may publish a 7D/Mark IV Users guide in late January. Until then, please hold your questions 🙂

Here is one of the many from Carl Zanoni:

AM: Hi Carl, re:

CZ: For the past 2 days I’ve been using the 7D on perched & flying gulls plus a few mallards.


CZ: I’m not sure I have the focus points or other settings done properly. I’m using the AF point expansion manual selection (3) p89, C.Fn III-6 with the central point plus 4 satellite points making a vertically oriented cross.

AM: BPN’s Doug Brown uses that and loves it.

CZ: I also set the sharpness parameter to 3 in the camera per p 66 in the 7D instruction manual. I find the 7D instruction manual to be very hard to understand.

AM: I glanced at it and found it helpful and fairly easy to follow. But I agree that they should hire me to write those things!

CZ: I’ve converted the images with DPP & LR3 beta. My judgment is that the 7D images are not as sharp as those I’ve gotten with the 40D & have more noise than the 40D images.

AM: Some folks agree with the former and very few with the latter (assuming that you are exposing well to the right). The 7D is much more like the Mark III than the 40D and the 50D when it comes to EXP. I have made some fabulously sharp images with the 7D body that I borrowed.

CZ: How do I learn your settings for the 7D?

AM: I have not used the camera enough yet to know anything definitively other than to say that most of the stuff is set the same way as the MIII. There are some new features that I still need to learn.

CZ: Your 40D settings guide in BAA Bulletin #268 was a real service to all.

AM: I may get to do that for the 7D at some point or I may decide to do a MIV/7D Users Guide.

CZ: Are you routinely getting images from the 7D as sharp as those from a 40D or 50D?

AM: Usually yes and sometimes no, but I am still learning the camera and as you know there are many AF options. Sorry to be on the fence but I have simply not used the camera a ton yet and such judgments are extremely subjective.

CZ: Sorry to bother you with this stuff because you are a very busy guy. If you do not have time to respond, I understand.

AM: I have done my best above briefly but honestly.

CZ: Hope you did well with the Canada Geese the other day & that your feet are a lot warmer now.

am: You might enjoy this, my answer to a guy who wanted to know which had better AF, the 7D or the Mark IV: I suspect that both will work pretty well most of the time, that most out-of-focus images will be due to operator error, and that the best photographers will continue to make the best images when using either of those cameras. Later and love, artie

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Scaup incoming (above and below), Jamaica Bay WR, Queens, NY
Image Copyright 2009: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm f/4 L DO lens (handheld) with the EOS-7D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/7.1 set manually.

One thing that I know for sure about 7D AF is that when you have all points active and a flock of birds is blasting right at you, the AF system performs superbly.

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Nashoba Valley Photo Club, Chelmsford, MA Presents and Afternoon with Robert O’Toole.

Saturday, February 6, 2010, 1 to 4 PM, Doors open at noon. Radisson Hotel, 10 Independence Drive, Chelmsford , MA . Door prizes provided by the event co-sponsors: Hunt’s Photo and Video and Sigma. Seminar Info: Hunt’s Photo and Video will have a variety of products for sale. Space is limited. Please RSVP by December 15, 2009. $20 Fee. (Make checks payable to NVPC)


Advances Photoshop Tips and Techniques Simplified II is in stock and shipping. Jim is doing his very best to have them all in the hands of US purchasers by December 24th but as we said from the get-go, it will be down to the wire for most.

APTATS II includes sample images for each tutorial so that you can easily follow along and practice. Dozens and dozens and dozens more screen captures will make your trip through each tutorial both pain-free and mistake-free. After working the sample images you can try each technique on some suitable images of your own. In short order you will own the techniques. Once that happens you will find countless new uses for the techniques. For me the great revelation that I garnered from APTATS II is that using Layer Masks (paint with black to hide, paint with white to restore) and Hide All Layer Masks is actually simple. And if you do make a small error while painting, you can simply hit X and paint to correct your error. (When using a Quick Mask you need to go back in History in order to correct mistakes.)

Here are the tutorials in APTATS II:

  • Composition Correction: Increase Lead Room Without Cropping/Basic
  • Composition Correction: Increase Lead Room Without Cropping/Intermediate
  • Composition Correction: Increase Space Near a Frame Edge/Advanced
  • Super-Fast Element Removal: Basic
  • Super-Fast Element Removal Plus Composition Improvement
  • Gradient Background Blur
  • Mask Blending for Mega-Depth-of-Field
  • Selective Highlight Detail Enhancement
  • Selective Noise Reduction and Sharpening
  • Selective Sharpening with Finely Detailed Edges
  • Average Blur Color Balance Trick

APTATS II is a professionally designed, packaged, and burned CD. Order yours today for $30 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 ($2.10) on the cost of the CD only. You can send us a PayPal, call us at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand, or order APTATS II from the BAA On-line Store (with secure credit card data transmission) by clicking here: (Note: Shipping charges with BAA On-line Store orders may vary by small amounts from those noted above.)

ALAN MURPHY’S “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography” IN STOCK AND SHIPPING NOW!

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Jim Litzenberg took the first batch of Alan’s great CD book to the post office on Friday. He will be hard at work this week in an effort to get them to all US purchasers before December 25th. Please be patient as we are doing the best we can. Overseas folks will need to be patient as we are at the mercy of the foreign post offices….

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, even if you have only a small backyard, or even just a patio or a balcony, he can help you to create some stunning avian images on a consistent basis.

The professionally designed, packaged, and burned CD is now in stock and available. It sells 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. You can send us a PayPal, call us at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand, or order SSUPG from the BAA On-line Store (with secure credit card data transmission) by clicking here: Alan Murphy’s “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography” (Note: Shipping charges with BAA On-line Store orders will likely vary by small amounts from those noted above.)


Everglades Workshop, January 22 to 25, 2010.

Limit: 6. 4-DAYS: $1,200 (does not include lodging, meals, or ground transportation). Slide show and orientation the night of Thursday, January 21st.

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Al and Fabs live close to the Everglades and are constantly scouting the area to ensure that tour participants will be taken to areas where there are abundant subjects and the best opportunities for excellent image making. A special emphasis will be placed on creativity and the creative process from visualization through the digital workflow, to optimization. Just a few of the techniques that will be covered are: capturing birds in flight, portrait making, optimal lighting (including front lighting, back lighting, and side lighting as creative alternatives), exposure, composition, sharp image making and out of the box thinking. Each day will include two “in the field” workshop sessions covering field techniques and one classroom session on Photoshop, Lightroom and creative plug-ins. During the workshops, we will always be available to critique your work. Slide show and orientation the night of Thursday, January 21st. We will guide you with gentleness and enthusiasm. 4 days of instruction: $1200 per person (does not include lodging, meals or transportation.) This will be our only Everglades group session of the year. Maximum 12 participants. Reserve your spot today, e-mail for more info. Referrals are available upon request.

E-mail fabs@avianscapes for more information or to reserve a spot today!

FLORIDA SURF AND TURF, March 5-7, 2010.

Limit 12. 3-DAY: $999 (does not include lodging, meals, or ground transportation).

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For the first time ever, BPN Publishers James Shadle and Alfred and Fabs Forns will be co-leading a workshop offering the best of Fort DeSoto and the pontoon boat Hooptie Deux. You will get the best of both land and sea and be led by experienced and creative photographers. This will be sunny Florida at its best; the three days will include six in-the-field sessions (weather permitting) and three classroom sessions. You will return home with lots of keepers and newfound knowledge.

Everyone will have at least two sessions on the boat and one instructor for every four students will ensure lots of individual attention.

E-mail fabs@avianscapes for more information or to reserve a spot today!


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 prints and receive a sixth free.




$6395 ALL INCLUSIVE FROM OAHU. Co-leaders: Arthur Morris & Joe Van Os. Limit: 12/Openings: 5 at the most…. For complete information, details including registration information click here: (This second BAA trip was added by popular demand.)

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/Openings; 9). Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole and Jim Heupel. Right now it looks as if multiple BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year honoree Chris Van Rooyen of South Africa ( will be joining us as a guest co-leader. 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 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. Co-leaders: Tim Grey and Alfred and Fabiola Forns. Please e-mail if you would like your name placed on the Interested List for the 2011 President’s Week IPT.

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