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JANUARY 31, 2011
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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BIRDS AS ART books is extremely proud to announce the publication of A Guide to Creative Filter and Effects (pdf) by Denise Ippolito, edited by Arthur Morris.  My foreword pretty much says it all:

"Denise Ippolito is about as creative, as hardworking, and as dedicated a photographer as you will ever come to know.  And over the past fourteen months I have come to know her quite well.  Her creativity is—as you will come to see as you are reading her Filter Guide—totally amazing.  She can look at an average image, a simple snapshot, heck, even a bad photograph, and in seconds know exactly how to turn it into a piece of art using this filter or that effect. And then do just that in minutes.  And most of the time she is working with the beautiful images of flowers and birds that she is so good at creating.


To quote our mutual friend, Kerry Perkins, one of Denise’s co-moderators on the BPN Out of the Box Forum where she has worked tirelessly helping other to improve their photography for more than two years, “First off, I want to say that the Filter Guide is an amazing work.  There is so much information here and so many wonderful images that I am just blown away that you managed to get it all together in one document!  Wonderful work Lady D!”


Denise has worked incredibly hard on “A Guide to Creative Filters and Effects” and at the same time, worked incredibly hard at improving her writing skills.  I congratulate her here on two jobs well done."  arthur morris/Indian Lake Estates, Florida.  January 30, 2011


Here are some of the filters and effects that are detailed in the Filter Guide:

  • Topaz Simplify, Clean, & BuzSim Filter
  •   Flaming Pear Filter (including Swerve, Twist & Vein)
  •   Fractalius (including Denise's Soft-Fix preset creation)
  •   Adding Texture
  •   NIK Color Efex Pro including Midnight Filter
  •   Omni Lighting
  •   Pinch Filter
  •   Twirl Filter
  •   Ripple Filter
  •   Radial Blur
  •   Find Edges Filter
  •   Orton Effect
  •   Blank Canvas Creations!
  •   The Mixer Brush
  •   The New Paste Special Option in CS-5
  •   DAP
  •   Polar Coordinates and Mini-Worlds
  •   Holiday Lights Creations
  •   Snap Art 2 Impasto Filter
  •   Creating Composites
  •   Creating Your Own Brush Presets
  •   Using Blend Modes Creatively
  •   Using Layer Masks and Inverse Layer Masks Creatively
  •   Kaleidoscopes
  • Combinations of all of the above!
Some of the filters above require a separate purchase.  (The Filter Guide includes links to all available free trial downloads so that you can try before you buy.)  Many of the filters can be found in various versions of Photoshop (though most folks--including me before I edited this guide--have no clue that they exist and no clue as to how to use them).   Each detailed tutorial section is written in a clear, concise, simple, easy to follow style that can be followed even by someone opening up Photoshop for the first time.
You can order your copy of "A Guide to Creative Filter and Effects" for $38 right now by calling 863-692-0906, by sending a PayPal to or, or from the BAA On-line Store here.
Orchid Pinched & Twirled Version II
Image Copyright 2011/Denise Ippolito Photography
I received the e-mail below this morning from Jim Cirigliano, the Managing Editor of Bird Watcher's Digest, informing folks of the passing of Bill Thompson II (Big Bill to me, Sumbitch to family), who founded BWD with wife Elsa in the living room of their home in Marietta, OH too, too many years ago.  Big Bill was a sweet wonderful and funny man.  I cannot recall seeing him without a big smile on his face; he was always glad to see you.  Bill and Elsa published probably 25 of my photo illustrated articles during the 1990s and helped jump start my career.  I shall always be indebted to them and to then Editor Mary Beacom Bowers for their faith in me and for their support.  One of the finest compliments that I have ever gotten was when Big Bill said to me, "Your article, "Teaching Children About Birds," was the best thing we ever published in BWD.  I shall always have fond memories of the day that Elaine and I met the Thompsons and Mary Bowers in the backyard of a home that they had rented in Cape May New Jersey one long ago spring....
Here is a big hug for Elsa, sons Billy and Andy, daughter Laura, Billy's wife Julie--noted avian artist, natural history writer, and dear friend of mine, the rest of the family including all of the grandkids, and the BWD family as well.   Please join me in sending any extra love, strength, and energy out to Marietta for the Thompsons.

Dear BWD contributors and friends,
With great sadness, we are e-mailing to inform you of the passing of William H. (Bill) Thompson, Jr., one of the founding publishers of Bird Watcher's Digest. Bill passed away Tuesday at age 78, surrounded by his family in Marietta, Ohio.  Bill is survived by his wife of 54 years, Elsa, and their three children--Bill Thompson, III, Andrew Thompson, and Laura Thompson Fulton--all of whom continue to work at BWD. As you can imagine, the sting of Bill's passing is especially sharp for those of us who knew him not just as a coworker, but also as a husband, father, and friend. The rest of the BWD family grieves along with the Thompsons at this monumental loss.
In 1978, the Thompson family embarked on an incredible journey when Bill and Elsa founded Bird Watcher's Digest, which was based in the living room of their Marietta home for the first five years. They launched the magazine by sending out 35,000 copies, which garnered about 2,500 - 2,800 initial subscriptions. The first issue was printed in black and white, and featured almost all reprints of bird-watching articles obtained from a clipping service, but immediately the magazine began receiving submissions of original material.
Publishing wasn't the only project to which Bill dedicated himself. He served as Vice President for Development at Marietta College, and was actively involved with that institution throughout his life. He served on the Marietta Community Foundation's Board of Governors and Board of Directors for 12 years, and as Chairman of the Board from 1997 - 2001. During this time, he was a champion of Community 20/20, a far-reaching plan to improve the Marietta community. The impact of his work can be seen in the Marietta City Schools District today, as children are served nutritious breakfasts and lunches daily during the school year. Many of these meals are provided free or at reduced cost to children whose families cannot afford to pay the full price.
There will be a memorial service for Bill Thompson, Jr., at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 5, at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Marietta, Ohio. Gifts in Bill's name may be sent to St. Luke's Church, Marietta College, or the Marietta Community Foundation. 
Fonthill Castle Mini-World (with Polar Coordinates)
Image Copyright 2011/Denise Ippolito Photography
I discovered this morning that I lost a folder containing more than a dozen names and e-mail addresses of folk interested in making the great trip to Barrow that I made last year.   If you were one of those interested or if you are interested in photographing King Eider, Stellar's Eider, Spectacled Eider, nesting Glaucous Gull, nesting Tundra Swan, nesting Pacific Loon, nesting Oldsquaw, nesting Rock Ptarmigan, nesting Lapland Longspur, and a variety of nesting shorebirds including Semipalmated & Baird's Sandpipers, Red Phalarope, American Golden-Plover, and Long-billed Dowitcher, please e-mail me on my laptop immediately at
Barrow June 2010 Composite
Images copyright 2011: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
Canon EF 800mm f/5.6 L IS lens with the EOS-1D MIV.  ISO 400.  Evaluative metering at zero: 1/1250 sec. at f/8.    
From top left to right and then down: Long-billed Dowitcher, Spectacled Eider on tundra, Red Phalarope female, Rock Ptarmigan male, Spectacled Eider in flight, Dunlin in breeding plumage, Stellar's Eider drake flapping, King Eider habitat image, King Eider tight portrait of drake.
I have continued spending a huge chunk of my time making the blog special.  Recent efforts of interest include:

Long Lens Depth-of-Field Question and a Teleconverter in the Pacific Tale
: read how I managed to roll a 1.4X II TC into the ocean.
Two Simple But Great Tim Grey Photoshop Tips & Which Coot Image is Better and Why?: learn the two things that I have been teaching folks to do wrong in Photoshop for years.
Front Yard Snowstorm with Fractalius Soft Fix Preset
Image Copyright 2011/Denise Ippolito Photography
I will be doing one of the keynote presentations at the 2011 Winter Wings Festival (mine on Saturday evening, February 19) and several additional programs as well.  As always, my appearance is being generously sponsored by the Canon USA Explorers of Light program (thanks Steve Inglima!) and for this event, also by Leo's Camera and Pro Photo Supply.  I hope to see you there on a rare appearance for me in the Northwest.  Click here for more info or to register.
Grand Teton Woods, Topaz Simplify BuzSim Filter
Image Copyright 2011/Denise Ippolito Photography



Brazil-Quest for the Jaguar 2011 Leaving the US: September 24, 2011.  Returning: October 6.  $9,200.00 double occupancy



Jaguar, Pantanal, Brazil

Image Copyright 2010: Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari


Travel with Gustafson Photo Safari (GPS) to Brazil’s Pantanal.  Jaguars are the main event, but Brazil offers much more, including pantanal caiman, anaconda, Brazilian tapir, giant anteater and birds, birds, birds!!!.   Just a few on the list of easily seen and photographed birds are jabiru stork, toco toucan, black collared hawk, bare-faced curassow, blue-necked piping guan, whistling heron, limpkin and capped heron (to name a few).  We will have 10 days of action packed photography in the most dramatic locations at the exact right time of year for only $9,200.00 double occupancy.  Photography in 2 locations (from boats and on land) offers a wide variety of habitat and species


Last year this trip sold out in 4 hours!!!  Sign up soon and avoid disappointment.


Amazon Kingfisher,  Pantanal, Brazil

Image Copyright 2010: Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari



 Rufescent Tiger Heron,  Pantanal, Brazil

Image Copyright 2010: Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari


Request the full color PDF for both trips by e-mail to  Learn more about Todd here


And be sure to get a copy of Todd's great safari photo guide: The Photographer’s Guide to the Safari Experience.


NEW Brazil Pre-Jaguar trip 2011 Leaving the US: September 18, 2011.  Joining Jaguar trip: October 24.  $3,895.00 double occupancy

This year Gustafson Photo Safari has been invited to a new site in Brazil to photograph the beautiful and endangered maned wolves, “Einstein” monkeys (brown capuchins who use rocks as tools) and huge flocks of hyacinth macaws.  We will have opportunities to photograph all of these unique species at close range!

This special pre-jaguar trip is limited to 8 people!

Request the full color PDF for both trips from


Costa Rica 2011 Leaving the US: November 28, 2011.  Returning: December 7.  $3,995.00 double occupancy


Travel with Gustafson Photo Safari (GPS) for their 8th trip to beautiful Costa Rica.  Tropical photo subjects abound in diverse habitats that include rainforest, cloud forest, and wetlands.  Expert GPS guides put us face to face with 2 and 3 fingered sloth, toucans, and colorful frog species including poison dart frogs and the iconic red-eyed tree frog.  Rain forests and wetlands are filled with exotic birds, and the cloud forest is home to the incomparable resplendent Quetzal.  Bring your biggest lens and your macro!!  Experience 10 days of action packed photography in the most dramatic locations at the exact right time of year for only $3,995.00 double occupancy.



Resplendent Quetzal, Savegre, Costa Rica

Image Copyright 2010: Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari



Anhinga and fish, Cano Negro, Costa Rica

Image Copyright 2010: Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari



Keel-billed Toucan,  La Selva, Costa Rica

Image Copyright 2010: Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari


Request the full color PDF for this trip by e-mail to  Learn more about Todd here.  


And be sure to get a copy of Todd's great safari photo guide: The Photographer’s Guide to the Safari Experience. 

Washington's Crossing Tree, Multiple Filters & Effects
Image Copyright 2011/Denise Ippolito Photography
SW FLA IPT: FEB  9-14, 2011.  Slide program on the evening of FEB 8. 6 Full Days: 2899.  Limit 10/sold out.  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 below.
BOSQUE del APACHE 2011 IPT: “The Complete Bosque Experience.” NOV 19-25, 2011.  Slide program on the evening of Friday, NOV 18.  7-FULL DAYS:  $3299.  (Non-refundable deposit: $500; see details below.) Limit: 10/Openings: 8. Co-leaders: Robert O'Toole & Jim Heupel.  Geese, cranes, ducks, sunrises, sunsets, and blast-offs.  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 immediately below. 
With my ever-shrinking teaching schedule and all but this spring's SW Florida IPT sold out, this trip may well represent a rare opportunity to learn from the best, so do not wait too long before sending your deposit.  Clemens van der Werf who was on this year's Bosque trip is already registered for next year.  If you missed the Photographer Experience Quiz and the Mystery Photographer & Experience Level Revealed! posts on the blog, you will surely want to check them out to see what Clemens has accomplished in less than a single year of bird photography. And how! 
Terms and deposit info: 
A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold a spot on the above IPTs. Deposits may be paid by check, PayPal, or credit card.  Payment in full (by check or money order only) is due five 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 policy but we have been plagued by last minute cancellations that make it impossible for others to participate and deprive us of essential income.  Please consider your schedule and your work and family obligations carefully before plunking down your deposit. 
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.   
GREECE/DALMATIAN PELICAN EXPLORATORY IPT.  FEB 27-MAR 5, 2011. 6 1/2+ Full Days of Photography: $2499.  (Limit: 8/sold out). Co-leaders: Arthur Morris, Robert O'Toole, and Yannis Arvanitis as our bi-lingual guide.  Payment in full is due immediately.  Please call to hold a spot pending the arrival of your check made out to "Arthur Morris."  Europeans please e-mail for wire transfer details.  No discounts.  For images and complete information click here.  If you would like additional info on Lake Kerkini please e-mail me at and request same.

GALAPAGOS 2011 PHOTO-CRUISE OF A LIFETIME IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience: July 3-20, 2011 (July 5-19, 2011 on the boat): 13 1/2 days of photography plus a last morning panga ride: $12, 499. (Limit 11/sold out.) 

If you would like your name placed on the seriously interested list for the SUMMER 2012 trip, please e-mail me at

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.