AUGUST 14, 2005
Photographic Theme:   DeSoto in summer.
Snowy Egret on dip-feeding foray, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS lens and EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 400.
Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/8.   


I have been teaching folks for 15 years that white against blue with the sun out = evaluative metering -1/3 stop.  And that has not changed with digital.  Note: some digital cameras like the Canon EOS 10D and the 20D and the Nikon D70 usually require -2/3 stops in these white against middle situations.

Image Critique Quiz #1:  What could have made this image even better? Please E-mail for the quiz answers.


I am on the road again today, this time co-leading a Photo Safari to Kenya with Todd Gustafson.  I will be back in the office briefly in early September before getting on another plane, this time to Alaska to spend two+ weeks photographing brown bears and catching some salmon and halibut.  It's tough work but someone's gotta do it <smile>!  I will effectively be out of touch until late September. Jim and Jennifer will be here to help you with mail order and IPT registrations, etc.  If you have some fresh, new questions for me, please hold onto them until after September 25th.  Thanks.  I hope to meet many more of you in Dallas.  

Great Egret, juvenile in flight,  Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS lens and EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 400.
Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/8.   


AI Servo AF with the central sensor only worked perfectly.  I set CF-17-3 so that the active focusing area is extended by two sensors in all directions.

Image Critique Quiz #2:  What could have made this image even better? Please E-mail for the quiz answers.

Here is a sample of the DeSoto Site Guide (
I visited Fort DeSoto on the weekend of August 6-7, 2005.  Noting a large concentration of herons on the spit near the Gulf, we angled to the right around the lagoon on our right after we crossed the wooden foot bridge at North Beach.   I coughed only a tiny bit, indicating that there was not much red tide toxin in the air, but there were hundreds of small dying fish--mostly striped killifish--littering the shallows.  There were about a dozen snowy egrets and a dozen great egrets standing in the water right alongside of the bank.  Most of the adult greats were looking pretty shabby, but the young birds were quite handsome.  When the Great Egrets spotted a wriggling fish, they would step forward into water that was a bit deeper and strike.  The snowies were dip-feeding, flying out a few yards from the bank and then dipping their bills into the water to snatch a fish.  I stood in about two feet of water and used the 500 alone with 45 Point AFPS.  Most of the images were sharp, but I realized afterwards that with the still water I should have tried some verticals to capture the full reflections. Aside from the feeding birds, I had some good chances with birds flying in to join the fray.  The dependable Long-billed Curlew was on the spit, and a fading adult Greater Yellowlegs that was fairly cooperative.  There were some other shorebirds on the spit as well, and lots more on the mudflat halfway back towards the parking lot.  On Sunday, I photographed a banded Piping Plover there.  I reported the bands via a j-pegged e-mail and learned that it was a female from the Great Lakes population. 
Sunday started out a bit cloudy, which was fortunate as there was a strong west wind, but when it cleared, conditions were really tough, as most of the birds were flying and facing into the wind; wind against sun is a bird photographer's nightmare...  The best images that I made that morning were made before 7:30 am, as I took advantage of some gentle backlight to photograph Great Egrets and Laughing Gulls with fish in their mouths.  I used flash to light the shaded side of the birds.  After photographing the feeding spree on Saturday, we headed east towards the point to check out the big pool there that had been quite productive in early summer.  It was broiling hot by 9am, so the walk seemed much longer than the 1/2 mile that it is.  I was dismayed to see that the pool had dried up completely.  There were lots of birds, including more than 100 Least Terns and several hundred fading adult Western Sandpipers, but I did not attempt any photography as the light was harsh and the backgrounds less than ideal.  If it had not been so hot, I might have gotten down on the ground.  Though I had been hoping to find some juvenile Willets, I did not find any until I was about done; as we left on Sunday, there were several Willets at the end of the lagoon right by the wooden bridge and I was delighted to note that two of them were in juvenal plumage.  After photographing them while standing behind my tripod for a while, I decided to set up with my ground pod and get down and dirty, but when I was ready to begin working on the ground they had flown the coop.
Al Forns and Fab, both  moderators, were there on Sunday morning and it was great seeing them.  All in all, I made lots of good images, proving once again that DeSoto can be good any day of the year, even when it is hot.  If you visit in the next few weeks, it would seem that heading right from the foot bridge would be the best strategy.
Great Egrets and salt marsh, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens at 70mm with 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 only), focused on the bird, and recomposed.  The subject was actually in light shade, thus the +1/3 exposure compensation. 

Image Critique Quiz #3:  Why should I have moved one big step to my right before making this image?


Dear Art, I want to thank you for the opportunity to attend "The Art of Nature Photography-It Just Ain't Birds" seminar in Atlanta.  I am the guy from Louisville, KY.  I just got into digital photography in April of this year.  This was my second educational bash, the first being a photo shoot with James Shadle in St. Augustine in June.  I don't know what the other people came expecting, but this seminar surpassed all of my expectations in every way. The photoshop information and the information on creative design, etc., were fabulous.  I know that this seminar alone has taken my talents and abilities to a higher level.  I took over 45 pages of detailed notes and have read them two or three times.  I have learned so much from your seminar that I am looking forward to attending more of them and will just have to plan ahead for one of your photo tours.   I purchased three of your prints and am waiting for them to come back from the framer.  I got digital basics back from you in May and have been reading and rereading it. I just wanted to say thanks for a job well done.  You are a great inspiration to many!  Charles C. Hagan, Jr.
Storm clouds over marsh, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 28-135mm IS lens at 73mm with EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 400.
Evaluative metering +1/3 stop set manually: 1/160 sec. at f/25.    


It pays to keep the 28-135 IS lens in a vest pocket all times...

Image Critique Quiz #4: Could I have improved this image? 

The Art of Bird Photography; It Ain't Just Birds! Weekend Seminar
 Presented by Photo Road Show
Dallas, Texas,  November 5-6, 2005
The re-scheduled Dallas Seminar will be held in the Countrywide Theater at the Eisemann Center (,
a first-class facility located in Richardson, Texas.

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 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. 


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





Willet, juvenal plumage, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 400.
Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/11.    


This bird was foraging in the shade so I had set +1 1/3 stops after checking the histogram.  I would have gone to +1/3 stop had I realized that he had stepped out of the shade.  Working in Raw mode saved the day as I converted the image .4 stops darker and eliminated a few flashing highlights.

Image Critique Quiz #5:  What could I have done to improve this image? Please E-mail for the quiz answers.

Greg Downing let me know the other day that he would be unable to co-lead the Homer IPT with me.  As I was in Homer last year, I have no problem with that; it will be a great tour with fewer folks. 
As a result of Greg's bowing out, I will be running only the first IPT: MAR 3-7, 2006. 
Homer, AK Bald Eagle IPT   MAR 3-7, 2006 5-day: $1699 (limit 10).   The opportunities in Homer are beyond-spectacular.  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 do not purchase your non-refundable plane tickets until after you hear from us in November.  According to some reliable information that I received just yesterday, it seems almost certain the there will not be a ban on eagle feeding at Homer in the 2005-2006 season, so the tour should be a go, but please do wait until November before making your travel plans.
Marbled Godwit, feeding, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 400.
Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/8.   


When creating images similar to this, having the subject perfectly parallel to the imaging sensor or the film plane is usually best. 

Image Critique Quiz #6: How could I have improved this image? Please E-mail for the quiz answers.



Ellen Anon's first book, Photoshop for Nature Photographers; A Workshop in a Book, which she co-authored with Tim Grey, is now available at   


Here is her latest tip:

One of the major conveniences added to CS2 is the Image Processor.  You can access it through Bridge or Photoshop.  It enables you to save groups of images in specific sizes, file formats, and even color spaces in one dialog box. In addition you can have Image Processor run an action on the images as well as add a copyright to each one. The new files are placed in a separate folder within the original folder or anywhere else that you specify. In the past if you wanted to batch convert a group of photos for web use or projection you had to do it individually or write an action to resize the images.  The Image Processor does it all for you via an intuitive, easy- to-use dialogue box.

To access the Image Processor in Bridge first select all the images you wish to process and go to Tools/Photoshop/Image Processor.  A dialog box will appear.  If you have chosen Raw files you can opt to have the processor open the first one for you in Adobe Camera Raw and set the exposure, shadows, brightness, etc.  The Image Processor will use these settings to convert all the raw files and then resize them as youve specified in whatever format.  Note that if you simply want to batch convert raw files, do not use the Image Processor. Instead select the files you wish to convert in Bridge and then double click on one of them to batch convert in Adobe Camera Raw.  If you are resizing non-raw files, then simply select them in Bridge.

Next choose a folder to save the files to. The Image Processor will automatically place them in their own folder but you can opt to keep this folder within the original folder or elsewhere.  Next place a check mark by the file types and sizes you wish to create. You dont have to separate the horizontals and verticals - instead fill in the maximum heights for the horizontal and vertical dimensions. It will resize them appropriately as long as you check the Resize to Fit box.  For JPEGS you can opt to convert them to sRGB as well and specify the quality.  Its a good idea to add your copyright info to your files by simply typing it in.  If you wish to run another action such as a sharpening action select it in the dropdown menu by Run Action.  You can also access the Image Processor from within Photoshop by going to File/Scripts/Image Processor.  It will ask which files you wish to process and then you proceed as described above.  It is quick and it is easy!  If you have any questions, or would like to find out about getting a signed copy of the book, you can e-mail me at


Laughing Gull with red-tide-killed fish, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 1.4X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 400.
Evaluative metering +11/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6.  Fill flash at -2 stops.    


I love using flash to light the backlit/shaded sides of avian subjects.

Image Critique Quiz #7:  What could have made this image even better? Please E-mail for the quiz answers.



Sea oats blur, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS lens and EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 50.
Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/6th sec. at f/32.   


Note that I needed to set the lowest ISO to achieve a slow enough shutter speed.  When attempting to create pleasingly blurred images of stuff blowing in the wind, be sure to make many exposures as each image will look decidedly different.  This was my favorite of a long series of about 12 images. 

Image Critique Quiz #8:  What could I have done to make this image even better? Please E-mail for the quiz answers.

Voyla is an experienced photographer who has attended several IPTs.  I received an interesting e-mail from her last week: 
Hi Art, I recently learned an important lesson for the care of equipment in the rain forest east of the Andes in Ecuador.  I went well prepared to keep camera equipment in zip lock bags because of the humidity and it worked well.  However, I used my card reader each evening and left it setting on a shelf as I was sure humidity would not affect it.  All went well until the morning I picked it up to pack it in my suitcase.  I noticed a bit of debris at the card insertion opening.  It looked like tiny bits of paper.  I shook it a bit to shake the stuff off and ants started coming out.  Tiny ants, many tiny ants.  There was no time or means of getting them all out, they just kept coming.  So, I sealed them and the reader into a zip-lock bag and proceeded on to my next destination which was in an entirely different eco-system.  Not wanting to introduce a new species into the wrong place, (Bellavista, in the cloud forest west of the Andes), the owner sprayed a bit of ant killer into the bag and quickly sealed it up again.  I waited until I was home to vacuum the contents out and again use the reader; it worked just fine.  My advice to others: take plenty of zip-lock bags of various sizes when visiting jungles and forests.  Use them generously for all of your equipment to protect from critters as well as humidity. Keep up the good work and keep enjoying every day.  Voyla
Greater Yellowlegs, fading, molting adult striding, Fort DeSoto Park, Tierra Verde, FL  
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS lens with 2X II TC and EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 400.
Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/11.    


Photographing running shorebirds with a big lens and a 2X TC framing is difficult at best.  Here, I needed to add a bit of canvas to the top. 

Image Critique Quiz #9: How could I have made this image better? Please E-mail for the quiz answers.


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: