Birds As Art Bulletin 328
June 8, June 11???, 2010

Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245 4041 Granada Drive, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Telephone: 863-692-0906. Computer fax: 877- 265-6955
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Semipalmated Sandpiper, fresh juvenal plumage, East Pond, Jamaica Bay WR, Q, NY
Image copyright 2007/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/5.6.
Small rain puddles on the South Flats at the East Pond often provide wonderful photographic opportunities. Please see the info on the JBWR/Nickerson Beach IPT below.
Midday on Tuesday we lost our internet services. We called Verizon DSL for service. We are somewhat in the boonies and only Verizon provides DSL service in Indian Lake Estates but to call it "High Speed Internet" even on a good day is ludicrous :) In addition to finding the telephone menu nearly impossible to navigate, I was connected to the wrong department several times by humans. When I finally did get to the right place we spend 2 1/2 hours on the phone that afternoon following their trouble-shooting suggestions. We were told that they could not escalate the case because the lines tested perfectly from their end. In the meantime we could receive e-mails but not send them and could not connect to any web site. After another 2 hours on the phone that evening repeating the same tests that we did that afternoon, we were told that the case was being escalated to Level 2, the Network Level, and that they would be calling us within 24-48 hours. They never did call us. In the meantime, I called to order an additional DSL line and some additional phone services in part to reduce bandwidth problems and in part tin hopes of having the current problems fixed. They agreed to send us one new modem free of charge but could not schedule a technician visit until Friday, June 17. The technician was to bring a second modem. On Wednesday afternoon I called back, spent another two hours on the phone doing the same tests, and again was told that the case could not be escalated further because the lines tested perfectly from their end. This time they determined that our modem was faulty. We knew that that was not the case. Why? On Day 1 Robert O'Toole had driven to Winter Haven (a nearly 2 hour round trip) to purchase a new modem from Staples. He got back, we installed the modem, and spent another 1 1/2 hours on the phone following Verizon's directions. The same problem persisted: no internet. No outgoing e-mail.
Later on Wednesday, i think--I am getting confused with the dates and times--I called back to order a third DSL lines (to handle my laptop wireless and further reduce bandwidth problems). This gentleman gave me a number so that I could reach Level 3. I called, they told me that I should not be calling that number, and then shocked me by telling me that the ticket had been closed by the Network Level . I got back on the phone, was subjected to another two hours of the same tests, and was finally told that the case was being escalated to the Supervisory Level. That resulted in more of the same: hours of needless testing by phone with us begging that a technician be sent to the BAA home-office. The result: still no internet service. Ann, the supervisor whom we were speaking with, promised to call on Thursday to help us install the modem that was being sent. She had stated that her two hours of testing showed that the modem was the problem. (Do note that the modem would not have been sent had I not order additional services from Verizon.) She did call and called back at 3:20 pm on Thursday. She was confident that we would soon have internet services. I spent an hour on the phone with her installing the modem and trying to "register it with Verizon." Nothing. Then I gave the phone to Jim who spent two more hours doing "testing." On Thursday evening after consulting many times with "the central office" Ann stated that she needed to consult more with the central office and promised to call Jim back Thursday evening. She never did.
Currently we can receive e-mails but not send them. Folks who have ordered Site Guides, MII, MIV, and 7D Guides, and Digital Basics have been e-mailing to ask where their PDFs were. Not only have we not been able to send them but we cannot even reply to their e-mails. We have no internet services. We are unable to access the BAA On-Line Store or to process our mail orders. We do appreciate your patience. My best advice at present for those wishing to have product shipped is to call Jim today (Friday) before 1pm. And that only if Jennifer is able to send this via Mail Chimp from her home.... We will not be able to archive this Bulletin until we get back on line.
I finished this Bulletin at 4:39 am while on line at the Orlando Airport Courtyard Marriott on my way to Barrow, AK for 8 days of tundra photography. I do hope that Verizon is able to get us back on line soon....
Semipalmated Sandpiper, worn, molting, adult, East Pond, Jamaica Bay WR, Q, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 640. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6.
With wide open aperture viewing, what you see is what you will get: if the entire bird looks sharp in the viewfinder there is no need to stop down. My mistake here was not lowering the ISO. Note the totally different feather patterns of the juvie (first image) and the adult (immediately above).
Late this summer, I will be again be returning with a small group to my old haunts--the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge--at the very peak of the juvenile shorebird migration. We will spend our afternoons at Nickerson Beach photographing a skimmer colony.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge/Nickerson Beach/Shorebird/Nesting Skimmer Photography-Tour (JBWR/NB IPT): August 22-24, 2010. Slide program on the evening of August 21. 3-DAY: $1399. Limit: 6.

For eight years in the late 70s/early 80s I conducted the International Shorebird Survey at JBWR for the then Manomet Bird Observatory. And it was there on the East Pond, in the summer of 1983, that I began to learn my trade with the old 400mm f/4.5 FD lens.... I remember the first roll of film that I got back; those dots on the slides, were they the birds? In a short time I was on my belly getting within 12 feet of my subjects, often even closer so that I needed an extension tube to focus. And I have been getting down on my belly in the mud for the past 25 years. And loving it. And I know the East Pond better than anyone living.

This trip is timed to coincide with the peak of the juvenile shorebird migration and with three perfect morning high tides. We will likely get to photograph the following shorebird species in fresh juvenal plumage: Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Stilt Sandpiper. Juvenile Pectoral and Western Sandpipers and several other species are possible. We should also get to photograph worn, molting adult White-rumped and Semipalmated Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers, and Short-billed Dowitchers. Not only will you get to photograph these species, you will learn to age and identify them. Getting a copy of my "Shorebirds; Beautiful Beachcombers" and studying it in advance would give you a huge head start. You can order a signed copy here: On some mornings we may spend a bit of time on the back porch of my friend Denis Macrae's home where we will get to photograph Laughing Gulls in both worn breeding and fresh juvenal plumage. Snowy and Great Egrets and both night-herons are possible there as well.

Afternoons will be spent at Nickerson Beach just west of Point Lookout, Long Island, NY. For many years running there has been a large successful colony of Black Skimmers at this location. I was there last week and the colony was setting up nicely. We should have lots of fledged young, lots of large chicks, and possibly a smattering of small chicks still in the nest scrapes in August. The existence of beach nesting birds is of course extremely fragile and in a given year the success of even a dependable colony like Nickerson may vary. There will be lots of adults both in flight and on the ground with fish for their young. American Oystercatcher and a variety of gulls are also possible at Nickerson. Two years ago we were blessed late one afternoon as several thousand Common Terns flew in to roost for the night, the nervous flock taking flight time and time again in front of a lovely setting sun. I will of course adapt to local conditions in an effort to always have the group in the right place at the right time.

I will not have a slide projector or a projection screen on this photography tour. All of the formal teaching will be done on the laptop. As we will be getting up very early (sunrise averages about 6:10am), and be staying in the field very late (sunset averages about 7:45 pm), our evenings will be free after dinner. Breakfasts will be on the run and the cost of lunch is included. We will of course have a midday break of three to four hours that will include instructor nap time. That will still leave us at least an hour or two for image review and some Photoshop lessons. To get the most out of this trip, experienced photographers should have at least a 500mm f/4 lens and be comfortable using at least their 1.4 teleconverter. The very best images will be created by those who are willing and physically able to either get down on the ground and photograph while prone or sit behind their lowered tripod. The latter approach is especially effective when the birds are actively feeding as it is easier to follow birds in motion while you are sitting than while you are prone. Added plusses at JBWR include jet fuel and Canada Goose dung. :)

There will be tons of in-the-field instruction that will include stalking techniques and getting the right exposure via histogram review. You will learn to see and think like a pro. The closer you stay to me and the more questions you ask, the more you will learn. With this extremely small group, the opportunities for learning from a top pro will be unparalleled. Questions are limited to 500 per person per day. We will also get to do some fill flash work. As always, BAA reserves the right to exceed the noted limit by no more than one.

I will be arranging the group motel information either in the next few days or when I get back from the Barrow, AK trip on June 21.

Black Skimmer on three eggs and one chick, Nickerson Beach, LI, NY
Image copyright 2007/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the 2X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/11 set manually. Fill flash with Better Beamer at -2 stops.
Here is an instance where standing at full height behind my tripod was a much better option than either kneeling or lying flat on the ground as doing so provided a good view of the contents of the nest.
Black Skimmer with baitfish, Nickerson Beach, LI, NY
Image copyright 2007/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the 2X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark III/Walt Anderson Ground Pod: ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/11.
As above, working flat on the ground can yield smooth, loverly backgrounds.
Great Black-backed Gull with large skimmer chick, Nickerson Beach, LI, NY
Image copyright 2009/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-1D Mark III.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3.   
During the second half of August the Great Black-backed Gulls feast on skimmer chicks each morning.  Note that I have as always taken great care to work right down sun angle.  Learn everything that I learned about bird and nature photography from 1998 through 2006 in The Art of Bird Photography II (an amazing 916 pages on CD only):

Join me for a very muddy afternoon of shorebird photography and in-the-field instruction at the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens, NY or at Nickerson Beach--just west of Point Lookout--for a morning, an afternoon, or a full day of skimmer photography. When: any weekday/August 16-20. Rates: $500 per day includes two three hour photography sessions and one hour of image review/Photoshop. Morning or afternoons: $300. These include a three hour in-the-field session plus an hour of image sharing/Photoshop over lunch or dinner (by necessity). Two persons, full day: $400 each. Morning or afternoon sessions: $200 per person. Three persons (the limit), full day: $300 each. Morning or afternoon sessions: $150 per person. Multiple day registrations are welcome.

Likely subjects as above. Call us at 863-221-2372 or send an e-mail to to check on availability and/or to register. Non-refundable payment in advance is due when you sign up. You will be required to fill out, sign, and return the registration and release forms to complete your registration:

Least Sandpiper, fresh juvenal plumage, East Pond, Jamaica Bay WR, Q, NY
Image copyright 2007/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/6.3
When working with small in the frame birds and attractive settings getting the bird well away from the center of the frame is almost always the best way to go if you wish to design an attractive photograph.

Amazingly, to me at least, the newly re-designed BAA Blog is garnering more page views than (but only by a bit...) Thanks again to Peter Kes for his great work on the blog; he is currently re-doing the web site.

in the June 3rd post I reprinted my article on the Canon 800mm f/5.6L; it originally appeared in and was written especially for Nature Photographer Magazine:

American Oystercatcher chick, Nickerson Beach, LI, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/8. Fill flash with Better Beamer: ETTL at -1 stop.
When working in relatively bright sun use more fill flash (-1 stop or 0) than you would on a cloudy day (-2 or -3 stops). I made this image on May 30 on my recently concluded NJ/Long Island trip; the oystercatcher chicks will be fully grown and in juvenal plumage by mid-August.
At the end of May, Denise Ippolito and I spent three day photographing in Cape May, New Jersey, and three days on Long Island photographing at Nickerson Beach. My old friend Kevin Karlson was quite helpful while we were in Cape May and introduced us to a new spot in Heislerville where the late afternoon high tides concentrated more than 10,000 small shorebirds in one of the several impoundments. We had hoped to photograph Red Knots on the beaches but were not very successful. You can see my very best (and pretty much only) breeding plumage Red Knot image in my BPN post, "Not Many Knots" here: Be sure to scroll down for some great info on the photographic situation on the Delaware Bayshore beaches in spring and on the current status of Red Knot. And do check out Denise's delightful high key rendition of a Semipalmated Sandpiper with a line of horseshoe crab eggs here:
Common Tern silhouette, Nickerson Beach, LI, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3. 45-Point AI Servo AF.
To see the original capture and to learn the complete story of the creation of this image, visit the blog here: and scroll down to or click on the May 31 entry, "Variations on a Theme."
Shorebirds taking flight, Heislerville, NJ
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 100-400mm IS L zoom lens handheld at 285mm with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 200. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/25 sec. at f/20 in Tv Mode.
Whether you are going for sharp or for intentionally blurred images the 100-400 is great for creating images of flocks of birds either at rest or in flight. Remember to lower your ISO setting and to work in Tv Mode when attempting to create pleasing blurs. The former allows you to work at a wider aperture (thus reducing the number of bothersome dust spots) and the latter to have absolute control of the shutter speed.


Westfield NJ 1/2 Day Macro Workshops. June 19, 2010: $150.00 per session.. Limit 12.

Join Roman Kurywczak, Susan Candelario and Denise Ippolito for a 1/2 day macro flower photography workshop at Williams Nursery, 524 Springfield Ave, Westfield, NJ 07090. There will be two sessions. The first runs from 6-9am, the second from 5-8 pm.

Click here for more information: Please mention BIRDS AS ART when registering:) Be sure to check out the other NJ/PA workshop offerings and some of Denise's creative imagery as well.

Clematis, New Jersey
Image copyright 2010/Denise Ippolito



Flight School Goes Loony. Kamploops, British Columbia, Canada, June 21-25, 2010. With Jim Neiger and Kevin Karlson.

Common loons with chicks and tons more. Late registration discount available! - Call Jim for details (407) 247-5200

Common Loon with Chicks, Lac Le Jeune, BC, Canada
Image copyright © 2009 Kevin Karlson

Join expert bird photographers Jim Neiger and Kevin Karlson for 5 days of extraordinary bird photography and instruction at beautiful Lac Le Jeune. This beautiful lodge set in the mountains near Kamloops, British Columbia offers unique opportunities to photograph Common Loons with their chicks, as well as a wide assortment of other avian subjects around the lodge and surrounding areas. A number of other photogenic bird species nest around the lodge, including Black Tern, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Ring-necked Duck, Red-naped Sapsucker and many others. Nearby wildlife refuges and recreation areas have several pairs of very photographable Red-necked Grebes with chicks in the nest and riding on the parent's back. Mountain Bluebirds may be found in nest boxes along numerous country roads. Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds are possible at several hummingbird feeders. Jim has spent the past several years perfecting his techniques for photographing birds in flight using large telephoto lenses hand held. The focus of these workshops will be learning Jim’s hand held, long lens techniques for photographing birds in flight and in action. Kevin Karlson is an accomplished wildlife photographer, author, birder and professional tour leader who is very familiar with the wildlife at Lac Le Jeune and the surrounding areas.

Nesting Black Tern with Chicks, Lac Le Jeune, BC, Canada
Image copyright © 2010: Kevin Karlson

A large, open-topped pontoon boat allows for group photography of up to 5 photographers for very close approach to Common Loons and their chicks. Wing-flaps, fly-bys, chicks riding on the back of adult loons, and take-offs and landings are some of the photographic chances with these tame loons. Several small boats with electric motors are also available. These boats can comfortably hold two photographers with tripods (or not) and allow for very close approaches to Common Loons with chicks and the Black Tern colony on the small lake adjacent to the lodge. You will be able to take these boats out on the lake at times of your choosing for a more personal shooting experience. Kayaks are also available for those who want a “water level” shooting perspective. Several feeders are also set up around the lodge for potential songbird photography. Juncos, chickadees, nuthatches and siskins are some of the possible birds. We will set up attractive perches to allow for more natural photos of these and other songbirds. There are several other recreation areas and wildlife refuges, located within a half hour of the lodge, that provide wonderful opportunities to photograph Red-necked Grebe nests with chicks and a large assortment of other waterfowl. Possible “chicks and adult female” photography include Barrow’s Goldeneye, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, and Lesser Scaup. Mountain Bluebirds nest in abundance in numerous nest boxes along country road fence lines. We will search for Red-shafted Flicker nests, as well as the cavity nesting Northern 3-toed Woodpecker.

The workshop will begin with a four hour classroom session at 2:00pm on June 21st and end following lunch on June 25th. There will be three and a half days of photography with informal instruction in the field. Participants will also have use of the boats and other resort facilities during their free time. The workshops will be limited to ten participants so that everyone may photograph in comfort and receive personalized instruction. The workshop includes single occupancy lodging, all meals, use of facilities, and all gratuities at the beautiful Lac Le Jeune Resort. The cost of the workshop is $2100 US dollars per person and must be paid in advance.

For additional info, click here:

Jim Neiger, Flight School Photography. Cell phone: (407) 247-5200. Website: E-mail:


American Oystercatcher, adult with chick, Nickerson Beach, LI, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/8. Fill flash with Better Beamer: ETTL at -2 stops.
The juxtaposition of the adult and the chick and the look-back head turn by the adult add to the success of this image. Beach clean-up was done using the Patch Tool, the Clone Stamp Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, and a Quick Mask or two all as described in detail in Digital Basics:


Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge/Nickerson Beach/Shorebird/Nesting Skimmer Photography-Tour (JBWR/NB IPT): August 22-24, 2010. Slide program on the evening of August 21. 3-DAY: $1399. Limit: 6.

Photograph and learn about migrant shorebirds, nesting skimmers, gulls, terns, and more. Three full days of photographic immersion. Please see terms and deposit info below.

BOSQUE del APACHE 2010 IPT: “The Complete Bosque Experience.”NOV 20-26, 2010. Slide program on the evening of Friday, NOV 19. 7-FULL DAYS: $3199. (Non-refundable deposit: $500; see details below.) Limit: 10/Openings: 5. Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole, Jim Heupel, and multiple BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year honoree Chris Van Rooyen of South Africa (/ Live, eat, and breathe photography with one of (if not the) world's premier photographic educators at one of his very favorite locations on the planet. Plus great co-leaders and top-notch Photoshop instruction. Please see terms and deposit info below.
SAN DIEGO IPT JAN 19-23, 2011. Slide program on the evening of JAN 18. 5 Full Days: $2399 (Limit 8/Opening 7) Brown Pelicans in spectacular breeding plumage with their bright red bill pouches, Wood and Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Western, California, and Heerman's Gulls, Marbled Godwit, and lots, lots more. Please see terms and deposit info below.
SW FLA PRESIDENT'S WEEK IPT: FEB 18-23, 2011. Slide program on the evening of FEB 17. 6 Full Days: 2899. (Limit 10/Openings 8). Escape winter's icy grip to enjoy a wide array of Florida's tame birds: herons, egrets, Wood Stork, shorebirds, gulls, terns, skimmers, raptors, and more. Please see terms and deposit info immediately below:
Terms and deposit info:
A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold a spot fn the above IPTs. Deposits may be paid by check, PayPal, or credit card. Payment in full (by check or money order only) is due four months before the start of each trip and is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out. You will be required to sign a statement of understanding to this effect. Travel insurance is of course highly recommended. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options is Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to an infinite list from a sudden work or family obligation to a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Travel insurance protects you against unexpected developments, injuries, or illnesses. We regret that we must implement this new policy but we have been plagued by last minute cancellations that make it impossible for others to participate and deprive us of essential income.
Important note: please print, fill out, and sign the registration and release forms and include them with your deposit check (made out to "Arthur Morris." ) If you use a credit card to register, please fill out, sign, and mail the forms asap. Your registration will not be complete until we receive your paper work. You can find the forms here:
2010 & 2011 Galapagos Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPTs/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience: July 2010 & July 2011: two weeks on the boat (Limits: 12/Sold out).
If you are a happy camper and would like to have your name(s) placed on a waiting list or either the 2010 or 2011 trip or on the the seriously interested list for the 2012 trip, please e-mail us at
ROBERT O'TOOLE PHOTOGRAPHY HOMER BALD EAGLE INSTRUCTIONAL PHOTO-TOUR WITH ARTHUR MORRIS/BIRDS AS ART. March 18-22, 2011 & March 24-28. 5-FULL DAYS: $3249. Limit: 12 (including the leaders/sold out). Both of these trips sold out with long waiting lists within hours after being announced to the BAA Friends List. The Friends List consists of IPT veterans who fit in the happy camper category. If you have been on an IPT and would like your name added to the BAA Friends List, please e-mail me at and include a short note.
Semipalmated Sandpiper, fresh juvenal plumage, East Pond, Jamaica Bay WR, Q, NY
Image copyright 2003/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the 2X TC and the EOS-1D s. ISO 250. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/11.
This image was made with Canon's first full frame professional digital SLR.
Best and great picture-making,
Note: Arthur Morris has been a paid Canon contract photographer, part of the Explorers of Light program, 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 that may be accessed here: