SEPTEMBER 27, 2005
Photographic Theme:  Some of my favorite images from the recent Bear Boat trip to Katmai National Park, AK
Brown Bear with chum salmon, Kinak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS lens and EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 800.
Evaluative metering at zero: 1/400 sec. at f/4.


On our third morning the bears were catching salmon almost continuously.  I was fortunate to be in the right spot when this boar caught his first of many breakfasts.  45-point AF in AI Servo mode worked perfectly here.

The Art of Bird Photography; It Ain't Just Birds! Weekend Seminar
 Presented by Photo Road Show
Dallas, Texas,  November 5-6, 2005
The Dallas Seminar will be held in the Countrywide Theater at the Eisemann Center (,
a first-class facility located in Richardson, Texas.
First class lodging is available at the adjacent Renaissance Dallas Richardson Hotel
Rooms are blocked for this event.  Please mention Photo Road Show to secure the $129/night rate for November 4-6, 2005

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 for the complete weekend schedule. 



Brown Bear spring cub, Kinak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK
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: 1/320 sec. at f/4.


This cute little bear rested peacefully behind its mom who was gazing out over the creek in search of salmon.  The key here was being patient and making the image when this six-month old cub opened its eyes.  The grey ruffs on the neck are typical of spring cubs.  


If there is anyone out there with contacts at any Dallas-area camera stores or clubs, please e-mail that info to us at Thanks!

Brown Bears at creek, Kinak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 28-135mm IS zoom lens at 50mm with EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 800.
Evaluative metering at 0: 1/200 sec. at f/11. 


This was a typical scene at Kinak on the mid-tides.  There are ten bears in this image; can you find all of them?  My grandson Sam did...  The bear in the stream coming towards me was the mother of the two 18 months old cubs on the bank.  Because she consistently caught more fish than all of the other bears combined we called her Super-Mom.


I was joined in Anchorage, AK on September 8th by Wes and Patti Ardoin, Forrest Roberts, Dave Thompson, Jim White, and Robert O'Toole. We flew to Kodiak the next morning and then continued by float plane to Chuck Keim's boat, Coastal Explorer, which was anchored in Kinak Bay in Katmai National Park.  The boat was our home for the next six days.  The chum salmon run in the creek had slowed a bit earlier than usual so photography for the first two days was only fantastic.  Then the run picked up steam and the photographic opportunities were simply beyond belief as we had as many as eighteen Coastal Brown Bears in sight as once, many of them chowing down on salmon just yards from us.  For those who feel inclined to write and let us know that we were too close to the bears, please understand that Chuck has been guiding folks to see the bears for more than a dozen years and all of them are intact.  Tim Treadwell was killed and eaten by a bear in Katmai (along with his unfortunate girlfriend), but he chose to set up their tent right on a bear trail and to--as shown by voice recordings--confront the same bear three separate times...  When I am with Chuck and the bears I feel totally safe.  In fact, I have never seen a bear make an aggressive move towards a human in Katmai. (I have done two trips with Chuck.)  The great opportunities continued pretty much for the rest of the trip.  On what turned out to be our last morning, a gorgeous young Bald Eagle with some chestnut feathers in its plumage landed right near me, right down what would have been my shadow line had it not been cloudy bright) which BTW, is ideal for bear photography. 

Erik, the young cook on the boat was--as he had been last year--absolutely superb...  We dined like kings.  And queens!  (Sorry Patti....) The weather on our get-away morning looked grim so rather than taking the float plane back to Kodiak we rode the boat back with Chuck as we were his last group of the season.  Eight hours later we were off the boat and headed to the Kodiak Airport.  All but Jim and Robert were continuing on to Silver Salmon Creek Lodge with me for more bears and more salmon.  See the next Bulletin coming soon for details on that great trip.

Brown Bear approaching famous bird photographer...  Kinak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK
Image courtesy of Dave Thompson


National Park regulations prohibit folks from approaching the bears too closely, but what to do when the bear approaches you?  Stand tall and be still is Chuck's advice, so that is what I did.  I will admit that my heart rate was considerably elevated...  If you look closely you will note that I was (unknowingly) standing in a small pile of salmon guts from a previous salmon kill. 
I will be taking a group of very lucky photographers back to Katmai to spend seven days/six nights on Chuck Keim's boat, the Coastal Explorer.  The trip will begin on August 1; you will need to be in Anchorage on July 31.  I will be arriving on the 30th to be safe.  Weather permitting, we will have five full and two half days of photography.   Subjects should include Coastal Brown Bear (100% guaranteed), Bald Eagle (possibly including just-fledged chicks hanging around the nest site), fresh juvenile Glaucous-winged Gulls, some puffins (both species) in flight from the skiff, and Black-legged Kittiwakes post-nesting at island cliffs.  The cost of the trip will be $5999.00.  A $1,000 non-refundable deposit is required.  (The purchase of travel insurance is strongly advised.) The trip fee includes your dinner and hotel in Anchorage on July 31 and the round trip airfares from Anchorage to the boat.  This includes both the commercial flight to and from Kodiak and the float plane to and from the boat.  I expect that this trip will sell out immediately as there are not many places where you can get so close to the bears while feeling so safe, and there are not many guides as bear-savvy as Chuck Keim.  We have room for only six photographers on the boat and two slots are already filled so do not tarry... 

#1:  An e-mail to Bill Hill:

BH: Hi Art, Here is a simple question.  At the present time, if you had to choose one lens to carry for flight photography while you were carrying  your big, tripod-mounted lens, would you choose the 300  f4 L IS  lens or your old "toy lens," the 400 f/ 5.6 L?

AM:  Sorry Bill, this is not a simple question.  The camera body that you are using, its multiplier effect, and several other factors must be taken into account.  For the most part, if the birds were close, I'd go with the 300 IS.  (I might even choose my 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens if the birds were going to be really close, a'la Homer's eagles.  If reach were a factor, then it would be the 400 f/5.6.   Do note, however, that the 400 f/5.6 with one of the 1.6X multiplier cameras can be too long in some flight situations.  The fact is that lately I have been heading afield most often with the 70-200 as my auxiliary intermediate telephoto, usually mounted to an EOS 1D Mark II with the 1.4X II TC in place.  I can take off the TC for even greater flexibility.  Doing so allows me to make images at an effective focal length of 91 mm which is often just about perfect for creating bird-scapes, and if there is a chance that I might need more reach, I can throw either the 300 IS or the 400 f/5.6 into the large back pocket on my X-tra Hand vest (   

Best and love,  artie

#2:  An e-mail to Alan Rube:

AM: Hi Alan, re:

AR: I have a 1D Mk 2 that I am happy with.
AM:  I love both of mine.  

AR: I was thinking I might get a 20D as a second body. I am intrigued with the lighter weight and 1.6 factor for added reach.

AM:  Those are good points to consider.  And the low price is another important factor. The 20D is a great back-up digital camera. Some folks, most notably E.J Peiker and Patti Ardoin actually prefer the 20D to the EOS 1D Mark II but I do not.

AR: I foresee using the 20D with the 400 f/4 DO lens with the 1.4x extender while keeping the Mk 2 on a tripod with the 500 f/4 with 2x extender.

AM:  That combination will give you can effective focal length of 896mm (400 X 1.6 = 640 X 1.4 = 896).  This overlaps considerably with some of the focal lengths that you will have available with the big lens and the Mark II 1D: 650mm with the lens alone, 910mm with the 1.4X, and 1300mm with the 2X.  But with the 20D, the 1.4X, and the 400 DO you would have very slow initial AF acquisition and that is not what you want for your flight and action set-up.  In addition you would be handholding a relatively heavy outfit so this combination does not make any sense to me at all; you will be severely handicapped on the short focal lengths...  In my opinion it would be much better to use the 20D with either the 100-400 IS L zoom lens alone or the 70-200 with or without the 1.4X.  I have been using the 70-200 for about six months now with great success. With the 70-200 you would have the following focal lengths in your arsenal: 

#1: With the 70-200 alone on the 20D you would have an effective focal length range or 112-320mm (or 91-260mm with the 1D MII).  

#2: With the 1.4X and the 20D you would have 156.8-448mm.  With the big lens you would still have 650, 910, and 1300mm...  This would give you much better focal length coverage.

AR: I know you have used both cameras. How slow will the 20D appear to me?

AM:  Initial AF acquisition and the frame rate will seem quite slow as compared to the EOS 1D Mark II, but you can make great images with the 20D, even images featuring flight and action. 

AR:  I think the frame rate will be o.k. but wonder if autofocusing, especially while doing flight shots will perform adequately.

AM: As I mentioned, AF will seem slow on the pick-up but is generally very accurate; a good percentage of the images will be sharp on the eye.   And by prefocusing manually you improve the speed of initial AF acquisition.

AR: How would you compare the quality of the prints?

AM: Sorry, I have no expertise in that area other to say that I love the 1D Mark II prints that we create on our Epson R-2400.  Best,  artie

#3:  A while back, Stokes Fishbourne wrote asking that I write a short piece discussing the merits of the 1.6X multiplier effect cameras with the various intermediate telephotos.  The principles noted above can be applied whenever you are considering the purchase of an intermediate telephoto lens, whether that lens is to be used as an auxiliary lens for flight, action, and behavior or as your everyday bird or wildlife lens.  Here are some random thoughts.

1: The focal length ranges for all lenses are increased proportionately when used with cameras with a 1.6X multiplier effect.  This makes the shorter focal length zooms more attractive. 

2: While I now prefer the 70-200 (with either the 20D or with the 1.4X TC and the Mark II 1D) as my on a shoulder-strap flight/action/behavior lens, those whose intermediate zoom telephoto is their main lens need to strongly consider the 100-400 mm IS L zoom, this because of the far greater maximum effective focal length:  640mm as compared to 320mm.

3. For folks whose primary interest is bird photography, the 400mm f/5.6 L lens with a 20D makes a great starter outfit.  Add the Mongoose M-262 and a 1.4 X II TC and you are really in the ballgame with an effective focal length of 896mm, all for a relatively low investment.  With the 1.4 TC you can either focus manually or use the tape the pins trick.  You just gotta love digital!

Brown Bear shaking salmon with roe flying, Kinak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK
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 800.
Evaluative metering at 0:  1/500 sec. at f/4.


It was fascinating watching the bears fishing and catching. In low light situations, I do not hesitate to go to ISO 800. For most photography at Kinak Bay, I did not need the 1.4TC.


Bosque IPTs  3-DAY: $929.  All with co-leader Ellen Anon.  NOV 15-17, 2005 (Limit 14, 3 openings), NOV 20-22 (Limit 14, FULL) & NOV 26-28 (Limit 14; 4 openings).
SW FLA, Post X-mas IPT. 3 -DAY: $929. DEC 28-30, 2005.  (Limit 12;  5 openings)
San Diego 4-Day IPT: $1399 w/co-leader Ellen Anon.  JAN 5-8, 2006    (Limit 12, 11 Openings.)  This IPT is shaping up to be a private affair, just me and my good friend and IPT-veteran Mike Elliot.  Do consider joining us to photograph Brown Pelican and Heerman's Gulls in spectacular breeding plumage, loads of tame shorebirds, Lesser Scaup, and Wood and Ring-necked Ducks at close range.  In addition there is lots of great behavior and flight photography and lots of really good restaurants.
SW FLA President's Holiday IPT w/co-leader Ellen Anon:  $1549.  FEB 17-21, 2006.  (Limit 14; 7 openings) 

FORT DESOTO IPT, MAR 24-26, (slide program on Thursday, MAR 23 at 7pm): 3-DAY: $899 (Limit 12, 10 openings.)

Fort DeSoto has rapidly become one of my very favorite photo locations.  Join us during prime time to photograph Royal and Sandwich Terns & Laughing Gulls in spectacular breeding plumage/courtship and copulations; dark and white phase Reddish Egrets in breeding plumage; many other tame heron and egret species; Forster's Terns, Long-billed Curlew and a dozen or more easily approachable shorebird species; great flight photography opportunities will be available at DeSoto.  Depending on local conditions we may or may not enjoy the following in Sarasota: great flight photography opportunities; Brown Pelicans with nesting material; Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, & Black-crowned Night-Heron (head and shoulders portraits likely with this species). This IPT will include at least three slide programs.

LAKE MARTIN, LA SPOONBILL IPTs, APR 8-10, 2006 (slide program on Friday, APR 7), and APR 28-30  (slide program on Friday, APR 27). 3 -DAY: $949 (Limit 12,  9 openings and 8 openings, respectively)

Join us to photograph nesting Roseate Spoonbills, Great & Cattle Egret, and Little Blue Heron in a budding cypress swamp.  We will witness and photograph a variety of courtship behaviors as well as lots of nest building.  Barring a natural disaster there will be Great Egret chicks on both IPTs.  Tiny spoonbill chicks are possible on the second IPT but will almost surely be difficult to photograph.  Both IPTs will feature spoonbills in mind-boggling breeding plumage (unlike anything I've ever seen here in Florida), but there will be more birds in mega-breeding plumage on the first tour.  The spoonbills will be courting, building nests, copulating, and fighting. Good flight photography opportunities are expected on both IPTs.  500 and 600mm lenses with 1.4 and 2X TCs are recommended; equipment rentals are available.  Barred Owls are guaranteed.  There will also be Green Heron, both night-herons, scenic sunrises, nutria, alligators, and lots of flowers.  Sunny afternoons will be tough at Lake Martin but mornings will be spectacular.  With cloudy weather the days will be long...  This IPT includes four slide programs.  Registration includes a complimentary homemade crawfish etouffe dinner: hosts: Wes and Patti Ardoin.  (Fly to Lafayette, La.)

ST. AUGUSTINE ALLIGATOR FARM IPT  MAY 12-14, 2006.  2 1/2 DAY IPT  (Limit: 12, 10 openings): $649

Heron and egret rookery.  Nesting Great Egrets with chicks, nesting Snowy and Cattle Egrets, and Tricolored Herons.  Courtship behaviors, copulations, eggs, nests and possibly tiny chicks.  Includes three classroom sessions in air-conditioned comfort during the heat of the day.  The introductory slide program will be at 2pm on Friday May 12, 2006. 

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. (Sold out.)

Summer 2006 Kenya Photo-Safari with co-leader Todd Gustafson.  Details to be announced.   Non-refundable $1000 deposit required.  

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 IPT, 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 that 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.

Nome, Alaska  IPT June 10-20, 2006 in conjunction with Greg Downing: (Greg has a single opening due to a cancellation.) Please e-mail us if you are interested in filling Greg's last slot. 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. 


Brown Bear second summer cubs, Kinak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK
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 at o: 1/250 sec. at f/56. 


When I saw Super-Mom's cubs sitting up, I could not resist getting down on the ground... Without a ground pod, I rested my lens on a boat seat cushion that I borrowed from Chuck.  I wound up a bit too low thus cutting off the bottom of the paws of the young bear on our right...


To Mike Elliot, currently the lone registrant for the San Diego IPT. 

Hi Mike,
AM: It is good to hear from you. 

ME: Greetings from Landenberg, Pa. I hope you are doing well.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              AM: Am thanks, and ditto.

ME: I just saw my name under "tour updates" in your latest bulletin.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       AM: It's good to know that someone is reading them!

ME: I've been following the surprisingly slow sign up rate for the San Diego tour. I understand that you conduct your tours no matter what the number of participants. However, I thought it would be smart to touch base with you just the same.  I'm looking forward to San Diego, but if for whatever reason you feel that the San Diego trip remains significantly under-filled, I would not be uncomfortable if you decided it was practical or necessary to cancel it.

AM: From the very beginning, we have promised to run all BAA IPTs with only a single registrant.  I already have my plane tickets.  If it turns out to be just you and I, so much the better.  We will have great fun.  I do not like shooting alone so you had better be there <smile>
ME: I try to be flexible, especially when I'm dealing with people that I care about. I'm sure you will continue to "do the math" in this matter, and let me know which direction we should be heading.
AM: I never do the math. My IPTs are about people not about money. Folks need to know that if they take off time from work and buy a plane ticket that I will be there and that they will not receive a letter stating "This IPT has been canceled because I am not gonna make enough money."
ME: Whatever you decide upon is more than all right with me.
AM: Your offer is a kind and thoughtful one and is much appreciated but I will be there and we will have a great time.
best and love, artie
Brown Bear silhouette, Kinak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS lens and EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 250.
Evaluative metering -2 1/3 stops: 1/1600 sec. at f/29.


I am really proud of this one as I saw the situation developing, set everything correctly, and made only a single image.  Not bad!  My rule for making these super-bright silhouettes is to use -2 stops or so if you can see the subject in the viewfinder or -3 stops if you cannot.  (Some Nikon bodies offer the option of choosing -4 or -5 stops; this can be an advantage in super/super bright situations.)


BIRDS AS ART always encourages folks to comparison shop when making purchases of photographic equipment and accessories so the next time that you are shopping around for the best price (tip: be sure to learn the cost of shipping for your order up front) do check out Warehouse Photographic at or call them at (800) 400-8203

WP has been serving professional and amateur photographers, since 1971, with new and used camera equipment, accessories and supplies. As a camera specialty store, they carry cameras and accessories that most camera stores simply don't. They carry not  only lenses and flashes for your camera, but all the little photo accessories that you need. If you need something photographic, they probably have it.


As we received hundreds of requests to individually e-mail copies of Bulletin 183, we will no longer be able to send out Bulletins by e-mail upon request. For most of those who would like to have a copy of future Bulletins there are two options:

#1:  You can cut (Cntrl A/Cntrl C) and paste (Cntrl V) the Bulletin from the web site into a blank e-mail and send it to yourself.

#2: You can cut and paste the Bulletin into a blank document in MS Word (or in your word processor) and save it with the Bulletin name.  (It may take a few minutes for the images to show up in the document so be patient...)
Sunrise reflections on Kinak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK
Image copyright 2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 70-200mm lens handheld at 200mm with EOS 1D Mark II. ISO 800.
Evaluative metering +-2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/2.8. 


I made this one from the skiff as the seven of us were headed for the creek well before dawn.  If I had checked this image on the LCD and seen how cool it looked I would have had Chuck stop the skiff so that I could have stopped down a bit.  Stopping the skiff would have given others a chance to make some images as well. 

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: