JUNE 23, 2006












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Photographic Theme: Some of my favorite images from the Nome IPT. 




 Black-bellied Plover, male on nest (eggs visible), Nome, Alaksa 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  500mm f/4L IS lens with  2XII TC (at ground level) with EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO 400.  Exposure confirmed by histogram check and then set manually: 1/1250 sec. at f/8 .   


 With a large area of black in the metering area, I knew tha t it would be simplest to make an image, check the exposure, and set it manually.  By doing that, it did not matter if there was lots of black or just a bit of black in the center of the frame (depending of course on the bird's position and posture and the choice of horizontal or vertical format).   







Arctic Tern on nest, Nome, Alaska 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  500mm f/4L IS lens with  2XII TC ( at eye level) with EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering  +1/3 stop: 1/ 640 sec. at f/ 11.   


This bird, seen here on its nest amongst the beach plants, was totally accepting of our presence.  I love the sprig of greenery at the center of the bird.  I used One-Shot AF, focused on the bird's eye, and re-composed to create this front-end horizontal portrait.   You can learn tons about Advanced Composition and Image Design in ABP II (on CD only).  And BTW, if your j-pegs do not look this good you can learn to create them with a single keystroke in our Digital Basics File which will teach you to create Actions.  




As we flew into Nome on the evening of June 8th, we were stunned to see the Bering Sea packed with ice and many of the small tundra lakes covered with ice as well.   It was a gorgeous evening but the next day--our scouting day--dawned partly cloudy and by late afternoon it was raining.   The rain contiuned the first morning of the IPT and we checked the ten-day forecast on line.  The forecast: RAIN/RAIN/RAIN/RAIN/RAIN/RAIN/RAIN/RAIN/RAIN/RAIN.  By the first afternoon it was sunny and gorgeous and we never encountered another drop of rain in spite of the fact that the forecast each day called for RAIN...  


I had five folks with me; co-leader Greg Downing had three.  We worked together sharing information and finds and that arrangement worked perfectly.  I must admit that Greg's group came up with lots more nests than we did for the first seven or eight days or so; a big time thanks therefore goes to Greg, Neil Solomon, Art Peslak, and Tim Boyer.  Thanks also to the folks who joined me (all IPT veterans): Rocky Sharwell, Forrest Roberts, Brent Thompson, Vic Steel, and Steve Metildi.  Steve's wife Lorelei, who joined us as a (mostly) non-photographer participant, was extremely helpful.  Without her loon-herding skills we would not have done real well with the Red-throated Loons.   (Merrick Peirce of Fairbanks, AK joined us for two days near the end of the IPT.)  


With the season two to three weeks later than usual, the first few days are tough but we spent lots of time at the Red Fox den that one of Greg's guys had spotted, and we located the world's greatest nesting Black-bellied Plover.  If and when he did leave the nest he always ran right back to his eggs at near-full speed, pausing every three steps or so in typical plover fashion. We nikc-named  him "Charger." By the middle of the ten day trip we had located nests of Long-tailed Jaeger, Arctic Tern, Pacific Golden-Plover, Whimbrel, and Western and Semipalmated Sandpipers among others.  We had a wonderful visit with a local falconer who posed his two gyrs for us, and spent many hours in his yard photographing a variety of landbirds attracted with seed scattered on the ground.  Among those were White- and Golden-crowned Sparrows, Fox Sparrow, and Common Redpoll.  Rocky got some great Yellow Warbler images in the back of the house as a male yellow came to a rotting musk ox head to glean insects.  The head was from an animal that had been killed for food and then been put out to dry.  We had some good chances with Musk Ox and Red-necked Phalaropes were plentiful.  One morning on the way back to the motel Rocky and several others spotted a gorgeous female Red Phalarope (rare in Nome) in a roadside pond.


With the great weather, lots of great subjects, and more and more birds nesting each day,  the limiting factor as the trip neared its end was the physical endurance of the leaders and the participants.  By the last few days we spent some time doing slide programs and watching the US Open (golf), the Stanley Cup finals (hockey), and the Heat vs. the Mavericks (NBA Playoffs) when we were resting from our tundra walks and the long drives to and from Wooley Lagoon.  Everyone went home happy and in need of an extended rest. As for me, I leave for three weeks in Ecuador this coming Wednesday.  



Red-throated Loon flapping, Nome, Alaska 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  500mm f/4L IS lens with  2XII TC and EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO 400.  Exposure confirmed by histogram check and then set manually: 1/1 000 sec. at f/ 10.   


Here, I took a meter reading of the bird swimming and then set an exposure 2/3rds of a stop darker to make sure that I did not overexpose the bird's white breast when it flapped.  This one was a digital miracle.  I almost missed the flap as I was looking at this bird's mate.  I focused and made two quick images sure that even the first one was made after the bird began to sink back into the water.  I was shocked and surprised when I reviewed the images when I saw that I had not missed the peak of the action.  Had I been using film I would never have attempted to make an image, not wanting to lose the 38 cents...





 By e-mail from Merrick Peirce:


Hi Arthur,


I hope you've made a safe trip back from Nome, and that you are catching up on your sleep.  Thank you for an enjoyable IPT.  The Nome IPT exceeded my expectations and what I've learned from you will be put to good use.  In the time we spent together I enjoyed the stories you shared and the intelligent conversation.  Your insight and  your ability to anticipate the behavior and flight patterns of the birds was uncanny- and you brought a smile to my face on more than one occasion when the birds performed- nearly as if by command- to what you had suggested they would do.  What a treat.   I am going to forward to you several pictures I caught of you that you might enjoy.  I really like the one with this email.  Talk about trying to get close to the subject.


Thanks,  Merrick




White-crowned Sparrow, Nome, Alaska 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  500mm f/4L IS lens with  1.4XII TC  and EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO  500.  Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/10.   


While photographing the captive Gyrfalcon (see same below) we noticed lots of songbirds coming to seed in our host's yard.  We set up several perches, sat in the grass, and had tons of fun.  We had collected the perches during our travels along Nome's extensive road system without having a specific use for them at the time.  With the elevated perch, the background was rendered more pleasingly than if we had photographed the birds in the grass.




An image made by Robert O'Toole, one of the BAA Posse members featured in Bulletin 203, was highly commended in the 2006 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.  Congrats and a great big mazel tov to Robert on this wondrous achievement. 


I received this e-mail from Robert who is currently on assignment in South Africa:


Hi Artie,   I got  some good news that I wanted to share.   I just got email from WPTY and my  banking Bald Eagle banking  that I made while helping you out on the Homer IPT, the really full - frame one with the 70-200  was highly commended in the  Animal  Behavior category.  Please accept a huge thanks for all  of  your  friendship,  your teaching and most of all , for all of the inspiration  that you have provided since I first met you.  I couldnt have created that eagle image without  having had you as  my  mentor!!!!


Love you artie!!!  Robert 



Red-necked Phalarope, female stretching wing, Nome, Alaska 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  500mm f/4L IS lens with 1.4XII TC  and EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO  400.  Evaluative Metering at zero: 1/ 1250 sec. at f/ 8 .    


Here, I had chosen the two AF sensors just below the central sensor in an effort to place the swimming birds lower in the frame.  I was lucky to just squeeze the subject into the frame, and lucky that the bird did not turn its head away as they usually do when stretching their near-wings.




 For the first time in recent memory we now have Version II Wimberley heads in stock and will have BLUBBs in stock early next week.  Amazing.  Demand has been so high for these two products that we have not been able to keep them on the shelves.   I recently tried my old Wimberley head just for the heck of it and it really helped me realize how much better the new head is...  The position of the horizontal pan knob makes handling the head so, so much easier, and that will go triple once it gets cold...  We have now sold more than 200 BLUBBS and have received only rave reviews.   For info on all of our products see the links on the home page:



Common Raven near nest on derelict gold dredge, Nome, Alaska 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  70-200mm f/ 2.8L IS lens with EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO  400.  Evaluative Metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/ 6400  sec. at f/ 2 .8.    


We set out on a really foggy morning without much hope when we noticed that the gold dredge in the fog made a pretty picture.  We experimented with a variety of lenses from 20 to 400mm.  Folks might ask why f/2.8?  What they need to realize is that with the wide open aperture viewing that you get with virtually all modern SLR camera bodies, if what you see in the viewfinder looks sharp your image will be sharp without your having to stop down...  If you would like to see a few more of my favorite foggy gold dredge images, please e-mail with "foggy gold dredge images" in the subject line.




Lots of out of town folks have already signed up for the weekend:  four from California, one from Toronto, and two from Norway! 


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 getting the right exposure, advanced composition and image design, making sharp images, creating effective motion and zoom blurs, using flash as fill and as main light, 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.   




Musk Ox on tundra, Nome, Alaska 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  500mm f/4L IS lens with 1.4XII TC  and EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO  400.  Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/ 1 0 0 sec. at f/ 5 .6.    


This image was made a few minutes after 1am as we stopped while driving the 40 miles back to town and proves the point, It ain't just birds!  Here again I used One-Shot AF, focused on the subject's eye, recomposed, and made two images before the animal moved off with its mate. 




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: 


Whimbrel landing near nest, Nome, Alaska 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  400mm f/ 5.6L lens with EOS-1D Mark II N .  ISO  400.  Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop set manually: 1/800 sec. at f/ 5 .6.    


The 400mm f/5.6, a 1D MII N, and the central sensor only make a deadly accurate flight photography combination.  




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.



Gyrfalcon, adult white morph, captive, Nome, Alaska 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  500mm f/4L IS lens with EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering  +1/3 stop: 1/ 8 00 sec. at f/ 10.   


  "Be kind to strangers; You may be entertaining an angel, unawares."   John K. Terres (noted avian author) shared this quote with me when I interviewed him well more than a decade ago.  I have heeded his advice.  We met the falconer's wife in 2003, first in the AC (supermarket) and then again in the only fast food joint in Nome: Subway. We showed her images on our laptops at lunch and she mentioned that her husband, a falconer, would surely be glad to put out his birds for us to photograph.  I have done just that on each of my three Nome visits. 




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.  (SOLD OUT)  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 per 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 per 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:  2 )  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 Openings: 12.)  .)  Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole, Alfred Forns, & Robert Amoruso.  Sanibel Island, Little Estero Lagoon, Venice Rookery, Cape Coral.  Herons, egrets, gulls, terns, skimmers, shorebirds, both pelicans, Osprey, Burrowing Owl, and lots more.  


San Diego IPT:  FEB 3-6, 20074-FULL DAYS: $1359.  Introductory slide program on the evening of Thursday, FEB 2. (Limit 12.)    LaJolla, LaJolla Shores Beach, Coronado, and Santee Lakes.   Brown Pelicans, Heerman’s & Western Gulls, Marbled Godwits & lots more shorebirds, Wood & Ring-necked Ducks & Lesser Scaup.  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.)  Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole, Alfred Forns, & Robert Amoruso.  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 ; openings: (9.)  Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole, Alfred Forns, Robert Amoruso, and Todd Gustafson.  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.  




Bar-tailed Godwit, male, Nome, Alaska 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  500mm f/4L IS lens with  2XII TC  and EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering  +1/3 stop: 1/ 320 sec. at f/ 11.   


Several of us photographed this bird on the afternoon of our scouting day.  This very hard to come by but regular Siberian visitor proved a difficult catch thereafter. 



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



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


BIRDS AS ART subscribers looking for Canon 5D, 1D Mark II N, and Canon 30D , please call for prices.   (Special s  prices are “too” low to put in print. ) 

Ask about price on the Canon 1DS Mark II   (Artie's favorite camera!) 

Ask about the great low price for the BIRDS AS ART subscribers on the Canon 24-105 IS.  (The latest addition to Artie's gear bag.)

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.


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

Epson P4000 (Before $50.00 mail in rebate)                                                     $549.99


Ask about Epson special prices for BIRDS AS ART subscribers  on  the Epson 7800, 4800, and 9800 printers. 


Epson 2200 Inks                                                                                              $     8.99

Epson 2400 Inks                                                                                              $    11.99

Epson 1800 Inks                                                                                              $    11.99 


Free shipping is being offered on ink orders for $300.00 or more for Birds as Art Subscribers.


BIRDS AS ART subscribers looking to purchase the new Canon 9500 Printer, please send me your email address and/or telephone number and I will contact you when the printer is available and give you pricing as well.


BIRDS AS ART subscribers looking to sell or trade in their Nikon equipment, please email me what those items are and I will have the used equipment manager issue you a quote.





Red Fox pups playing just outside of den, Nome, Alaska 

Image copyright 2006: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART 


Canon  500mm f/4L IS lens with  2XII TC with EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO 400.  Evaluative Metering  at zero:1/ 500 sec. at f/ 8.    


 We spent hours and hours waiting for these fox pups to come out of their den for a few moments of frolicking.  Many of those hours were in the rain...  You gotta love it. 


 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