JUNE 12, 2005
Photo Theme: my very favorite images from recent Fort DeSoto visits. 
Roseate Spoonbill, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
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: 1/250 sec. at f/16.   


Here I used One-Shot AF (central sensor by necessity with the 2X), focused on the bird's eye, and recomposed.  By getting down on one knee I was able to stop down to f/16 without bringing up too much background detail.  Cloudy-bright days are great for digital photographers as they yield rich colors without undue contrast.


As I wrote in both the Fort DeSoto Site Guide ( my recent Birder's World article, " Fort DeSoto, a Pinellas County Park, is one of those rare places where you might encounter great bird photography on any given day of the year."  I visited DeSoto over the Memorial Day weekend and then again this past Thursday and Friday, June 9-10.  Despite huge numbers of folks on the beaches enjoying the great weather, the Memorial day visit was amazingly productive with the birds pretty much concentrated in two spots that most beach-goers avoid...  On my most recent visit it was drizzling most of the time and the place was virtually deserted.  But photography was still very good.  At present, three Reddish Egrets (two dark and one white phase) can be found on most days.  There are White Ibises, the occasional Great Egret and Great Blue Heron, and lots of lingering shorebirds most of which will probably summer.  As most of the terns are on eggs at nearby Egmont Key, there were only a few terns around, plus a decent number of Laughing Gulls.  There was a killer breeding plumage Tricolored Heron on the holiday weekend, but the big attraction has been the four to eleven spoonbills that have been present most mornings and afternoons.  They are extremely approachable provided that your stalking techniques are decent.  Great photo spots in Florida are hard to find in early summer but at DeSoto you will find encounter some great situations most every day.
Roseate Spoonbill, one-year old, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
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 400.
Manual Flash as Main Light at 1/4 setting with Better Beamer.  Manual Mode: 1/60 at f/8 represented the metered exposure which in reality was about a 2/3 stop underexposure (because the best exposure in the soft light would have been something like the Evaluative Metering reading +2/3 stop.   


I love the look of manual flash images.  I just love this young bird's blue lores and the sparkling raindrops.  Here again I used One-Shot AF (central sensor by necessity with the 2X), focused on the bird's eye, and recomposed.  When doing so, you need to make sure that the bird has not moved its head before you make your image.  When I am using Flash as Main light I set Drive Mode to Single Frame so that I do not accidentally make two images.  The flash would not fire for the second image and this would result in a grossly underexposed image.


An updated Fort DeSoto Site Guide PDF will be sent via e-mail on Monday, June 13.  The new information will include the best morning location and the best afternoon locations for early summer photography at DeSoto and lots of great new images.  If you have paid for the DeSoto Site Guide and do not receive it by Monday evening, please contact us.  Many folks, most especially AOL users, have big time problems receiving the Site Guides, these Bulletins, and/or the Digital Basics File. In my humble opinion, folks using aol should switch immediately to another e-mail provider.
For information on our three Site Guides (DeSoto, Bosque, and San Diego), visit:
Laughing Gull, female with fish regurgitated by her mate, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4XII TC and EOS 1D Mark II.  ISO 400.
Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/8.    


With the bird pretty much parallel to the imaging sensor I used 45-point AFPS to make this image and it worked perfectly.  I made a series of several images of this bird walking with its gift.  I liked this one best as the end of the fish that had been bitten off is concealed...


If there is one mistake that I make over and over again on our IPTs, it is assuming that everyone knows the very basics.  Though we let folks know in advance that they should have a working knowledge of their camera bodies and lenses, I have begun to stress that it is vitally important for folks to ask if they are not familiar with the basics so that they can receive individual instruction.  Towards that end, I offer the following:

#1: When the subject is walking, running, or flying, it is almost always best to use AI Servo autofocus (for Canon, or "C, Continuous" for Nikon).

#2: For static subjects, beginners should use One-Shot autofocus (for Canon, or "S, Single," for Nikon.)

#3:  With static subjects, it is best to focus on the bird's face or eye and then recompose, that is, shift the camera so that you come up with a pleasing composition.  To do this, you acquire or lock focus by depressing the shutter button half way.  To maintain focus while you are re-framing the image you must keep the shutter-button depressed half way.  After you have recomposed, simply depress the shutter-button to make the image.

#4:  When creating images of wildlife with telephoto lenses, it is best to work in Av (Aperture Priority) Mode and to choose the wide open aperture (usually f/2.8. f/4, or f/5.6 depending on the lens).  This will set the fastest possible shutter speed.

#5: When photographing natural history subjects, the exposure suggested by the in-camera meter will be wrong more than 80% of the time depending both on the tonalities in the image and the quality of the natural (also known as available, or ambient) light.

#6: To learn how to determine the correct exposure we recommend that you purchase a signed copy of "The Art of Bird Photography" off of our web site here:  and study the Exposure chapter until you own it.  Simply put, you will not find a better explanation of exposure theory and metering modes anywhere.

#7:  Lazy folks can avoid learning exposure theory by studying the section on histograms in our Digital Basics File:  Serious digital photographers who take the time to study exposure theory will get it right the first time in most situations and it is highly recommended that all serious photographers take the time to study and learn the nuts and bolts of exposure.

#8:  The fastest and easiest way for Canon users to add or subtract light to the suggested exposure is to first depress the shutter button half way.  Doing so awakens the metering system and displays the shutter speed (in addition to the aperture).  Then you turn the thumbwheel on the back of the camera clockwise to add light to the exposure or turn it counter-clockwise to subtract light.

#9: Everything mentioned in items 1-7 and in item nine is covered in detailed in the aforementioned book,  "The Art of Bird Photography." 

Reddish Egret, dark form displaying, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4XII TC and EOS 1D Mark II.  ISO 400.
Evaluative Metering +2/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/5.6.    


This bird flew in right in front of us and began displaying to its mate which was just out of the frame (on our right).  I was in 45-point AFPS (which was ideal) but needed to switch quickly from horizontal to vertical format.   Having the basics of equipment-handling down pat can make the difference between success and failure.

We have slashed our prices on the Delkin e-film Pro 1gb and 2 gb Compact Flash Cards that I use and abuse every day.  Check out our prices here:
Dunlin flapping after bath, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with EOS 1D Mark II.  ISO 250.
Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/2500 sec. at f/4.   


I have been refining the techniques that I use when attempting to capture shorebird's after bath flap and jump...  Here, I tried working smaller in the frame than I typically do and chose not to use a teleconverter as that hampers AF acquisition and accuracy. Watch as the birds bathe by dipping their breasts in the water repeatedly.  They will usually pause for a second before beginning to flap madly as they jump into the air.  This is a vertical crop of a horizontal original. Use Bicubic Smoother to best up-res (increase) file size.  (Select Image/Image Size.  Make sure that the three boxes on the bottom are checked.  Increase either the Width or the Height of the image and note the resulting file size.  Adjust the Width or the Height until you have approximately the file size that you want.  Lastly and most importantly, select Bicubic Smoother from the drop-dwon menu box at the bottom before you click OK.  Then click OK.)

As often happens, I run across lots of interesting folks while answering dozens of e-mails each week.  Recently, I was corresponding with Carolyn Wright (coincidentally, with regards to the DeSoto Site Guide) and clicked on her web site:
I was both pleased and surprised to find easy-to-understand explanations of a variety of copyright licensing issues.  You can access this valuable information directly by clicking here:
Reddish Egret, dark form with striped killifish, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with EOS 1D Mark II.  ISO 400.
Evaluative Metering +2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/4.     


45-point AFPS nailed this one as the bird caught its dinner after the typical mad-drunken sailor routine.  I had previously checked the exposure with a test image; my first guess, +2/3 stop, was perfect for the soft light of a hazy afternoon.  


Subscriber Ron Tanner is offering the following used items, all in excellent condition, for sale:

2 Canon EOS-1V HS cameras $1,100 each
1 Canon EF 400 5.6 L USM lens $785
1 LowePro Photo Trekker AW Camera Bag $115
1 Gitzo 341 tripod $165

Shipping will be via UPS ground at $25/shipment.

You can contact Ron as follows:

phone: 928-634-1622
cell phone: 928-254-0154
fax: 928-634-1624.

Tricolored Heron with striped killifish, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with EOS 1D Mark II.  ISO 250.
Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6.     


This gorgeous breeding plumage individual flew in at my favorite afternoon spot and teased us for quite a while.   I used a Shadow-Highlight adjustment to lighten the right side of the bird's face which was in shadow due to a poor sun angle.  Had I been by myself, I would have moved but there were several visiting Naturescapes ( folks there so I did not want to risk ruining their chances. 


The Art of Bird Photography; It Ain't Just Birds! Weekend Seminars
    Atlanta, Georgia, July 30-31, 2005  Presented by Photo Road Show
Dallas, Texas,  September 24-25, 2005     


These seminars are 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 and especially digital equipment), 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 Digital and 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. 


The Atlanta Venue is the Renaissance Waverly Hotel.  There are no special rates available at this location.  Please e-mail us at for a list of additional lodging options.  


The Dallas event will take place at the Verizon Place Hotel & Conference Center- DallasThis beautiful facility is adjacent to the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and offers around the clock shuttle service to and from DFW.  There is a special rate on rooms for this event:  $79 single and $89 double occupancy.  To get the Photo Road Show preferred rate, 1-800-731-6131 and mention "booking # 1576".  Room availability is limited so be sure to take advantage of this offer soon!


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


Vero mini-Seminar Kudos from attendee John Campbell: "Thanks for the wonderful class in Vero this past weekend. I learned more common-sense stuff about photographing birds than I've managed to figure out on my own in 30 years.  I hope to see you again soon!"




White-rumped Sandpiper, breeding plumage, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
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 400.
Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/11.
There were several of us standing at the edge of a large pool when I looked up and saw that a flock of 14 birds had landed almost at our feet and begun to bathe.  They turned out to the first breeding plumage white-rumpeds that I had ever seen in Florida.  I was thrilled to come away with many wonderful images.  Later, as seen above, the birds began to feed on an adjacent mud flat. 
This is the image above less the mud on the bird's bill and a few greenish lumps of mud.  Depending on the usage, either one could sell.  The upper image tells more of a natural history story, the lower one is much more artistic (to my eye) and would be a perfect field guide portrait.  If you think that it is wrong to clone mud off a birds bill please e-mail me at whocares?  To learn the basics of optimizing your images in Photoshop consider our Digital Basics File (1300+ sold to date):


Bosque IPTs  3-DAY: $929.  All with co-leader Ellen Anon.  NOV 15-17, 2005 (Limit 14, 4 openings), NOV 20-22 (Limit 14, 5 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): $7762.50/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. 

IPT Kudos from IPT veteran-participant Joe Campanelie:  " Do you remember those prints I sent you some time ago? Probably not... I'm sure that a ton of images cross your desk.  Well...I'm mostly known as a portrait photographer so I thought I would try something new for me this year. So far these prints have been in three major competitions and they have just kicked butt. Personally...I have never had scores like this. Anytime you start pulling 90 and 94 scores from the judges people start taking notice of what you're doing. These prints took home a bunch of awards and I wound up as Image Maker of the Year in both Maryland and Pennsylvania. My new nickname up here is "The Bird Man"!  The photo of the Great Blue Heron from the Venice Rookery normally would be entered in what they call the Illustrative Category. But, I decided to take a chance and put it in the Portrait category at our Regional Judging which is comprised of 11 southern states and had some 800 entries. beat out all those beautiful portraits of little girls for the top portrait in the competition. It was quite an honor considering the level of the competition.

Sorry to run on... I know you're busy, but this was pretty exciting news for me. I could not have acheived any of this this without the help you gave me during the IPTs that I have attended; now I finally understand how this digital camera works! I have studied with some of the best portrait photographers in the industry and they don't hold a candle to what you have been able to teach me.  I packed these prints off to my national competition which starts this weekend. We will see how they fare at that level..."  

Black-bellied Plover in full breeding plumage, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
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: 1/400 sec. at f/13.
One of the joys of visiting DeSoto during early summer is the possibility of finding some shorebirds in full breeding plumage.

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: