JANUARY 27, 2005


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Gary Carter's Farm, McCleansville, NC
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4X TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF  1325 tripod.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/14.  
When working with small birds at or near minimum focusing distance it is important to stop down if at all possible.  Getting to photograph a new bird well is a huge thrill for me.   Many of Gary's birds are quite tame.  I preferred standing out in the open to ensure a perfect sun angle to staying in the blind and that strategy worked well. I was away from my rig chatting with Ellen (who was a student advisor again this year) when I saw this bird chowing down on Gary's secret peanut butter mixture and was able to sneak back without much trouble.  (Gary has three outdoor refrigerators of his bird food!)  
Photo Theme:  My favorite images made in two days on Gary Carter's farm. 
I have worked non-stop since I got back from NANPA preparing the San Diego Site Guide, the third in the series.  The Site Guides are the closest thing to joining an IPT that you can experience without actually joining us.  And they cost only fifty bucks; a lot less than an IPT!  I share everything that I know about the five killer photography spots within 20 minutes of downtown San Diego.  Learn where and how and when to photograph the amazing California race of Brown Pelican; Marbled Godwits against bright buff backgrounds; Wood Ducks, Lesser Scaup, and Ring-necked Duck at point blank range; and a variety of stunning gulls (including Heerman's, Western, and California) both perched and in flight.  You will learn where to go on what wind and what tides are best for each coastal location.  As usual, I have held nothing back.  The Fort DeSoto and Bosque Site Guides have received nothing but praise from the more than 200 photographers who were able to visit these sites for the first time as if they had been photographing them for a decade. 
The San Diego Site Guide (8936 words, 38 color photographs) is available right now.  It will prove most useful to folks visiting in the colder months, but many of the locations are productive in other seasons as well, especially spring.  You can send us a Paypal for $50 or call with a credit card number.  (If the latter, you will need to give us your e-mail address.)  Yes, BAA is finally accepting credit cards over the phone!
Pine Warbler (adult), Gary Carter's Farm, McCleansville, NC
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF  1325 tripod. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/14.  Fill flash (with high speed synch) at -2 stops with Better Beamer.
I nearly went berserk with joy when I saw the first of these come to the feeders.  I got what I wanted of him on the second day...  I was one happy camper.  I had no idea that Pine Warbler could look so bright in winter; it was 17 degrees when this image was made.
The NANPA Summit, held in Charlotte, NC, was, as Summits always are, a blur of meeting old friends, making new ones, networking with both other photographers and clients, learning a ton about photography, and--of course--seeing lots of great, great images.  As one of the four keynote speakers, I was privileged to present the first ever all-digital revised version of "A Bird Photographer's Story."    When I showed the last image, of a pelican flying away, I said, "This is the end of the story for now, but I promise you that it will be continued."  The standing ovation that I received from about 600 folks at the end of that show on that Friday morning will be forever etched in my mind as one of the highlights of my career.  Thanks again to all who attended.
  On Thursday morning, Kevin Adams set the bar high with his fantastic multi-media keynote presentation: "A Newer Voyage to Carolina."  After his program I went up to him and said, "I had no idea that you were so talented."  On Saturday, National Geographic photographer Tim Laman amazed all with tales of his tree climbing photo work-ethic, and his incredible images of a dizzying variety of spectacular hornbills, most from tropical Asia, will be long remembered.  On Saturday night, my friend and colleague Tui (say "twee" not" TOO-ee") De Roy and Florida's black and white large format landscape legend Clyde Butcher were honored, as was John Sexton who presented the last keynote, "Photographic Recollections."  John was personable and more than funny as he described both his life and the joyous, educational, and inspirational time that he spent as Ansel Adams' photographic assistant.  I was intrigued by his graphic space shuttle images, but what can I say: I am--probably out of ignorance of the media for the most part--not a big fan of black and white landscape photography.  My very favorite breakout session was Adam Gibbs' "Establishing Your Photographic Vision."  His landscapes, many from western Canada, were beyond spectacular; one after another simply took your breath away. On Friday evening I spoke with the College Scholarship Students about the business of nature photography and ate too much pizza...
Carolina Chickadee, Gary Carter's Farm, McCleansville, NC
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF  1325 tripod.  ISO 320. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/320 sec. at f/14.  Fill flash (with high speed synch) at -2 stops with Better Beamer.
With lots of space around the bird this vertical format image would work well as a magazine cover.  This was a one-shot wonder as the tiny bird jumped up onto this perch for only an instant. Without prefocusing manually I would not have been able to capture this  image as AF with the 2X is too slow unless you help it along...  
Gary Carter has a farm, and my oh my, so many great birds.  Gary generously hosted several field trip groups of NANPA photographers in his BIG backyard, and I was privileged to be able to work with the High School Scholarships students there on the Tuesday preceding the Summit.  I stayed with Gary and his charming wife Janice for three nights, photographing a great variety of wintering birds and helping Gary improve his set-ups.  (Just call me the "Backyard Doctor.")   The Carters were most gracious hosts to all of their NANPA visitors, but especially to me.  Gary is a Corbis photographer so that you know that is his an accomplished photographer.  You can arrange to photograph from Gary's blinds on weekends.  His place is about 30 minutes from Greensboro, but is worth a plane ride...  As great as it was for me last week, my understanding is that it is even better in spring!  I shall return.  For details, or to schedule a visit, you can e-mail Gary at or visit his web site at:
Eastern Bluebird (male), Gary Carter's Farm, McCleansville, NC
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF  1325 tripod.  ISO 800.  Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/60 sec. at f/6.3. Fill flash at -2 stops with Better Beamer.
The Mark II handles noise so well that I do not hesitate working at ISO 800 or even higher when the situation demands it.  Gary buys mealworms in bags of 10,000 and is bluebirds eat them just about as fast as he can put them out. Many other species love them as well.
After Bulletin 159 was published, many folks wrote asking about the umbrella clamp set-up that I used so much when it rained so much in San Diego.  (See photo of the set-up in the Bulletin Archives.) The combination of the Bogen Super clamp (without stud) and the Avenger Add-a-Head is relatively heavy, about four pounds or possibly more; mine is on its way to Homer via Fed-X Ground so I am not able to weigh it right now...  I hope that it does not get too much use up there!  I had tried many methods of attaching an umbrella to my Wimberley head and had no success at all until a Gitzo rep provided the elegant solution.  The Add-a-Head will accept a great variety of umbrella shaft diameters and the rig is designed so that it is possible to place the umbrella (not included) in a variety of positions and at a variety of angles.  With a medium or large umbrella it is easy to use a flash under the Umbrella Clamp Rig so long as you do not need to point your lens too far upwards.  While it is obvious that one should not use the rig during thunder and lightening storms or in high winds, we ask you to exercise common sense when using the Umbrella Rig.  By doing so you will assure that you will not be fried by lightening and that your 500mm IS lens and Mark II will not wind up flying up, up, and away like a kite! 
We are offering the Umbrella Clamp Rig (UCR) for $66.00 plus $12.00 shipping (by US Priority Mail/Signature Confirmation.)  Florida residents need to add 7% sales tax to the cost of the rig only ($4.62). We are placing our order today so they should be in stock by next week.  Order today to ensure that you get one from our first shipment.  That way, when it rains, you can smile as you head out to photograph birds knowing all the while that your valuable photographic equipment will be safe and dry.  (A future Bulletin will include the exact weight, photographs, and tips on using the UCR.)
White-throated Sparrow (adult), Gary Carter's Farm, McCleansville, NC
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF  1325 tripod.  ISO 1250. Evaluative metering +2/3 stops: 1/125 sec. at f/10. 
With the dark background here I blew the exposure on this one, but by converting .4 stops darker I was able to save the image.  You gotta love digital!
Both Greg Downing and I (and hundreds of others) now use only the Gitzo Carbon Fiber 1325 tripod with both our 500mm and 600mm lenses.  We recommend the much heavier CF 1548 only for those using Nikon 600s which are not image stabilized...   I vehemently recommend against anyone using the 1348 (or similar) CF tripods with big lenses as the diameter of the bottom leg section is pencil thin.  I even recommend the CF 1325 for intermediate telephoto lenses (with the Mongoose 262) so that if you ever purchase one of the big guns, you will not need to upgrade. 
 We are proud to add the CF 1325 to our product line so that folks with brand new super-telephoto lenses can now enjoy one-stop shopping.  The Gitzo 1325 CF tripod is available for $506.94 (cheapest US web price that I know of...) plus $25 shipping by US Priority Mail/Insured/Signature Confirmation.  Florida residents need to add 7% sales tax to the cost of the tripod only: $35.49.   We are placing our order today so they should be in stock by next week.  Update: Bogen is out of stock on this tripod. We expect to receive them in early March. Sorry for any inconvenience.
White-breasted Nuthatch, Gary Carter's Farm, McCleansville, NC
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF  1325 tripod.  ISO 800. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/125 sec. at f/5.6. Fill flash (with high speed synch) at -2 stops with Better Beamer.
This was another one-shot wonder, but with "only" the 1.4X TC, AF was right as rain on the spot, focusing almost as fast as the human eye...
For the added convenience of our customers BIRDS AS ART mail order is--at long last--accepting Visa and MasterCard orders by phone.  To place an order call us at 863-692-0906.  Mondays through Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. are best, but you are invited to try your luck at other times.   Please do not call before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Eastern Time.  You may reserve a spot on the regularly scheduled IPTs that require only a $200 deposit, or, a spot for one of the Weekend "The Art of Nature Photography" Seminars with a credit card phone payment.  (Do note that IPT balances must be paid by personal check.)  You may also order one of our Site Guides or the Digital Basics File as above.  For IPT and seminar reservations and electronic file orders, we will need you to provide your e-mail address accurately.
Downy Woodpecker (female), Gary Carter's Farm, McCleansville, NC
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF  1325 tripod.  ISO 250. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/250 sec. at f/14. 
I helped Gary improve his set-ups simply by cleaning up the backgrounds.

The Art of Nature Photography; It Ain't Just Birds!

Weekend Seminars

Sponsored by Canon USA

In conjunction with Photo Road Shows

Atlanta, Georgia, July 30-31, 2005

Dallas, Texas,  September 24-25, 2005


Click here for full details:




Fox Sparrow, Gary Carter's Farm, McCleansville, NC

Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod.  ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/8.  Flash at -1/3 stop with Better Beamer.
Here, working in the shadow of the blind near dusk, I pretty much went to flash as main light. 



Then consider joining me on one of the following small group trips:


#1:  I will be leading a small group of photographers to the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Alaska where we photograph the coastal brown bears fishing and clamming at close range and will have lots of great salmon fishing.  There should be some young bears, and in most years there are one or more pairs of spring cubs. (And I am hoping that there may be some birds around as well.)  We will most likely fly to Silver Salmon Creek Lodge on the morning of September 16, 2005 from Anchorage.   We will do either a 7 day/six night trip  (leaving on the 22nd) or 6 day/five night (leaving on the 21st) trip.  Folks might be able to arrange to stay on a bit longer or arrive a bit earlier than the main group if that works better for them. Please contact us via e-mail if you would like to join us.


The 7 day/6 night package that includes all meals, guide service, lodging, local use of sea kayaks, fish preparation and photo/boat trips is $3320/person.  The 6 day/5 night trip would be $2930 pp from Anchorage.  Halibut fishing is $50 per person extra but David Coray has informed me that the tides would be bad for a halibut trip during the week that we will be there but we may be able to squeeze in one trip at the end of the week. I hope that you can join us.  Please e-mail me if you have any additional questions.


#2: I will be leading a bear boat trip for Alaska Photo-Tours June 25-30.  Two half-days and four full days on the boat: $5,000.00.  You will need to be in Anchorage on June 24th.  We should have lots of point blank opportunities on the Coastal Brown Bears, breeding Bald Eagles, Glaucous-winged Gull chicks, and possibly fox.  If you are seriously interested in joining me for this truly amazing trip, please contact Steve Freno at or Jenny Jonak at  (Jenny, who is quite an experienced and talented photographer, will be joining Greg Downing and me on the 2007 Antarctica trip.)




Yours truly & Gary Carter, McCleansville, NC

Image copyright 2005 courtesy of Ellen Anon
I brought a few things with me to NC to make sure that the HS Students were well equipped!  The silly look on my face is sheer exhaustion...




2005 SW FLA President's Holiday IPT: FEB 18-22, 2005, 5-DAY: $1399 w/Ellen Anon co-leading (Sold out with one participant joining us from Finland!) 

Homer, AK, Bald Eagle IPTs w/co-leader Greg Downing  FEB 4-8 (Sold out) & 9-13 (Sold out), 2005.  5-DAY: $1599.  
Lake Martin, La, Nesting Spoonbill IPTs  3 -DAY: $899  MAR 19-21, 2005 (Sold Out)  May 13-15, 2005  (one opening) 

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  (Sold out)
Bosque IPTs  3 -DAY: $929.  All with co-leader Ellen Anon. NOV 15-17, 2005 (Limit 14, 9 openings), NOV 20-22 (Limit 14, 9 openings) & NOV 26-28 (Limit 14; 13 openings).
SW FLA, Post X-mas IPT. 3 -DAY: $929. DEC 28-30, 2005.  (Limit 12)
SW FLA President's Holiday IPT w/co-leader Ellen Anon:  $1549.  FEB 17-21, 2006.  (Limit 14; 13 openings)                    
San Diego 4-Day IPT: $1399 w/co-leader Ellen Anon.  JAN 5-8, 2006    Limit 12.  

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 note 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: (Both groups sold out.) Please note the year: 2006 is not a typo!) Sold Out, but please contact me if you are interested in having your name added to the waiting list. 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... 

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: