Why? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


What’s Up?

I will be scrambling this week trying to get the files for the companion CD book to the CD publishing company by Monday, January 4, 2016 so that we will have product available for the exhibit opening on January 16. I did a lot of scrambling yesterday. Thanks to the many who responded to my pleas for editing help. Four folks — Alan Lillich, Andrae Acerra, Bob Smith, and John Armitage were quite helpful but old friend “Bug” Bob Allen rose well above the call of duty first by sending his powerful yet gentle edits of the documents and then being available to answer my e-mails and phone calls till late into the night. Thanks all.

Important Note

Please understand that if you are up in the air about selling some of your old gear that the price of your item is dropping every day….

Selling Your Used Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the yellow-orange tab on the right side of the menu bar above.

Things have been heating up on the Used Gear page lately.

  • Troy Duong sold his Canon 500mm f/4L IS II lens for $7500.00 in late December 2015.
  • Walt Anderson sold a used Canon 1D X for $3000 in late December to a BAA friend before it was even listed!
  • Larry Master sold a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV in excellent condition for $1399 in mid-December 2015.
  • Melissa Hahn sold her Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS II lens in mint condition now for $8299 in early December, 2015.
  • Monte Brown sold his 300mm 2.8 II lens in near-mint condition for $4499 two days after it was listed in mid-December, 2015.
  • Stephen Zarate sold his used Canon 100-400mm L IS zoom lens very quickly in early December for $650, the original asking price.
  • Kenton Rowe sold his Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS lens with Internal 1.4X Extender in early December for $9799.
  • Brent Bridges sold his Canon 600 II for the full asking price, $9799,in early December 2015.
  • Mike Ederegger sold his AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm F/4 G ED VR II in excellent condition for $ 5199 right after it was listed.

Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO Lens

The Already Record Low BAA Price was Reduced $200 MORE on DEC 27, 2015.

Stephen Zarate is offering a used Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens (the old 400 DO) in very good plus condition for a new record-low BAA price, an insanely low of $2499.00. The lens is covered by a well-worn “digital camo” LensCoat and the tripod ring shows minor signs of wear. The sale includes the lens trunk, the front and rear lens caps, the leather front lens cover, the aforementioned LensCoat, and insured ground shipping via UPS ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Stephen by e-mail or by phone at 949-697-8194 (Pacific time).

I used this lens for several years with great success, especially for birds in flight and while working from various type of water craft. In addition, it would make a great prime super-telephoto lens for folks with a 7D II. Gannets in Love was created with the 400 DO. You can see that one and 13 other killer images that I made with my old 400 DO here. The title of that blog post is “The Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO Lens: Fourteen Images that Prove that the Internet Experts are Idiots.” Stephen’s lens is priced to sell. artie


This image was created on the second 2015 Bosque IPT with the Induro GIT 304L tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III,, and the incredible Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Color temperature 8000K.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the neck of the crane on our right and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Sandhill Crane sunset silhouette

A Dime a Dozen

If you do not know when and where and how to create images like this you either need to join me on next January’s IPT or at the very least, get yourself a copy of the Bosque Site Guide.

The Facts

Next season, I am offering a 4 1/2-DAY Bosque IPT in mid-January. And yes, there are lots of less costly workshops being offered these days. Many of them are downright cheap. There are strict requirements for becoming a workshop leader these days: you must own a camera…. Please remember that you get exactly what you pay for. With me you will have an instructor with more days of teaching and more in-the-field photography experience at Bosque than anyone living or dead: 21 seasons worth. And two BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year-honored images from Bosque. If you want the finest in photographic instruction and want to be assured of being in the right spot at exactly the right time every day, do join me.

Bosque del Apache 2017 BIRDS AS ART/Instructional Photo-Tour. January 13 (afternoon session) through January 17, 2017. 4 1/2 DAYS: $1899. Limit 12/Openings 10.

One half day followed by four full days. Includes four lunches, a comprehensive introductory program on the evening of January 13, and unequaled in-classroom and in-the-field instruction. Breakfasts are on-the-run/grab what you can or motel lobby or get-up-early-and-get to McDonalds (right next door). Four early morning sessions. Five afternoon sessions. The last afternoon will be spent at the Albuquerque Zoo photographing Wood Ducks. This will allow folks to stay in ABQ that evening and grab an early morning flight home (if that works for them).

You can find the complete details by clicking here.

The Big Question

Lana Hays asked on Facebook, “Does this mean that you are not going to be at Bosque during your traditional Thanksgiving time slot next year?

Others were concerned that there might not be any birds….


#1: I have two big Southern Ocean trips–two land-based trips to the Falklands plus the great Cheesemans’ South Georgia/Falklands Expedition. With three weeks and one day between the end of the first trip and the start of the second, I am strongly considering staying in South America for the whole nine weeks instead of having to fly up and back twice…. And even if I do fly home in between the trips, the dates for the Festival of the Cranes and the timing of Thanksgiving would conspire against me.

#2: Over the years, many folks have written stating that they would love to come to Bosque but that they could never get away any time near Turkey Day because of family obligations and the difficulty of traveling by air at that season. This IPT should work well for those folks.

#3: I have been to the refuge in late February, and yes, things were different. We had lots of geese posing in clear blue water right next to the tour loop road and I got to see hundreds of Sandhill Cranes circling up to ride the thermals as they began their northward migration. And I was there once in January. We had lots of birds and lots of action. Along with some great sunrise and sunset colors.


Light Geese Numbers

I decided to see what I could dig up as far as goose numbers over the year…. I found this 5-year summary on the Friends of the Bosque website. I added the red vertical line to approximate the start date of the January 2016 IPT. It looks as if are on average about 30,000 white geese (Snows and Ross’s) in mid-January, well more than that if you discount the 2009/10 numbers.


Crane Numbers

Next I decided to check out the Sandhill Crane numbers and again found what I was looking for on the Friends’ website. And again I added the red vertical line to approximate the start date of the January 2016 IPT. Here it looks as if there are at least about 1,000 more cranes on average in mid-January than in the third week of November.

What’s It All Mean?

While there are never any guarantees in nature photography, it looks as if a mid-January IPT will enjoy good numbers of both light geese and Sandhill Cranes.

More Recent Data?

If anyone can find some more recent annual or monthly Bosque bird counts, I would appreciate their leaving a link or two in a comment. I am especially interested in seeing if the seemingly diminishing corn crops in recent years have reduced numbers across the board….

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2 comments to Why?

  • avatar Ian Cassell

    Hi Artie,

    I was at the Bosque in mid-January 2013. There were plenty of geese and cranes (more than I remembered in November 2011). It was also the only time I’ve ever seen mountain lions there. I wouldn’t worry about bird numbers for your January IPT!