OCTOBER 2, 2003
Blackburnian Warbler, Pt. Pelee National Park, Ontario.  
Image copyright 1998 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EOS 1 with 600mm f/4 L zoom lens with 1.4X teleconverter. Fuji Velvia pushed one stop.   Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/180 sec. at f/5.6.  Fill flash -2/3 stop with Better Beamer .
When you have a great bird right in front of you and it pauses for an instant, you had better know what you are doing...

Photographing migrant warblers is difficult.  You need to have perfect weather and great luck.  But when everything is perfect, you had better know what you are doing.  I skipped doing my traditional May warbler trips last spring out the frustration built of being in the right place at the wrong time too many times, of getting to Pelee and hearing “you should have been here yesterday,” and then getting an e-mail from Brian Zweibel saying “You should have stayed at Magee another day!”  


This year I am trying a new approach.  I will be leading the first Warbler IPT to Pelee on the magical dates of May 9-11 (slide program on the evening of May 8, 2004).  Every year that I have been to Pelee there has been a wave day on one of those three dates….  I am leading the Magee Marsh/Crane Creek IPT the following week on May 14-16 (slide program the evening of May 13).


Lots of folks have expressed interest in joining me this year so it would be best to register early.  Before you send your deposit check, please read the following carefully.  Do understand that the presence of warblers is totally weather dependent and that rarely--in some years, most of the birds fly over both of these famed migratory hot spots…   Do understand that even if there is a fallout photographing warblers can be extremely difficult.  Do understand that in light of the above no whining is permitted on Warbler IPTs <smile>   Do know also that there is no view-finder sharing or hand-holding on warbler trips… 


Do know, however, that I will teach you everything that I know about warbler photography, answer all of your questions, and do my best to get us on some good back-up subjects in the event that warblers are scarce.  This may include Tree (Magee) and Barn (Pelee) Swallows, blackbirds and American Robins (both locations), Canada Geese with goslings (Magee), Killdeer with chicks (Magee), shorebirds (Pelee), flowers (mostly at Pelee and nearby parks), and frogs (Pelee). 


Pt. Pelee (Leamington, Ontario) Warbler IPT May 9-11, 2004.  Limit 10.  3-DAY: $829 US funds) .

Magee Marsh/Crane Creek (Toledo, Ohio) IPT May 14-16, 2004.  Limit 10.  3-DAY: $829.


To register, send a $200 check made out to "Arthur Morris" to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.

For additional IPT details & general information and for cancellation policies, visit:


For additional Warbler IPT tales, visit:



Lots of folks have asked about my Photoshop methods and expertise (or lack thereof).  The truth is, I am getting better.  Here, I will take you step by step through both my usual procedures and the extra work that I did on the image that follows, which is simply the image as it came out of the camera (downsized and saved as a j-peg for web presentation.  You will need to scroll down to the see the results.
Forster's Tern, Honeymoon Island State Park, FL
Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 1Ds with 500mm mm f/4 L IS lens & 1.4X II teleconverter on tripod with Wimberley head. 
ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/14. 
The image above is  too dark, especially the black face mask, and worse yet, the eye cannot be seen at all...   In addition, there are some serious dust spots and the bird is a bit small in the frame.  Since I create my digital images as Raw plus j-peg large files, I must first convert the Raw files in Breezebrowser  ( so that I can work on them in Photoshop. Had the image been much darker, I would have changed the exposure by entering  some plus compensation during the conversion process, but I knew that it would be easy to lighten the overall image using Image/Adjust/Levels. 
I converted the image at 8-bit and opened it in Photoshop 7.  First, I cropped a bit from the rear and from the top, wanting the bird a bit up in the frame as he was looking downwards for a fish.  The I cloned out the dust spots after enlarging the image: View/Actual Pixels.  Next hit Image/Adjust/Levels and held down the Alt key.  As I slid the right hand slider slowly to the left, the image turned solid black.  Soon, some bright whitish speckles began to appear.  This indicated that if I left the slider in that position, that these bright highlights would be clipped, that is, over-exposed and detail-less.  As I did not want that in this image, I backed off just a bit and released the cursor.  Next, I did the same with the left hand slider and the screen turned totally white.  When the first black speckles began to appear, I backed off a bit as these speckles represented what would have been underexposed blacks.  By pulling in the right and left sliders the contrast was increased.  Lastly in Levels, I adjusted moved the middle slider to the left and lightened the overall image. 
The eye mask was (as expected) still much too dark, and the eye was not visible so I hit Control + a few times to enlarge the image and centered the head in the frame.  I used the lasso tool to outline the black mask, hit Select/Feather, entered 3 in the pixels box, and then hit OK.  This roughly outlined the mask and softened the edges.  Next I went back to levels and saw that no matter how much that I lightened the black mask that only a bit of the eye skin/ring was visible, so I cancelled levels and went back to the clone tool.   I then cloned small bits of the eye skin/ring in a circular pattern in an effort to complete the ring.  When I was satisfied, I added a catch-light by grabbing a few white pixels from the neck and repeatedly cloning the white onto the same spot.
Then I again lassoed the black mask (as above) and lightened the face mask a bit using Image/Adjust/ Levels.  I hit View/Fit on Screen and voila, I could plainly see the eye!  Next, I boosted the Saturation (Image/Adjust/Hue-Saturation) 15 points as I do with most of my digital images as the color is pretty washed out on the images that come right out of the camera.  (Remember, I loved Velvia!)  Lastly, I boosted the saturation of only the blue another 10 points by hitting Image/Adjust/Hue-Saturation and then selecting the blues channel in the Edit box.  I named the file (keeping the file number from the camera as part of the file name) and hit Save As to save the image as a Tiff file in the converted folder (along with the converted Raw Image).
To prepare the image for web viewing, I changed the color profile from Adobe RGB (1998) to sRGB (Image/Mode/Convert to Profile).  Then I sized the image to 650 pixels on the long side (Image/Image Size--with both the Resample Image and the Constrain Proportions boxes checked).  Next I sharpened the image three times with Unsharp Mask (Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask---Amount: 125%, Radius: 0.2 pixels, Threshold: 0 levels).   Then I hit File/Save for Web, optimized to 125 kb (the size accepted by, and saved the image as a j-peg in my Web file.  Here is that final image:
I am indebted to many folks for helping me to improve my Photoshop skills:  Matt Hagadorn, Greg Downing, Heather Forcier, Ellen Anon, Todd Gustafson, Juan Pons, Gregory Georges,  and Tim Grey (among others)
have been generous with both their time and their knowledge.   A man is lucky indeed to have such a cast of talented friends upon whom to call for Photoshop help and guidance.




I will be presenting a new keynote program (Our National Wildlife Refuges: A Photographic Celebration) this Thursday (October 9, 7:30pm) at Eckerd College where the Festival is being held.  I am also doing a How-To slide program entitled "Putting Art in Your Nature Photography" on Friday (October 10, 2:45 - 5pm), and leading an In-the-Field Photography Workshop on Saturday morning (6:30 - 10:30 am) at Fort DeSoto Park.   You must register for all programs.  Visit the Pinellas County Environmental Foundation web site at: or, for additional info including the great lineup of speakers and field trips, visit:  (You will need Adobe Acrobat to view the pdf file.) 
I will have a booth, so if you can make it, be sure to stop by and say "Hi."  
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, MA is a BIRDS AS ART sponsor, as is Delkin Devices.  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: