AUGUST 13, 2004
Photo Theme: images from Bosque Del Apache NWR, NM
Snow Goose at sunset, Ed Krane Pool, Bosque Del Apache NWR, NM
Canon EOS 1Ds digital camera with 600mm f/4 L IS lens & 2X II TC.  
ISO 250.  Evaluative Metering -3 stops: 1/8000 at f/40 in Av Mode.
Yes, -3 stops...
At Bosque you are limited only be your skill and by your imagination.  The birds and the light and the mountains and the cottonwoods are your paints, your film or your flash cards are your canvas, and you are the artist. To me, there is no more inspiring place to photograph.  
I am proud to announce here that our second BIRDS AS ART Site Guide is now available.  I spent the last three days writing and designing the guide.  Site Guides are designed to help photographers get the most out of visits to various bird photography hot spots.  The Bosque site guide is--at 35 pages--quiet extensive.  It includes explicit instructions on where you should be each morning and afternoon and is based on 10 years of experience at this incredible location.   This site guide features a map of the refuge, detailed sections on both morning and afternoon strategies, flight photography tips, and a Bosque dining and birding guide. Also included are 34 spectacular images with illustrative, instructional captions. 
If you plan on visiting the refuge for the first time this year, you would be foolish to make the trip without having this guide in hand.  If you have visited previously, and are still unsure of where you should be at this time of day with that wind, this guide will prove invaluable to you as well.   BAA Site Guides are designed as the next-best-alternative to joining an IPT.
You can order the Bosque Site Guide only by clicking on any Paypal link at and sending us $50 US dollars.   Be sure to type in the words "Bosque Site Guide." 
If you think that this is ridiculously expensive for an e-mail file, please note the following:
#1: The BAA Complaint Department is closed until further notice.
#2: The Bosque Site Guide is worth at least twice the asking price.
#3: As is my usual style, I have held nothing back... 

Snow Goose/Huge Sun, Bosque Del Apache NWR, NM
Canon EOS 1Ds digital camera with 600mm f/4 L IS lens & 1.4X II TC. 
ISO 50.  Manual Mode: 1/8000 sec. at f/64.
 If Bosque does not get your creative juices flowing, it might be time to consider knitting...  This image was made a full half hour after sunrise on a clear day...  Go figure.
To learn exactly how this image was created in- camera,  see "Was  It Real?" here:



Here are the first four of nine basic flight photography tips from the Site Guide:


#1:  When photographing birds in flight, choose the autofocus mode that allows you to track the subject while maintaining sharp focus.  With Canon, this is called AI Servo autofocus.  The A.I. stands for artificial intelligence.  With Nikon, choose the “C” (continuous) autofocus setting to follow action.  These autofocus modes not only track the subject, but read its speed and direction as well.  It is necessary for a good predictive AF system to focus slightly ahead of moving subjects to compensate for shutter lag and ensure accurate focus at the exact moment that the shutter is opened. (The AF system needs to focus on the spot where the subject will be when the shutter opens, not on the place where it was when you depressed the shutter button!)   




Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Activating and using the central sensor only while working in AI Servo AF will always yield the sharpest images when the birds are flying  at you.  



#2:  Handholding an intermediate telephoto lens is a great way to capture images of birds in flight when they are flying relatively close to your position. When they are really close, a zoom lens can be quite effective as you are able to rack back (zoom out) as the bird gets larger and larger in the frame. 


#3:  When photographing birds in flight, pre-focus manually if your AF system allows you too. (Yes for Canon, no for Nikon…)  If not, you can try this trick:  pick a stationary object on the ground at roughly the same distance as the birds that are flying by and autofocus on it.  In both of the instances above, your AF system will be better able to “see” a subject that is approximately in focus when you raise your lens…


#4:  Most telephoto lenses have distance range switches.  For nearly all flight photography, it is best to choose the far limit range setting.  This will prevent the AF system from having to search through the entire range of focus and enable it to pick up the subject quickly and to focus more accurately. 

The pathetically useless search feature for the Bulletin Archives has been replaced by an incredibly effective Google search Engine  (Thank you Jennifer!).  The Bulletin Archives contain an absolute wealth of information and hundreds of wonderful images with highly educational and instructive captions.  When folks ask me, "How long will it be until the Art of Bird Photography II is published.  I tell them, "It will be a while, but in the meantime more than half of the new book is available in the Bulletin Archives.  And now, the job of finding the information that you are looking for has been made light years easier.   And, it is 100% free.
Snow Goose Blast-off, Bosque Del Apache NWR, NM
Canon EOS 1Ds digital camera with 600mm f/4 L IS lens & 1.4X II TC. 
ISO 400. Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/25 sec. at f/5.6.
 I love making blast-off images on the rare cloudy day at Bosque. 

Sandhill Crane taking flight, Ed Krane Pool, Bosque Del Apache NWR, NM
Canon EOS 1Ds digital camera with 600mm f/4 L IS. 
ISO 250. Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/11.
 Here, I manually selected a single focusing sensor three to the left of center, two in from the edge.  Having an off-centered sensor on the bird's body is more effective then trying to keep the central sensor on the bird's thin neck.  The birds will always take off into the wind... 


The Bosque Del Apache NWR, NM 2004 IPTs    NOV 21-23 IPT (One opening due to a cancellation!)     NOV 27-29 IPT (Sold Out)  Please e-mail if you would like your name placed on the waiting list.
NEW!: DEC 3-5, 2004  3-DAY:  $869.  (Limit 12-only 5 openings!) 
The SW Florida IPTs   Post X-mas: DEC 28-30, 2004 3-DAY: $869 (3 Openings)  PRESIDENT'S HOLIDAY: FEB 18-22, 2005, 5-DAY: $1399 w/Ellen Anon co-leading) (5 Openings)
The San Diego IPT   San Diego IPT: January 6-9, 2005, 4-DAY: $1299  (Sold Out)
Homer, AK, Bald Eagle IPT w/co-leader Greg Downing  FEB 4-8 & 9-13, 2005       5-DAY: $1599.  10-DAY: $2999  (both near sell-outs; e-mail for details)

Lake Martin, La, Nesting Spoonbill IPT  3 -DAY: $899  MAR 19-21, 2005 (Oversold!)  May 13-15, 2005  (5 Openings) 

Fort DeSoto/Sarasota IPT:  NEW DATE: April 1-3 3-DAY: $869  (8 Openings).  Join me at my new favorite bird photography hot spot!

St. Augustine Alligator Farm IPT  April 28 (aft) thru May 1, 2005.  3 1/2-DAYS: $1049  (Limit 12, 10 openings)

Register early!  You snooze, you lose!


Snow Goose and Ross's Goose in flight, Bosque Del Apache NWR, NM
Canon EOS 1Ds digital camera with 100-400mm IS L lens at 400mm.  
ISO 400. Evaluative Metering +2/3 stop in early morning light: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6.
 I used AFPS to make this image, as the central sensor would have fallen between the two birds.  In the first of two frames, the Snow Goose had its wings up, in the second frame, the Ross's had its wings up.  I opened the images side-by-side in Photoshop, made the clone tool well larger than the Snow Goose, and cloned the snow from one image to the other.  Note the Ross's snub-nosed look.
After months of back orders and waiting lists, we recently received 32 Mongoose M-262 gimbal type tripod heads.  We now have three in stock and are expecting another shipment of 16 next week.
The Mongoose M-262 Action Head is available for $295 plus $9 shipping via US Priority Mail/Signature Confirmation. If you use an intermediate telephoto lens as your main bird photography lens, the Mongoose is the head for you.  For full details and product photos, visit:
Best and love 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: unsubscribe, click here:  mailto: Back issues of relevant Bulletins are archived on the web site at: