Birds As Art Bulletin 330
July 1, 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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American Oystercatcher, week-old chick, Nickerson Beach, Lido Beach, Long Island, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC  and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV.  ISO 800.  Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/200 sec. at f/10.
For the complete and amazing story of the rescue, please see the June 27th, 2010 blog post.
Thanks to the IT magic of Peter Kes, we are proud to announce that  the original, somewhat ugly, and now out-dated, the website that has served us well for too, too many years, has been redesigned, simplified, and beautified.  You can check out the new site now at the same address,  Be sure to check out the Great Stuff page.  Why?  It contains links to lots of great stuff!  If you inadvertently wind up at the old web site, simply hit the f5 key to refresh and you should get the new site.  Viewing tip: press f11 to view the pages full screen and press it again to get your tool bar back.  We are sure that everyone will love the cleaner simpler yet elegant look.
Thank you Peter!  
If you are interested in having Peter Kes help you with your blog or website, you can contact him with regards to the services that he offers here: or via e-mail at
As is brand new and relatively untested, we would appreciate hearing of any problems that you encounter as you navigate around the site.   Please e-mail us at  with a Cc to with news of any problems.
Common Tern on nest, Nickerson Beach, Lido Beach, Long Island, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV.  ISO 800.  Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/10.
This bird was nesting just 15 feet from the thin protective ropes around the colony.  It would fly off the nest when folks approached and resettle quickly on the eggs.  It would remain on the nest as long as folks stayed put or moved slowly, which they did. Birds and photographers existing in peace makes me happy.  The thing that made this image stand out from six similar ones is the absolutely perfect head angle, about two degrees toward the viewer.  I wish that I had gotten just a bit lower to separate the shadow of the bird's head from the bill.  But I still like this one quite a bit :))
You can learn about Vertical Front-End image designs (like the one above) and about Advanced Composition and Image Design in ABP II (916 pages on CD only).
I fly to Quito, Ecuador on Sunday, July 4, 2010 to meet this year's Galapagos gang.   On the 5th, eight of us will be making a day-trip to photograph perched hummingbirds at Tandayapa Bird Lodge and five of the group will be doing a full day tour of the city.  Denise Ippolito is joining me as co-leader.  This will be my seventh Galapagos cruise, Denise's first.  Several years ago the National Park Service began placing restrictions on the tour boat itineraries.  With these restrictions in effect, it became impossible to visit all of the great photographic locations on a single week-long cruise.  Working with the world's best Galapagos guide, Juan Salcedo, I developed and implemented a plan for a two-week cruise that offers landings at all of the traditionally great photographic sites (as well as a few new ones) while providing a more relaxed pace than a week-long trip.  The 2010 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime sold out within days and the 2011 trip has been sold out for months :)
As I will be away from 4-21 July and without internet access from 6-20 July, please hold off e-mailing your photographic questions until the last week of July.  Jim and Jennifer will be here as usual to help you with your product and educational book and CD needs and purchases and with IPT registrations.
Least Tern chick, Nickerson Beach, Lido Beach, Long Island, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC , a 25mm Extension tube, and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/500 sec. at f/10. Fill flash at -2 stops with the Canon 580Ex II Flash and the Better Beamer
The Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS with the 1.4X II TC and a 25mm Extension tube is a lethal combination on tiny avian subjects.  Here again note the perfect head position and angle.  In my excitement, I did not realize that I had set the exposure compensation back to zero.  It should have been set at close to plus two full stops with the very light tones and soft early morning light.  With only light tones in the image noise was not a problem at all as it usually would be when you lighten an underexposed RAW file.   
I flew Southwest from Orlando to Islip's Macarthur Airport on Friday past.  (They have several great non-stop flights that almost always arrive early.)  Denise Ippolito picked me up that afternoon and we headed right to Nickerson Beach.   Denise co-led a workshop with BPN Landscape moderator Roman Kurywczak that turned out to be a blessed event; an oystercatcher chick hatched early that morning.  It was nearly a non-stop action weekend as we had a late breakfast/early lunch with the group in Point Lookout, visited my Mom in Holbrook, Long Island that afternoon for an early dinner, and woke way-too-early again on Sunday morning for another session at Nickerson.  I tricked my Mom again with my cell phone trick.  I called her on my cell from her front porch.  I had conspired with my younger sister Arna to leave the front door open.  As we were chatting I walked in.  My Mom hears a little bit worse than I do :).   We continued talking on the phone, she totally unaware that I was now in the same room, she in her easy chair.  I asked, "How's Arna?"  She said, "Fine.  She is standing right here."  I put my arm around Arna and said "Here?"  My Mom looked up and said, "Dammit.  I can't believe that you tricked me again!"  Then hugs and kisses all around.   My Mom, who will be 88 this September, had some serious hip replacement replacement surgery last summer.   Though she gets around a bit with her walker, her life energy seems to be fading so I have been flying to Long Island as often as possible to see her. 
Denise dropped me off at the airport on Sunday afternoon at about 1pm.   It took her way way too many hours in heavy traffic to make it back to her home at the Jersey shore.  I was home in ILE by just before 9pm; she barely beat me home!  Denise and I had a great time and enjoyed lots of good photo ops at Nickerson.    Talk about a whirlwind trip....
Lesser Black-backed Gull (3rd summer?, sub-species?), Nickerson Beach, Lido Beach, Long Island, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC  and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/9.  
Several decades ago when I first started birding, this European gull species was extremely rare, but today they are seen regularly all along the East Coast. I can't resist photographing gulls.  This species is much slimmer than its larger cousin, Great Black-backed Gull and the yellow legs are a dead give-away as to the correct identification.  I photographed a gorgeous adult lesser black-backed in Florida several years ago.
Coastal Brown Bear Photography Workshop.  August 10-16, 2010 7 DAYS: $5499. Limit: 6/openings: 2.  Late registration discount price: $4995.

2010 will be my fifth year photographing and leading workshops to photograph Coastal Brown Bears in Katmai. Join me for 7 days of Coastal Brown Bear photography in some of the most beautiful natural habitats in Alaska. This park has one of the world�s highest concentration of brown bears and with 5 years of experience in Katmai I am confident that we will be able to provide you with the very best possible photographic opportunities. With our small group and private access we will comfortably photograph the bears natural behavior without any pressure from crowds, camps, or facilities in a totally natural setting. We will also spend time photographing Bald Eagle, Horned and Tufted Puffins, seals, shorebirds and fox. Weather permitting we will enjoy morning and afternoon photography sessions.  During breaks, we will make time for group image review photography as well as for Photoshop and digital workflow instruction each day.
Coastal Brown (Grizzly) Bear, Mom with cub, Katmai National Park, AK
Image copyright 2009/Robert OToole Photography
Jen, please see the link :):
American Oystercatcher, displaying, adult, Nickerson Beach, Lido Beach, Long Island, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/50 sec. at f/9. Flash at -1 stop with the Canon 580Ex II Flash and the Better Beamer
I was photographing the other adult of the pair brooding the chicks (see same below) when another oystercatcher flew by overhead threatening the chicks.  This bird took offense :)  The rule in such situations is to press the shutter button and make an image without worrying about shutter speed or exposure compensation. If you hesitate and start thinking you will miss the action.   The result here was quasi-flash blur with the eye rendered relatively sharply.  (The pupil was enhanced using the Eye Doctor techniques detailed in Digital Basics.)  Denise Ippolito and I have been working hard on creating a Guide to Pleasing Blurs; we hope to have it ready for publication on CD only some time this August.
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/Openings 5. 

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 manual focus 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.    

Common Tern landing, displaying, adult, Nickerson Beach, Lido Beach, Long Island, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV.  ISO 1600.  Evaluative metering +2/3 stop off the grasses: 1/800 sec. at f/5.6.  Flash at -2 stops with the Canon 580Ex II Flash and the Better Beamer
Setting a high ISO can yield relatively sharp flight images even in very low light.

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 16-19 (Friday is booked.) 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 Tern chick begging, Nickerson Beach, Lido Beach, Long Island, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC  and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800.  Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/8.  Fill flash at -2 stops with the Canon 580Ex II Flash and the Better Beamer
Here I was working in AI Servo AF and used the star button to lock focus (as described in the MIV User's Guide) so that I could place the subject pleasingly off center.   (Image optimization by Robert O'Toole)  We should have similar opportunities with Black Skimmer chicks in New York in August!

Bill Richardson is offering a used Canon EOS-50D for sale in excellent condition for $725 (e-check or cash).  Add 3% for regular PayPal..  The sale includes the original box, the manual and CDs, the camera strap, etc..  Protective plastic was kept on both LCD panels.  Only 14, 206 actuations.  The buyer pays the insured shipping cost (lower 48 states only) to a verified address only.   Please e-mail for photo links. Contact via e-mail is best:  Telephone: 1-(847) 304-0637.
(I owned two 50D bodies at one point and though I used them only for several months I was really impressed with both the image quality and the AF system.   artie)
American Oystercatcher brooding chicks, Nickerson Beach, Lido Beach, Long Island, NY
Image copyright 2010/Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 1600.  Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/8. Fill flash at -3 stops with the Canon 580Ex II Flash and the Better Beamer
As light levels drop to very low levels once the sun goes down (this image was created at two minutes to nine pm!) you need to reduce the amount of flash that you are using with digital capture else you will over-flash the image.   Digital sensors become more sensitive to flash as light levels drop.  (Image optimization by Robert O'Toole) 


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/Openings 5.  Photograph and learn about migrant shorebirds, nesting skimmers, gulls, terns, and more. Three full days of photographic immersion.  Co-leader: Denise Ippolito. 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: 4.  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/Openings 6) 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 7).  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/both 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/both 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. 
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 are B&H, NY and Delkin Devices.  Back issues of all BAA Bulletins can be found in the Bulletin Archives that may be accessed here:
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