Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
December 14th, 2018

A Rare DeSoto Visitor. Perhaps the Dawn of a Whole New World ... And some great new Used Gear listings!

Stuff

The pool was down to 75 for my Tuesday afternoon swim. By Wednesday morning it was down to 70 degrees. It warmed up a bit for my Wednesday and Thursday afternoon swims.

I was thrilled the other day to learn that first-timer Shonagh Adelman of Chattanooga, TN signed up for the 2019 Puffins and Gannets and Red Kites IPT. As he is the first registrant, we need three more for the trip to go. I am counting on it and hope for a sellout of ten plus the two leaders; there are lots of puffins and gannets. 🙂 . Scroll down for the details if you would like to join us.

I still need 3 or four folks for the Galapagos trip. If you would like to explore the possibilities, please get in touch via e-mail or give me a call on my cell before next Wednesday (19 DEC) at 863-221-2372.

My Favorite

In the A Miraculous Color Temperature Save of the Sickly Yellow Original here, my favorite was Image B, the Shorebird Pastel flock blur taller pano. I liked it more because of the inclusion of the darker green at the bottom. It is one of my very favorite ever images in part because I love shorebirds, in part because I love blurs, and in part because it shows what can be in seemingly impossible situations.


BAA IPTs

  • The 2018 Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT/Thursday December 7 through the morning session on Monday December 10, 2018: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 5.
  • Falklands Land-based IPT DEC 22, 2018 thru JAN 5, 2019/Two Weeks: Sold out.
  • 2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099. (Limit: 10/Openings: 4) Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins: THURS, 6 DEC.
  • The 2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — FEB 16 thru 19, 2019: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 2.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers/Openings: 9. This trip needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 photographers/Openings: 4.


BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

iPhone-composite

The iPhone Photography e-Guide

If you missed the long-awaited announcement yesterday, click here to learn about Cliff Oliver’s great new iPhone e-Guide. To order your copy of the The iPhone Photography e-Guide, please click here. The PDF is sent link by e-mail for downloading: the file is relatively huge at 216 MB.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

New Listings

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens/with Extras!

BAA Record-low Price

Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Paul Reinstein is offering a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM in excellent plus condition — it would be near-mint but for a few faint chips on the bottom of the lens foot — for the BAA record-low price of $7099.00. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the original tough front lens cover, the lens strap, the instruction manual, the original product box, a LensCoat,a LensCoat Hoodie that has been modified to make it easier to install over the LensCoat, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Photos are available upon request. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Paul e-mail or by phone or text message at 1-946-9031 (Pacific time zone).

The 500 f/4 super telephoto lenses have long been the world’s most popular for birds,nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. Canon’s Series II version is light, fast, super-sharp, and produces amazing images with both the 1.4X and 2X III TCs. The 500 II is relatively small, easily hand holdable for some folks, and is much easier travel with, focuses closer than, and costs a lot less than the 600 II. Lastly, and you might find this amazing, the magnification for the 500 II is the same as it is for the 600 II: .15X. How is that possible? Magnification is calculated at the minimum focusing distance of the lens — 12.14 feet (3.7 meters) for the 500 II and 14.77 feet (4.5 meters) for the 600 II. Simply put, the 500 II focuses more than two feet closer than the 600 II. The seller for the last one that sold here had five calls the first day; the first four folks quibbled on price. The fifth one jumped right on it … Please do not tarry if you are seriously interested in Paul’s lens as it should sell almost instantly. Or not 🙂 As the 500 II goes for $8999 new you will be getting an almost new lens while saving $1900.00. I loved my 500 II 🙂 artie

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Lens (with a great and necessary extra)

Having quickly and completely fallen in love with my much more expensive Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens, I am offering my Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 lens in pretty close to near-mint condition for only 1299.00. The sale includes the original product box and everything that came in it, the crappy original tripod collar, the RRS Collar Foot Package for Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Lens (a $250 plus the shipping) value, and insured ground shipping via UPS.

Please contact me via e-mail or on my cell at 863-221-2372 (before next Wednesday, 19 DEC).

This is the lens that hooked me on Nikon and its great AF system. It is sharp and versatile and though AF is a bit sluggish away from the center AF point with a teleconverter, I made some great images with the TC-E14. As the lens sells new right now for $1,396.95 you can save you a cool $346.95 by grabbing my almost like-new lens today. artie

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Infrared

Sale pending

Arthur Morris — that’s me — is offering a Canon EOS 5D Mark II Infrared camera body in excellent plus condition for the giving-it-away-price of $299.00. The conversion to 720nm infrared was done by Kolari Vision, the best in the business. The conversion alone costs $250.00. The sale includes the front cap, two Canon batteries, one Canon battery charger, and insured ground shipping via UPS. Your camera body will not ship until your check clears.

Please contact me via e-mail or on my cell at 863-221-2372 (before next Wednesday, 19 DEC).

This infrared body works very well with both versions of the Canon 24-105mm and with several of the super-wide angle lenses as well. You can see some of the images that I made with this body here, here, and here. artie

Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II Lens

Price Reduced $153 on December 13, 2018.

Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II lens in like-new condition for a very low $1445.00 (was $1,598.00). The sale includes the front and rear caps, the lens hood, lens pouch/case, a low foot, the original foot, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Charlie via e-mail or by phone at 1-407-448-7797 Eastern time.

Y’all know how much I loved and now miss the sharpness and close focusing of this amazingly versatile lens. artie

Price Reduction

Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II Lens

BAA Record Low Price!
Price Reduced $153 on December 13, 2018.

Charlie Curry is offering a Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II lens in like-new condition for a BAA record low $1445.00 (was $1,598.00). The sale includes the front and rear caps, the lens hood, lens pouch/case, a low foot, the original foot, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Charlie via e-mail or by phone at 1-407-448-7797 Eastern time.

Y’all know how much I loved and now miss the sharpness and close focusing of this amazingly versatile lens. artie

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.


The 2018 B&H/BAA Bird Photography Holiday Contest!

Thanks to the generosity of the great folks at B&H, I am proud to announce the first-ever B&H/BAA Bird Photography Holiday Contest. The rules are simple:

1-Anyone can enter one or two of their favorite avian images that were created in 2018. As below, each image must be sent in a separate e-mail.
2-Image clean-up and repair is permitted.
3-Send you JPEGs in two separate e-mails only by clicking on this link: Contest Entry e-mail.
4-Please size your properly sharpened JPEGs as follows: 1200 high or wide less than 600 kb.
5-If you do not follow the instructions above to the letter your images will not be judged and you will not receive any notification.
6-There is one judge and you can guess who it is.
7-Here are the five prizes:

1st place: a $100 B&H gift certificate
2nd through 4th place: a $50 B&H gift certificate

All prizes will be awarded.

8- Entries my be submitted from now until January 16, 2019. Happy New Year! Please remember to do your holiday shopping at B&H using a BAA affiliate link or by clicking here or on the banner just below.

Good luck.

Scissor-tailed-Flycatcher-_DSC7421-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created on Day 2 of the Early Winter DeSoto IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens,
the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the rugged, blazingly fast Nikon D5 with Dual XQD Slots.ISO 400. Matrix metering +1/3 stop: 1/1600 sec. at f/9 in Manual Mode. Auto 1 WB at 10:14am on a sunny day.

One to the left of center Group (grp) AF/Shutter button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. I kept the 500 PF/D5 on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap. If I am not wearing my vest, the TCE-14 travels in a cheap fanny pack until needed. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +6. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #1: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

A Rare DeSoto Visitor

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is common in Oklahoma and parts of Texas. A few wind up in Florida each winter. One is usually seen most winters at Fort Desoto. The one that I found on the first day of the IPT was a new DeSoto bird for me. It was present in the same area every day of the IPT. It grew more accepting of our approaches as time went by. If you own the DeSoto Site Guide and would like to know the exact location of this individual, please cut and paste the first page of the site guide into an e-mail and shoot it to me here.

Scissor-tailed-Flycatcher-SILH-_DSC8135-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created on the afternoon of Day 3 of the Early Winter DeSoto IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens,
the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the rugged, blazingly fast Nikon D5 with Dual XQD Slots.ISO 800. Matrix metering +1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/9 in Manual Mode. Auto 1 WB at 4:88pm on a mostly cloudy afternoon — yes, the western skies were mostly cloudy.

One to the left of center Group (grp) AF/Shutter button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. I kept the 500 PF/D5 on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap. If I am not wearing my vest, the TCE-14 travels in a cheap fanny pack until needed. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +6. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher silhouette

The Situation

We were working a flock of very tame shorebirds when I looked behind me and saw the scissor-tailed perched on the edge of the marsh. BY stooping down a bit I was able to silhouette the rare visitor against a small patch of light sky.

Perhaps the Dawn of a Whole New World …

I took my Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR AF lens on the IPT. Several times, I put it into my Wheeleeze Beach cart — see that item under the Stuff tab above — and pulled it up and down the beach. I never used it once. I never even put it onto the tripod. I worked almost exclusively with the virtually impossible to get Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens. I used that often with the TC-14E III. I even made a pretty sharp flight image of some White Pelicans in flight at 700mm.

Folks should understand that whenever you add a teleconverter to the mix, initial focus acquisition will always be slowed down a bit. AF needs light to see. When you add a 1.4X TC, you lose one stop of light. AF is slower. When you add a 2X TC, you lose two stops of light. AF is even slower, so slow that flight and action photography with a doubler is close to impossible, even with f/4 lenses. A 300 f/2.8 lens with a 2X is another story. And some folks had success with the 400 DO II and the 2X III.

As I have said here often, the big difference between Canon and Nikon is that when you add a TC to a Nikon telephoto lens and move the AF point away from the center, AF performance suffers. AF performance with Canon gear while not always perfect was much better. Pre-focusing manually, as I did when creating both of today’s featured images, helps tremendously. I have come up with a few additional tips for autofocusing with the TC in place at f/8 (or f/9 as I am wont to do) that I will share with you here soon. That said, adding the TC-E14 to the 500 PF gets me to 700 mm full frame at f/8 as compared to 840mm at f/5.6 with the 600mm. But the differences in size and especially in weight — 3.21 pounds as compared to 8.4 pounds for the 600 — are huge. So huge that I am easily able to get into position without having to position a tripod. With my superb stalking skills (he said modestly), I found it easy to get close enough without the encumbrance of a tripod to make the images that I wanted either with the 500 PF alone or with the 1.4X added. As for hand holding the 500 PF versus the 600 all that I can say is are you kidding me? There are many huge advantages when forsaking the 600 f/4 and using the 500 PF primarily.

I am thinking of leaving the 600 home for the big Falklands trip but will probably bring it. And rarely use it … I am pretty sure that I will want it on the beach at The Neck.

I can see a not-too-distant future when I sell the 600 f/4, head into the field with the 500 PF on one shoulder, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm VR on the other, and a TC-E14 in my pocket. Both of the smaller lenses will be on a RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap. As I said, it is looking like a whole new world …

UK-puffins-2018-CARD-

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn, just fifteen minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography at there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best. Note: this trip needs a minimum of four photographers to run.

UK-Puffins-2017card

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip. The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as we will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer and my co-leader 🙂

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Info

Single supplement rooms in Bridlington and Dunbar are available for those who register early. The cost of the single supplement for those six nights is $600.00. Single supplement rooms at the lodge may be available on a limited basis but only if the trip does not fill with ten photographers. The single supplement fee for those seven nights is $700. If you would like your own room in Bridlington and Dunbar, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement with your deposit: $2,600.00. The single supplement deposits are non-refundable as I will need to make the reservations well in advance.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. 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 that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even 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 or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

I truly hope that you can join me on this exciting venture.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.





Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

December 12th, 2018

A Miraculous Color Temperature Save of the Sickly Yellow Original. And the ISO Answer.

Stuff

We enjoyed a fine last morning on the Early Winter (it felt like it at times!) Fort DeSoto IPT. We had two minutes of sweet light on some sandbar White Pelicans, more chances to practice tern and gull blurs, and a nice flock of Laughing Gulls and Sandwich and Forster’s Terns. We did the flock wide with lots of different focal lengths and from different perspectives and different backgrounds. Then we approached carefully and finished off by isolating single birds on clean sand backgrounds.

