Reddish Egrets at Sunset Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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Instructional Photo-Tours

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Otoole Bears

Visit North America's Top Bird Photography Hotspots
and Learn to Make Better Images with North America's (and possibly the world's) Premier Bird Photographer

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."  You can find the forms here: IPT Registration and Release Form

BIG TIME BAA IPT KUDOS (This unsolicited review says it all. )


Samuel Mulder, a young photographer from Albuquerque, attended Bosque IPT #1.  As you may remember from the Bosque IPT report, photographic conditions were less than ideal at that time.  On each and every IPT, I do my very best to make the trip as rewarding and as productive as possible and the posse members do the same.  Each of us puts our heart and soul into them.  Most folks are very appreciative of our efforts.  On rare occasions, someone heads home dissatisfied.  I used to take things like that personally, but over the years have grown to realize that in most cases, the problems were more about them than about me.  Folks who arrived happy generally headed home happy, and folks who were bitter and unhappy when they arrived generally went home bitter and unhappy.  Fortunately, over the past dozen years, very few folks that have traveled with us fit into that last group.  The bottom line is that I am always proud of my efforts while leading BAA IPTs.  I am confident in my abilities as a teacher and as a photographer; I do not need positive feedback to know that I have done a good job, but positive feedback as well as constructive criticism is always received with a smile.  On rare occasion, however, I receive a note or an e-mail that puts a bigger-than-usual smile on my face.  Samuel’s unsolicited review, which appears below, is right at the top of that category. 


Review of BIRDS AS ART IPT: Bosque 2007 

A while back, I asked for advice about attending a workshop   In response to all of those who helped me then, and to help those trying to make similar decisions, I thought it would be good to write a review of the experience. I should note that this review represents only one individual experience on one particular tour. I'm sure other workshop leaders are very good and—as this is my only tour experience—I am not comparing this particular workshop or workshop leader to any other workshop or leader.     

Reasoning for going: My lack of experience.

In my mind, there are two good, equally legitimate reasons for going on a photo workshop. The first is to have an expert guide who an teach you about a location that you have a strong interest in and to insure that you get the best photos possible.  The second is just to learn and grow as a photographer. My interest was completely the second. The workshop that I choose was in a location that I am very familiar with and have spent a fair amount of time shooting. Bosque is an hour and a half away and I've been there every month for the last year. I was completely focused on learning as much as possible, even at the expense of missing some nice shots, secure in the knowledge that I could come back anytime and put what I'd learned into practice. Many of the participants in the workshop seemed to be more interested in the first reason. I think that is very reasonable, and would consider joining a workshop if I were going to a once-in-a-lifetime destination and wanted to insure that I made the most of it.


The participants were an interesting group. I was surprised, as I'd expected mostly beginners to be interested in something like this. Instead, many of the participants were frequent workshop attendees and were very experienced. I would guess that the majority of the participants were retired and enjoying photography as a hobby. I was definitely one of the youngest and least experienced attendees. This worked out well for me as I was able to watch and learn from the participants as well as from the instructors.

One of my main questions before going had been about equipment. My longest lens is the 100-400. Sure enough, almost everyone else had a 500 or 600mm lens (I think there was one Nikon guy using an 80-400). Not only are these lenses longer to start with, they also take tele-converters. As it turns out, this wasn't a huge deal.

Everyone was extremely friendly and I enjoyed the conversation both at meals and in the field. It was fun talking to people who shared a passion, and I can see why some attend these workshops for the social aspect. People were also generous and some equipment was shared (thanks to Malcolm for the chance to try out a 300/2.8 and 2x converter and to Artie for the 9-stop neutral density filter).

Classroom Learning:

We essentially had two shooting sessions each day, a morning session and a late-afternoon session. In the middle of the day and sometimes in the evening, we had sessions with a projector in town. I would say the two, field and classroom, were about equally educationally.

The most educational classroom session for me was the photo critique. Having my own photos critiqued was helpful, but more in a re-affirming way than a revelatory way. I had spent a lot of time thinking about my own photos and had a pretty good sense of the strengths and weaknesses. Art was able to point out a few issues that I hadn't considered and I was able to dramatically improve at least one of the images using a crop that he suggested. My photos weren't that great, but I at least had some ideas about why they weren't that great. The more useful part of the evening though was the critique of other's photos. I was able to compare my first impressions of a photo on the screen with Artie's impression (and comments by the other instructors). This was very educational and I learned a lot about minor things that can greatly improve or hurt a photo. Almost all of the images presented were of high quality, so the comments were generally about subtleties.

The second most useful classroom session was watching Art go through his images from the morning and make a selection. Seeing Artie's RAW files, unedited and un-culled was very educational and something I'd have never been able to do outside the workshop. After selecting one photo he proceeded to go through his processing routine. His environment is fairly different than mine; he uses Windows and Breezebrowser and I use Mac and Lightroom, but I was still able to learn a lot about the thinking that goes into editing an image.

The other extensive classroom session was a photoshop session by Robert O'Toole. He is definitely a photoshop wizard and was able to work magic on the photos. This was less interesting to me as I work with computers in my day job and just don't have much interest in this type of processing and optimization.

The slideshows that Art showed of his own work were amazing, and his commentary entertaining and insightful. One mid-day we were treated to a presentation by Andy Rouse, a
UK photographer whose work I was not familiar with. I've since ordered most of his books; he really blew me away. Andy then spent the afternoon/evening shooting session with us.

In-the-Field Instruction:

Shooting in the field on this kind of tour allows you to get as much or as little as you want out of it. At the extreme end, some of the participants seemed to just set up and do their own thing at each place that we stopped, more or less ignoring the instructors. At the other end of the spectrum, I typically stuck to Artie like glue. He would say "I think we should be 40 yards that way for the best light angle" and start walking and I'd immediately pack up and go with him. Most of the other participants stayed put. This highlights an important point. I want to thank those who advised me not to rent a longer lens for the workshop. Even though I was one of the only ones without a big gun, the flexibility of having lighter equipment that I was familiar with allowed me to focus on the instructors and extracting as much as possible from them. I may have missed some nice shots (or had to crop a little more), but I think I also learned more than I would have if I were constantly grappling with an unfamiliar big rig.

All of the instructors were photographing, but were good about moving about among the participants and answering questions and offering advice. I learned a lot in the field about situational awareness... watching the light and wind conditions and recognizing changing situations. I also started using manual exposure for the first time and really got to see when it made sense. Artie and the other instructors were quick to point out good opportunities. They were very sensitive towards those of us with shorter lenses and offered alternative advice about positioning and good shots to us. Artie also encouraged us to experiment with more artistic shots (blurs and such). I have not been a big fan of them in the past, but figured I might as well try it out. I came away happy with several blurred shots that I never would have taken before.   Art was also very accommodating to people with different interests. For example, on the last day everyone was heading back into Socorro to shoot wigeons on a pond there and I expressed an interest in staying on the refuge. The wigeons were great, but we'd done them the day before and I have a real passion for the refuge. Artie responded by asking Jim Neiger to stay behind and work with a couple of us while the main group went into town.  This brings up an important point:  All of the instructors on the workshop were amazing. Jim was someone whose work I'd admired on the various forums for a long time and who I'd consider doing a workshop with based on his flight shots.


The pace of the workshop was just about right for me, with plenty of learning opportunities interspersed with chances to try things out on my own. I'm not sure how much better personalized instruction would have been, as I pretty much had Artie's attention any time I wanted it and was able to benefit by learning from different instructors with different styles.  I would point out that at least this particular workshop was geared at intermediate photographers. I would recommend knowing how to work the camera and reading some books (and visiting the various forums) before signing up. AN ipt It probably isn't the best place to be fumbling around trying to figure out how to use the camera...   Comparing the cost to something like a college course, on a per hour basis, the workshop is very reasonable and the caliber of the instructors can't be found in your local community college.  For me the tradeoff came down to workshop versus more equipment. I think I made the right choice and it is one I will make again. This definitely won't be my last workshop. I grew more as a photographer in three days than I did in the previous year. I hope this is helpful and didn't sound too much like an advertisement. I did thoroughly enjoy myself and highly recommend the experience.



Thanks a ton Samuel for your insightful comments; they are greatly appreciated.  I could not have written anything myself that so well highlighted all of the important things that we try to accomplish on each IPT.   One excellent point that Samuel makes is that to get the most from any photography tour, participants should stay close to one of the instructors most of the time and ask lots of questions.  Though I always stress that point on each IPT I am sometimes lonely in the field.  In addition, I often edit my work at lunch and encourage folks to gather around while we are waiting for our orders.


Photo-Tour Participants

Ding Darling NWR,
Sanibel Island, Florida


Instructional Photo-Tours (IPTs) include morning and afternoon field workshops totaling six hours or more (weather permitting), in-the-field instruction, an introductory slide program on the evening before the tour begins, a critiquing session on the first night of the tour, one additional slide program, a two hour midday break (also know as INT -- instructor nap time), and all lunches. (You are on your own for breakfasts.  At some locations there are motel-lobby continental breakfasts, at others we may stop at either a fast food outlet or a convenience store. There is no extra charge for humor or expert natural history commentary.

IPTs never include lodging or air or ground transportation.  Some Bear, Alaska, Galapagos, and other international trips and Photo-Safaris may include lodging and/or transportation (as noted).  

Ground transportation with the leader is available on some tours on an extremely limited, first- requested, first-served, pay-in-advance, $30/day, space-available basis. Call or e-mail to check availability.

Repeat Customer Discounts

To thank our many repeat customers, we offer the discounts listed below.  When you call or send us a deposit, please let us know the last IPT that you were on so that we can reduce your balance.

3-day IPT: $50 off

4-day IPT: $75 off

5-day or more IPT: $100

No repeat customer discounts are offered on or for foreign trips, photo-safaris, or photo-cruises. 

Spouse/Multiple Registrant Discount: $100 off total due ($50 each).  If two photographers register at the same time, we will reduce each balance by $50.

Do know that the leader, that's me: Arthur Morris, photographs during IPTs.  I am, however, always available to answer your questions.  In addition to the in-the-field time, there is much teaching done during lunches and even during dinners; many folks take advantage to ask a multitude of questions on a great variety of topics. On various IPTs there are often extremely competent co-leaders or knowledgeable assistants. In addition, folks (including me) often learn a ton from skilled IPT participants.

Non-photographer spouses/companions may join most tours for $50/day. This includes all slide programs, lunches, natural history commentary, and extra jokes (no fee for those).  Do note that BIRDS AS ART reserves the right to exceed the limit by one photographer on all trips.

Extensions and individual or group tours can be arranged on request. Individual instruction on location is available for $1000.00 per day (plus all expenses), $1750.00 per day (plus all expenses) for two photographers. In the event of rain, private days may not be canceled.  We will work indoors viewing slides via laptop and handling equipment, getting out to photograph if conditions improve.

A variety of Canon EF telephoto lenses and bodies are available for rent on some IPTs on a per day or per trip basis. Please inquire as to rates and availability.



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."  You can find the forms here: IPT Registration and Release Form

For years, BIRDS AS ART had the most liberal deposit/cancellation policies in the field. Unfortunately, due to an unbelievable number of cancellations, many of them just prior to the beginning of IPTs, we have been forced to institute the new terms below.  Please check your schedule carefully and weigh your decision to join an IPT very seriously before sending a deposit. We regret that we must institute these policies, but the folks who have frivolously signed up for IPTs only to cancel at the last second have forced us to change our policies as their actions were depriving us of income and preventing other photographers from joining the tour because they are unable to re-arrange work schedules or purchase reasonably priced airline tickets at the last minute.  That said, do note--that for good reasons--most BIRDS AS ART IPTs fill many months in advance.

A completely non-refundable deposit is required for all IPTs, Photo-Cruises, and Photo-Safaris.   I PT balances are due 5 months before the date of the IPT and are also non-refundable.  If the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit for the full amount less a $200 processing fee to a future IPT. 

If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date, we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

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, you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage, which 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:  Travel Insurance Services  Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check of running your credit card.

BAA now accepts Visa and MasterCard by phone. Credit Cards are accepted for deposits only.   Balances must be paid by personal check or money order.

Overseas folks are best off using the e-mail address as many attempting to e-mail us at the address from Europe and Asia have encountered problems.


Tour Schedule

RTP-41: Great Blue Heron Display   RTP-27: Snowy Egret

San Diego IPT  JAN 13-17, 2010  5 Full Days: $2395  (Limit 8/Openings: 4).

Slide program on the evening of TUE JAN 12. Deposit:  $500 due immediately.  You may pay your deposit with either a personal check or with a credit card and a phone call (863-692-0906).  As always, this IPT will run with only a single participant.

To complete a valid registration, please fill out and complete the Registration and the Release & Assumption of Risk forms that can be found here: and Release Forms.pdf If you call with a credit card to register, please be sure to print, sign, and return the Registration and the Release & Assumption of Risk forms within ten days.

The gate at the Cave Store Cliffs has been unlocked for many, many months and my understanding is that the fence has now been removed as well.  (Though I am not quite positive on the cause and effect here I do know that Scott Bourne had a show-cause order filed with regards to public access at this location.)

 We will get to photograph killer breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with the red bill pouches at close range and in flight.   Santee Lakes will yield close-up Wood Ducks and lots more; White Pelicans are likely there.  LaJolla Shores Beach will yield Marbled Godwits in beautiful buff reflections and this spot and Coronado will give us chances on a variety of gorgeous gulls and several shorebird species as well.  I selected dates that feature perfect tides for both our morning and afternoon coastal locations.   And we will have extensive time for image review and Photoshop techniques.

100 Reasons to Register for the San Diego IPT    You can view a gallery with my 100 favorite San Diego images here:

Click on the first image to see and then click on next to view the images as a slide show.  Scroll down to see the EXIF data for each image (including those above and below).  Then send your deposit check <smile>  I do hope that you can join us.


SW FLA PRESIDENT'S WEEK IPT: FEB 10-15, 2010.   Slide program on the evening of FEB 9.  6-FULL DAYS:  $2799.  (Non-refundable deposit: $500.)   Limit: 10/FULL. Co-leaders: Tim Grey and Alfred and Fabiola Forns

Click here to view my wader, shorebird, and pelican galleries

THE BOSQUE 2010 "The Complete Bosque Experience" IPT ANNOUNCEMENT


I am proud to announce the 2010 Bosque IPT.   Once again, I will be doing only a single Bosque IPT in 2010.   Next year will be 16 in a row at Bosque for the Thanksgiving holiday since losing my beloved wife, best friend, and biggest supporter Elaine Belsky Morris to breast cancer in 1994.  Now here is some big news: there is an excellent chance that I will not be at Bosque for a single day during November, 2011; I hope to be on the tentatively scheduled month-long trip to the Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica with Joe Van Os. If you want to learn Bosque from the best, you are advised not to tarry. 


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.  Co-leadersRobert O’Toole and Jim Heupel.  Live, eat, and breathe photography with one of (if not the) world's premier photographic educators at his very favorite locations on the planetPlus two great co-leaders and tons of Photoshop instruction.


A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold a spot on this IPT. 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, you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage, which 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:  Travel Insurance Services.   Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check of running your credit card.  We regret that we must implement this new policy but we have recently 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 two forms asap.  Your registration will not be complete until we receive your paper work.  You can find the forms here: IPT Registration and Release Form.


RTP20: "Sandhill Cranes in Red Mist"
Backlit ground fog lit by the rising sun set the scene for this image, also made at Bosque del Apache NWR.

Why Join a Birds As Art IPT?

  1. I taught elementary school for 23 years. I know how to teach. I can teach you the techniques needed to produce technically perfect images on a consistent basis.

  2. Every IPT includes at least 1 1/2 hours of Photoshop instruction.  In six minutes I can teach you how to make most of your good images look great in three minutes
  3. My work is known for its artistic design. I can teach you to design artistically pleasing images.

  4. I have a type-A personality. I am energetic, enthusiastic, and driven.

  5. I specialize in bird photography. I know where the birds are, how to identify them, and how to approach them closely while minimizing disturbance.

  6. All tours will run, even with only a single registrant.

  7. I'm good, and I'll work hard to find the magic for you.

  8. This is my business, and only mine; I care.

  9. I know where to be in varying weather and lighting conditions. Why spend money on airfares, rental cars, equipment, and film and wind up being in the wrong spot? In addition, one of the things that I try to do on every IPT is to think out loud so that you can understand the various factors that determine the best place to be at  any given moment.

  10. At Bosque several years ago, we ran across a tour group with two big-name pro leaders and approximately 20 participants stuffed into two vans. The tour was very expensive (as the tour company has a big shiny catalogue and a large office staff to pay for). All in my group were amazed at the lack of instruction offered by the leaders, the total lack of communication between the leaders and the participants, and one seemingly inexplicable decision to leave an area just before the sun broke through and created a dramatically lit sunset sky. Go figure.....

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For Instructional Photo-Tour or Product Info:
Call: (863) 692-0906  
Write: Arthur Morris / Birds As Art /
4041 Granada Drive, P.O. BOX 7245,
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855

Copyright © 1997-2005 Arthur Morris / BIRDS AS ART