DECEMBER 12, 2004
Photo Theme:  My favorite images from my recent Bosque trip. 
Snow Geese at dawn, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, San Antonio, New Mexico
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 28-135mm (handheld at 65mm) with EOS 1D Mark II.  One-Shot Central Sensor AF (focused on a bird in the front row and recomposed).  ISO 800.  Evaluative metering at zero:  1/160 sec. at f/5. 
By originally exposing this image to reveal the foreground detail, I lost the brilliant color in the sky.  Greg Downing suggested exposing such images to maintain the rich color in the sky and then opening up the foreground in Shadow/Highlight.  It was a great suggestion, but it was made after the fact.  Inspired by Greg's comment I simply converted the image darker and then opened up the foreground in Sh/H; there is often more than one way to skin a cat!
I arrived in New Mexico on the afternoon of November 19 and was greeted by south winds and several days of unsettled weather which made for great photography.  I was delighted to see that Jim Savery, the refuge manager had--as I had requested several times by letter and during a phone conversation--cleared away much of vegetation that had blocked sight-lines to the birds at the two crane pools.  He had also cleared most of the tall vegetation in the northwest corner of 18-D (the main impoundment) but a single wall of vegetation there made photography difficult at best.  Unfortunately, sight-lines in many other excellent photographic locations on the two tour loops were completely blocked by rampant vegetation.  I had requested (as above) that viewing windows be cut in several areas, especially along the East Farm Loop Road from the first left turn to the Chupadera Deck.  Mr. Savery was nice enough to grant me a ride-around the Farm Loop during which time I explained the importance of viewing windows both to photographers and other visitors and how cutting sufficient windows would ease crowding on the flight deck in the pre-dawn hours.   He seemed receptive...  Much of the Marsh Loop is un-photographable as the viewing windows that were present as recently as three years ago have been allowed to grow shut. 
Forty-three eager photographers (plus three non-photographer spouses) in three groups joined Ellen and Greg and I for nine great days of photography.  In addition, Alex and Gustavo came all the way from Chile for three private days and participated in the second IPT as well.  On the first morning of the first IPT we had a some spectacular color but other than that the sunrise and sunsets were relatively uneventful.  There was some good flight photography with individual geese and cranes for the first few days but that diminished as the corn was knocked down farther and farther from the tour loop road.  I asked, actually begged--Mr. Savery if--in view of the fact that there were so many photographers visiting in late NOV/early DEC--to arrange to have a single row of corn knocked down in the uncut corn field next to the road about 1/2 mile south of the farm deck, explaining that it would provide fantastic flight photography in both morning and afternoon.  He said that he would check the mowing schedule, but that field was not cut when I left on December 6th...
It was another great year for blast-offs.  On I believe the second afternoon of the middle IPT we experienced the most amazing sustained blast-off that I have seen in my 10 years of Bosque visits since Elaine's death in 1994.  For several minutes the sky was literally filled with swirling geese for as far as the eye could see.  North winds and clear skies made photographic conditions a bit tougher as December dawned, but we almost always managed to pull something good out of the hat.  On the third IPT I located a really tame roadrunner and there were about 20 folks (on foot) gathered around the bird which sat sunning himself oblivious to the huge traffic jam he was causing.  Eventually he tired of watching us all and scurried quickly across the road and out of sight.
Both crane pools were excellent in the morning with Harry's, the more northerly of the two, holding many more birds.   Ed Kranepool, to the south, held fewer cranes but offered less cluttered backgrounds and the chance to isolate single birds dancing and courting.  Both pools attracted large numbers of geese most mornings (including good numbers of Ross's) and there were some great post-sunrise blast-offs.  The weather was generally mild but we did experience three nippy days in the low teens in early December.  I myself  learned quite a bit about using digital flash in the dark (hint: use manual flash mode...) and concentrated on refining my zoom blur techniques. 
Though service and meals at the Val Verde Steakhouse had gone downhill since I ate there last year (it is under new management...) the folks at Val Verde came through with flying colors on Thanksgiving Day and provided a more than suitable feast.  I was joined by 44 others (photographers and families) for a wonderful holiday buffet celebration.  Greg Carmack at K-Bob's was an absolute saint.  For the second straight year, we did all of our slide programs in the back room there, and as always, the food was great.  Greg suggested ordering buffets in advance and they were both huge hits and a tremendous timesavers.  If you need some good food fast while visiting Socorro, do visit K-Bobs at the north end of town adjacent to the Super 8 Motel (where I have stayed for the past decade on each of my ten visits).  The second annual joint BIRDS AS ART/ dinner was a great success, coincidentally attracting another 44 happy photographers.  On my last morning at the refuge I received an early X-mas/Chanukah present:  3 inches of soft wet snow.  I shall share images from that amazing day with you in a future bulletin.
Sandhill Crane landing at the corn fields, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, San Antonio, New Mexico
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4X II TC with EOS 1D Mark II.  AI Servo AF with  Central Sensor on the bird's neck. ISO 250.  Evaluative metering off of the blue sky 30 degrees above the horizon +1/3 stop set manually: 1/1600 sec. at f/8.  Wimberley head with Gitzo CF 1325 tripod.
Once you check the histogram for a correct exposure when the light is constant, working in Manual Mode makes things simpler as you do not have to adjust your exposures as the background changed from sky to mountains to cottonwoods to corn.
From veteran multi-IPT participant Emory Moody:
Just got back from my trip to Bosque where I found your Bosque Site Guide to be invaluable!  About the only complaint I have about your
guide is that it did not prepare me for the unbelievable sensation of being there on a cold clear morning when thousands of geese take flight at once.  The
sights and sounds were indescribable.  You were right, the guide did make my visit about 1,000 times more productive.  Each day I was there I was at the right place at the right
time.  Roadrunner, Kestrel, and Bald Eagle are just a few of the birds I was able to photograph.   And all of these were exactly where you said to look for them.  Thank you!
Your Bosque guide is without a doubt one of the best investments I have made!
ps:  the section on where to eat was also very good. If you ever stop doing your IPT's, you might want to consider running some IFTs!  (Instructional Food Tours).
From Bosque IPT participant Brian Kennedy:
I just wanted to drop you a note to say "Thank You" for the wonderful time that I had on the third IPT. I signed up hoping to improve my flight photography and was very happy with my improved.  My understanding of digital exposure (reading and understanding histograms) has really been clarified. I also purchased your Digital Basics file.  I followed your advice to the letter and my images looked great! 
From Bosque IPT participant Henry Morales:
I'm sorry I was unable to meet back with the group at lunch to say thank you and goodbye.  The IPT was phenomenal, and that includes everything from your advice and tips to the photo critique to the great people and the birds!  I must say, the IPT was one of the most memorable and productive weekends I have ever had.  I had every intention of joining you all for the final lunch but when I went back to the cornfield, the wind was blowing and the birds were hanging up longer than usual.  As it was not crowded, I was able to photograph from my vehicle.  At that point I was going to be late but still make it.  Then I saw a perched bald eagle and you can guess what happened.  I couldn't help but to try and make some good photos.  By the time I got back, it was around noon and I was running late, trying to get back to Phoenix at a reasonable hour. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  I would like to attend a future IPT but I see you are almost fully booked.  Let me know when something opens up.  I could really use some more great instruction and I would be able to show you how much I learned during the first session.
Sandhill Crane at dusk, Harry's Crane Pool, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, San Antonio, New Mexico
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.  AI Servo AF with  AFPS (45 point) AF.  ISO 1600.  Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/250 sec. at f/5.6.  Wimberley head with Gitzo CF 1325 tripod.  Converted with Breezebrowser Noise Reduction set on High.
Even on clear sunsets, there can be some great opportunities at the crane pools provided that there is at least a stiff breeze.  In situations like this, 45 point performs superbly and allows you to compose with the bird back in the frame.
Bosque Del Apache NWR, New Mexico 2005 IPTs/co-leaders to be announced.
Bosque is the premier teaching location in North America.  Lenses of all focal lengths can be used to create stunning images.  There are three slide programs on the evening before the tour starts: A Photographic Introduction to Bosque, "Putting Art in Your Nature Photography," and "Understanding Histograms."   There will be a skilled co-leader on each IPT.  There will be many opportunities to photograph geese and cranes in flight and huge blast-offs, and lots of time to learn to create interesting bird scapes.  Our 2004 IPTs sold out in record early time, so if you would like to join us in Socorro in 2005, do not hesitate to send a $200 deposit at your earliest convenience.  (Checks should be made out to "Arthur Morris" and mailed to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.)
As the birds are arriving earlier and earlier each year (possibly due to global warming), and because we would like to increase the chances of incorporating New Mexico's spectacular fall colors (in the form of the bright yellow cottonwoods) into your photographs, we have--for 2005--scheduled two IPTs before Thanksgiving and one after.  
NOV 15-17 (Slide program at 7:00 pm sharp on NOV 14)  Limit: 14.  3-FULL DAYS: $929
NOV 20-22 (Slide program at 7:00 pm sharp on NOV 19)  Limit: 14 (13 openings):  3-FULL DAYS: $929
NOV 26-28 (Slide program at 7:00 pm sharp on NOV 25)  Limit: 14.  3-FULL DAYS: $929
For general IPT info, deposit and registration details, and cancellation policies, please visit:
Snow Geese blast-off near dusk at the Alfalfa Fields, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, San Antonio, New Mexico
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (handheld at 285 mm) with EOS 1D Mark II.  AI Servo AF with  AFPS (45 point) AF.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/8.  
Inspired by a question from Vietnam War hero-helicopter pilot Chris Kannenberg (who survived being shot down five times!) on the first IPT, I worked hard to refine my techniques for creating zoom blurs.  Consider joining me at Bosque in 2005 to learn this and other specialized techniques.  Chris, you are my hero in more ways than one...
There is a single slot left on the September 10-15, 2005 Bear Boat trip to Katmai National Park.  You will need to be in Anchorage on the 10th.  The cost of the trip is $5,000.  The bears will be fishing for salmon in the streams and there is a fair chance of photographing yearling cubs on this trip.  (Note: several of us will be arranging a fishing charter or two after the trip.)  Please e-mail for additional details.  If  you are seriously interested in filling the last slot, please e-mail us at immediately and let us know that you will be sending a deposit check made out to "Arthur Morris" to us at PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.  In all honesty, I expect that this slot will be filled within hours of this Bulletin being posted.
For general IPT info, deposit and registration details, and cancellation policies, please visit:
American Wigeon, drake landing, Socorro, New Mexico
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm f/5.6 L zoom lens (handheld) with EOS 1D Mark II.  AI Servo AF.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering -2/3 stop off of a drake in the water to prevent over-exposing the white belly on flapping birds: 1/1600 sec. at f/10.  
Having great back-up subjects is a necessity for photo tour leaders if they wish to be successful.  When the winds are wrong, my wigeon pond provides lots of action and ample teaching opportunities.  The old 400 f/5.6 lens is still a great flight lens.
The two sensors below the central sensor were activated; the sensors were on the background, not on the bird, at the moment of exposure...  In addition to being the world's greatest image management and editing software , Breezebrowser ( can be set up to reveal the activated focus points in Main View.
I am pleased to announce that my friend, teaching assistant, digital expert, and accomplished photographer Ellen Anon will be contributing short pieces to the Bulletins on a regular basis.  Most but not all (as seen here) will deal with either digital photography or Photoshop. 

Many of you already know the benefits of using a camera vest from Vested Interest (  (Editor's note: see more on X-tra Hand Vests at:  There are multiple well-placed pockets of varying sizes that will hold flashes, small and not-so-small lenses, extenders, flash cards, etc.  Most important to me have been the extra thick shoulder pads that enable me to carry Wimberley-mounted 500 mm lens on my shoulder without getting bruised.  I loved my first vest, but John (Storrie - the owner of Vested Interest) has worked with me to develop a new one that's even better.


My new vest is designed to be lighter and more versatile.  I found that I didn't need the padding in the pockets and wanted the vest to be less bulky, so John made the vest without the pocket padding.  As I mentioned above, I love the padding in the shoulders when I am carrying about my heavy rig.  But there are times when I am photographing only with shorter lenses and don't need the shoulder pads, so he made them removable. The pads are attached with large Velcro strips. On most models there is a large pocket on the back of the vest.  I had him make my new vest without any pockets on the back - its just plain mesh.  This will make it cooler in hot climates and I will be more comfortable when carrying a small back pack.  John sewed a large strip of material in a contrasting color on the back of the vest to use as a handle to pick up the vest. This ensures I don't accidentally dump the contents of the vest if I forget to close a pocket and pick it up in some cock-eyed way. 


John is willing to customize your vest so that it works for you.  You can choose the features that you need.  John told me of a customer who wanted a back pocket large enough for his laptop, so John created one to meet his needs!  You'll have your choice of colors, pockets and closures. I use a combination of Velcro and zippers, preferring zippers on the smaller pockets.  Contact John at or call him at 940-484-2222.  A new vest would make an ideal holiday gift! 



Snow Geese blast-off at the farm fields, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, San Antonio, New Mexico
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens (handheld at 150 mm) with EOS 1D Mark II.  AI Servo AF with  AFPS (45 point) AF.  ISO 50.  Evaluative metering at zero: 1/25 sec. at f/29.  
The 100-400 is still my favorite blast-off lens.  I needed to lower the ISO considerably to get the slow shutter speed that I desired.  As here, do strive to maintain a clean lower edge on your blast-off and bird-scape images.
Laurie Excell, who often co-leads trips with Moose Peterson--and is a fine photographer in her own right ( has created a new web site to help folks sell their used equipment without hassle.  If you would like to learn more about this service, visit for details. 
Northern Pintail drake, Marsh Deck Duck Pond, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, San Antonio, New Mexico
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.  AI Servo AF with the two sensors below the central sensor activated.  ISO 250. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/11.  With BIRDS AS ART prototype BIG LENS BEANBAG. 
Using the two sensors below the central sensor when photographing ducks allows you to keep the bird down in the frame thus yielding a more pleasing composition. Even with the soft light, I needed to underexpose by 1/3 stop because of the relatively dark water to avoid overexposing the bird's white neck.  Though we (obviously) do not get to photograph from our vehicles as a group, we do review the techniques and locations, and encourage participants to explore on their own during slow and down times.
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 (Sold out)& 9-13 (Sold out), 2005.  5-DAY: $1599.  
Lake Martin, La, Nesting Spoonbill IPT  3 -DAY: $899  MAR 19-21, 2005 (Sold Out)  May 13-15, 2005  (2 Openings) 

Fort DeSoto/Sarasota IPT:   April 1-3 3-DAY: $869  (Sold Out)  

St. Augustine Alligator Farm IPT  April 28 (aft) thru May 1, 2005.  3 1/2-DAYS: $1049  (Limit 12, 8 openings)

Register early!  You snooze, you lose!

August 2005 Fly/Drive Kenya Photo-Safari


August 15-31, 2005--16 days on the ground: $8,200/person.

$500 deposit

(Single supplement: $1,700.) Airfare to and from Nairobi, Kenya not included.

14 full and two half days of photography

When comparing the cost of this safari with others please not that we do NOT include travel days to and from Africa...

Limit: five vans of three photographers including the leaders.
Luxury accommodations on a twin-share basis with private facilities.
Full American breakfast daily, 16 lunches and 15 dinners

Transport via 4WD vehicle with fully removable roof-hatch with English speaking driver-guide (maximum 3 passengers per vehicle).
All park entry fees and hotel taxes

Air Transport from Nairobi to Maasai Mara and from Maasai Mara back to Nairobi. (This eliminates a killer drive over horrific roads.)

Complimentary water (1/2 liter per person per day) on Days 2-16.


Price does Not Include:

Passport and visa fees and airport taxes. 
Airfares to and from Kenya (usually via Amsterdam).  
Beverages, laundry, telephone calls or any other items of a personal nature. 
Gratuities to hotel porters, wait staff, room attendants and driver-guides. 

(The suggested tip for driver guides is $15 US per person/day.) 


To see some spectacular Kenya images click on any of the following links:  or: or: or:


Galapagos Cruise, July 2005 (Sold Out)  


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 the 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 day, evening, and cell phone numbers.  We often have late cancellations...


Snow Geese blur against cottonwoods, H-Road, Bosque Del Apache, NWR, San Antonio, New Mexico
Image copyright 2004 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II.  Manual focus.  ISO 250.  Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/20 se. at f/64.  Wimberley head with Gitzo CF 1325 tripod. 
Here, I opted to focus manually as with central sensor AF only with the 2X, there was zero chance of the AF system locking on the geese.  Skilled photo tour leaders are always open to new and different opportunities and do not hesitate to get the group set up in the right spot even when the logistics might be a bit tricky.  (I had never seen the birds in this pool before.  The afternoon lights was spectacular, so we went for it, and succeeded.


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: