OCTOBER 6, 2004
Photo Theme:  Images made during the five days that I took shelter from the hurricane on Sanibel island...  Yes, Virginia (and Wes), there are still birds in Florida!
Roseate Spoonbill landing, Little Estero Lagoon, Ft. Myers Bch, FL
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II.  45 point AF. ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6.  Gitzo 1325 CF tripod with Wimberley Head.
I jumped for joy when I first saw this image.  It is one of my all time favorites. I waited until the bird dropped below the far shoreline before making the image...  As a result, I had to crop out a few birds below the subject and also needed to clone out a few remaining heads. 
Hurricane Jeanne pounded Indian Lake Estates with ferocious winds that awakened me at about 4am Sunday morning, but once again my office/home, Jennifer's home in nearby Babson Park, and Jim's home in Melbourne were all thankfully spared of major damage.  BIRDS AS ART was without power for six days and without a working phone line for seven, but once again Jim Litzenberg was able to fill all mail orders in a timely fashion from his home.  
On Monday, I grabbed my laptop and photo gear and headed for Sanibel--just call me Mr. Hurricane Refugee...  I stayed with Don and Ginny Egensteiner, the parents of Jennifer's husband Erik.  Their beautiful home off of East Gulf was miraculously spared by Hurricane Charlie which ravaged many of the nearby condos.  Ding Darling was expectedly lousy as the morning tides were high.  I had some great chances at Blind Pass in the mornings and on the East End Gulf Beaches in the afternoons.  On Friday October 1 I headed for one of my old haunts, Little Estero Lagoon on Fort Myers Beach, not expecting too much.  As I walked towards the lagoon, I noted two spoonbills feeding just beyond a deep channel.  I set up just as the sun lit up the birds.  Within minutes, they were joined by 17 more roseates, including one in spectacular breeding plumage.  With the 1.4 X II TC and the 600mm, I made some fine flight images which included one of my all time favorite images (see the lead image, above).  As I was photographing the spoonbills, I noted that a flock of about 1,000 skimmers was constantly taking flight and then alighting on a sandbar.  When the spoonbills finished feeding and flew off, I headed to the outer beach, but most of the skimmers, terns, and pelicans had dispersed.  Farther down the beach I saw an Osprey on the ground, obviously with breakfast.  When a shell collector walked right up to the bird, it did not fly.  I slipped into high gear, lined up the sun-angle, got out the ground pod, and, an hour and a half later, wound up within petting distance.  I had for some unfathomable reason, taken off my long-sleeved sunshirt before getting on the ground and wound up with the skin worn off the inside of both of my elbows...  All in all (after making more than 500 images), it turned out to be one of the best mornings ever in my 22 years of photographing birds.  I returned to Estero the next morning confident of another great day.  The weather was even nicer than it had been the day before and the tide was again perfect.  There were virtually no birds that morning and I left before 9am after making about 8 images...  Some days are diamonds, some days are stone.  You gotta love it!

Osprey w/saltwater catfish carcass, Little Estero Lagoon, Ft. Myers Bch, FL
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with EOS 1D Mark II on Panning Ground Pod. Central Sensor/One Shot-AF.  ISO 250.  Evaluative metering +1/3 stop set manually: 1/4000 sec. at f/4.   
For this image I used One-Shot AF, focused on the eye, and recomposed.  I also used 45 point AF in both AI Servo and in One-Shot mode on similar images; all of them were sharp.   After an hour, my raw elbows were really, really hurting but I opted to stick with it <smile>


Soon after returning from Africa, I headed to Lake Marian on the way to an Atlas Orthogonal appointment in Kissimmee.  I set up the 600mm IS lens, mounted the 2X and one of my two EOS 1D Mark II camera bodies and began to photograph a Limpkin.  The image jumped around like crazy in the viewfinder, and then the camera lost electrical contact with the lens--the camera reads "Av 00" and you cannot activate the shutter release.  It was quite humid so I cleaned the contacts on both the TC and the lens mounts with my T-shirt, but the problem persisted.  I tried my second Mark II, same thing.  I tried my back-up 2X, same thing.  Must be a faulty IS unit I deduced, having had similar problems with my 100-400 mm IS lens.  I took out the newer of my two 500mm f/4 L IS lenses and everything was fine.  When I got home I was packing up the lens to send it to Jamesburg when I saw a box of new pencils laying on the big lightbox in the office.  I grabbed one and cleaned the contacts on the lens with the brand new eraser.  I mounted the lens, 2X TC, and a Mark II and voila!  The lens and camera functioned perfectly.  I will now make it a habit to clean all of the contacts on the lens mounts about once a month or so. And you should do the same!

Ruddy Turnstone, foraging juvenile, Sanibel, FL
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Panning Ground Pod.  Central sensor only (by necessity)/AI Servo AF. ISO 250.  Evaluative metering +1/3 stop set manually: 1/320 sec. at f/16.  
I usually work at f/11 with the 2X TC but opted for f/16 here to ensure adequate DOF at close range.  This is especially important when limited to the central sensor only.  It is not always possible (as I did here) to place the sensor on a spot on the bird that will yield a sharp eye at wider apertures...
If you'd like to see some truly exceptional photography, check out:
Roseate Spoonbill in breeding plumage, Little Estero Lagoon, Ft. Myers Bch, FL
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod (at standing height) with Wimberley head.  Central sensor only (by necessity)/AI Servo AF.  ISO 250.  Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/11.
Here the central sensor was placed dead center on the edge of the bird's bill to ensure a sharp eye.  (Thus the almost square crop...)  With the bird angled slightly towards me, placing the sensor on the bird's shoulder would not have yielded such a sharp eye at f/11. Please do not think that doing so was easy.  I got one sharp one out of two and was thrilled!
Canon recently released the EOS 20D to replace the EOS 10D.  The new camera is lighter, produces 8.2 megapixel images, and has a much larger buffer and a faster frame rate (5 fps) than the 10D.  The 20D features a vastly improved 9-point AF system.  The magnification factor is 1.6.  The viewfinder is dimmer/coarser than on the 10D, and like the 10D, will AF only to f/5.6.  (Folks using the 10D or the 20D with an f/5.6 lens and a teleconverter should not be surprised that AF does not function...)  For a more extensive review of this camera by Michael Reichmann, visit:


Osprey, Little Estero Lagoon, Ft. Myers Bch, FL
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Panning Ground Pod. Central Sensor/AI Servo AF.  ISO 250.  Evaluative metering +1/3 stop set manually: 1/640 sec. at f/11.   
I'd love to tell you that stalking this bird required great skill but in fact it did not.  I was able to walk right up to my desired position and then get on the ground.  Knowing when to use this approach does require some experience and common sense...



I will be appearing at the Florida Birding Festival this weekend (Eckerd College, St. Petersburg) along with a host of other top-notch presenters. There are many wonderful field trips with lots of room and great leaders.  I will be doing a keynote presentation (Florida's Birds: It's All Digital!) on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.  There is lots of room at the Photo Seminar on Saturday afternoon but the In-the-Field Workshop on Sunday morning to Fort DeSoto (with Rocky Sharwell co-leading) is sold out.   BIRDS AS ART will have a booth at the Exhibit Area so if you need to pick up any mail order items (and wish to save shipping!), or if you just want to say, "Hi," be sure to stop by.  To learn more about this great event (or two register) visit:
Short-billed Dowitcher, winter plumage adult with sand crab, Sanibel, FL
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod (at standing height) with Wimberley head. Central sensor only (by necessity)/AI Servo AF. ISO 250.  Evaluative metering +1/3 stop set manually: 1/400 sec. at f/11.  
Working at an effective focal length of 1500mm while standing tall behind your tripod yields images that look as if they were taken almost at ground level.  Why?  You are standing so far away from the subject that the angle of declination is relatively shallow.  
Greg, Heather, and E.J. have published an excerpt from the "Advanced Composition and Image Design" Chapter of the new book (in development) in the October issue of  (   You can find this illustrated article here by clicking on the active link below.  I am not sure if you will have to register to see the article, but if you do, it is free and only takes a minute.  
Guidelines for Advanced Composition and Image Design (an excerpt from The Art of Bird Photography II) by Arthur Morris.  Much of what seemed at first to be intuitive artistic sense can actually be codified as a series of guidelines. And though these guidelines are not hard and fast rules, being aware of them will drastically improve the artistic quality of your images.
You can also check out my cover image here:  NSN is the top educational/critiquing site on the web.  I spend much too much time there...
Sanderling, juvenal plumage, Blind Pass, Captiva Island, FL
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod (at standing height) with Wimberley head. Central sensor only (by necessity)/AI Servo AF. ISO 320.  Evaluative metering at zero: 1/800 sec. at f/11.    
Here, placing the central sensor on the bird's neck while working at f/11 yielded a sharp image.
The Bosque Del Apache NWR, NM 2004 IPTs    The NOV 21-23 IPT and NOV 27-29 IPTs (both co-lead by Ellen Anon) are Sold Out. 
There is a single opening on the third Bosque trip (DEC 3-5, 2004  3-DAYs:  $869) which is being co-led by Greg Downing.  (Ellen Anon could not make this trip.)  Greg is an incredibly skilled photographer and a wonderful teacher.  And like Ellen, he has been a tremendous help to me over the years.  He is a digital photography and computer expert.  He will be a great asset.
The SW Florida IPTs   Post X-mas: DEC 28-30, 2004 3-DAY: $869 (Sold Out)   PRESIDENT'S HOLIDAY: FEB 18-22, 2005, 5-DAY: $1399 w/Ellen Anon co-leading (Sold out with one participant joining us from Finland!) 
The 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 (one opening) & 9-13 (three openings), 2005.  5-DAY: $1599.  (please e-mail for details)

Lake Martin, La, Nesting Spoonbill IPT  3 -DAY: $899  MAR 19-21, 2005 (Sold Out)  May 13-15, 2005  (4 Openings) 

Fort DeSoto/Sarasota IPT:   April 1-3 3-DAY: $869  (7 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, 9 openings)

Register early!  You snooze, you lose!

Nome, Alaska  IPT June 10-20, 2006: (Please note the year: 2006 is not a typo!) Sold Out, but please contact me if you are interested in joining us as part of a second group being led by Greg Downing. We will be sharing our talents on this trip and sharing nest sites and other info via GPS.  In addition, we will be holding joint critiquing and Photoshop sessions.  Long lenses are a necessity.

Antarctica/South Georgia/Falkland Islands Zegrahms Cruise with Arthur Morris and Greg Downing:  January 2007.  Please e-mail for details.

For general IPT info, deposit and registration details, and cancellation policies, please visit:

If you would like your name placed on a waiting list for one or more trips, please e-mail, indicate the trip or trips that you are interested in, and be sure to include both day and evening phone numbers.  We often have late cancellations...


Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, sub-adult, Blind Pass, Captiva Island, FL
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod (at standing height) with Wimberley head. 45 Point/AI Servo AF.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/5.6.    
With dark backgrounds, -1/3 stop usually wins the exposure prize...  See same in the square spoonbill image above. 
Call for BIRDS AS ART subscriber's price on Canon EOS 1D Mark II (in stock) 
We are now taking pre-orders on the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II 7999.99 (no shipping)
Canon EOS IDs $6799.99 (in stock)
Canon EOS 20D with 17-85 lens limited quantity in stock (free shipping for BIRDS AS ART subscribers)
Canon EOS 20D (free shipping for BIRDS AS ART subscribers; call to check on availability)
Ask about prices on Canon lenses (500 and 600mm IS lenses in stock)
Call and ask about all other Canon lens and accessories.
Gitzo 1325 $489.99
Velvia 50 36:  $5.19 usa
Velvia 100 36 $5.09 usa
Provia F 100 36 $3.99 usa
Photo CS upgrade 149.99
Photo CS full version 579.99
Ask about LACIE and Apple products.
Epson 2200 inks 8.99
Epson 4000, 7600, 9600 call for great prices on paper and inks.
Ask for a sample of Epson roll paper. 
Contact: Gary Farber Tel# 800-221-1830 ext. 2332, Fax# 800-336-3841



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:  To unsubscribe, click here:   Back issues of all BAA Bulletins and relevant BAA Notes are archived on the web site at: