Life: Sometimes Tough, Always Wonderful « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Life: Sometimes Tough, Always Wonderful


Thursday was another typically busy day. I had a great swim and a great ice bath sandwiched around a visit to TJ McKeon, my Active Release Technique chiropractor who worked hard on my right shoulder. Today I will be answering a ton of e-mails, getting started on an article on San Diego for Nature Photographer magazine, and do some packing for my upcoming St. Augustine trip.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Short-Notice Spoonbill and Wading Bird Chicks IPT: May 4-6, 2015. TWO FULL and TWO 1/2 DAYS: $1099. Limit 8/Openings 5.

Enjoy practically private instruction. Please call me on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday at 863-692-0906 for St. Augustine IPT Late Registration Discount info. For complete details see the blog post here and scroll down.

Canon’s Huge Megapixel Bodies

Many of you have read about the two new Canon 50+ megapixel bodies, the Canon EOS 5DS DSLR and the Canon EOS 5DS R DSLR. The two cameras look, sound, and pretty much are quite similar. I have withheld commenting until now because I did not have a good–heck, I did not have any–understanding of the single difference between the two bodies, that being the Low-Pass Filter Effect Cancellation.

If you missed the hugely popular “Canon’s Two New 50+ Megapixel Camera Bodies/You Must Read This Before You Buy,” you can click here to catch up and learn a ton to boot.

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This image was created by participant Craig Wesson with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III (hand held at 385mm), and the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode.

artie on beach. Image courtesy of and copyright 2015: Craig Wesson Photography

Sometimes Life is Tough

As I mentioned here previously, conditions on Sunday morning at DeSoto were viciously tough with a 25mph plus west wind scouring sand against our faces and all the birds facing away from the light. And the sun was quite harsh. Participant Craig Wesson created this image of me struggling to get in position to photograph a tame Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Many thanks Craig.

I did make a single good image of the bird with the 200-400 and then got close enough for a vertical head and shoulders portrait. As the wind was blowing the lens all over the place I had gone to Zone AF but when I attempted to focus nothing happened. I blamed it on Zone not being able to see the subject…. Pretty bad system I thought. Soon thereafter I realized that when I had switched from far focus only limit range to full that I had inadvertently switched from AF to M. M for Manual focus. Can you say operator error? In my own defense, I complained about the new placement of the limit range switch on all of the series II super-telephoto lenses when they first came out. It is a mistake that I still make frequently….

I will share the single keeper Yellow-crowned Night-Heron image with you here soon along with a lesson on photographing in severe wind-against-sun conditions.

Life is Always Wonderful

In the “Civility and Freedom of Speech on the BIRDS AS ART Blog” blog post here, Ken Wood left a comment that read in part, “I met you one time. You were in Klamath Falls, Oregon for the Winter Wings Festival a couple of years ago. I walked into the room where you were about to give a Photoshop presentation. You looked up and said “Hi”. I said “Hi” back. It was a magical moment. I enjoy your blog and check in frequently. I have learned tons of stuff (back button focus for one) and have your Digital Basics File and your DPP Raw Conversion Guide. I am continuously gleaning from both. Thank you for doing what you do and “Keep on shooting.”

I responded: Hi Ken and welcome. Why magical? later and love, artie Ken never say my question. But David Peake did via e-mail on April 17.
I share it with you below with his kind permission.

Why Magical?


If I may have the temerity to answer this question you asked of someone on your blog. They said that your “Hi,” was magical. I feel the same and here’s why. It’s rare in this world to come across a person who can connect with people the way you do. I have watched the You Tube hour and fifty something minutes of you teaching about lenses for bird photography at least twice. The first time I watched it for the information. I learned that every lens has its merits. Just get the bird in your view finder, focus and shoot. That was inspiring enough.

But I watched a second time to absorb something else. Something less tangible but even more real. Somebody came into the room part way through your presentation and you said. “Hi”. And yes, it was magical. Such a small word. Such a large meaning. Only two letters , a single syllable, but such depth behind the greeting.

The sound of your voice says it all; here’s what I heard.


Please come in.

We are complete now that you are here.

We missed you.

You might be a little late but it feels right now you have arrived.

I’m glad you made it.

Thank you for coming.

I’m not sure what kept you but it’s ok.

You’re here now and you’re safe.

I love you.

Those are the word of a Father in the very best sense.

The sense of acceptance, the complete absence of any malice, irritation or judgment in your voice. It’s so rare.

And it’s no surprise that people value and love you.

Your email address says it all. You are Sam and Maya’s grandpa. You love and are loved. You are real, authentic and reachable.

For the short time I have been following your blog I recognize the depth of yourself that you share so freely with the world. I cannot tell you how much I value and appreciate this. I am facing my own journey right now as my wife is unwell with cancer. Your story gives me many reasons to hope. We desperately want her to live but we are being forced to face up to many unpleasant questions. If such a thing is possible I am terrified but calm all at the same time. The BAA blog is a quiet oasis for me as I process and try to make sense out of a troubling situation. It’s not often one comes across a person who knows why they’re on the planet as you do, understanding your reason for being. I value this and the fact you have taken the time to write me, several times on the blog, a complete unknown, on the other side of the planet, 16 hrs ahead as the day is counted… Real treasure.! It really is magical.

The moment when a father turns his face towards you and lets his countenance rest on you is one of the purest kinds of blessing I can think of.

I am gratefully and sincerely yours, with kind regards, David Peake

Blown Away

I was of course blown away by David’s kind words. And by his simple yet powerful writing style. We have corresponded several times since his first e-mail and become great online friends. I shared the story of losing my beloved wife and best friend Elaine Belsky Morris to breast cancer in 1994. It is amazing how serendipitous events can lead to so much sharing and wonderful stuff.

I value David’s thoughtful comments on the blog as well. I hope to visit him in New Zealand one day.

Used Photography Gear/New Listings

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

Multiple IPT veteran Carl Zanoni is offering a used Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like new condition for the record low price of $1649.00. The sale includes front lens cover and rear lens cap, the ET-82 lens hood,the LZ 1324 Lens Bag, the tripod mount ring (collar), the original box, and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Carl by e-mail or by phone at 860 306 9651 (eastern time).

I have owned and used the 70-200 II since its release. It is an incredibly versatile lens. I use it (alone or with either the 1.4X III or the 2X III TCs) for both birds and for wildlife. It is a valuable tool at the gator rookeries. In addition, I use it for flower fields, flocks of birds in flight (especially geese at Bosque and skimmers at Nickerson Beach), for tree and scenic photography, and for pan blurs both hand held and on a tripod. And for tons more. As I said, “versatile.” Priced so low, this one should sell immediately.

Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L USM Macro Lens

Multiple IPT veteran Carl Zanoni is also offering a used Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 USM macro lens in like new condition for $1175. The sale includes the E-72 II 72mm (front) lens cap, the (rear) lens dust cap E, the ET-78 II lens hood, Tripod Mount Ring B (tripod collar), the LZ1324 lens case, the original box, and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Carl by e-mail or by phone at 860 306 9651 (eastern time).

I have owned and used the 180 macro for more than 10 years. It is the primo telephoto macro lens. It is sharp with and without a 1.4X TC. It offers a narrow field of view that goes a long way to eliminating back distracting background element. It is great for flowers and all sorts of bugs, butterflies, and dragonflies as well as for frogs and toads.

Canon EF 24-70 f2.8L II USM Lens

Dave Bourgaize is offering a used Canon EF 24-70 f2.8L II USM lens in excellent condition for $1499.00. The sale includes front lens cover and rear lens cap, EW-88C lens hood, original Canon bag, and insured shipping via UPS Ground to US addresses. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Dave by e-mail or by phone at (310) 748-9547 (pacific time zone).

I own and use the 24-70II. It is much sharper edge to edge than the lighter, more versatile Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. I consider the 24-70II a must for serious landscape photographers. As it sells new for $1899 Dave’s price is lower than any I have seen for this lens in excellent condition. It should sell immediately.

The “old” five, the Canon 500 mm f/4L IS Lens

Gregory Asnis is offering a never used Canon 500 mm f/4L IS lens in brand new condition for $4999. The sale includes the the front leather hood, the rear dust cap, the lens trunk, an AquaTech SoftHood Collapsing Hood for the 500mm f/4 (a $150 value), and insured shipping by UPS Ground to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Gregory via e-mail or by phone at 917-597-9408, Eastern Time.

The old five was at one time the world’s most popular telephoto lens. It still makes great images with both TCs. Greg’s new, never used lens is priced lower than many used ones on the web. artie

Click here for the complete listings.


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10 comments to Life: Sometimes Tough, Always Wonderful

  • avatar Bobby Perkins

    Didn’t you just recently do a lesson on checking camera settings? AF to M, Wow Artie. Our mistakes are even worse after we’ve pressed the shutter button and it’s too late.

    I’m sitting here wiping tears after a heart string snapped, and ah yes, what a difference a “Hi” can make. Acknowledgment & kindness takes us to new places. It’s turning into years Artie and your still and always will be my inspiration

    “The BAA blog is a quiet oasis for me as I process and try to make sense out of a troubling situation.”

    I cannot even begin to say how true this has been for myself many times over.

    Thank You Artie

  • At the risk of redundancy, please let me add my “me too!” Meeting you at the CNPA annual meeting in February was, indeed, magical. Your presence there was the reason I attended. In between programs you still took a few minutes to speak with me, so gracious and generous with your time. The fact that you recalled my name from past comments here really blew me away, Artie. You have so many folks to keep track of. Someone else came up and you turned your attention to him and his story, making him feel equally welcome, equally valued. Your teacher’s heart is what keeps me coming back, over and over, to this blog, and keeps me purchasing your resources, and keeps me recommending you to newer photographers I meet. And yes, thank you for adding–in your programs and here on the blog–your personal touch. That is what has touched David, obviously, and now he can know his story has touched others. I too will lift David and his family up. Thank you, Artie.

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    You got me on April fools day and you published my response. I was playing your post on your hardware, and my wife, who is very intuitive said, “Who is that guy, sounds like someone I would lket to meet.” And she said, considering we are planning a Galapogos trip, “maybe we should think about going with him?” Not having been on your blog very long, your willingness to share, and more importantly to challenge, demonstrates a true teacher’s perspective. Teacher are givers, not takers. Thanks for the sharing. With not much perspective, I can relate to the expression of others on this post. I can also comment, being on the West Coast, when I get up and your dailly post is not in my inbox when I open it, I say, “shoot”. That’s how much I look fforward to it, Thanks again.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW and thank you too for your kind words and for sharing you insightful and complimentary thoughts 🙂

      later and love, a

      ps: let me know if you guys might be interested in a two week Galapagos Photo-Cruise in June or July 2017.

  • avatar Therese Scheller

    I look to these blogs for inspiration and education. This one has truly touched me, thank you for sharing and many good thoughts for David and his wife.

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie.
    You would be most welcome. The beds already made and the door is always open.
    As always, thanks for an interesting post.
    Kind regards
    David Peake.