APRIL 22, 2007










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Roseate Spoonbill “top shot,” Tampa Bay, FL

Image Copyright 2007:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 600mm f/4 L IS Lens with the 1.4XII TC and the EOS-1Ds Mark II.   ISO 400.

Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop off the hazy low sky: 1/1600 sec. at f/7.1 set manually.   


I have been dreaming of this image for years…  Thanks to James Shadle’s expertise, it is now a reality rather than a vision.  I used the central sensor only with Personal Function 14 (Lens Focus Search Turned Off) turned on.  Confused?  see “CANON PRO BODY AUTOFOCUS TIP here




After teaching non-stop for nine straight days (the two DeSoto IPTS and the three spoonbill morning spoonbill boat trips as co-leader with James Shadle) I was anxious to get home on Friday afternoon, but tales west winds, clear skies, afternoon high tides, pale blue water, and pink birds enticed me to stay for one more outing on “Frog-Hair” Jim’s flats boat…  See the results above and below.


Now here is the scoop: the 6:00pm high tide this Monday afternoon—that’s tomorrow, April 23—should be absolutely perfect for capturing images of banking and landing spoonbills in flight with blue water backgrounds.   

If you would join Jim tomorrow, the fare is $300 (if one person), $250 each for 2-4 folks.  There are currently four slots open.


Please contact James as follows:  by cell phone at 813-363-2854 or via e-mail at  James does not always get his cell phone messages so keep trying if you are seriously interested in this trip; best time to call him is between 11am and 1pm.)   If you are interested in arranging a boat trip with James any time during the next three months, please contact him as above.



Roseate Spoonbill landing, Tampa Bay, FL

Image Copyright 2007:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 600mm f/4 L IS Lens with the 1.4XII TC and the EOS-1Ds Mark II.   ISO 400.

Evaluative Metering +2/3 stop off the low blue sky: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 set manually.   


I clipped the near-wingtip so I cropped the image from the left a bit following my “cut don’t clip” rule.




When I reviewed my images from Friday morning I was disappointed that many of the images that I was sure would be sharp were out-of-focus.  After a bit of thought, I went to my Sequoia, grabbed the 600 IS, and removed the drop-in filter.  Even though my LensCoat neoprene cover was in place, the filter was pretty close to filthy…  I cleaned it with my large Pens Pen and voila, most of my flight images (like the two above) were tack-sharp.  It was Robert O’Toole who first taught me that the drop-in filters on super-telephoto lenses need to be checked regularly and cleaned as needed. 




Roseate Spoonbill taking flight, Tampa Bay, FL

Image Copyright 2007:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 600mm f/4 L IS Lens with the 2XII TC and the EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO 400.

Evaluative Metering -2/3 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/9 set manually.   


This image was made on a morning boat trip against a background of seaweed-covered mud flat.  I was making vertical portraits of this bird when it took flight.  I panned and made a single image when I had the central sensor right on its eyes.  Fortunately I was using AI Servo AF rather than One-Shot.  For Nikon-users that translates to “Fortunately I was had the AF set to C (continuous) rather than to S (Single). I selected and darkened the pupils as described in our Digital Basics File:




I have been seeing a lot of Lou Newman over the past few months.   He attended one of the Anhinga Trail In-The-Field Workshops, the second Fort DeSoto IPT, and two of the three morning spoonbill boat trips led by James and me.  On the afternoon of the IPT, Lou heard a strange noise while making some images.  On the morning boat trip the next day, Lou noticed a light slash across some of his images but did not say anything about it.  As I did, he decided to stay for the Friday afternoon boat trip and after we finished photographing a Common Loon at close range from the boat, he finally mentioned the light slash on his images.  I grabbed his rig, took one image of the clear blue sky, and looked at the image on the LCD…  Ooops!  There was a black triangle in the lower right hand corner of the image and a light slash across the center.  There was surely a problem with the shutter.  I raised the mirror and saw that one of the shutter blades was hung up.


Lou lost all of his images from the last afternoon of the IPT (he had computer problems and was unable to view the images from the afternoon) and from the Friday morning boat trip, but he took it well.  I loaned him my EOS 1D Mark IIN and he was able to enjoy our fantastic afternoon.    


Lessons learned:


1-If your camera makes any strange noises it is best to check things out or ask someone more experienced than you to do that same.

2-If you see any unusual light or dark areas on your images when viewed on the LCD it is best to check things out or ask someone more experienced than you to do that same.

3-Pointing your camera at the sky and making an image is a simple way to make sure that everything is operating normally.

4-Digital cameras may fail at any time; it is best to travel with at least one back-up camera body.


Here is the e-mail that I received yesterday from Lou:


Hi Artie, I have discovered I forgot one other item.  I left my battery in the 1D Mark II N that you loaned me on Jim Shadle’s boat Friday evening.  I would appreciate it if you would tag it so it can be sent with the stuff I plan to order from you in the next couple of days.  Thanks a million for an exceptionally rewarding learning experience this past week.  Lou


(Note:  Lou is an accomplished photographer; he sold more than 25 large prints during a recent gallery show in Sarasota where he lives.)


ps:  I just got off the phone with Lou and as it turned out, he lost far fewer problems due to the shutter malfunction than he had thought as the problem was intermittent.   




Robert came by yesterday to do some image optimization for me and to help me set up my Live Books ( galleries (coming soon!)


For months now I have watched Robert use the Quick Mask techniques that he developed on his own to remove large background elements quickly and easily.  The results are far cleaner than when using the Clone Stamp and the Patch Tool.  Last night I got a private lesson from Robert and, after sending myself an e-mail and practicing into the early morning hours, I now own the technique. It is totally amazing.  During the next two weeks Robert and I will finish editing his APTATS (Advanced Photoshop Tips and Techniques Simplified) PDF and it should be available for sale ($20 via e-mail only) in early May.


Here are the before and after images from my very best effort:







Stilt Sandpiper beginning molt to breeding plumage, Fort De Soto Park, St. Petersburg, FL  

Image Copyright 2007:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 500m f/4 L IS Lens with 2X II TC (on Panning Ground Pod with bubble level) and EOS-1Ds Mark II.  ISO 400.

Evaluative Metering +1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/11.   


Stilt Sandpiper is an uncommon bird in Florida at best.  I have seen only a handful in the state.  I was excited when I saw this one on the first DeSoto IPT.  When I created the before image (above) I was just trying to get some separation between the rear end of the Dunlin and the stilt.  Having done just that, I was able to use Robert’s Quick Mask techniques to seamlessly remove the Dunlin.  To learn about the Ground Pod and the Bubble Level click here: and scroll down.


ROBERT O'TOOLE'S BAA/IPT ST. AUGUSTINE APTATS (Advanced Photoshop Techniques and Tips Simplified) BAA/IPT WORKSHOPS


10AM-5PM. Six hours of instruction, one hour lunch break (laptop with Photoshop required).


St. Augustine Alligator Farm BAA IPT APTATS workshops (limit: 4). April 15 and April 20.  $399 per session/$349 per session for two or more
These dates are scheduled so that IPT participants can attend the IPTs without conflict (either before of after the IPTs as above). 


APTATS workshops are designed for the digital photographer with an emphasis on simplicity and will be conducted in a relaxed and personalized atmosphere. Robert will demonstrate the step by step procedures for each task and explain the theory as well. Participants will progress at their own pace with the demonstration images that he provides.  The small group size will allow for personalized instruction for everyone.  Ambitious folks can enjoy an early morning of great photography in the field and then bring their images to life in the Workshops.


Below, Robert has used his Quick-Masking Skills on one of his own images: 


Semipalmated Plover, North Beach, Fort De Soto Park, Florida

Image Copyright 2007:  Robert O'Toole


Canon EF600mm f/4L IS lens with 1.4XII TC with the EOS-1D Mark II N.  ISO 250

Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in manual mode.

             Out of focus foreground object removal is an important skill for most digital photographers, but this simple operation be an ordeal if you are using the wrong techniques.  It took Robert just a minute to remove the distracting birds using the Brush Tool, a Quick Layer mask, and a couple of keystroke shortcuts.  This technique and many more will be covered step by step in all BAA/APTATS workshops and in the soon-to-be released APTATS PDF File.




St Augustine Alligator Farm MAY 17-20, 2007.  3 1/2 DAY IPT: $1099 (Limit: 12; openings: 3)  Introductory Slide Program from 2-4pm on the afternoon of Thursday, May 17.  This IPT includes 7 photography sessions and four slide programs, with at least two devoted totally to Photoshop.   Amazing heron and egret rookery.  Nesting Great, Snowy, and Cattle Egrets and Tricolored Herons, all with chicks.


Silver Salmon Creek: August 8-14, 2007.  Coastal Brown Bears catching salmon, Horned Puffins, macro, scenics, and fishing (optional):  $4999. (Limit 11: Sold Out ).



Bosque #1: "The Fall Color IPT"  NOV 13-15, 2007.  Slide Program on the evening of NOV 12.   3-DAY: $999.  (Limit 14; openings: 10). 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 18-20, 2007.  Slide Program on the evening of NOV 17.  3-DAY: $999.  (Limit 10; openings: 12). Co-leader:  Robert O'Toole & Alfred Forns. This IPT will feature  increasing numbers of geese and cranes with lots of great opportunities.   In 2007, I will again be hosting a Thanksgiving Day luncheon at Las Lunas Mansion, a fine restaurant in an historic building.  You will need to reserve a spot and pay in advance.  Details TBA; strictly limited to 50 folks. 



Bosque #3:  "The Post-Thanksgiving IPT"   NOV 24-26, 2007.  Slide Program on the evening of NOV 23.  3-DAY: $999.   (Limit 14: Sold Out)  Assistant leaders:  Robert O'Toole, Robert Amoruso, and Alfred Forns. This IPT is scheduled on dates that I consider peak for Bosque. (There may be a Full Moon Add-on NOV 23; details TBA.  If you register for this one, hold off on buying your plane ticket if you might be interested in the add-on.)   In 2007, I will again be hosting a Thanksgiving Day luncheon at Las Lunas Mansion, a fine restaurant in an historic building.  You will need to reserve a spot and pay in advance.  Details TBA; strictly limited to 50 folks.



SW FLA Post X-mas IPT:   DEC 27-29, 2007).  Slide program on the evening Wednesday, DEC 26, 2006.  3-DAY: $1029.  (Limit 12) Co-leaders: Alfred Forns, & Robert O'Toole.  Sanibel Island, Venice Rookery, Cape Coral, and possibly Little Estero Lagoon (depending on the tides).  Herons, egrets, gulls, terns, skimmers, shorebirds, both pelicans, Osprey, Burrowing Owl, and lots more.  Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork possible. 





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