NOVEMBER 1, 2008


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Maple leaves on library lawn, Brunswick, Maine

Image copyright 2008:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 15mm Fish-eye lens on the fantastic Giotto’s Tiny Ballhead ( with the Wimberley P-5 camera body plate (  and the Canon EOS-1D MIII.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/10 sec. at f/16.  Mirror lock and 2 second self-timer. 


We were stopped cold by this huge pile of leaves while exploring southern Maine on the Tuesday following the seminar.  No matter how much I reduced the red Saturation the leaves look like enamel paint.  I experimented with adding lots of Cyan in Selective Color and found that with this image, adding an amazing 60 points of Cyan did the trick.  Go figure.  I now have to go back and redo about 25 Caspian Tern keepers…




After the Portland Seminar we spent several days exploring for fall color in southern New Hampshire (and in southern Maine); we had a big head start as Monsieur Chris Dodds had scouted New Hampshire’s White Mountains when he drove from his home in Quebec to the seminar on Friday.  I could not tell you exactly where we were on Monday and Wednesday other than that we traversed the famed Kancamagus Highway and Routes 16/302 north out of North Conway.  I was really stoked as we hit the peak of color just right.  Chris felt however that the trees had lost lots of leaves between Friday when he first drove through the area and Monday when we returned.  At this  point I am planning on re-visiting next year and adding some Vermont locations.  Vermont will be my 50ieth state.




Fall color, White Mountain National Forest, NH

Image copyright 2008:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 100-400mm IS L lens at  275mm with the Canon EOS-1D MIII.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/18 in Manual mode. Mongoose M3.5 on Gitzo CF 3530 LS tripod. 


The smattering of evergreens in the White Mountains adds to an already amazing array of colors.




Used Zoom-Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G AF-S VR for sale.  Excellent condition. Perfect glass.  This is considered by many to be the finest telephoto or zoom lens ever. The image quality attained with this lens is absolutely superb.
AF operation is very quick and works great with 1.4X and 1.7 X TC. Images are vividly saturated, have high contrast, and tremendous detail. Sharpness is exquisite even wide open with super bokeh. Lots of extras including: 4th Generation Design Low Profile QR Lens Foot,  Lens Coat, the Lens Hood: HK-30, the CL-L2 Soft Case and the original Nikon box, shipping box, and all documents as shipped when new.


Minimum Shooting Distance: 6.4 ft.   Max. Reproduction Ratio: 1:3.7.  Dimensions: Approx. 4.9 x 14.1 inches.  Weight: Approx. 7.2 lbs   


New $5299.   $4900.00 FedEx shipping incl to cont US.


These lenses can be extremely difficult to find new in most stores, are out of stock at the best wholesale camera shops, and are selling used for $4950 in less than excellent condition with no extras.


To contact the seller, please e-mail Jim at with "Nikon 200-400 Seller Contact Info" cut and pasted into the subject line. 




Fall color, White Mountain National Forest, NH

Image copyright 2008:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 100-400mm IS L lens at 180mm with the Canon EOS-1D MIII.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode.  Mongoose M3.5 on Gitzo CF 3530 LS tripod. 


This is a two-frame stitched pano.  By Wednesday there were lots more leaves on the ground but the bare trees added interest; they looked like gray skeletons…  The 100-400 is a great fall color lens and it works perfectly well with the Mongoose M3.5 that I use with my 500 f/4 IS lens to reduce the weight that I am carrying. 




A while back I answered a question about eliminating distracting background elements and added it to the January 2008 Digital Basics Update.   Since that time while teaching IPTs and Weekend Seminars I used the terms "Divide and Conquer" and "Protect and Defend" so often that I assumed that those two terms were specifically mentioned in Digital Basics.  Recently I learned that they were not.  Here, as an early holiday gift, is a free excerpt from the re-written section.  The text below will be added to the next update that I should have done by late December. 


Enjoy.   If I am giving this away for free, just imagine how much you would learn by purchasing a complete copy of Digital Basics File (a PDF file sent by e-mail).  To learn more, click here: or send a Paypal for $20 to




First off, here is some generic advice that can help you eliminate distracting branches:


Divide and Conquer


Let’s say that you have a long branch in the background that needs to be removed.  Best would be to use a Quick Mask, but in many instances there is simply not enough matching background with which to cover the distracting branch.  The Patch Tool is greatly preferred to the Clone Stamp as the Patch Tool blends texture while the Clone Stamp copies texture-less color.   It is often impossible to patch a long branch in one fell swoop, and if you try to work with small sections of the branch you will encounter terrible smudging.   What to do?  Divide and conquer. By cutting the offending branch into two or more pieces you can create manageable sections.  Loggers cut a big tree trunk into sections that can be much more easily handled than the whole trunk itself. To cut up your distracting branch, use the Clone Stamp at 80% opacity. You will have to Alt-Click several times to finish the cut.  (If the tonality on one side of the branch is of a slightly different tonality or color than the other, be sure to work from both sides Once you have cut the branch into manageable sections, you can use the Patch Tool to eliminate the remaining sections.  You may need to use the Protect and Defend techniques described below to deal with the ends of the branch (depending on where they end and what they intersect with).


Now here is an advanced tip:  If the spot where you cut the branch with the Clone Stamp looks at all lumpy or funky (i.e., if it shows ugly Clone Stamp marks), simply encircle the offending section with the Patch Tool and drag it to a smooth, similarly toned area.  


And here is an e-mail exchange that I had recently with BAA Bulletin subscriber Art Hoover: 


AH: Hi Art, I purchased Digital basics some months ago.  I have found it very informative and well organized.  In the introduction, there is a photo of the spoonbill (see the before and after photos here: used as an example of what can be done with proper technique. Of particular interest to me is the removal of the distracting branch.  I have many photos taken from the backyard blind that suffer from distracting foreground or background branches. In the text there is no definitive process as to how to deal with their removal. Am I missing something? A step by step instructional demo on this technique is what I need to save my otherwise great images. You are the GURU ! Can you help, or point me in a direction to master this seemingly simple process? Art


AM:  All of the skills that you need to remove a branch were in the last few versions of DB but with the Patch Tool (covered in the most recent update) doing so is tons easier.  And you are correct; I did not outline the steps.   


Here is how I do it:


If the branch in question passes in front of the bird’s body, begin here.  (You will--of course--be working on the background copy, or on an empty layer.)


1-If more than a bit of the branch is set against the background, use the divide and conquer technique described above to remove that part of the branch (in sections, with the Patch Tool). Do leave a short stub sticking out from the bird’s body. 


2-Once this is done, use the Patch Tool to make the last section of branch disappear.  (On the Tool of Settings Bar that lies below the menu items, make sure that Source—not Destination—is checked.)  Draw a loose shape around the remaining section of branch, the section that overlaps the bird.  Then click-drag the selected area either to one side or the other or up or down so that the edge of the bird lines up perfectly.  Let go of the cursor; the results are usually magical!


3-If the part of the branch atop the bird’s plumage covers all or a good part of the bird, you will need to divide and conquer before you use the Patch Tool (again to prevent smudging).  Once the branch is divided into sections, simply encircle one section at a time and click-drag it to a similar area of plumage.  Before you release the cursor move the section around a bit to try and match feather detail.  Once you are satisfied, simply release the cursor. 


If the branch in question passes behind the bird’s body, follow these steps:  


          1-First divide the branch into smaller, manageable sections as described above in Divide and Conquer.


          2-Next, use the Patch Tool to get rid of the sections that are set against the background. 


          3-To remove the last section of branch, the section that intersects and then disappears behind the bird you can try the Patch Tool as described above, or use the Protect and Defend technique: 


          Protect and Defend:  The most difficult part of the process is getting rid of a branch where it intersects the bird’s body (or with anything else that is clearly defined such as the main perch branch).  To do this cleanly, use the magnetic lasso if possible; there is often enough contrast to do this. If not, use the Polygonal Lasso Tool and click often; if you keep clicking as you go, this will give you a good selection even though each section is actually a straight line.  (Note:  If you are working with a downy chick or with a bird that has lots of tiny feathers sticking up it will be difficult or impossible to make a good selection.)   Begin along the edge of the bird’s body well to one side of the spot where the branch intersects the bird and continue well past that spot.  Now you need to complete the selection by getting back to the starting point.  Do so by dragging the cursor onto the bird’s body a bit (about an inch or two on your monitor) and then circling back until you get to the spot where you started.  Release the cursor and the marching ants will outline your selection.  You will have effectively selected a roughly rectangular chunk of the bird. Then click on Select/Inverse and feather the selection two pixels.  Now use the Clone Stamp and careful cloning techniques to remove the branch. It is often best to work with the Clone Tool set to 75-80% opacity and to click several times.  The bird’s body will be “protected” from the clone stamp by the inverse selection so you can clone over the border between the bird’s body and the background with impunity.  The Clone Stamp cannot affect the area that you have selected and protected.  Click on Select/Deselect (or hit Control D, the keyboard shortcut).  Finis.


It sounds complicated but is not too tough to do once you get used to it.  Do it a few times and you will own it.   Best, artie




White-crowned Sparrow, Bosque Del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM

Image copyright 2008:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 600mm f/4 L IS lens with the 2X II TC and the EOS -1Dn on a BLUBB from the vehicle.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/16.    


To create the optimized image below from the original image above I followed the BAA Digital Workflow, used the “Divide and Conquer” and the “Protect and Defend Techniques” described above, used both Digital Eye Doctor and selective sharpening via Quick Masking techniques, and the Patch Tool as outlined in Digital Basics:  Thanks again to Scott Bourne for opening my eyes to the Patch Tool in Bosque several years back at K-Bob’s!







Thanks to Walt Anderson at Visual Echoes for custom designing the new FX-6 Better Beamer expressly for the Nikon SB 900 flash units and getting them to us so quickly. 


Better Beamers are $40.00 plus $4 shipping to US addresses.  (Florida residents please add 7% sales tax = $46.80).  Shipping to Canada is $6.00 ($46.00 total) and for overseas orders the shipping is $8.00 ($48.00 total).  Call (863-692-0906) with a credit card in hand, send us a Paypal, or send a check made out to “Arthur Morris.”




River and pre-dawn fall color, North Conway, NH

Image copyright 2008:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


This 2-frame pano was created with the Canon 24-105mm IS L lens (at 24mm) on the fantastic Giotto’s Tiny Ballhead ( with the Wimberley P-5 camera body plate (  and the Canon EOS-1D MIII.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops set manually: 1.6 sec. at f/13.  Mirror lock and 2 second self-timer. 


I made a quick u-turn when I saw this out of my window at 60mph…   Without the Giotto’s tiny ballhead in my vest, I would have been dead… 




On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, 2008, I will once again be hosting a lunch for visiting photographers and birders.  We can accommodate as many as 50 folks; as I was late announcing this there is still lots of room. (Only ten right now.) For the fourth consecutive year, the lunch will be held at the Luna Mansion, an historic building in Las Lunas, New Mexico that is about an hour up the pike from Socorro on I-25.  And oh, the food is superb.  You can learn more about Luna Mansion here:  The cost of the complete lunch will be $35, the same as last year. This will include several courses including your main course, a dessert, a non-alcoholic beverage, and the tip.  If you have wine or a cocktail with your meal you will need to pick up the tab for that.  All reservations must be paid for in advance by check, Paypal, or credit card.  Please make your reservations ASAP.  Checks (made out to “Arthur Morris”) should be sent to us at PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. 


If you will be joining us, please plan on being at the Luna Mansion no later than 11am sharp. I do hope that you can make it.  




Fall color reflections in stream, White Mountain National Forest, NH

Image copyright 2008:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 100-400mm IS L lens at 190mm with the Canon EOS-1D MIII.  ISO 200.  Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/4 sec. at f/9.  Mirror lock and 2 second self-timer.  Mongoose M3.5 on Gitzo CF 3530 LS tripod. 


Images that I made at 1 and 2 second exposures looked great on the back of the camera but not on the laptop so I am glad that I experimented with some (relatively) faster shutter speeds…  You gotta love digital. 




I have been using various Delkin Card Bus Adapters (Readers) ever since I learned that they were way, way faster than pretty much everything else around. 


At present I use the Express Card 54 UDMA Compact Flash Adapter (Reader) with my HP laptop.  (Transfer speed of over 30 mbs.)  I suggest that once you place it in the slot that you leave it there as I do.  When I remove a card from the reader I simply hold the reader in with the tip of my left thumb and pull the card out with my right hand. Keeping the reader in the machine all the time allows me to insert a card instantly when I am ready to download without having to worry about putting the card into the slot each time, prevents loss—I always know where it is, and lastly and most importantly, prevents damage to the reader.  I did the same thing when I used both the Express Card 34 and the Card Bus 32 readers.  (See more on those below.)  


The Express Card 34 is for slightly older laptops that have 34-pin Express Card slots.  (Transfer speed of over 32 mbs.)  The Card Bus 32 is for older computers with PCMCIA slots.  (Transfer speed of over 45 mbs.)  If you use need either of these two it would be best to order at least two (I always travel with a always travel with a back-up card reader) as it is my understanding that we are the only folks around with these out-of-production items in stock. 


NEW:  I ran across someone who was downloading their images directly from their Nikon camera because their Mac “did not have any slots.”    Yikes!  It was taking them more than 45 minutes to download a single 8gb card.  I suggested a Delkin Fire Wire 400/800 UDMA Compact Flash Reader and bingo, downloading times were reduced almost 90%.  (Transfer speed of over 45 mbs with UDMA cards.  Mac or PC.  Fire Wire 400 & 800 compatible.)   As the transfer speeds for this reader are 50% higher than for the Express Card 54 that I am currently using I plan on bringing one of the Fire Wire 400/800 UDMA Compact Flash Readers to San Diego and Bosque and will report back in early December. 


Each of the above adapters is available from BAA for $59.99 plus $3.00 shipping = $62.99.  Florida residents please add 7% sales tax for a total of $67.19.  To Canada please add $5 and for overseas orders, the shipping will be $9. Paypal, credit card orders by phone (863-692-0906), and checks made out to “Arthur Morris” are all wonderful.  I will be here most of this weekend 7am till 9pm to take your order. 




Fall color, White Mountain National Forest, NH

Image copyright 2008:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 100-400mm IS L lens at 400mm with the Canon EOS-1D MIII.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/8 sec. at f/20 in TV Mode. Mongoose M3.5 on Gitzo CF 3530 LS tripod. 


The combination of the wind and a slow shutter speed yielded the blur.  For absolute control of shutter speed it is best (as noted in ABP II: ) to work in Shutter Priority. 




Due to four recent Bosque cancellations please note that we now have two openings on each 2008 IPT. 

Bosque IPT #1:  NOV 22-25, 2008.  Slide program on the evening of NOV 21.  4-DAY:  $1799  Limit: 10/Openings: 2.  Co-leader: Robert O’Toole. 

Bosque IPT #2:  NOV 29-DEC 2, 2008.  Slide program on the evening of NOV 28. 4-DAY:  $1799  Limit: 10/Openings: 2.  Co-leader: Robert O’Toole.

SW FLA POST X-MAS IPT: DEC 27-29 or 30, 2008.  Slide program on the evening of DEC 26.   4-DAY: $1799   (3-DAY OPTION:  $1349)  Limit: 10/Openings: 5.  

Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole and Alfred & Fabiola Forns.  This IPT is shaping up to be a practically private affair.   If you can fit it in your holiday schedule, do consider joining us.  There is some truly great photography available in Florida while winter is setting in in most of the country... 

SW FLA PRESIDENT'S DAY IPT: FEB 13-17, 2009.  Slide program on the evening of FEB 12.   5-DAY: $2249   Limit: 10/Openings: 2Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole and Scott Bourne

POST-NANPA 2 ½ DAY BOSQUE IPT.   FEB 22-24, 2009.  2 1/2-DAY:  $799. Limit:  15/Openings: 10.   Best combined with my Sunday morning NANPA Summit program: "Photographing Bosque Del Apache:  In-the-Field Strategies and Post Processing Techniques" Sunday FEB 22, 2009. (Registration for the Sunday program only through NANPA.)  Photograph Sunday afternoon till sunset and all day Monday and Tuesday.  

Bear Boat #1: June 4-10, 2009Openings:  4.  (It is advised that you be in Anchorage on the afternoon of June 2nd to be assured of not missing the boat!).  This trip will feature an afternoon (and possibly more) of otter photography (weather permitting), Bald Eagles and likely chicks in the nest, and lots and lots of coastal Brown Bears clamming and eating luscious green grass. 

Bear Boat #2: Sept 4-10, 2009.  Openings:  3.   (It is advised that you be in Anchorage on the afternoon of the September 2nd to be assured of not missing the boat!).  This one is the bears catching salmon trip.  In addition, Glaucous-winged and Mew Gulls eating roe are a certainty, and dark phase Northern Fulmars and Black-legged Kittiwakes (including the gorgeous immatures), Harbor Seals, and Stellar’s Sea Lions are likely.   Did I mention bears catching salmon?  And more bears catching salmon?

The rates for the 2009 trips have increased due to increased fuel costs.   Bear Boat #1 (cheaper by $250 as we use the float plane only once):  $6749.   Bear Boat #2: $6999.   Two slots are filled on each trip.




Fall color with rock face, White Mountain National Forest, NH

Image copyright 2008:  Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


Canon 100-400mm IS L lens at 190mm with the Canon EOS-1D MIII.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode.  Mongoose M3.5 on Gitzo CF 3530 LS tripod. 

It’s no wonder that I fell in love with fall color after being out of NY since 1994…  This image was made from a pull-off on 16/302 named Four Irons.  It was our favorite spot. 


Best and love and great picture- making to all,


Note: Arthur Morris has been a Canon contract photographer since 1996 and continues in that role today.  Hunt's Photo of Boston, MA is a BAA sponsor as is Delkin Devices.  Back issues of all BAA Bulletins can be found in the Bulletin Archives which may be accessed from the home page at  To unsubscribe click here: unsubscribe.