MARCH 30, 2005
Photo Theme:  images from the recent Lake Martin, LA Spoonbill IPT
 Roseate Spoonbill, Lake Martin, LA      
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and the EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/16.   
The miracle here involved getting the whole bird in the frame as he flapped, me with too long a focal length.  In the frames before and after this one the wings were badly clipped. With the central sensor on the bird's neck f/16 helped to keep the eye sharp.
I flew Delta to Lafayette via Atlanta.  With bad weather in both Orlando and Atlanta my flight was delayed about an hour.  I was off the plane in Atlanta at 1:57pm and just missed my connection.  The next and last flight of the day to Lafayette was not until 8:57 pm.   Seven hours...  Not bad, lots of time to work on laying out and designing the new book (which will be published on CD).  To make a long, long story short, that flight--after numerous delays (no pilot, pilot but no crew, pilot and crew but no aircraft, pilot and crew and aircraft but mechanical problems) finally left at 1:20 am after several gate changes. 
Photography at Lake Martin was not as good as in a typical year for mid-March as it had been unseasonably cold for several weeks.  We still had lots of great chances on the spoonbills and the nesting Great Egrets, and some folks did well with the Barred Owls.  We did some scenic photography (including lots of zoom blurs and intentional blurs with the huge stands of yellow flowers and the cypress trees), and lots of macro photography, mostly flowers and tree frogs.  Wes and Patti Ardoin graciously hosted this IPT and all of the slide programs were conducted in their large living room.  On critiquing night, Patti served her fabulous crawfish etouffe for the group.  I got back to the motel before 9 pm and was looking forward to a great night's sleep (but felt as if I might have eaten a bit too much...)   At 9:30 pm I vomited for the first time.  And then vomited again at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30. Just past midnight I got the chills and lay beneath all the covers fully dressed for the next two hours with my teeth chattering violently.  Just past 2:30am I knocked on Robert O'Toole's door and asked him to take me to the emergency room.  He did.  They checked me in and by 3am I was sound asleep on the tile floor in the waiting room.  At 4am a friendly nurse awakened my by kicking me.  I guess that I had been sleeping so soundly that I had not responded to her calling my name. 
She put me in a cubicle where I slept like a rock for anoother hour until the doctor awakened me at 5am and ordered an IV drip.  After yet another hour of merciful sleep a different nurse came in and started the IV.  Wes and Patti came by to check on the patient and Patti sat close by doing some energy healing on my feet, my head and neck, and my stomach.  Patti played Jewish grandma for the rest of the day even making me two different types of chicken soup.  That morning--for the first time ever--I was unable to answer the bell for an IPT due to illness!  Robert, who was co-leading the trip, and Alfred Forns, an IPT veteran and moderator, took over the teaching duties for the day and according to the group, did a fantastic job. I slept at Wes and Patti's for most of the day.  That evening I treated the group to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and had a small bowl of rice for dinner.  By the next morning, I was pretty much good to go.
The dates for next year's Lake Martin trip will be announced no later than mid-May.  Oh, I forgot to mention, it was not Patti's crawfish that got to me, but most likely the medium-rare burger that I had from one of the chain yuppie lunch places...  (I was told that it takes about 8 hours for food poisoning to kick in and nobody else got sick...)
Roseate Spoonbill with twig for nest, Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod.  ISO 250. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/4 set manually.  AI Servo AF with the central sensor only.   
Everything came together to make this image work: the bird on the tip of the branch, the tree trunk acting as a frame, the bird clear of the trunk, the soft light, the framing, the perfectly raised wings, the bird's head against a clean background, and the perfect position and angle of the twig.  I had just taken off the 1.4TC in hopes of capturing an image of a spoonbill with its wings raised.  I am starting to think wider for action!
#1: A while back, I purchased the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS zoom lens.  Simply put, I am loving it to the extent that I am retiring (and selling; see immediately below) my 100-400 IS L zoom lens.  To ease the load on my shoulder, I often mount the 20D (with its 1.6X magnification factor) on the 70-200 as my auxiliary telephoto and use it for flight, action, and bird-scapes.  If I need to go wider than 112mm (70+42) I can mount the Mark II and get down to 91mm (70 + 21).  In specialized situations I have gotten great flight and action results with the the EOS 1D Mark II and the 70-200, and for static subjects I have made razor sharp images with that lens and the 2X II teleconverter.  I love the constant aperture (f/2.8), the great speed (f/2.8!), the speed of AF acquisition, the AF tracking accuracy, and the sharpness.  You can check out some 70-200 images in this and the last few Bulletins.  The 70-200 will kill on flight at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm where the birds can be extremely close.  
#2:  Again, to reduce the strain on my shoulder, I have turned more and more to the 20D because of its light weight, and have become so intrigued with this relatively inexpensive light-weight camera that I used it for a bit in Lake Martin as my main body.  As stated previously, the AF tracking is extremely accurate but the speed of intitial AF acquisition is--of course--slower than on the EOS 1D Mark II.  By manually prefocusing you can reduce the speed of initial AF acquisition by light years!  For examples of some 20D image see this and the last few Bulletins.
#3:  The new 580 flash is brilliant.  The controls are far easier to use than on the 550.  In Homer, when I first used it, I found that I could set flash compensation with heavy gloves on!  It is more powerful.  The results seem more consistent than with the 550.   When using flash with digital I have found that the fill levels need to be set much lower than with film, generally between -2 and -3 stops.
Black-crowned Night-Heron strutting display, Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4X II TC and EOS 20D on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod.  ISO 400. 
Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/8 in Av Mode. AI Servo AF with the central sensor only.   
This male was really showing off for the ladies, strutting about slowly while bobbing up and down.  This species is usually buried up to its eyeballs in twigs and branches...  I added 1/3 stop for the light background and 1/3 more for the early morning light. The extra magnification of the 20D allowed me to work at 700mm rather than at 1000mm (with the 2X.)
As above, I am offering my 100-400mm IS L zoom lens for sale for $1100 plus shipping and insurance.  (Credit cards accepted by phone.)  This lens is only a few months old and is in near-mint condition.  It was just cleaned by Canon Jamesburg.  Included are the carrying case, the front and rear caps, and the tripod collar. Please call us at 863-692-0906 immediately if you would like to purchase this lens.  As regular readers know, this is an extremely versatile lens and, combined with a 20D, it would be a perfect main lens for a beginning bird photographer. 
Cypress swamp & flowers, Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS lens at 130mm with EOS 20D on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod.  ISO 100. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/4 sec. at f/22 in Tv Mode.  The Wimberley head's horizontal pan was tightened and the lens was moved up slowly during the exposure.
Inspired by an image (Day 18) in Jim Brandenburg's most recent book, "Looking for the Summer," (which I have been studying intently for the past few weeks), I created this one after a few days of doing zoom blurs. Working in Tv Mode gives you absolute control of shutter speed.  One of the best ways to grow as a nature photographer is to look at as many good images as possible.  You can learn more about Jim here:
Regular readers know that I have been working closely with Lens and Land, an association of Texas ranchers who have opened their properties to visiting photographers in an effort to promote eco-tourism, stave off the developers, protect valuable habitat, and pay for their bird seed!  Lens and Land is sponsoring the Edinburg Nature Photography Festival which runs from April 6-9, 2005.  I will be presenting "A Bird Photographer's Story" as the keynote address on the evening of April 6, and a mini-seminar in two parts ("Why Digital" and "Putting Art in your Nature Photography") on the afternoon of the 7th.
More importantly, registrants will have the opportunity to visit several of these amazing properties where photo blinds built adjacent to feeders and water features attract many of the Rio Grande Valley specialty species including Green Jay, Long-billed Thrasher, several oriole species (including Audubon's!), Great Kiskadee, the spectacular Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Olive Sparrow, and Chachalaca.  Usually shy subjects like Northern Bobwhite and Wild Turkey are often easy pickings in South Texas, and in addition, the event is timed perfectly to coincide with spring passerine migration so we should have some great chances on a variety of warblers and sparrows and for the blessed, a male Painted Bunting...
To see the festival brochure, or to register, visit:
Hope to see you there!
Barred Owl, Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with EOS 20D on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod.  ISO 400. 
Evaluative metering at zero: 1/100 sec. at f/4 in Av Mode. One Shot AF with the central sensor only; focused on the bird's eye and recomposed.
This environmental portrait is an atypical BIRDS AS ART image.  I tried to find and angle to eliminate the sky in the background but this was the best that I could do.  Notice that we need to know when and why to break the "rules."  (Always give the bird room to see into the frame...")
Now that we (with Jim doing much of the work!) are printing with our Epson 2200 and doing a crack job to boot, we will be putting a single image on sale with each Bulletin.  The discounted price will be in effect for one month and only for Bulletin Subscribers.   The first featured image will be the lead image in Bulletin 162 (, "Bald Eagle emerging with fish."
This image is a panoramic crop and can be printed on either Premium Luster or Velvet Fine Art paper.  The former is a high quality traditional semi-gloss photographic paper, the latter yields more of a watercolor look.
Printed on 11 inch wide paper the regular price is $99.95.  The sale price is $79.95.
Printed on 16 1/2 inch wide paper the regular price is $159.95.  The sale price is $129.95.
Printed on 19 inch wide paper the regular price is $199.95.  The sale price is $149.95.
To order your print please send a check made out to "Arthur Morris" for the full amount to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.
Louisiana iris, Lake Martin, LA    
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART  
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 25mm extension tube and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod.  ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/60 sec. at f/14 in Av Mode.
My favorite "macro" lens is a long telephoto with an extension tube or two. Here, I used my panning ground pod ( to make this image while laying down on the road so that I could get the distant green background that I wanted.
Subscriber Rob Ciborowski is offering a Canon EOS 10D Digital SLR camera (body only) with Canon BP-50 battery pack. All of the items are in mint condition. Supplied in original packaging and includes all original software, manuals, cables, battery, and battery charger. Selling price is $1100.00. Buyer pays for shipping and insurance.  All non-certified funds must clear before shipment.
You can contact Rob as follows: email:;  home:  734-455-0640;  cell:  734-546-3695
Lang Elliot is offering a 500mm f/4.5 L lens in excellent condition for sale as follows: $2000. Buyer pays shipping by FedEx.  Includes hard case (lens trunk). Cashier's check required. Full refund less postage if not satisfied.  Contact Lang at 607-277-9034 or e-mail him at:
Note: The "old" non-IS 500 would be a great lens for a new bird photographer with a 20D who does not have the cash for the 500 IS.  With the 1.4 TC, however, you will need to focus manually.  With the lens and a 20D (or a 10D) you will have an effective 800mm focal length with AF.

Little Blue Heron displaying, Lake Martin, LA 
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500 mm f/4 L IS lens with EOS 20D on Gitzo 1325 tripod with Wimberley head.  ISO 800.  Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/125 sec. at f/5.6. 
One Shot AF with the central sensor only; focused on the bird's eye and recomposed.
On my last morning, a small group of Little Blues flew in to some low bushes and began displaying in the predawn light.
      The Art of Bird Photography; It Ain't Just Birds! Weekend Seminar
Atlanta, Georgia, July 30-31, 2005

Presented by Photo Road Show    



This seminar is for all nature photographers who want to learn how to make better images. I will describe the methods and techniques that I have developed and used since 1983.  My comments on equipment (including digital), autofocus, light, composition and image design, and sharpness and my tips on getting close to wild subjects and photographing action and behavior will benefit everyone with a telephoto lens who wishes to dramatically improve the quality of their images. Since going all-digital in November 2002, I have--in short order--become a digital photography and Photoshop expert.  My approach to optimizing images is to create a master file of excellent quality in the shortest possible time.  I will share our workflow and numerous Photoshop tips during the Sunday sessions.


Weekend package (2 days): $159.  Either Saturday or Sunday: $109.  To register send a check for the full amount made out to "Arthur Morris" to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.  We accept credit cards by phone: 863-692-0906.  In either case, we need your e-mail address, your mailing address, and your daytime and evening phone numbers. Here is the Cancellation Policy  for these events.  Photo Road Show is relying on your attendance, so if for any reason you need to withdraw, please notify Arthur Morris as soon as possible.  Once we receive written notice of your cancellation the following fees apply: cancel 31+ days prior to the start of the workshop and your fee will be refunded less a $50.00 cancellation fee; cancel less 30 days prior to the date of the workshop and there will be no refund.  Venue: Renaissance Waverly Hotel


Please e-mail us to request the SAT/SUN schedules.


Great Egret, Lake Martin, LA
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 250. Evaluative metering +3 stops off of the white sky reading: 1/25 sec. at f/18 set manually.  AI Servo AF with the central sensor only.   
On the foggy mornings we reviewed the techniques for creating successful zoom blurs.  With the head set against the far wing, this one was my favorite.
Photograph Coastal Brown Bears safely at close range in Lake Clark National Park as they fish for salmon and cavort through streams.  There should be some young bears around, and in most years there are one or more pairs of spring cubs.  We will also fish for salmon ourselves and may do one trip for halibut if the tides cooperate.  We will fly to the fabled Silver Salmon Creek Lodge from Anchorage on the morning of Friday, September 16, 2005 and fly back to Anchorage about mid-day on Thursday September 22.  The 7-day/6-night package includes all meals, photo boat trips, salmon fishing and sea kayaks for the brave.  If we do fit in a halibut trip near the end of our visit, the cost is $50 per person.  There will of course be lots of in-the-field instruction and ample opportunities for image sharing and photoshop lessons.  The cost of the trip is $3399.  If you would like to join us, please--at your earliest convenience--send a $1700 deposit check made out to Arthur Morris (PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855).  Five of the ten slots are filled at present.
Great Egret at nest, Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II on Gitzo CF 1325 tripod.  ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/8 in Av Mode. 
One Shot AF with the central sensor only; focused on the bird's eye and recomposed.   
Patti Ardoin was not the only one serving crawfish!  Many folks comment that one of the big yet little know plusses of attending an IPT is the wealth of natural history and behavioral information that they come away with...  This bird was re-swallowing the crawfish that were too big for her little chicks so that she could digest them a bit more and then regurgitate them again.

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

St. Augustine Alligator Farm IPT  with co-leader Robert O'Toole, 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, 5 openings), NOV 20-22 (Limit 14, 8 openings) & NOV 26-28 (Limit 14; 12 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; 9 openings)                    
San Diego 4-Day IPT: $1399 w/co-leader Ellen Anon.  JAN 5-8, 2006    (Limit 12, 11 Openings.)


August 2005 Fly/Drive Kenya Photo-Safari with co-leader Todd Gustafson.  August 15-31, 2005--16 days on the ground: $8,200/person. Non-refundable $500 deposit required. See or request Bulletin 163 for complete details.


January 2006 Tanzania Photo-Safari with co-leader Todd Gustafson.  January 16-30, 2006  (14 full and one half-day of photography): $7500/person. Non-refundable $1000 deposit required.  See or request Bulletin 166 for complete details.  


Nome, Alaska  IPT June 10-20, 2006 in conjunction with Greg Downing: (Both groups are sold out.) 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 4-24, 2007.  Please e-mail for details.  Note:  We have already filled more than half of our alloted 30 slots for this trip...

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. 

Cypress swamp with flowers, zoom blur,  Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005 Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS lens handheld with EOS 20D. ISO 100. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/4 sec. at f/22 in Tv Mode. 
The lens was zoomed from long to short during the exposure. 
On cloudy or overcast days when there is a big flock of birds or a stand of flowers in front of you, think zoom blurs. 
Digital  allows you to experiment freely with shuttter speeds, zoom rate, and framing.

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: