NOVEMBER 19, 2003


Bulletins Archive







Photo theme:  images made at the home of Neil Kaufman of Louisville, KY.  
View from the gazebo blind, Louisville, KY  
 Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Go from left to right and try to visualize what the backgrounds will look like with a bird on each perch.  Note that no perch merges another; wherever you point your camera you will be shooting down a clean slot. 
Canon and EOS 1Ds and 28-135mm IS lens.  
I learned the basics of digital by helping a friend who had just bought a Canon EOS D-60.  Even with this "head-start," I can remember being terribly frustrated by having to learn simple tasks involving downloading and converting images, file management, and the Photoshop basics.  Along the way, I learned by asking those more knowledgeable than I: Ellen Anon, Tim Grey, Juan Pons, Gregory Georges, Matt Haggadorn, E.J. Peiker, and Greg Downing among others. 
I have now written more than 30,000 words for "The Art of Bird Photography II," which I hope to self-publish in about 15 months.  One of the strengths of the book will be the chapter on Digital Basics.  Both the book and this chapter in particular, will detail the way that I do things.  With digital that means Canon cameras, a Toshiba PC, Breezebrowser, and Photoshop. 
As the publication of the book is at least 15 months in the future, and quite possibly well more than that, and the info is so valuable to beginning digital photographers, especially Canon/PC/Breezebrowser users, we are now offering a PDF file of the Digital Basics chapter for $20 (on-line delivery via e-mail only).  
At present I have covered the following topics:
the advantages of digital photography, compact flash cards and re-formatting, downloading images to your laptop, file management (including creating folders and sub-folders and, the filing systems that we use here at BIRDS AS ART), viewing and editing images in Breezebrowser (two methods for editing quickly), the digital workflow including opening Breezebrowser images automatically in Photoshop, converting images from raw to tiff in Breezebrowser, cropping and cloning, Levels and Hue/Saturation adjustments in layers, correcting a colorcast, saving images, sharpening images, saving for web use, and sizing horizontal and vertical images in one step.
In addition, updated PDF files will be sent you as the chapter is further developed.   To order your copy, send a check (made out to "Arthur Morris") or a Paypal (visit the web site and click on any Paypal link) for $20 and specify "Digital Basics PDF."  You must include an e-mail address if sending a check.  For those just getting started in digital photography this chapter will save you months of struggling; it will be the best $20 that you ever spent.

Blue Jay on bark perch 
Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 2XII TC and EOS 1Ds camera body. ISO 500.  Evaluative metering -1/3 stop set manually: 1/125 sec. at f/14.  Fill flash with Bette Beamer at -2/3.


When using the 2X at point blank range it is important to maximize depth-of-field as D-O-F decreases as camera to subject distance decreases...


I flew to Louisville, KY to photograph Blue Jays at my friend Neil Kaufman's home last month.  I taught Neil a lot and learned a lot as well.  Neil and his wife Sharon were most generous hosts.  When I arrived Neil had about a zillion really ugly perches set up and the whole feeding station was a cluttered mess.  We spent a few hours walking in the woods and found a few perches with some character.


After taking down just about every one of Neil's perches I put up a few select ones, being careful to place each perch in front of a pleasing, distant background and making sure that none of the perches merged with each other, thus teaching Neil the principle of "shooting down the slots. "   By utilizing only a very few attractive perches you increase your chances of making great images: in a perfect backyard set-up, you will have a good chance each and every time that a bird lands!  You will need to work hard by eliminating the lousy landing spots...


Study the bird photographs made from inside Neil's gazebo blind and see if you are able to figure out which perch is depicted in the image.  By doing so, you will come to understand the principle of "shooting down the slot" and will be able to make your backyard or feeder set-up  "a better place to be." (Apologies to the late Harry Chapin.)




Blue Jay against fall colors
Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 1Ds with 500mm f/4 L IS lens.  ISO  400.  Evaluative metering -1/3 stop set manually: 1/160 sec. at f/11.   Fill flash at -2/3 stop with Better Beamer.  (45 point AF in AI Servo mode)

This perch was carefully positioned to yield a pleasing background; just out of frame-left was a neighbor's white fence in the distance...





Neil Kaufman is opening his home to bird photographers who wish to photograph Blue Jays in his back yard or mallards and other ducks (later on in the season) from the two blinds on his pond.  In addition to the Blue Jay there may be Sharp-shinned Hawk, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Tufted Titmouse, and several woodpecker species among others.  White-throated Sparrows and several additional species will be present during the colder months.  The big negative is that if you get a clear sunny morning the jays will be directly backlit...  Using flash at zero in this case may yield some nice rim-lit images.


Here are the rates


Full day of photography: $75

Morning of photography: $40

Luxury lodging with private bath and three meals (dinner,breakfast, and lunch): $100

Contact Neil via his cell phone (leave a message if no answer):  502-741-9568


Neil is also offering similar opportunities to photograph ducks (from hunting blinds) on his farm in western Kentucky... His "wildlife refuge" farm attracts more ducks than any other location in western KY and his censused twice weekly by the KY fish and game folks by aircraft!  Contact Neil as above for details on the duck photography.


Red-bellied Woodpecker 
Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 1Ds, 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4X II TC.  ISO 500.  Evaluative metering -2/3 stops: 1/200 sec. at f/8. Fill flash at -2/3 stop with Better Beamer.
There is now just a single opening on the second Bosque IPT (NOV 29-DEC 1.  The first is sold out.  
The Post X-mas IPT (DEC 27-29) is currently sold out.  If Ellen Anon is able to join me as co-leader, there will be room for two more...    Please e-mail and ask to have your name added to the wait-list if you are interested.
The Katmai, AK Bear and Eagle Alaska Photo Tour Trip--June 4-8, 2004  is sold out.
The Nome, AK Nesting Birds IPT--June 11-20, 2004 is sold out.
The San Diego, California--3-DAY: JAN 9-11, 2004 has one opening.
The Southwest Florida--5-DAY: FEB 25-29, 2004 has two openings.
The following IPTs are presently wide open:
Fort DeSoto/Sarasota--FL IPT: 3-DAY MAR 26-28, 2004.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm, FL-- 3-DAY: APR 23-25, 2004.
Point Pelee Warblers--3-DAY MAY 9-11, 2004
Magee Marsh, Toledo, OH Warblers--3-DAY: MAY 14-16, 2004
For prices and for additional details visit: 


Blue Jay on green-lichen perch 
Image copyright 2003 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4X II TC and EOS 1Ds camera body. ISO 250.  Evaluative metering -1/3 stop set manually: 1/125 sec. at f/9.  Fill flash with Better Beamer at -2/3.


We transported this attractive perch more than 160 miles from Neil's farm to his backyard...
Canon Specials:
Canon 10D: special price for the next two weeks subject to availability call for Birds as Art subscriber price
1DS:  $7150  call for availability
1D: $2850 call for availability
17-40: $729.99 call for availability
24-70: $1229.99 call for availability
70-200 IS: $1699.99
100-400IS: $1409.99
550 flash: $329.99
1.4xII TC: $289.99
2xII TC: $289.99
Canon 600IS One with box damaged by UPS; first come first served.  USA lens.  Call for price.
Ask about other Canon long lens prices
Compact flash card Delkin 640 229.99
Digital accessories
Pecpads: $5.90
Liquid: $6.90
Rocket: $9.99 large
For the people still shooting film
RVP 100F 36: $5.69 in 20 packs USA
RVP 50: $4.39 in 20 packs USA
RDPIII:  $4.39 in 20 packs USA
Fuji mailers: $3.75
Shipping rate on film: $6.00 UPS ground.
Contact Gary Farber at 1-800-221-1830 ext 2332 or e-mail him  Call and ask me for prices on everything photographic and we will offer competitive prices and good service.  We do not charge your card until your order is shipped.   Hunt's will not rip you off on shipping charges. 
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: