December 2nd, 2010

Birds As Art Bulletin #349


  • GALAPAGOS 2011
Sandhill Crane landing, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/5.6 set manually.

For the complete story on the creation of this image and to learn how the folks on BPN helped me to improve it, check out “Getting Ready Quickly” here.


Join me and a Canon support staff for a long weekend of photography and learning at Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park. We will enjoy three photo sessions, Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning. Here is the complete schedule:

Friday February 4, 2011 (optional, for those who arrive early):
7:30-9:00pm: Slide program: Choosing and Using Lenses for Bird Photography

Saturday, February 5, 2011

5:30am: Pick up loaner gear
6:00 Depart for Photo Session #1/Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park
6:30- 10:30: Photo Session #1 with in-the-field instruction
10:30-11:00: Return to motel
11:30am-1:00pm: Lunch (cost not included): bring your laptop for downloading, editing, and image sharing
1:00-2:30: Instructor Nap Time.
2:30: Depart for Photo Session #2/Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park
3:00-5:30: Photo Session #2/Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park
5:30-6:00: return to motel
7:00 9:00pm: Pizza-fest (cost included). Slide programs: Composition and Image Design. What to Look For/Learn to Edit like a Pro: watch over artie’s shoulder as he quickly selects his keepers from the day’s photo sessions.

Sunday February 6, 2011.

6:00am: Depart for Photo Session #3 Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park
6:30- 10:30: Photo Session #3 with in-the-field instruction
10:30-11:00: return to motel
11:30am-1:00pm: Buffet Lunch (cost included): bring your laptop for downloading, editing, and image sharing
1:00-2:00: Instructor Nap Time
2:00-4:00pm: Image optimization: artie will share his digital workflow and include lots of Photoshop tips.
4:00-6pm: Image sharing, printing. You will be able to have two prints made from your weekend’s work. (Cost included.)
6 pm: The End 🙂

For this workshop we recommend EOS Digital SLRs and telephoto lenses from 300mm and up (with and without EF Extenders) to create the best images. 500mm, 600mm, and 800mm EF lenses are ideal. As part of the workshop you will have the opportunity to borrow a variety of lenses from Canon including the long telephoto lenses.

For more details and to register, click here.


2 1/2 Days: $725 (Limit 16). Registration only through the Canon web site via the link above. If you would like to take advantage of this fabulous program, do not hesitate as it will likely fill quickly.

Anhinga, Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, FL
Image copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the 2X II TC and the EOS-1D MIII. ISO 1250. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/125 sec. at f/8 set manually.

I made this image in February 2007 while testing the Mark III for Canon. We should have a great chance in early February 2011 to make some images of males in prime breeding plumage with their bright green lores.

American Alligator devouring young Brown Pelican, Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, FL
Image copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 100-400mm IS L lens hand held at 190mm with the EOS-1D MIII. ISO 6400. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.

Again, this image was made in February 2007 while I was testing the Mark III for Canon. Needless to say I was amazed with the low noise levels at ISO 6400. This image has sold well with Corbis and has reached the final round of judging in several major contests (including twice in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competitions). Alas, ….


The 2010 “The Complete Bosque Experience” IPT was a huge success. I will include the complete trip report in the next Bulletin. Below are a few e-mails that I received from participants.

And the very best news is that I will almost surely be returning to this magical place for my 17th straight IPT in November 2011. I hope to announce that trip in the next Bulletin.

From Jan van der Greef.

Dear Artie,

After a great week at Bosque I returned safe and sound again to the Netherlands and joined my family with great memories and photos to share. For me the week was very special. Meeting you in person and seeing you work gave me an intense understanding of your passion for nature and photography. I felt very grateful that I was invited for Thanksgiving. It was nice that I could thank you for making a difference in my life by writing your first book and after that with the continuous flow of information and inspiration that you provide in so many different ways. When you showed me the great picture of the 4 cranes taking off in blur-mode I saw the passion in your eyes and the depth of happiness in your soul at having capturing a gift of nature. I took the liberty of making a picture of you photographing in nature to share with the family and serve as a personal memory.

In the coming weekend I hope to start working on the images and will select five which are special for me and send them asap.

Thanks again and wish you well, Jan

Note: Jan, who get around on crutches as a result of having had polio as a kid, is a highly skilled photographer. I hope to be doing a feature on his amazing work in the not-too-distant future. As it turned out, Jan got to meet JP Bruce, another IPT veteran who had polio when he was a kid, at the Blurry Day in Bosque slide program on Saturday evening. Another nice plus was the presence of three Dutchman on the IPT, Jan, Clemens van der Werf, and my very great pal Peter Kes.

From Deb Keller.

It’s a rainy, bleak afternoon in Columbus, Ohio today and I wish I were back at Bosque. I wanted to thank you for a wonderful experience on my first IPT. I went out with Mark not knowing what to expect and I came away with a desire to look closer and try harder, and with a new appreciation for the photographing the story. Thanks for your help and your wisdom. I wish you well friend, Deb

From Mark Hardymon. Subject: A Wonderful Week at Bosque

Artie – I just wanted to thank you for the great Bosque experience this past week. It was so much more than I could ever have expected. Bosque is magic! And so are you. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. I’ve always said that every time I click the shutter, I smile. Well, I sure did a lot of smiling. But even better, I learned so much. Now all that I have to do is digest all that information and incorporate it into my photography–always learning is a good thing. I’m already thinking about the next IPT, I just have to figure out which one. Again, thanks so much and all the best to you with your future travels, your family and the upcoming holiday season. Mark

From Myer Bornstein, multiple IPT veteran. Subject: Bosque

Artie, I want to thank you for a most enjoyable experience at Bosque. Everybody was wonderful, the sunrises and sunset were spectacular (despite the last few cold mornings) . All a teaching sessions were educational and left me with lots of new ideas. I would recommend your IPTs to anyone who wants to learn nature photography. I hope to see you again soon. Have a happy holiday season and enjoy the grandkids. Regards, Myer

From the afore-mentioned Clemens van der Werf:

Hi Artie, I greatly enjoyed the Bosque IPT and the company of everyone. It was especially nice the meet Peter Kes and Jan van der Greef and catch up with Myer again. It was my first time at Bosque and certainly not the last! Thanks to you, Robert and Denise for an excellent week. I will be seeing you again soon as I had such a great time that I have signed up for the San Diego IPT! All the best, Clemens

Note: Clemens has been photographing less than a year. He has attended several IPTs–heck, maybe all of them–since he began photographing birds last February on the SW FLA IPT. Now here’s the scariest part: many of his best images are as good or better than mine. I hope to be doing a feature on his work also not to far down the road.

Sandhill Cranes, extreme blur, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 50. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/8 sec. at f/10 in Tv mode.

This is the image that Jan van der Greef was referring to above. Be sure to check out the “Which Do You Prefer: Soft or Sharp?” blog post.


Amazingly, there are still–due to a medical cancellation–two slots left on the 2011 Galapagos Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT:

GALAPAGOS 2011 PHOTO-CRUISE OF A LIFETIME IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience

: July 3-20, 2011 (July 5-19, 2011 on the boat): 13 1/2 days of photography plus a last morning panga ride: $12, 499. (Limit 11/Openings 2): Call me at 863-692-2806 for info on the substantial couples discount.

This two-week trip features an unparalleled photographic itinerary that will visit all the great spots in the islands; we will not miss a thing. The highlights include Tower Islandtons of nesting birds at knee and eye level, Punta Espinoza (Flightless Cormorants), Puerto Ayora (tortoises in their natural habitats), Hood Island (Waved Albatross and lots more nesting birds), South Plaza, and North Seymour. Each of these locations is on a par with Antarctica or East Africa when it comes to spectacular photographic opportunities. If you make only a one week cruise you will miss half of these great locations. With two full weeks we will enjoy a relaxed pace with shorter navigations and lots of time for snorkeling, image sharing, and small group Photoshop instruction. You will have a great photographic leader (that would be me) with 7 years of Galapagos experience teamed with the very best most knowledgeable guide in the entire archipelago. 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 much as six hours on a landing. Jeez, I almost forgot our spectacular and romantic motor sailing ship, the Beagle:

The group will be flying to Quito on their own to arrive on July 3, 2011. We have a travel insurance day on July 4th (with an optional trip for perched hummingbirds at Tandayapa). On the morning of July 5 we fly to the Galapagos and board the boat around midday. We leave the boat two weeks later on morning of July 19 after our last photo session, a short panga ride. We fly back to Quito on that same day, July 19, overnight in Quito, and fly home on the morning of July 20.

Note: some of the walks are strenuous. Though I will be bringing my 800 f/5.6L IS lens along, great images are possible on all landings with a hand held 70-200mm lens.

Please e-mail me at for a complete itinerary. Happy campers only please.

Included: three nights in the luxury hotelthe Hilton Quito Colon, round trip airfare to and from the Galapagos, all meals on the boat, a killer buffet lunch with the tortoises!, all park fees and related costs, and all transfers. 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. A $5,000 non-refundable deposit per person is due immediately. Please call me at 863-692-0906 or 863-221-2372 before sending your deposit to check availability.

Please print, sign, and return the two forms here along with your deposit check.

Two additional non-refundable payments will be due as follows: $4000 on JAN 1, 2011. The final payment of $3,499 will be due on MAR 1, 2011. Travel insurance is of course beyond highly recommended as none of your payments are refundable. You need to protect yourself in case of an unexpected illness or accident or other unforeseen developments.

Snow Geese in pink sky, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 160. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/15 sec. at f/6.3 in Tv mode.

Images like this can be created on every clear morning at Bosque. I will detail the exact location in the 2010 Bosque Site Guide update that I am working on right now.

Snow Storm of Geese, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200mm f/5.6L IS II lens with the 1.4X II TC (hand held at 215mm) with the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 50. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/8 sec. at f/20 set manually. A 3-stop 77mm neutral density filter was affixed to the front of the lens

To learn more about the creation of this images, check out the recent blog post “Flames & More.”


David McNicholas is offering the following used equipment for sale:

Canon EOS-40D body in very good shape, two canon BP11 batteries and the charger, shipped in the original box with all of the original software discs, cables and manuals (still in original wrappings) and the Canon EF 28-105mm 3.5-4.5 zoom lens in a protective pouch with both lens caps. Shipping and insurance from Naples, FL at the buyers expense.

Contact David on his cell at 973-452-4940, on his land line at 239-352-0616, or via e-mail at

Common Raven with scrap, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/9.

To current version of our Bosque Site Guide tells you exactly where and when to photograph this species from your vehicle. (An update is coming soon.) I used a BLUBB on the lowered window of my rental car so that I could be assured of producing sharp images.


Dalmatian Pelican Exploratory IPT. FEB 27-MAR 5, 2011: 6 1/2+ Full Days of Photography: $2499.

Co-leaders: Arthur Morris, Robert O’Toole, and Yannis Arvanitis as our bi-lingual guide. Limit: 6/Openings 2. Payment in full is due immediately. Please call to hold a spot pending the arrival of your check made out to “Arthur Morris.” Europeans please e-mail for wire transfer details. No discounts at present other than $200 off each fee for a couple or for folks registering with a friend.

For images and complete information click here. If you would like additional info on Lake Kerkini please e-mail me at and request same.

Yours Truly on a windy, chilly morning, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image courtesy of and copyright 2010: Peter Kes/Nature Notions
We enjoyed warm weather for the first few days of the IPT but after that it was business as usual :). Peter posted this in BPN’s Friends and Family Forum under the title “Boss del Apache.” I rather liked it.


“A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” by Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito is a 20,585 word, 271 page PDF illustrated with 144 different, exciting, and artistic images. The guide covers the basics of creating pleasingly blurred images, the factors that influence the degree of blurring, the use of filters in creating pleasing blurs, and a great variety of both in-the-field and Photoshop techniques that can be used to create pleasingly blurred images.

Artie and Denise teach you many different ways to move your lens during the exposure to create a variety of pleasingly blurred images of flowers and trees and water and landscapes. They will teach you to recognize situations where subject movement can be used to your advantage to create pan blurs, wind blurs, and moving water blurs. They will teach you to create zoom-blurs both in the field and during post-processing. Artie shares the techniques that he has used and developed for making blurred images of flocks of geese in flight at his beloved Bosque del Apache and Denise shares her flower blur magic as well as a variety of creative Photoshop techniques that she has developed.

With the advent of digital capture, creating blurred images has become a great and inexpensive way to go out with your camera and have fun. And while many folks think that making successful blurred images is the result of being a sloppy photographer nothing could be further from the truth. In “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” Artie and Denise will help you to unleash your creative self.

The book is laid out in landscape format to make for easy reading and viewing and easy reading on any decent computer monitor.

You can order your copy of “The Guide to Pleasing Blurs” PDF now for only $33 either by PayPal to or by phone: 863-692-0906. A download link will be delivered to you via e-mail within 12 hours or less (except on weekends). Please note: this book is available only as a digital file in PDF form. You will need either Adobe Acrobat Reader or Fox-it to read the file. Both are free downloads. Instructions will be included with your purchase.

Click here to view the cover.

Sandhill Cranes, flash blur, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200mm f/4 L IS II zoom lens with the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 250. Evaluative metering +1 stop set manually: 1/4 sec. at f/4 set manually. Flash as main light with the Better Beamer in Manual Mode at 1:1.

After writing the blur guide (with Denise Ippolito) I finally remembered to set rear curtain synch while creating a flash blur! As a result, I correctly got the ambient blur behind the subject thus implying forward movement. It was so dark and dreary at Harry’s Crane Pool that all other photographers had left but Denise and I kept experimenting.


Here is the gear that I used to create the images for this Bulletin:

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L II lens
Canon EF 1.4X II teleconverter
Canon EF 2X II teleconverter

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo 3530 LS Tripod
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head
Double Bubble Spirit Level

If you are considering the purchase of a major piece of photographic gear be it a new camera, a long lens, a tripod or a head, or some accessories be sure to check out our complete Shopper’s Guide. You will learn to find the lowest prices, comparison shop, and help us to keep offering tons of great free info and images.

Snow Goose, blue morph in flight, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Image copyright 2010: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-1D MIV. ISO 400: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 set manually based on years of experience and after a histogram check.

Keep your eyes peeled on both the Blog and future Bulletins to learn the reason for my vastly increased percentage of sharp flight photography keepers. And to learn the secrets of getting the right exposure on sunny days with a variety of flying subjects, check out the “Flight Photography Considerations; Wind and Sun Direction & Subject Tonality” blog post. If you are not subscribed to the blog, you are missing tons of great free info.


SAN DIEGO IPT: JAN 19-23, 2011. Slide program on the evening of JAN 18.

5 Full Days: $2399 (Limit 8/Sold Out). Co-leaders Tim Grey and Todd Gustafson. See the blog for a discount on this IPT. Brown Pelicans in spectacular breeding plumage with their bright red bill pouches, Wood and Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Western, California, and Heerman’s Gulls, Marbled Godwit, and lots, lots more. Please see terms and deposit info below.

SW FLA IPT: FEB 9-14, 2011. Slide program on the evening of FEB 8. 6 Full Days: 2899.

(Limit 10/Openings 3). Escape winter’s icy grip to enjoy a wide array of Florida’s tame birds: herons, egrets, Wood Stork, shorebirds, gulls, terns, skimmers, raptors, and more. Please see terms and deposit info immediately below.

Terms and deposit info:

A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold a spot on the above IPTs. 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 is Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that 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. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Travel insurance protects you against unexpected developments, injuries, or illnesses. 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 forms asap. Your registration will not be complete until we receive your paper work. You can find the forms here.

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