JUNE 2, 2006















Contact us by phone at 863-692-0906 (Eastern Time Zone) or by e-mail at or  The att address is best from overseas.


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You can use the Paypal links on the web site to order anything.  Just type in the item(s) and the amount due.  If using your own Paypal account, please send to either of the e-mail addresses above.


Photographic Theme: Some of my favorite bird-scapes. 






California Gull Colony, Great Salt Lake, UT 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 28-135mm IS lens (handheld at 28mm) with EOS-1Ds Mark. ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop (to lessen over-exposure of the brightest parts of the sky): 1/30 sec. at f/22.


Note that the horizon has been placed well below the horizontal centerline.  I made lots of similar images but this one--with the right-pointing triangle of beach at the bottom of the frame--was the strongest composition. 





Bird-scapes are simply scenic images in which the bird, a small group of birds, or a flock of birds are small (or tiny) in the frame  and take a backseat to the surrounding habitat or to the landscape.   While my style is generally large-in-the-frame and bold and graphic with out-of-focus backgrounds, I have--for more than a year now--found myself looking to create wider images that depict lots of habitat and lots of sky.  (Great cloud formations or sunset colors are a huge plus when creating bird-scapes.)  I guess that the timing coincides with my purchase of the Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8 IS L lens.  Do note however that there are times when the best tool for creating a pleasing bird-scape is a 500mm or 600mm lens.  Another part of my motivation is all those folks who come up to me and say something like, "If I had a long lens like you, I could make great pictures too..."  I am writing this Bulletin in Montana where it has been raining for days and it has snowed in the mountains near Great Falls.  I have been getting lots of work done, editing and optimizing images from Salt Lake City and Bear River, answering lots of e-mails (I could not get on-line in Brigham City), and photographing at Benton Lakes NWR between the raindrops.  I head to Seattle early Tuesday morning to be deposed that afternoon as an expert witness in a copyright infringement case.  You gotta love it!


The first thing that you need to do to create a good bird-scape is to recognize that a beautiful scene indeed lies before you.  Next, choose the lens or focal length that will allow you to frame the image that way that you want.  If I am working near my car, I will generally work on a tripod.  This allows for absolute control of the framing and will produce sharper images.  If I am away from my vehicle, on a beautiful beach somewhere, I will almost always have either the 70-200f/2.8 L IS or the 28-135 IS lens (or both) with me.  As I have been working more and more with the Mark II 1Ds and its full frame sensor (I had two of them with me on the UT/MT trip), I often use the 70-200/f2.8 for my bird-scapes; the true 70mm focal length that I get with this combination is wide enough in most situations.  I have just received my new Canon EF 24-105mm IS L lens and will always have that one with me in the field, even when I bring the 70-200.  In any case, when I am away from the vehicle I will either handhold the 28-135 or the 70-200 for bird-scapes, or, if I need some extra depth-of-field, support the 70-200 on my big lens like this: 




Lens on Lens Sharpness Technique, Indian Lake Estates, FL 

Image copyright 2006: Jim Litzenberg/BIRDS AS ART


Jim created a series of excellent images depicting various advanced sharpness techniques for "The  Art of Bird Photography II" (on CD only).

Visit for details and purchase options.


I always use either One-Shot AF or Custom Function 4-3 so that I can focus on the bird or the closest birds in a group or a flock and recompose.  With a single bird or a small group, I will generally place the bird or birds in a corner of the frame as a sort of compositional anchor.  Be aware of the trees, bushes, rocks, hills, or mountains in the distance or on the horizon line and strive to choose a perspective and a framing that allows you to create a balanced composition.  It is best to keep the horizon line away from the center the frame unless (as rarely happens...) the upper and lower halves the image are equally dramatic.  Once you are happy with your composition, wait for a good head angle or two (if applicable) and depress the shutter button a few times.   



American Avocets in Roadside Pond, near Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 70-200mm IS L lens with 1.4X II TC (handheld at 98mm) with EOS-1Ds Mark. .  ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/11. 


I was first attracted to this scene by the great clouds.  The key to making a successful bird-scape here was getting the birds out of the center of the frame and waiting for a pleasing arrangement of the two avocets. Here, the horizon was placed neatly and conveniently one-third of the way up in the frame.  Note also that I chose a perspective that placed the taller trees and bushes on the left side of the frame.  Had they been centered they would have been distracting...






The Albuquerque “The Art of Nature Photography; It Ain’t Just Birds” Weekend Seminar will take place at the Carlisle Hotel, 2500 Carlisle Boulevard NE in Albuquerque on December 2-3, 2006.  Saturday will be devoted to learning the techniques needed to create pleasingly designed, technically perfect images of natural history subjects.  Saturday topics will include advanced composition and image design, making sharp images, creating effective motion and zoom blurs, and tips for getting close to free and wild birds and animals.  Sunday will be devoted entirely to Digital Photography and Photoshop with much of the time being spent on live Photoshop demonstrations.  On our IPTs I see many great photographs that are ruined because folks have no clue as to how to effectively optimize their images.  Join us to learn how to make your images look great in minutes.


We are now accepting registrations.  Paypal is best but we will be glad to take your credit card information by phone (863-692-0906) or to cash your check.  If sending a check, please make it out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7145, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.  Be sure to include your snail mail and e-mail addresses and your day, evening, and cell phone numbers.


The cost of the weekend seminar will be $159.  The cost of a single day will be $99.  Register with a friend or spouse and take $10 off each registration.  Here is our Cancellation Policy:  If for any reason you need to withdraw, please notify us ASAP. Once we receive your e-mail, phone call, or written notice of your cancellation the following fees apply: cancel before September 2, 2006 and your fee will be refunded less a $20.00 cancellation fee; cancel by November 2, 2006 and your fee will be refunded less a $50.00 cancellation fee; cancel after November 2, 2006 and there will be no refund.  



Storm Clouds above Wasatch Mountains, Brigham City, UT 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 28-135mm IS lens (handheld at 125mm) with EOS-1Ds Mark.   ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering -1 stop (again, to lessen over-exposure of the brightest parts of the sky): 1/1600 sec. at f/10. 


It Ain't Just Birds.  Seeing and working wider than I usually do allows me to create new and different images.  Photographs like this have great potential for stock sales.




If you are a member of a local camera club or natural history society anywhere in the western USA (we have many folks from California signed up already), please contact me by e-mail so that we can arrange for a club discount in exchange for publicity.




Eared Grebes at sunset, Syracuse, UT 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 600mm f/4L IS lens with EOS-1Ds Mark. ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +1 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/4. 

While I was dreaming of making some great close-up images of this beautiful species, it was not to be in
Utah, so when a decent sunset materialized, I made soup from a stone. Using One-Shot AF on one of the closest birds resulted in the grebes being sharply focused. 






From Vincent Scarnnechia by e-mail:


Hi Artie,  Thank you for the May Digital Basics update. I can say for certain that Digital Basics provides a wealth of very good information. It is the equivalent to a $250.00 Photoshop workshop for only $20.00.  Vincent


From Jim Ferris by e-mail:


Dear Art,   All in all I find your Digital Basics publication an excellent resource to help me in processing my bird photos.  It is precisely what I have been looking for and is a great help because it is specific to this particular application. I have read tons of reference and training publications on Photoshop but they are, of necessity, very general in nature which requires one to wade through a lot of material in hopes of finding just what is needed to solve a problem.

Best and thanks, Jim




From Layton Parham by e-mail:


Dear Artie,  I just wanted to thank you for the second best weekend I can remember.  Only my wife knows about the very best weekend!  Two weeks before the  IPT, I had  never seen Photoshop, but with Digital Basics and your masterful teaching, I am now photographing and producing really great pix (minus UFOs--unwanted foreign objects.   I love to ride my Harley Davidson and go deep sea fishing, but if someone asked me what one thing I would most want to do, I would say "Go on another IPT!"  I was amazed at all the great people that attended the St Augustine IPT.  Every one was helpful.  A special thanks to you, Artie, for your constant  advice, and to Jim and Alfred for all of their help.  I plan to attend another IPT ASAP.

Thanks and best wishes, Layton


From Lori Bolle (whose name I inadvertently omitted in the St. Augustine IPT report--sorry Lori!) via e-mail:


Hi Artie, I had a wonderful time at St. Augustine;  thank you for terrific learning experience!  You are a great teacher.  Two of the most important things that I learned was how use manual flash when photographing birds in flight and why and how to shoot in the shade. In fact, this was the first time that I had ever attempted to photograph birds in flight and the first time that I attempted to create flash/motion blurs.  I loved it!  The time spent in the Education Building doing Photoshop and watching the educational slide programs was a real plus.  I found everyone very friendly and supportive.  I would like to commend both Alfred Forns and Robert Amoruso who took time to help me with my camera and showed me how best to set up and adjust my camera.  Thanks again for a wonderful weekend.  I would definitely take another IPT with you. Best,  Lori.


From Vince Lamb (Nikon user) by e-mail: 


Hi Artie,  I came to St. Augustine with high expectations.  My expectations, however, were exceeded in every area.  I cannot find the words to fully express the benefits that I received by attending.  My motivation for wildlife photography intensified after watching you work and seeing the great results from the other participants.  I learned many new techniques that will improve both my photographic and my Photoshop skills.  I love your open, sharing styles.  I had previously purchased a Better Beamer but never utilized it effectively until the IPT. You taught me how to use it for flight photography to get great results.  I have attended numerous Photoshop seminars (including Adobe's Photoshop for Photographers but none of them mentioned either the Shadow/Highlight or Selective Color adjustments.  I have applied these techniques to many of my images with great results.  I find that Shadow/Highlight is much easier to use than Curves.  The combination of early and late photo opportunities combined with the classroom sessions in the middle of the day is hard to beat.   Please reserve a spot for me on the Post X-mas IPT.  Best, Vince




From Cindy Creighton via e-mail:  


Hi Artie, I just wanted to drop you a quick line to tell about my experience using the BLUBB for the last couple of weeks in the field.  So far, I absolutely LOVE IT!  Thanks to the Blubb, I was able to make a sharp image of a Short-eared Owl at 7:00 in the morning in poor light with a shutter speed of 1/50 second!  Without the BLUBB, the image would surely have been deleted as unsharp due to equipment shake and motion blur.  I am very pleased with the way that a big lens sits firmly on the BLUBB and does not move (even as we drive around on bumpy dirt roads).  I will certainly recommend the BLUBB to anyone who asks my great beanbag.  Thanks so much for designing a great product!  Cindy


(Note: we currently have two BLUBBs available from our next shipment of 20…)  





White Pelicans feeding, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 

Canon 600mm f/4L IS lens (on BLUBB) with EOS-1Ds Mark. ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/1600 sec. at f/8. 

It was the strip of green marsh that inspired me to create this bird scape.  With the cloudy bright conditions, I was able position the car for the most pleasing background without worrying much about sun angle. 




BIRDS AS ART is proud to announce that in addition to carrying JRF Lens Covers, we now offer the complete line of LensCoat™ protective neoprene covers.  Lens Coats are available in four distinct patterns for virtually all modern Canon and Nikon lenses.   And, LensCoat™ offers a set of covers for both the Canon and Nikon teleconverters.  My favorite LensCoat™ feature is the flexible UV-PVC window that covers the lens controls; it is thin and flexible enough so that you can--as long as you have a decent fingernail on your pointer finger--work the controls without having to pull back the cover. 


Like the JRF covers, LensCoat™ covers protect the finish of your lenses, provide camouflage, and provide a thermal barrier that makes it easier to handle your lens in unusually hot or cold conditions. You can check out (and order) the great variety of LensCoat™ covers and patterns here:


LensCoatTMLens Covers




White-faced Ibis flock in farm field, Brigham CityUT 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 70-200mm IS L lens (handheld at 145mm) with EOS-1Ds Mark.  ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/30 sec. at f/2.8.  


If you look at the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO here you will note that this image was created in near darkness.  I used 45-Point AFPS and focused on the birds in flight.  Whenever you are in your vehicle for the purpose of photography you should have an intermediate telephoto zoom lens ready and loaded...




I received the following by e-mail:


Artie, I wanted to let you know that the photo of the Great-tailed Grackle in Bulletin 200 should not have been captioned as him sitting on "corn flowers", but as being on maize grain heads.  Maize is is also known as milo, or sorghum.  The orange, round seeds from this plant are found in many bird seed mixes.  It is grown in many huge fields here in the Rio Grande Valley, but it is not is not corn.  You actually photographed a frustrating scene for farmers down here in the Valley, since grackles will sit on the heads of maize, pick off the green seeds, and just drop them on the ground since they find them unappetizing.  The maize turns deep orange/red during the late summer when it is harvested.  It is also a favorite food of White-winged Mourning Doves.  The grackles are notorious nest robbers.  They are good at finding a dove or songbird nest and poking the eggs with their billa and eating the insides.  Wen the find a nest with baby birds they will stab them with their bills to kill them and then eat them.  They are very much a problem species down here in South Texas, though dramatic with their long tail feathers and amusing mating displays.  All the best, Lance Krueger


Editorial note: As far as I know, Great-tailed Grackles have been around a lot longer than farmers...  And the grackles are not the ones who have destroyed thousands of acres Rio Grande Valley habitat...  As far as being nest predators, the grackles are just doing what they need to do to survive.


Note: Linda Lee also questioned my corn ID.  Heck, I was taught in elementary school that maize and corn were the same thing!  Go figure…





Venice Rookery, pre-dawn, Venice, FL

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 28-135mm IS lens (tripod mounted at 35mm) with EOS-1Ds Mark.  ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 2 sec. at f/3.5.   


There was barely enough light to focus manually when I made this image.  Digital can do amazing things in the dark if you realize the possibilities.  I keep a Wimberley P-5 camera body plate in my bag and only put it on the camera when I need it.





As most of you know, I have used Delkin e-Film Pro Compact Flash Cards for more than 3 ˝ years now and have found them to be fast and dependable.  I have been using the Delkin 2gb and 4gb cards exclusively now for more than two years and have experienced one card failure, that with a very old 2gb card about a month ago.  Delkin promptly replaced the card.  Do remember that I take tens of thousands of images in a given year.  We have joined with Delkin to ensure that we can offer you the great e-Film Pro Cards at very low prices in any quantity that you might need:


1gb Delkin e-film Pro Card:      $49.98  


2gb Delkin e-film Pro Card:     $80.98 


4gb Delkin e-film Pro Card:   $144.98 


8gb Delkin e-film Pro Card:    $299.98


Please add $7.00 per order shipping and handling. Florida residents please add 7% sales tax to the cost of the cards only.




All four Bosque IPTs are almost all filled.  If you want to join us in New Mexico, you need to act right now to avoid being disappointed.



KENYA FLY-DRIVE PHOTO SAFARI, AUG 2006.  SAMBURU, MAASAI MARA, AND MORE.  With co-leader Todd Gustafson.  Leave the US AUG 21.  Amsterdam to Nairobi: AUG 22.  Amsterdam to US: SEPT 7.  $9499 per person (round trip airfare to Kenya not included).  Please e-mail for itinerary.  Two slots left.  

Bosque #1: "The Fall Color IPT"  NOV 14-16, 2006.  Slide Program on the evening of NOV 13.  3-DAY: $929.  (Limit 14, Openings: 1)  Co-leader: Robert O’Toole.  This IPT should feature a better chance for a day or two of the rare south winds that drastically improve flight photography and will definitely feature the brightest fall-color cottonwoods. 

Bosque #2:  "The Pre-Thanksgiving IPT"  NOV 19-21, 2006.   Slide Program on the evening of NOV 18.  3-DAY: $929.  (Limit 14, Openings: 1)   Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole and Alfred Forns.   This and the next IPT have sold out for the past eight years.   This IPT will feature increasing numbers of geese and cranes with lots of great opportunities.    I will be hosting a Thanksgiving day lunch (strictly limited to 50 folks).  If you would like to attend, please send a check for $30 person and mark the check "Thanksgiving Lunch". 

Bosque #3:  "The Post-Thanksgiving IPT"   NOV 25-27, 2006.  Slide Program on the evening of NOV 24.  3-DAY: $929.  Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole and Alfred Forns. (SOLD OUT) This IPT has sold out for the past eight years as it is scheduled on dates that I consider peak for Bosque. I will be hosting a Thanksgiving day lunch (strictly limited to 50 folks).  If you would like to attend, please send a check for $30 person and mark the check "Thanksgiving Lunch". 

Bosque #4:  "The Full Moon IPT"  DEC 4 (mid-day) through DEC 7 (mid day), 2006.  3-DAY: $929.  (Limit 14 Openings: 3)  Slide Program mid-day on DEC 4.  Co-leaders: Manuel Presti (2005 Wildlife Photographer of the Year) and Robert Amoruso. This IPT includes a half day of photography on the 4th, two full days of photography on the 5th  and 6th, and a final half day on December 7th.  Limit 14.  This IPT has been scheduled to maximize the opportunities to include the rising and setting full (DEC 5) and near-full moon in your images.  There will be lots of the usual chances as well, and this time period has provided more than its share of spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the years. 

SW FLA Post X-mas IPT:  DEC 27-29, 2006Slide program on the evening of Tuesday, DEC 26.  3 -DAY: $1029.  (Limit 14.)  Sanibel Island, Little Estero Lagoon, Venice Rookery, Cape Coral.  Herons, egrets, gulls, terns, skimmers, shorebirds, both pelicans, Osprey, Burrowing Owl, and lots more. 


SW FLA President's Holiday IPT:   FEB 17-21, 2007.  Slide program on the evening Friday, FEB 16, 2007.  5-DAY: $1649. (Limit 14.)  Sanibel Island, Little Estero Lagoon, Venice Rookery, Cape Coral.  Herons, egrets, gulls, terns, skimmers, shorebirds, both pelicans, Osprey, Burrowing Owl, and lots more.  


FORT DESOTO IPT: APR 13-15, 2007. Slide program on the evening of Thursday, APR 12.  3-DAY: $999 (Limit 14.)  Courtship and breeding behaviors of Laughing Gull and Royal and Sandwich Tern.  Herons, egrets (including both dark and light phase Reddish Egret), shorebirds (including Long-billed Curlew), gulls, terns, and skimmers among others.





Bald Eagle above wintry mountains, Homer, AK

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens (handheld at 120mm) with EOS 1Ds MII.   ISO 400.

Evaluative Metering +1 stop off the light-blue sky: 1/1000 sec. at f/6.3.  


This is my very favorite bird-scape image. There is nothing more satisfying than pre-visualizing an image, teaching the concept to the group, and then making an image as perfect as the one that you saw in your mind.  I explained to the Homer IPT group  that by using 45 point AFPS in AI Servo mode it would be possible to make an image featuring an eagle in flight well off center while working wide enough to include the distant snow-covered mountains and a strip of Cook Inlet.  There was a bit of luck involved in catching such a spectacular wing position, but luck favors the well prepared...





I will be leading my fourth Galapagos Photo Cruise for Distinctive Journeys, July 18-28, 2007.   There is no need for me to elaborate on the amazing photographic opportunities available at this amazing location.  (To see some of my 2005 images, click here:  This trip is strictly limited to 14 participants.  The cost is $4499.00 per person based on double occupancy.   If you are interested, please call Janie Bullard immediately at 1-888-419-6677 (If no answer, leave a message stating your intent) or e-mail her at  If you are seriously interested, do not waste a moment.  





Snow Geese,  "Paybooth Pond with Fog," Bosque Del Apache NWR, New Mexico

Image copyright2005: Arthur Morris/BIRDS ASART


Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens (on 1325 tripod with Mongoose M-262head) and EOS 1Dn Mark II. ISO 400.Evaluative metering +2/3 stop:1/60sec. at f/5.


Here,  I focused--as I always do in these situations-- on the first row of birds using (One-Shot AF/central sensor only) and then re-composed.  On my first scouting morning at Bosque in 2005,  the birds blasted off and flew to the Paybooth Pond; nobody noticed but me...  It pays to keep your eyes open at all times when photographing nature…





Contact:  Gary Farber, Tel#800-221-1830 ext. 2332, Fax#800-336-3841,

BIRDS AS ART  (Prices valid through end of June, 2006)


Birds as Art subscribers looking for Canon 5D, 1D Mark II N, and Canon 30D, call for prices.  Specials prices are too low to be put in print.  Ask about the price of the Canon 1DS Mark II (Artie’s very favorite camera).


Canon CPE3 battery (Arthur now prefers this by light-years over any Quantum external battery):      $139.99


Ask about prices on all Canon lenses including 600F4, 500 F4, 70-200 IS, 100-400 etc.    Hunt’s only carries USA merchandise.  No grey market.


Call about prices on flashes, extension tubes, digital paper trimmers, extenders, etc. from Promaster.


Canon PowerShot A75….factory refurbished                                                       $119.99

Canon Power Shot S31S                                                                                        $449.99

Photos CS2 Upgrade                                                                                               $149.99

Photo CS Full version                                                                                               $579.00

Velvia 50-36 (Presently in stock)                                        Per roll                        $    4.99

New Velvia 100-36                                                               Per roll                        $    5.19

New Velvia 100-36    60 + rolls                                           Per roll                        $    4.99

Epson P2000 (Before $50.00 mail in rebate)                                                       $399.99

Epson P4000 (Before $50.00 mail in rebate)                                                       $579.99


Contact Gary Farber for all your photo, video, and digital needs.






Canada Geese on prairie, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 

Canon 600mm f/4L IS lens with 1.4X II TC (on BLUBB) with EOS-1Ds Mark. ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering +2/3 stop: 1/125 sec. at f/5.6. 

The geese in Utah were very shy and whenever I stopped the car, flocks that were anywhere near the road they simply walked away.  By adding the 1.4X TC, I was able to create the bird-scape that I had envisioned of this group that was far enough from the road not to be scared off when I stopped.  

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 BAA sponsor as it Delkin Devices.  Back issues of all BAA Bulletins can be found in the Bulletin Archives which may be accessed from the home page at