JUNE 1, 2005
NIKON 200-400 F/4 LENS
Photo Theme: my very favorite images from the second Lake Martin IPT
Roseate Spoonbill feeding young, Lake Martin, LA 
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II.  ISO 250.
Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/8.   


I often say teasingly, "Every nest has one stick too many," and that is certainly true at Lake Martin.  We had to work hard at finding the best angles to minimize distracting foreground and background elements.


The second Lake Martin IPT was as expected a wonderful success.  Lake Martin IPT gluttons Cece Fabro and Jack Panzeca (and Chris) returned for a second go-round and Wes and Patti Ardoin were again our most-gracious hosts.  Patti made curtains for the main section of her living room so that we could conduct our afternoon sessions in near-darkness.  They also helped to keep the birds visiting her feeders out of sight.   The Ardoin's regularly host Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers and White-winged Doves among others...
Walt Anderson of Better Beamer fame and Janie Bullard of Distinctive Journeys (read Galapagos X2 and Antarctica 2007) also joined us in quest of the baby spoonbills.   Distinctive Journeys ( is a Virtuoso Travel Company.  IPT veterans Alan Nodes, Susan Schermer, and Dan Bartel joined first timers Terry Turrentine and newly-weds Bill and Linda Lott to round out another fun group filled with nice folks. 
Though many of the best spoonbill nests disappeared mysteriously several days before we got started, the remaining Roseates cooperated and we had some very good Great Egret nests as well.  As expected, you had to work hard and be patient in order to make some nice images of the chicks in the nests getting fed. Other highlights included lots of Little Blues, a few photographable pairs of Cattle Egrets, several cooperative Barred Owls, and some great flowers and butterflies.  We were blessed with several foggy mornings.  These provided some neat scenic photography opportunities with the cypress trees at dawn and allowed us to work later into the mornings than would have been possible on clear days.
Roseate Spoonbill at Great Egret 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.  ISO 400.
Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/8.   


When the adult was out fishing, this spoonbill repeatedly attempted to steal sticks from the Great Egret nest.  I manually chose the 3rd sensor from the right in the middle row of sensors and placed it on the spoonbill's face in order to come up with a pleasing composition and accurate focus.  Below, courtesy of Breezebrowser's Show Focus Points feature, you can see the selected sensor.  Note also the foggy look to the image.  First, I converted the image with the Breezebrowser's "High Contrast" setting, then simply made the standard Levels and Curves Adjustments described in our Digital Basics File:


On pages 76-77 of my book, Shorebirds: Beautiful Beachcombers (, I used a wonderful image of a roosting flock of Western Sandpipers created by Charlie Krebs.  To make it, he hack-sawed off the back of a swing-back camera and grafted it onto the back of a Nikon camera body which he had also cut in half.  Before I headed to Lake Martin I was in Cordova, AK trying to create some similar images with more traditional equipment. (See:  So who did we run into at Lake Martin?  Charlie Krebs.
The first time that I met Charlie was back in the late 1980s when I was just getting started.  Once I realized who he was--he had had some huge spreads of his shorebird photographs in Audubon magazine back in the days when Audubon was the showcase for great nature photography--I hung out with him for two days and asked him about 3,562 questions.  He answered each and every one politely.  Well, you might have guessed, Charlie is still one of the nicest and most generous folks involved in this business.  Whenever he was in the vicinity of our group, he would wind up teaching and sharing as if the group were his, not mine.   Thanks Charlie!

Great Egret in Cypress Swamp, Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 28-135mm IS zoom lens handheld at 60mm with EOS 1Ds.   
Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/20 sec. at f/5. 
We had great fun making scenic images on the foggy mornings.  Charlie Krebs alerted us to the presence of the Great Egret in just the right spot, and then suggested including the small island on our right in the composition.  Since I do not know a whole lot about scenic photography, I listened.  Come to think of it, Charlie once did a piece for Outdoor Photography on small-in-the-frame wildlife...  The 28-135 IS is the perfect lens for the lazy landscape photographer as it allows you to work with very slow shutter speeds while handholding. 

Canon advises that all Mark II users creating their images in Raw + J-peg (high image quality) wait until the (red) access light stops blinking before pressing the display button.  Not doing so may cause the loss of all of the images in the buffer.  This problem will be corrected with the next Firmware update which is due any day now.

Note: I have neither experienced nor heard from anyone who has experienced this problem, most likely because very few folks utilize the Raw + J-peg large mode.  (I never do.)

Furthermore, Canon advises that images created with both Mark II cameras, the EOS 10 & 20D cameras, the Digital Rebel XT, the EOS 350D Digital, and the EOS Kiss Digital N cameras and with Lexar 80X speed Compact Flash Cards can, in rare instances, lose large groups of images at any time.   Lexar is expected to offer a free firmware update incorporating the correction of this problem by the end of May 2005 for Lexar Professional Series 80x CompactFlash card customers using the affected Canon cameras.  I have heard from several distraught folks who have experienced these problems.

For additional details on both of these items, visit:

Note: The Delkin e-Film Pro Compact Flash cards that I use every day (and are carried by BAA  Mail Order) are unaffected by the problems that are currently plaguing folks who use the latest/greatest Lexar 80X cards.


Barred Owl with crawfish, 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. ISO 400.
Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/200 sec. at f/5.6 in Av Mode.  Fill Flash at -3 stops with Better Beamer.    


I whiffed the day before when this bird was sitting in perfect position with a Common Moorhen chick in its talons so I was glad to come away with this one as a consolation prize...  I used the central sensor with AI Servo AF to make this action image.  


Scott Bourne and Olympic Mountain School Press invite all serious and professional bird photographers to submit images for consideration for publication in "Avian Beauty; North America's Best Bird Photography."  As Project Advisor, I will be joining a prestigious group of folks helping Scott to put this project together.  They include Greg Downing, Wayne Lynch, David Middleton, and Brian Small.

The primary goal of the book will be to increase public awareness of the great bird photography that exists today, especially on line.  A portion of the profits will be donated to a variety of nationally recognized conservation groups.  You have a chance to have a few of your best images published right alongside those of the continent's very best bird photographers.

OMSP is now accepting submissions. Please visit for complete project and submission details.  BIRDS AS ART Mail Order will of course be offering signed copies of the book immediately upon publication (which is slated for November 2006).  The anticipated retail price is $29.95 plus shipping. 


Cattle Egret in flight, Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 400mm f/5.6 L lens handheld with EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 400.
Evaluative Metering +1 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 in Av Mode.  Fill Flash at -1 stop with High Speed Synch and Better Beamer.    


The old 400mm f/5.6 is still a great flight photography lens and is also an ideal starter lens for neophyte bird photographers.  Here, 45-Point AF with AI Servo AF worked perfectly...

NIKON 200-400 F/4 LENS

Several IPT folks have used this lens during the past few months and I must say that I have been impressed with the images that I have seen.  Todd Gustafson used one on his Tanzania trip and just loved it. The lens is of course extremely versatile as all intermediate zoom lenses are on safari.  It is too heavy for most folks to handhold, but produces sharp images with all of the Nikon teleconverters.  Most impressive is the 6.2 feet close focus.  That combined with the 1.5X multiplier effect with all Nikon digital bodies makes for a superb macro lens for medium sized subjects like flowers and dragonflies even without a TC or an extension tube.


Buckeye, Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with two 25mm and one 12mm extension tubes, the 1.4X II TC and the EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/100 sec. at f/16 in Av Mode.  Fill Flash at -3 stops with Better Beamer.    


As regular readers know, you can achieve maximum close focus by mounting the extension tubes on the lens with the TC behind it.  By doing it this way you will lose autofocus but gain a foot or two of close focus (and thus benefit from greater magnification).  I always make sure to listen for the focus confirmation beep when focusing manually. It was breezy when I made this one so I created many images.  Most were soft due either to the subject having shifted position from the breeze or due to subject movement.  The butterfly was in perfect condition and I was fortunate that when he was in the perfect position I produced the very sharpest image.  If I had tried to approach this Buckeye with the 180 macro lens it would surely have flown off as it was quite skittish.  And remember, it ain't just birds.


If you are ever in need of a good bag blind, Michigan nature photographer Robert Peltz offers two versions of his Kwik Camo blind.  Both the original version and the lightweight summer model (I own both) do a great job of concealing you whenever and wherever you need to make yourself just about invisible.  They are great for covering up while working at feeding stations or water drips, or when waiting things out on the edge of a small pond.   You can find lots more info on these two blinds here:



Cattle Egrets/pre-copulatory stand, 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. ISO 400.
Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/8 in Av Mode.  Fill Flash at -2 stops with Better Beamer.    


This pair put on a show for us on several mornings.  Again, 45-Point AF in AI Servo Mode was the ticket to success.  And once again the old BIRDS AS ART advice, "-1/3 stop for white against middle" yielded a perfect exposure.


We are offering a used Gitzo G-1320 Tripod in like-new condition for $275.00 plus ground shipping.  You can see this product and the price new here: 

One of the folks on the St. Augustine IPT who was enlightened as to the weight savings with the CF 1325 purchased the lighter tripod from us on the spot, and now wishes to sell her G-1320.  Please call (863-692-0906) or e-mail ( if you are strong, looking for a solid tripod, and are interested in saving some money...  (The CF 1325 sells for $526.98 new:

Fish Crow in flight, 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. ISO 400.
Evaluative Metering +3 stops off of the white sky:  1/60 sec. at f/16 in Manual Mode.  Fill Flash at -1 stop with Better Beamer.   


Panning with a slow shutter speeds causes the streaked background that implies motion.  On every IPT I am constantly striving to teach folks to think out of the box, to be able to make soup from a stone when conditions are less than ideal.  Seeing the original raw image (below) on the camera's LCD, most folks would simply hit the garbage can button, but I let the group know early on that with digital imaging, the information needed to create a pleasing photograph was there.  By following the simple steps to optimize their images as described in our Digital Basics File, (, it was easy to create some wonderful images despite the heavy fog. 


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.


Ox-eyed daisies, Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens with 1.4X II TC and the EOS 1D Mark II handheld at 115mm. ISO 250. Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/5 sec. at f/9.  Used One-Shot AF and zoomed out during the exposure.    


Whenever you see a nice pattern or a stand of colorful flowers and the light is low, think zoom blurs.  Oh, and by the way, it ain't just birds...


Bosque IPTs  3-DAY: $929.  All with co-leader Ellen Anon.  NOV 15-17, 2005 (Limit 14, 5 openings), NOV 20-22 (Limit 14, 4 openings) & NOV 26-28 (Limit 14; 9 openings).
SW FLA, Post X-mas IPT. 3 -DAY: $929. DEC 28-30, 2005.  (Limit 12; 10 openings)
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 in the archives 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 in the archives for complete details. 


Homer, AK Bald Eagle IPTs w/co-leader Greg Downing: MAR 3-7, 2006 5-day: $1699 (limit 12).  March 8-12, 2006.   5-day: $1699 (limit 12). 

Sign up for both IPTs and apply a $200 discount: March 3-12, 2006: $3198.  Beyond spectacular opportunities...  We are currently accepting $500 deposits for the 2006 Homer IPTs, but these tours will be cancelled if the town, state, or Fish and Wildlife institute a ban on eagle feeding.  Please e-mail for additional 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 well more than half of our allotted 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. 


Great Egrets, family feeding, Lake Martin, LA
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 250.
Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/8 in Av Mode.    


Whenever an adult returned from a fishing trip, mayhem ruled the roost.  45-Point AF/AI Servo AF made focusing a snap.

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:  Unsubscribe from our newsletter   Back issues of all BAA Bulletins and relevant BAA Notes are archived on the web site at: