JUNE 25, 2003

















Important Note:

All of the images in this Bulletin were made on the recent Nome, AK IPT.



Siberian Rubythroat, singing male, Nome, AK

Canon EOS 1Ds, 600mm f/4L IS lens, with 2X II TC. 

ISO 250.  Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop. 1/1000 second at f/8. 

High speed synch flash with Better Beamer at -2/3 stops. 

Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

This is an extremely rare bird, even for Nome, where it is seen on average only three times per decade…  It was a miracle that we got to see it, let alone photograph it at close range. I am learning to use high speed synch with my 550 flash.  In this case, the effects of fill flash were noticeable as the images made when the flash did not fire were darker…  (Note #1:  several distracting branches were cloned out of this image in PhotoShop.    Note #2:  For those wishing to complain about the practice described in Note #1, please do know that the complaint department is closed until further notice <smile>


I recently spent 13 days in Nome, AK, joined by client-friends Jim Urbach, Rocky Sharwell, and Darrell Miller.  Though there were fewer nesting birds than I had expected (based on conversations with other photographers), we had an incredible trip with many great opportunities.  We got to photograph many species at close range that are difficult to photograph anywhere else in North America.   Here is one example:



Bar-tailed Godwit in drizzle Nome, AK 

Canon EOS 1Ds, 600mm f/4L IS lens w/2X II TC. 

ISO 160 Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/250 sec. at f/8.  Fill flash at -2/3 with Better Beamer and Wimberley Flash Bracket

Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Bar-tailed Godwits are common in Siberia. They are extremely rare in North America, but are seen regularly in Nome…  I almost stepped on this male, but thereafter, they proved to be quite elusive, except for one incredibly male who posed 35 feet away as we were walking the tundra searching for nests (without our big lenses!)


One day we drove 180 miles round trip, did a tortuous hike on soft tundra for 3+ miles while searching unsuccessfully for Bristle-thighed Curlew on its nesting grounds (folks have described it as walking on bowling balls set atop old bedsprings…), and had only one good photographic opportunity…  Everyone, none-the-less, was ecstatic.  Why?  At the start of the trip, Darrell Miller told us that he had dreamed of photographing a pair of Tundra Swans in a roadside pond in early morning light with snow-covered mountains in the distance with Arctic- fog in front of the mountains.  Well, on the way to the Bristle-thighed Torture-bird, that is exactly what we did for 90 minutes!


Tundra Swan, Nome, AK

Canon EOS 1Ds, 600mm f/4L IS lens & 2X II TC.

ISO: 100, Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/400 second at f/8.

Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Our opportunity with the Tundra Swans was the fulfillment of Darrell’s dream.  We found that in Nome, lots of dreams came true…


I was so thrilled with our great trip that I reserved a block of rooms for mid-June 2004.  I will be taking a group strictly limited to three photographers for ten full days (June 11-21, 2004).  Brutus Oostling of Sweden has already signed up, so there are only two slots remaining.  This will be an expensive trip that will include all meals (most by renowned chef Arthur Morris).  If you are an experienced photographer (i.e. crybabies not welcome) with a 500 or 600mm lens who is also personable, and are considering registering for this trip, e-mail for details. The same goes if you would like to e-mail any of this year’s participants (all of whom went home ecstatically happy).  If the first leg of the trip fills, I will most likely run a follow-up 7-full day segment June 21-28.


While on some days we did lots of driving and walking, on other days we hung out at the tundra ponds near town and had choice of subjects like Western Sandpiper, Lapland Longspur, and a pair of nesting Red-throated Loons: 


Red-throated Loon, female flapping, Nome, AK

Canon EOS 1Ds, 600mm f/4 L IS lens w/2X II TC

ISO 250. Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/1000 sec. at f/8.

Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Darrell was not the only one to have his prayers answered!  When photographing swimming birds in good light I generally opt to go for additional shutter speed by using the wide open aperture, rather than by going for a bit of extra sharpness and depth-of-field by stopping down to f/11.


Gyrfalcons nest in many spots on the Seward Peninsula in cliff-side aeries.  We climbed up for these guys at 4:30am but all that they wanted to do was sleep!


Gyrfalcon chicks in nest, Nome, AK

Canon EOS 1Ds, 600mm f/4L IS lens w/2X II TC. 

ISO 250 Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/125 sec. at f/11.    Fill flash at -1 with Better Beamer and Wimberley Flash Bracket

Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Here, with static subjects I opted for additional sharpness and depth-of-field    

  by choosing an aperture of f/11.


Most PC-using Canon digital photographers that I know use Breezebrowser to convert their raw images and I have been doing the same since I began doing digital photography last November.  This program  makes file management and editing a snap.  And Chris Breeze is always updating and improving it.  Once you have purchased the program, all subsequent updates are free.  After I upload my Delkin 640 e-film Pro Cards into folders named “Day Take A,” “Day Take B,” and “Day Take C,” etc., I open the first folder in Breezebrowser, make sure that I am viewing the thumbnail layout, and then hit Control A (select all), Control S (slide show), and Control Q, (high quality—this boosts the color and sharpens each image).  In a matter of seconds, the images are shown in slide show format.  You can right click and change the interval; for initial editing I usually use 2 seconds. I let the show run through once or twice and then hit cancel to end the slide show.

In this manner, I have gotten a good idea as to the quality of all of the images.  I do not have to scroll back and forth while editing as I always know, for example, that there is a perfect one of the Semipalmated Sandpiper singing on the yellow lichen perch.  I can then delete all of the similars of lesser quality with confidence.  To do the actual edit, I double click on the first slide; this shows it full screen.  I then place the middle finger of my left hand on the “Y” key, the index finger of my left hand on the “N” key, and the index finger of my right hand on the “Delete” key.  If I want to keep a slide, I simply press the N (next) key.  If I want to delete a slide, I press the Delete key first, and then the Y (for Yes) key to finish the deletion.  If I hit the delete key too quickly and realize that I want to keep that slide, I hit the N key at that point tell the computer, “No, I do not want to delete that slide.”  That gives me back the full screen image and I press the N key again, this time to indicate Next. And so on and so forth. Folks who have watched me edit 3 gigs worth of images before lunch has been served are often amazed.  Do note that I am able to work at great speed because I have chosen to make two copies of each image that I make by selecting the Raw + J-peg fine setting on my camera bodies.  (See your camera manual for directions.) It is the j-peg that allows for fast viewing (without taking up very much space…)

To learn more about Breezebrowser or to order it, visit

In the next Bulletin I will share with you Greg Downing’s expertise on the proper way to set up the color profiles in both Breezbrowser and PhotoShop.  Oh, by the way, here’s that perfect image that I spoke about above:


Semipalmated Sandpiper, male singing in the rain, Nome, AK

Canon EOS 1Ds, 600mm f/4L IS lens w/2X II TC. 

ISO 250 Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/8.  Fill flash at -2/3 with Better Beamer and Wimberley Flash Bracket

Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

It is amazing how sharp the 600 IS/2X II TC combination is even at the wide open aperture…


Few photographers visiting Nome have gotten to photograph Aleutian Tern…  We had lots of chances both with birds in flight and birds on the ground.  As I tend to make lots of images (but not as many as most folks…) while flight-shooting, efficient editing techniques save you lots of time and energy.

Aleutian Tern, Nome, AK 

Canon EOS 1Ds, 600mm f/4L IS lens w/1.4X II TC. 

ISO 250. Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/3200 sec. at f5.6. 

Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

When flight-shooting with a big lens a Wimberley Head is pretty much mandatory…  We were lucky to find this species coursing over wet tundra close to town.


Lots of folks have signed up already for the Saturday, July 12, 2003 "The Art of Bird Photography; It Ain't Just Birds" full-day seminar in Des Plaines, IL, but we still have lots of room.  Two Canon reps will be present with a trunkful or two of the latest Canon gear, and we have tons of great door-prizes including a Roadrunner AW and a Delkin e-film Pro Card! 

The Saturday Seminar will be held at the Winetka Theater, in Des Plaines, IL. For details see:  Walk-ins are more than welcome.  For exact location and directions, click here:

The Sunday In-the -Field Workshop to Peck’s Farm (prairie and marshes) sold out quickly so we have added two additional ITF-Workshops on the Monday and Tuesday following the seminar: July 14 and July 15th.   For details see: 


It ain’t just birds: the principles that go into making good photographs of birds apply across the board in all areas of nature photography, including the photography of big mammals.  Here, head position and the animal’s attitude made this image a keeper. 

Musk Ox grazing in the willows, Nome, AK 

Canon EOS 1Ds, 600mm f/4L IS lens w/1.4X II TC. 

ISO 250 Evaluative Metering -2/3: 1/250 sec. at f/5.6. 

Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

We encountered these (usually) gentle giants on most of our morning forays up Teller Road.  A quick glance at the histogram let me know that I needed less light to avoid burning the light fur on the back.


The Sunday August 24 full-day seminar in Bayside, Queens, NY is wide open.  For details, see:  The ITF-Workshop and the IPT that follow (both at my old stomping grounds, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge), have been sold out for some time.


Dunlin, singing male, Nome, AK

Canon EOS 1Ds, 600mm f/4L IS lens w/2X II TC. 

ISO 250 Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/10.  Fill flash at -2/3 with Better Beamer and Wimberley Flash Bracket

Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

We found a Dunlin nest along the road at Wooley Lagoon.  The use of fill flash in lousy light restores color balance and usually puts a nice catch-light in the subject’s eye.  Using a flash bracket to move the flash away from the axis of the lens almost always prevents steel-eye (which is similar to red-eye in humans).


Velvia-36 in 20 packs, $4.69/roll (USA)          Provia F-100-36 in 20 packs, $4.49/roll (USA)

Fuji mailers $3.89/each.  100 or more, $3.69/each.

RVP 100 (Velvia 100) $120.00 for a 20-pack.  (Scheduled to ship by early August; free shipping)

Film orders over $500.00 will be shipped free.  All other film orders are shipped for a flat $8.00 fee.

To clean your digital camera’s sensor, Sensor Swabs: $38.00. Fluid $7.25.

Canon 10D: $1499.99.  Free shipping for Birds As Art Bulletin Subscribers (Call for availability.)

Canon 1DS: call for Birds As Art price and availability.
Canon 100-400mm IS zoom lens: $1409.99                         Canon 24-70 $1349.99
Canon 28-135mm IS lens:  $409.99                                    Canon 550 EX Flash: $329.99
Ask about prices for Canon IS long lenses (300, 400DO, 500, and 600mm).

Lowepro Road Runner AW: $379.99 (Shipping: $20.00 ground)
Delkin e-film 640 Pro Card: $207.99 (Free shipping via ground)
Free shipping on all Delkin Digital wallets (20gig 30gig, and 60gig)


Contact Gary Farber at 1-800-221-1830 ext 2332, or e-mail him at:



Best and great picture making to all,

Note: Arthur Morris has been a Canon contract photographer since 1994 and continues in that role today.  Hunt's Photo of Boston, and Delkin are BIRDS AS ART sponsors.  Do feel free to forward this Bulletin to one or more photographer-friends. Those wishing to subscribe click here mailto: If you  received this bulletin in error, or would like your name removed from the subscriber list click here  Back issues of relevant Bulletins are archived on the web site at:

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