Thanks a stack to Deidre Bryan, Narayanan Mangalath, and multiple IPT veteran Dietmar Haenchen for joining me. We had great fun, great food, and everyone learned a ton including and especially me.

I still need 3 or four folks for the Galapagos trip. If you would like to explore the possibilities, give me a call on my cell on Wednesday or Thursday at 863-221-2372.

This Just In!

There is an amazing new listing on the Used Gear Page here. I will run it in tomorrow’s post if nobody sees and buys it before then …

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens/with Extras!

BAA Record-low Price

BAA IPTs

  • The 2018 Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT/Thursday December 7 through the morning session on Monday December 10, 2018: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 5.
  • Falklands Land-based IPT DEC 22, 2018 thru JAN 5, 2019/Two Weeks: Sold out.
  • 2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099. (Limit: 10/Openings: 4) Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins: THURS, 6 DEC.
  • The 2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — FEB 16 thru 19, 2019: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 2.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers — needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 photographers/Openings: 4.


BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

iPhone-composite

The iPhone Photography e-Guide

If you missed the long-awaited announcement yesterday, click here to learn about Cliff Oliver’s great new iPhone e-Guide. To order your copy of the The iPhone Photography e-Guide, please click here. The PDF is sent link by e-mail for downloading: the file is relatively huge at 216 MB.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.


The 2018 B&H/BAA Bird Photography Holiday Contest!

Thanks to the generosity of the great folks at B&H, I am proud to announce the first-ever B&H/BAA Bird Photography Holiday Contest. The rules are simple:

1-Anyone can enter one or two of their favorite avian images that were created in 2018. As below, each image must be sent in a separate e-mail.
2-Image clean-up and repair is permitted.
3-Send you JPEGs in two separate e-mails only by clicking on this link: Contest Entry e-mail.
4-Please size your properly sharpened JPEGs as follows: 1200 high or wide less than 600 kb.
5-If you do not follow the instructions above to the letter your images will not be judged and you will not receive any notification.
6-There is one judge and you can guess who it is.
7-Here are the five prizes:

1st place: a $100 B&H gift certificate
2nd through 4th place: a $50 B&H gift certificate

All prizes will be awarded.

8- Entries my be submitted from now until January 16, 2019. Happy New Year! Please remember to do your holiday shopping at B&H using a BAA affiliate link or by clicking here or on the banner just below.

Good luck.

Great-Blue-Heron-in-flight-_DSC7824-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created with on the morning of Day 3 of the Early Winter DeSoto IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and the rugged, blazingly fast Nikon D5 with Dual XQD Slots.AUTO ISO at ? Matrix metering plus 2 1/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 in S Mode (Shutter Priority — Tv mode in Canon). Auto 1 WB at 10:11am on a cloudy/very dark rainy morning.

Center Group (grp) AF/Shutter button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered squarely on the bird’s face with the lower AF point on its neck. I kept my 500 PF/D5 on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: -1. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Incoming Great Blue Heron

What’s the ISO?

In the What’s the ISO blog post here I wrote:

After reading the account above and considering both the enlarged full frame image and the tight crop above, please leave a comment and take a guess at the ISO that the camera set for today’s featured image. (Click on the link to see the tightly cropped image.)

The educated guesses ran from ISO 1,600 to ISO 10,000. ISO 10,000 is the correct answer. I think that the D5 handled the very high ISO quite nicely. It is not often that folks think that ISO 10,000 images were created at ISO 1,600.

ORIG-_DSC7685-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This was created on the Early Winter DeSoto IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens at 400mm and the rugged, blazingly fast Nikon D5 with Dual XQD Slots.AUTO ISO at 640. Matrix metering plus 2 stops: 1/25 sec. at f/5.6 in S Mode(Shutter Priority — Tv mode in Canon). Auto 1 WB at 7:03am on a cloudy/very dark morning. See more below on the sickly yellow light …

One below the center Group (grp) AF/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. I kept the array on the flock and it held focus nicely. I had the 80-400 on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Shorebird Pastel flock blur sickly yellow original

The Sickly Yellow Original …

As the sun rose behind some heavy cloud cover on Sunday morning the light became a sickly yellow (above) that often indicates that a big storm is coming. It came but we had fun anyway photographing tame birds with the wind and the stinging cold rain at our backs. You can get an idea of the color of the light in the JPEG above that accurately represents the original capture. AUTO 1 ISO had set the color temperature at 3150 Kelvin. I thought that the image had potential …

shorebird-flock-blur-_DSC7685-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created on the morning of Day 3 of the Early Winter DeSoto IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens at 400mm and the rugged, blazingly fast Nikon D5 with Dual XQD Slots.AUTO ISO at 640. Matrix metering plus 2 stops: 1/25 sec. at f/5.6 in S Mode(Shutter Priority — Tv mode in Canon). Auto 1 WB at 7:03am on a cloudy/very dark morning.

One below the center Group (grp) AF/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. I kept the array on the flock and it held focus nicely. I had the 80-400 on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image A: Shorebird Pastel flock blur pano

Miraculous Color Temperature Save

I worked this image with the group during a Photoshop session. The main component of success was simply lowering the color temperature from 3150 K to 2500 K. That move brought lots of oohs an ahs. I adjusted the additional sliders to taste and brought the TIFF into Photoshop. There I cropped to a pano, applied a 30% layer of Image > Auto Contrast (as taught to me by Denise Ippolito), and used the Patch Tool to eliminate two birds. All of the above plus tons more in Digital Basics II.

Image A above was the first version that I created. I lost the optimized file 🙁 but did save the JPEG. When I re-did the image from scratch, I created the different version below.

The Lesson

It is amazing how much information there is in a properly exposed RAW file …

shorebird-flock-pastel-blur-_DSC7685-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This, a second version of the image above, was (of course) created on the morning of Day 3 of the Early Winter DeSoto IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens at 400mm and the rugged, blazingly fast Nikon D5 with Dual XQD Slots.AUTO ISO at 640. Matrix metering plus 2 stops: 1/25 sec. at f/5.6 in S Mode(Shutter Priority — Tv mode in Canon). Auto 1 WB at 7:03am on a cloudy/very dark morning.

One below the center Group (grp) AF/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. I kept the array on the flock and it held focus nicely. I had the 80-400 on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image B: Shorebird Pastel flock blur taller pano

The Taller Pano

Please leave a comment and let us know which of today’s two featured images you prefer, Image A, the pano version, or Image B, the taller pano. Do you see any differences besides the crop? IAC, please let us know why you made your choice.


guide-to-pleasing-blurs

Learn the secrets of creating contest winning images in our “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs.”

A Guide to Pleasing Blurs

In our A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Denise Ippolito and yours truly, we discuss just about every technique ever used mankind to create pleasingly blurred image. Ninety-nine point nine percent of pleasing blurs are not happy accidents. You can learn pretty much everything that there is to know about creating them in this instructive, well written, easy to follow guide.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.





Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

December 10th, 2018

What's the ISO?

Stuff

It was cloudy dark and very windy on Sunday morning. We started out with some neat pleasing blur opportunities and then headed to my favorite morning backup location. The birds were right where I expected them. As it had started to spit cold rain pretty good we made sure to work with our back to the wind to keep our cameras dry. We all had rain tops. In the car. After about an hour we were were all chilled to the bone so we headed back early and spent about four hours micro-adjusting. The gang ordered in pizza while I had tuna with a few bites of crust with great tomato sauce on it.

After Instructor Nap Time we drove back to DeSoto and despite the cloudy conditions had a fabulous afternoon with a flock of tame shorebirds being the highlight until we started back to the cars and encountered a mega feeding spree close to the shore with both Brown and White Pelicans and several dolphins chasing and herding the baitfish. We made it back to the condo that Narayanan and I are sharing at about 6pm and did 90 minutes of ACR and Photoshop instruction. We are planning a short early morning session for Monday as Narayanan and Dietmar needs to be headed home for their mid-afternoon flights. Deidre Bryan who will be driving back home to Tifton, Georgia, nick-named me Grumpy artie-Bob. 🙂

So on the first day we had perfect weather and few birds and on the last day in horrible conditions with tons of birds And we killed. Go figger.

The iPhone Photography e-Guide Update

Thanks to the dozens of folks who order the i-Phone e-Guide yesterday. Please understand that those who purchased the new guide after lunch on Friday will receive their download links on Monday morning. For those who have already received their guides we would love to receive your feed back via e-mail. In addition, we would be glad to answer your iPhone questions, also via e-mail.

iPhone-composite

The iPhone Photography e-Guide

If you missed the long-awaited announcement yesterday, click here to learn about Cliff Oliver’s great new iPhone e-Guide. To order your copy of the The iPhone Photography e-Guide, please click here. The PDF is sent link by e-mail for downloading: the file is relatively huge at 216 MB.

The 2018 B&H/BAA Bird Photography Holiday Contest!

Thanks to the generosity of the great folks at B&H, I am proud to announce the first-ever B&H/BAA Bird Photography Holiday Contest. The rules are simple:

1-Anyone can enter one or two of their favorite avian images that were created in 2018. As below, each image must be sent in a separate e-mail.
2-Image clean-up and repair is permitted.
3-Send you JPEGs in two separate e-mails only by clicking on this link: Contest Entry e-mail.
4-Please size your properly sharpened JPEGs as follows: 1200 high or wide less than 600 kb.
5-If you do not follow the instructions above to the letter your images will not be judged and you will not receive any notification.
6-There is one judge and you can guess who it is.
7-Here are the five prizes:

1st place: a $100 B&H gift certificate
2nd through 4th place: a $50 B&H gift certificate

All prizes will be awarded.

8- Entries my be submitted from now until January 16, 2019. Happy New Year! Please remember to do your holiday shopping at B&H using a BAA affiliate link or by clicking here or on the banner just below.

Good luck.


BAA IPTs

  • The 2018 Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT/Thursday December 7 through the morning session on Monday December 10, 2018: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 5.
  • Falklands Land-based IPT DEC 22, 2018 thru JAN 5, 2019/Two Weeks: Sold out.
  • 2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099. (Limit: 10/Openings: 4) Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins: THURS, 6 DEC.
  • The 2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — FEB 16 thru 19, 2019: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 2.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers — needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 photographers/Openings: 4.

BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

Great-Blue-Heron-in-flight-_DSC7824-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created with on the morning of Day 3 of the Early Winter DeSoto IPT with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and the rugged, blazingly fast Nikon D5 with Dual XQD Slots.AUTO ISO at ? Matrix metering plus 2 1/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 in S Mode(Shutter Priority — Tv mode in Canon). Auto 1 WB at 10:11am on a cloudy/very dark rainy morning.

Center Group (grp) AF/Shutter button AF as framed was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered squarely on the bird’s face with the lower AF point on its neck. I kept my 500 PF/D5 on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: -1. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Incoming Great Blue Heron

The Situation

We were photographing terns and gull and Snowy Egrets that were hunkered down a bit out of the wind. When it is windy, birds are usually reluctant to fly and will often allow very close approach. I had seen a Great Blue Heron near Battery Bigelow and when I noticed it flying towards us, I screamed it out to the group. Working in shutter priority mode in dark conditions is a great option as you can set a slow shutter speed for blurs or a faster shutter speed for sharp flight and action images; you do need to dial in the correct EC for a given situation and the camera will set the correspondingly correct ISO. If you choose to work in Manual mode in such situations you will have to spin a lot more dials as you will always need to change both your shutter speed and the ISO value, often significantly.

Note that most good bird photographers advise using shutter speeds of at least 1/1600 to 1/3200 second for flight photography. At times, I opt to go as low as 1/500 second in order to avoid insanely high ISOs and am often able to produce sharp images. Today’s featured image with the 500 PF/D5 combination was one of a seven image burst. The first frame was a bit soft, the next six were razor sharp on the eye. I enjoyed the fast frame rate of the D5.

SQ-tight-crop-Great-Blue-Heron-in-flight-IS0-_DSC7824-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

Unsharpened tight crop of Incoming Great Blue Heron

What’s the ISO?

After reading the account above and considering both the enlarged full frame image and the tight crop above, please leave a comment and take a guess at the ISO that the camera set for today’s featured image.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.





Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.

Typos

In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).