Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
November 11th, 2019

Honoring My Dad, Private First-Class Robert Edward Morris. And the rest ...

Bob-w-rifle-IMG_0318

My Dad at basic training in a rare photo of hin with two arms

Honoring My Dad, Private First-Class Robert Edward Morris

I’ve told parts of this story here before, but what the hay, it’s Veteran’s Day. My Dad had had both my kindergarten and first grade teachers — sister Mrs. Wood and Miss Wilson, when he was in PS 207. He went on to letter in three sports at Madison High School in Brooklyn –baseball, football, and basketball. And I believe that he played some ice hockey too. My Mom was an orphan and they married young. My Dad was working as a delivery boy at a luggage store in Manhattan, Roebling Luggage when he was drafted. He said, “They gave us a rifle, trained us for two weeks, and sent us off to kill Japs.” He was injured early on in the Aleutians and earned his first Purple Heart. They patched him up and sent him back.

Soon after he went to war, my Mom, Hazel Morris, lost her baby at age ten days to infantile diarrhea. I did not get to read my Dad’s love letters to my Mom (written from overseas) until after his death. All of his beautifully written love notes were signed “Your ever-loving hubby, Bob.” So changed was he by the war, I felt as if they were from a man I never knew.

Late in the war he took part in the invasion of Okinawa. He was headed out to pick up US soldiers from his unit who had been killed by friendly fire the day before. Friendly fire deaths were quite common in WWII. He was in the truck with his back against the cab when a guy walked up and said to him, “Hey, Morris, do you have my canteen?” It was one of those you-get-it no-I’ll get–it moments and the guy wound up in the seat my Dad had been in and my Dad wound up in the last seat on the left in the back of the truck.

An American Corsair, believed to have been captured and piloted by Japanese, swooped in and fired. My Dad was hit thirteen times with 70mm machine gun fire. Everyone but my Dad and the guy next to him was hit in the head and killed instantly. My Dad rolled out of the truck onto the ground fearing an explosion. His best friend, a medic, had been in a second truck. He approached my Dad and removed his heavy jacket. My Dad’s right arm came off with the coat. His friend started crying and ran away. (Lot of folks might question that, but I can understand it …)

Another soldier approached my Dad said to him, “Take my f _ _ _ _-ing shoelace out and make a tourniquet. He did.

As it turned out, my Dad had been hit in the left arm too; his elbow joint was destroyed. (Purple Heart #2.) Many of the folks in charge wanted to amputate that arm, but a young Filipino surgeon fought to save it. And he did. Three weeks later my Dad was flown to San Francisco; he met an injured comrade from his unit. The man said, “Morris, what are you doing here? You’re supposed to be dead.” He explained to my Dad that he was supposed to have been sent home on a hospital ship but that the doctors had all agreed, “This guy is gonna die anyway so it’s dumb to waste a spot on the ship on him.” It would not be the last time that my Dad was written off for dead …

Now get this: the ship my Dad would have been on was the USS Comfort (AH-6). On April 23, the ship was struck in the Coral Sea by a Japanese suicide plane that crashed through three decks and exploded in the surgery ward that was filled with medical personnel and severely wounded patients. Twenty-eight were killed (including six nurses) and 48 were wounded, with considerable damage to the ship. The story that I had heard from my Dad did not mesh exactly with the dates and numbers (89 dead) in the history books, but it looks as if Bob Morris might have dodged another bullet.

My Dad spent 19 months in the hospital near Washington DC in 1945 and 46. The performed surgery on his left arm without anesthesia to try to re-connected damaged nerves. BTW, you’ve heard of “The World According to Garp”? As in that novel, I was conceived in the hospital.

My Dad returned to work at Roebling Luggage despite his handicap and by the time he retired in 1969, he was the store manager. The store was located at 121 Liberty Street; they built the World Trade Center right on top of it. Just before he retired, he was honored as Man of the Year by the (now long-defunct) Greater New York Retail Luggage Dealer’s Association.

In 1964, my Dad almost died during gall bladder surgery. In 1969, my folks left Brooklyn for San Diego. I should have mentioned that my Dad began smoking during the war in an effort to stay warm as they were often under-dressed in the northern Pacific. He was a 4-pack a day Lucky Strike man. Sometime in the 1970-s, he developed an unexplained hoarseness. A young VA doctor discovered his throat cancer. He had a new type of laryngectomy. It was a struggle for him to cover his trach tube with his left thumb but by doing so, he was able to count to 30 in a loud but froggy voice as he woke from his surgery.

Don’t quote me on the years but he had a major heart attach sometime in the 80-s I believe. That was followed by a bout of lung cancer; he underwent surgery and they removed 2/3 of his left lung. He came out stronger than ever. You might say that my Dad was one of the very few to beat the Smoker’s Daily Double: throat cancer and lung cancer.

In the late 1990s he came down with a horrific case of pneumonia. On that Monday evening they told my Mom, “Hazel, go in and kiss Bobby goodbye. His white blood cell count is so high that he cannot survive the night. Wrong again. That Wednesday they said to my Mom, “Hazel, please go in and kiss Bobby goodbye. As per his living will we are taking him off life support. He will not survive the night. Two weeks later he as home, busting my mother’s balls (as usual). A second bout of pneumonia finally felled him in 2001.

A few years before he died, I asked my Dad, considering that all you can Mom ever did was bicker and fight, why did you stay together? In his froggy voice he answered, “I want to tell you, I laid in that bed for 19 months and saw dozens of beautiful young brides come to the door of that room, take one look at their husbands with no arms and no legs, and turn around. And never come back again.” My Mom was there for that conversation. It was my Dad’s way of saying, “Thanks, Hazel. I love you.” He could never say that out loud to anyone.

My Dad sweated all the time. Many of my fondest childhood memories involve me kissing him on the face or neck to taste the salt. And I can remember him coming down early on a Sunday morning to cook me French toast, not burned please! I can see him holding the frying pan gently with his left hand over a low flame for minutes on end to get it just the way I liked it … He took the Brighton Beach line to work for more than 20 years. He used to say that it ran on time only at room temperature. In winter we worried that he might slip and fall on the snow and ice on the way to the bus or the train. With no left elbow to speak of — the bones were free floating — that would have been disastrous.

I gloried at the (too-little?) time we spent together. I thrilled each year in December when he would take me to work to help out in the store. I’d go for two or three weekends running and the boss, a Ruby Keeler — I think — would give me a hundred-dollar bill for helping out. Two young Black men, Wilber and Nat, worked as stockman and I grew to adore them; both had boxed in the Golden Gloves. On Saturday afternoons they would send out for ham and cheese on rye sandwiches from a local deli. No mayo! Along with an ice-cold Coke, those were some of the best meals I ever ate.

When my parents went to San Diego, my Dad of course visited the VA (Veteran’s Administration) and the DAV (Disabled American Veterans). One of the first things that he learned was that he had, for twenty-plus years — while raising three children in Brooklyn — been entitled to commissary privileges. Wow, that would have made a difference of tens of thousands of dollars in the lives of my parents …Who knew?

I remember handing my Dad a copy of The Art of Bird Photography a few years before his death. While looking through the book, he covered his trach tube and croaked, “I guess you did OK for yourself.” From Bob Morris that was a supreme compliment.

I can remember saying to him at some point, “Dad. You were blasted by machine gun fire from a plane, had throat cancer, a heart attack, lung cancer, and a vicious pneumonia. We always think that you are gonna die. How come you never do? ” His reply, “I’m too mean to die.”

In about 1995 or so I sent him “the letter.” I wrote in part, “Dad, I want to thank you for being a mean son of a bitch and never saying one nice thing about me. I’ve spent my life trying to be the best bowler, the best golfer, the best elementary school teacher, and the best bird photographer I could be. All in an effort to make you proud of me and get folks to say the nice things that you never said. My late baby sister Arna read him the letter. She told me that he cried tears of happiness.

I did not learn until after my Father’s death that he had been awarded a Bronze Star. That medal is awarded for heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone. I read that letter with amazement. My Dad, along with a friend from Brooklyn, climbed a hill with just their rifles and took out a Japanese machine gun nest. Bob Morris worked full time for 20 years after his injury despite being 100% disabled. He took great care of his family. He was a brave man and a good man. And a great father.

And the Rest

Thanks to my Dad and the tens and tens of thousands of young American men and women who have served their country or died serving their country. All that so that we could enjoy the freedom that we know today. God bless them all and their families as well.

Bob-and-Undeeda-bisquits-CC-IMG_0320

My Dad with his Christmas present

Uneeda Biscuits

My Dad loved these salty, dry crackers made by Nabisco and was dismayed when he got to San Diego and learned that they were not available. So every year that I visited at holiday time, I would bring a carton of his favortie biscuits. He was happy.

Bob-abd-Hazel-IMG_0319

My Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

At times I think that the only times that my parents were not bickering was when they were smiling for the camera or sleeping. My Mom died 2 1/2 years ago at age 94. She had spent most of her life taking care of others, including and especially my Dad.

November 10th, 2019

Background Strategies. And Why Intermediate Telephoto Zoom Lenses ???

What’s Up

I awoke to some heavy rain on Saturday morning andgot lots of work done, mostly answering e-mails. I just looked at the ten-day forecast for ILE and Sebasatian Inlet and have only one question: will the sun ever come out again?

On Sunday morning it is clear and sunny here at ILE but I have too much to do so I am not heading down to the lake.

I’ve been swimming every day and the intermittent fasting has been going great. I eat at about 10:30am and then again at 4:30pm (on average). I eat nothing from 5pm till 10am or so the next morning, about a 17-hour fast. I am a bit hungry in the mornings but never hungry after that. Working with Dr. Oliver in an effort to reduce my insulin resistance, I began eating a keto diet about a week ago. I have not injected any insulin in two weeks and the early results are very promising. Best of all, I weighed 174 3/4 lbs. this morning, down from about 188 1/2 in mid-August. No worries, I am losing slowly.

If you missed out on the chance of winning a $20 discount on anything in the BAA Online Store (phone orders only), see yesterday’s blog post here.

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 EOS-1DX, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 III. 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.

The Used Gear page has been hot lately with the continuing price drops on Canon and Nikon gear. There are still lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page.

Recent Sales

Peter Noyes sold his Sony Alpha A7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera body in like-new condition with a shutter count of less than 1,000 for $1998.00 the first day it was listed in early November.
Top Used Gear page seller Anthony Ardito sold his gripped Nikon D850 in like-new condition for only $2,399.00, his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens in like-new condition for only $3,396.95, his Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens in like-new condition for $1,796.95, and his Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED-IF lens in like-new condition for only $1,196.95, all during October 2019.
I sold my lightly used Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens in Excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $9796.95 in late October 2019.
John Nelson sold his Canon 500mm f/4 IS USM lens (the “old five”) in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $2749.00 in mid-October 2019.
Multiple IPT participant Larry Master sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for a BAA record-low $5,989.00 and his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in like-new condition for $2099.00.
BAA friend and multiple IPT veteran Paul Reinstein sold a Canon Extender EF 2X III teleconverter in excellent condition for only $229.00 the first day it was listed in mid-October.
Top BAA Used Gear page seller Jim Keener sold his Canon mount Zeiss Distagon T 15mm f/2.8 ZE lens in like-new condition for the crazy low price of $799.00 (was $949.00) in early October 2019.
Allen Dale sold a Canon 300mm f2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for $3399.00 in early October 2019.

Nikon 80-400 AFS Nikkor f/4.5-5.6 G ED N VR Lens

Errol Bellon is offering an Nikon 80-400 AFS Nikkor f/4.5-5.6 G ED N VR lens in mint condition for $1396.95. The sale includes a LensCoat, the rear lens cap, the soft lens case with strap, the front lens cap, a Kirk lens foot NC-80-400GN, the original product box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only.Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Errol via e-mail.

As below, my Nikon 80-400 was my most-valubale lens on my bucket-list trip to an Emperor Penguin colony in Antarctica. The 80-400 pairs perfectly with the following Nikon VR lenses: the 500 PF, the 500 f/4, and the 600 f/4. Right after I sold mine back in February, 2019 I had seller’s remorse. This lens sell new right now for $2,096.95; you can save $700 by grabbing Errol’s lens now. artie

Sony Alpha a9 (ILCE 9) Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

BAA Record-low Price!

I am offering my Sony Alpha a9 (ILCE 9) Mirrorless Digital Camera Body in like-new condition (but for a barely visible 3/8″ scratch on the rear LCD) for the BAA record-low price of $2,697.00. The sale includes the original box and everything that came in it along with insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Pay plus 4% ($2804.88) by credit card and we will ship your new body today. And you will get the credit card points/air miles.

Please contact me via e-mail or on my cell at 863-221-2372 (Eastern time Zone)

Simply put, the SONY a9 has the best AF system of any camera that I have ever used. And Patrick Sparkman agrees 100%. SONY is getting hotter every day. The a9 sells for $3,498.00 and the new a9 II sells for $4498.00. Either way, you can do the math as far as how much you will be saving. artie

IPT Updates

  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 4. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 5)

BIRDS AS ART

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

bedford-logo-w-code

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 over $1000.00, 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 has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



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.

Emperor-Penguin-adult-flapping-_BUP5537-Snow-Hill-Island-Antarctica-1

This image was created on Day 1 — October 24, 2018 — on my bucket-list trip to the Snow Hill Island Emperor Penguin colony. While sitting on the snow and ice, I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 195mm) with my Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering plus about 2 stops off the snow: 1/1000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. Auto 1 WB at 2:43pm on a cloudy-bright afternoon.

I selected a Single AF point two up and two to the right of the center/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the penguin’s neck very close to the being on the same plane as the penguin’s eye.

I kept my 80-400 rig on my shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap so that it was instantly accessible when I was working with the tripod-mounted 500 PF (that often with the TC-E14 or the TC-E17).

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +5. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Emperor Penguin/adult stretching

Why Intermediate Telephoto Zoom Lenses ???

For many bird photographers, an intermediate telephoto zoom is their main lens. My good BPN-friend Joe Przybyla, co-author of the BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide, makes all of his bird photographs with the Nikon 80-400 and the Nikon D500. He just loves that combo and has developed into a very fine photographer. Both Canon and SONY offer a 100-400mm zoom that focuses down to .98 meters. SONY recently released a 200-600 that is hand holdable for some.

Many bird photographers, however, regularly use tripod-mounted 500mm, 600mm, and even 800mm lenses for much of their work. For them, intermediate telephoto zoom lenses allow them to add variety to their photography. The can be used for tight portraits of very tame birds, for hand held flight and behavioral photography, and for working wider as needed such as when creating bird-scapes or photographing large flocks of birds in flight. And some can serve as qausi-macro lenses and be used to photograph butterlies, frogs, flowers, and the like.

If you use a fixed focal length super-telphoto lens for most of your bird photography, you will want to carefully consider focal length range when adding an intermediate telephoto zoom lens to your kit. For example, an 80- or 100-400mm zoom lens meshes perfectly with a 500 or 600mm lens with zero focal length overlap. It only makes sense to carry your zoom on your shoulder via an RS-7 Curve Breathe Strap so that it is instantly accessible when you are working a tripod-mounted super telephoto.

For me, having an intermediate telephoto zoom in the field is as important to me as my big lens.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens

As I said above, the 80-400 was my most-valuable lens on my bucket-list trip to an Snow Hill Island Emperor Penguin colony in Antarctica. This, the newer version of the 80-400, is a remarkably sharp lens. I remember being astounded by the sharpness, even when I used it hand held with the TC-E14. The 80-400 pairs perfectly with the following Nikon VR lenses: the 500 PF, the 500 f/4, and the 600 f/4 and offers folks a ton of compositional flexibility whenever they need to go wide.

Background Strategies

When I am at the beach or working a pond and there are birds feeding along the shoreline, I will most always look for the cleanest section of beach, sit down behind my tripod right on sun angle, and wait for the birds to come to the cleanest background. There have been times when I would spend ten minutes cleaning white shells and other debris from an otherwise handsome section of beach. And at the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge there were times when I got there really early and spent 45 minutes picking Mute Swan feathers our of the mud … On the first morning of the Emperor Penguin expedition, the ropes were set 30 meters from the various colonies. While there were lots of birds in each colony with lots of young, my style of photography was difficult to impossible for several reasons:

1- The birds were close together with several adults and chicks often occupying the same square meter. Isolating a single bird or even an adult with its own chick was extremely difficult.

2- Colonies are inherently messy places with bird poop, regurgitant, and avian footprints everywhere.

3- The warm temperatures that we encountered turned the snow at the colonies into very unattractive slush.

Being Away From the Colony Paid Dividends

For me, the solution to the problems listed above was to work well past the edges of the colonies and look for or wait for single birds on the relatively pristine snow and ice. Some would approach you out of curiosity, others would approach you by chance.

The Lesson

If you have a choice between clean backgrounds and dirty, ugly, cluttered backgrounds always opt for the former. 🙂 That said, many folks could not withstand the allure of all the birds in the colony. But the artistic qualities of their images suffered greatly.


If In Doubt …

If you are 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 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 or Bedfords, 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 or Bedfords 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.

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 :).

November 8th, 2019

Win $20! Should I ? Is it Worth It? Bucket List Decision Time. And Here's the Rub ...

What’s Up

Yesterday morning the lakefront at ILE was crawling with more than one hundred vultures spread out over several of their favorite areas. So I went down to the lake early, today, Friday November 8,2019. For 45 minutes, I stood on the edge of a canal, eye level with a pile of fish heads, a half-eaten snake, and a small Florida Gar. All long-dead of course. Not a single vulture even flew by for a sniff …

I set up in the car, drove around slowly, and wound up at the small boat ramp adjacent to the North Field. The Black Vultures were ĂĽber-tame. I worked them and a tame Anhinga for about 45 minutes until a fisherman with a trailered boat drove up to launch his bass boat. For the most part I was doing head-portaits of the vultures at 1200mm with the SONY 600 f/4GM, the 2X TC, and the a7R IV, learning more every minute. While I will readily admit that Black Vultures are ugly, I am fascinated by the many differences that can be discerned when photographing them at point-blank range; they look rather like handsome, helmeted soldiers … Photos soon; lord knows, I have enough!

The BAA Photofolio Galleries

The BAA Photofolio Galleries have finally come to fruition. All are invited to visit the Galapagos Gallery by clicking here. If you have a decent internet connection, viewing should be easy. If like us here at ILE, you have a slow connection, give the page a few minutes to load before clicking on the first image to enlarge it. To continue, click on the right-facing cursor arrow. The title that includes the name of the subject and the location appears below each full-sized image.

Win a $20 Off Discount

Leave a comment letting us know which are your three favorite images in the Galapagos Gallery and we will enter you into a drawing. The winner will receive a $20 discount good on any item in the BAA Online Store (phone orders only).

Fine Art Prints

To purchase a print of any image in the BAA Photofolio Galleries, click here.

Need System or Upgrade Advice?

These are certainly exciting and volatile times in bird and nature photography: Canon, Nikon, SONY? Upgrade or switch systems? Yikes! If you are thinking about switching or upgrading and have questions, feel free to call me on my cell at 863-221-2372 for a free ten-minute consultation. Thew last thing that you want to do is sscrew up and waste several thousand dollars by purchasing the wrong camera or lens. The only thing that I ask in return, is that you make a firm commitment to use my B&H affiliate links or to buy from Bedford using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout if you decide to go forward. Remember that Steve Elkins at Bedford can save you a few additional bucks on lens/camera/accessories packages. See the blog for his contact details. Either way, it will not cost you one penny more.

Be sure to leave a message if I do not pick up and I will get back to you. And please follow that up with an e-mail or a text stating your name and a good time for me to call you back. I spend lots of time each day walking, swimming, and watching football and baseball 🙂 And napping.

IPT Updates

  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 4. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 5)

BIRDS AS ART

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

bedford-logo-w-code

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 over $1000.00, 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 has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



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.

1_GALAP-2019-composite

Galapagos 2019 Highlights

Should I ?

I get several e-mails each week asking should I buy this? Should I buy that? Would it be worth it to me? I don’t have that much money.

My answer is always the same. We only get one ride on the merry-go-round. Life is short. When you die, do you think that you will have $x,000 in the bank? I am not encouranging folks to neglect their families or to be financially irrepsonsible, but if it’s a close call, go for it and enrich your life. Furthermore, I can never tell what’s worth it for you or for anyone else.

Above are some of the reasons that I am selling my a9 and looking forward to unboxing my brand-new a9 II this weekend …

Bucket List Decision Time …

In the same vein, I am betting that most folks reading this have either dreamed about photographing in the Galapagos or have been there already. I had such an amazing time on the last Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT last July/August, that I decided to see if I could round up some folks for a trip as follows: September 29-October 13, 2020 on the boat. The travel dates would be September 27 to Guayaquil and fly home on 14 October 14. Do note that late SEPT/early OCT is part of the cloudy season in the archipelago, just what you want for great photography. And as always, only my trips visit the three best landings twice each.

Depsite an increase in the cost of the charter, the price of this trip will remain the same: $14,449.00 all inclusive to and from Guayaquil. You will need to bring $700 in US cash for the crew and guide tip, and you will be responsible for your meals in Guayaquil. Everything else — including two hotel nights in Guayaquil — is included. If you would like to commit at this time plesqe contact me via immediately e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372 (Eastern time Zone).

Here’s the Rub!

I will need at least eight commitments/deposits by December 8, 2019 in order to confirm the charter while not risking losing my home. I have two folks already committed. If you are considering this trip, please remember, you only live once …

The 2020 GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience

September 29-October 13, 2020. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 or 13 photographers plus the leader. I need ten committments by December 8, 2019. This trip needs ten clients to run. No deposit checks will be cashed until early Decemeber. All deposits and payments will be returned if the trip does not run.

This trip is THE best Galapagos Photo-Cruise in the world. By far. No one else offers a trip that visits the top three world-class landings twice each. What does this trip offer? The world’s best Galapagos guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), a great crew, and me, with ten Galapagos Photo-cruises under my belt. Pre-trip gear suggestions and advice and twice-daily, pre-landing, location-specific briefings. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea! Do know that there are one-week Galapagos trips (six full and two half- days on the boat “from $9995”! (If you think I am exaggerating, click here.) Thus, this trip represents a tremendous value; why go all that way and miss half of the great photographic locations? And why not visit the three very best spots twice each?

The great spots that we will visit include Tower Island — including Darwin Bay (almost surely twice!) and Prince Phillips Steps, Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world’s only nesting site of Waved Albatross (almost surely twice!), and Gardner Bay — each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway. We will also visit Fernandina, Puerto Ayora for the tortoises and Darwin’s Finches, Puerto Egas—James Bay, and North Seymour (almost surely twice) for nesting Blue-footed Boobies and both frigatebird species in most years, South Plaza for Land Iguanas and seabirds, Floreana for Greater Flamingoes, and Urbina Bay, all spectacular in their own right. We visit every great spot on a single trip. Plus lots more.

There will be lots of opportunities to snorkel on sunny middays for those like me who wish to partake. (The park service does not approve our second visits to the same great locations until right before the trip; we have never been turned down. We will be the first boat on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island every afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast skies, we will often spend 5+ hours at the best sites. And as noted above, mid-day snorkeling is an option on most sunny days depending on location and conditions. On the 2015 trip most snorkeled with many thousands dolphins. I eased off the zodiac to find hundreds of dolphins swimming just below me.

Note that some of the walks are on the difficult side. Great images are possible on all landings with either a hand held 70-200mm lens and a 1.4X teleconverter or an 80- or 100-400mm lens. In the past, I have taken a longer lens ashore on most landings as they better fit my style. In 2017 I took the then brand-new Canon 400mm DO lens and the Canon 500mm f/4 L IS II lens (with both teleconverters). In 2019 I took my Nikon 500 PF and my SONY 100-400 GM lens. I only rarely used my Nikon rig …

The Logistics

September 27 to Guayaquil and fly home on 14 October 14.

SUN SEPT 27, 2020: Arrive in Guayaquil a day early to ensure that you do not miss the boat.

MON SEPT 28, 2020: Introductory session at the Iguana Park.

TUES SEPT 29, 2020. We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2019 trip some folks made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!

TUES OCT 14, 2020. We disembark the Samba in mid-morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; some will overnight there. Others will continue homeward on a red-eye flight.

$14,499 includes just about everything: all transfers, guide and park fees, all food on the boat, transfers and ground transportation, your flights to the archipelago, and two or three nights (double occupancy) in a top notch hotel in Guayaquil. If you are good to go, a non-refundable deposit of $5,000 per person is due immediately. Please e-mail before mailing your deposit check. The second payment of $5,000 will be due on March 1, 2020. The final payment of $4,499 per person will be due on June 1, 2020.

Again, this trip needs ten participants to run so please do not book your flights until you learn that we are good to go: I will commit to the trip once I have eight deposits. Purchasing travel insurance within two weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On the last trip, two couples were forced to cancel less than ten days prior to departure. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same. One couple used a discount outfit; they are still tryng to get remimbursed …

Not included: your round trip airfare from your home to and from Guayaquil, beverages on the boat, phone calls, your meals in Guayaquil, personal items, and an $700/person cash tip for the crew and the guide to be shared by our guide and the 7 folks who will be waiting on us hand and foot every day for two weeks. The service is so wonderful that many folks choose to tip extra.

The Itinerary

Sunday, September 27, 2020: Fly to Guayaquil arriving a day early to ensure that you do not miss the boat.

Monday, September 28, 2020: Introductory session at the Iguana Park.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020: We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2019 trip some folks made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!

On the Boat

Day 1: Tuesday, September 29: PM North Seymour

Day 2: Wednesday, Septmber 30: Genovesa: AM Darwin Bay, PM Prince Phillips´ Steps

Day 3: Thursday, October 1: Marchena: AM Playa Negra, PM Navigation to Isabela

Day 4: Friday, October 2: Isabela: AM Punta Albemarle, PM Punta Vicente Roca

Day 5: Saturday, October 3: AM Fernandina: Punta Espinoza, PM Isabela: BahĂ­a Urbina

Day 6: Sunday, October 4: Isabela: AM Elizabeth Bay, PM Punta Moreno

Day 7: Monday, October 5: Floreana: AM Post Office Bay, PM Punta Cormorant

Day 8: Tuesday, October 6: Santa Cruz: AM Highlands and Lunch, PM free time in the city with internet access.

Day 9: Wednesday, October 7: Española: AM Gardner Bay, PM Punta Suárez

Day 10: Thursday, October 8: Española: AM Punta Suarez, PM Navigation to San Cristóbal

Day 11: Friday, October 9: San CristĂłbal. AM Isa Lobos (only until 9 am), PM Punta Pitt

Day 12: Saturday, October 10: AM Santa Fe, PM South Plaza

Day 13: Sunday, October 11: Genovesa: AM Darwin Bay, Navigation to Santiago

Day 14: Monday, October 12: AM James Bay, PM Rábida

Day 15: Tuesday, October 13: North Seymour from 6 to 9am. Everyone must make this landing. We disembark late morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; some wil will overnight there. Others will catch a redeye and fly home.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020: The folks who stayed in Guayaquil will fly home most likely very early in the day.

The itinerary above is subject to National Park apporoval.

I hope that you can join me on what will surely be a rich and rewarding photographic experience.


If In Doubt …

If you are 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 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 or Bedfords, 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 or Bedfords 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.

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 :).