The Spring Fort DeSoto IPT « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Spring Fort DeSoto IPT

What’s Up?

Most of Thursday was spent finishing the Southern Oceans Photography Guide. I have about ten minutes more work to do on that. It will be formally announced here soon. 128 pages, 16,500 words, 175 educationally captioned images: $100. The information in this guide can make or break your trip, save your gear, and possibly even save your life. if you cannot wait a few days, please call the office at 863-692-0906 to order your copy.

The pool was up to a truly balmy 77 degrees as the heater chiller did its job. A big lazy yesterday, I skipped both my core exercises and my ice bath. Today I will get back with the program. The Namibia IPT is sold out. Yesterday, Bill Fraser sold his 1D Mark IV body in excellent condition for $1299 and the sale of Brent Bridges 300 f/2.8L IS II for $4599 became final.

This blog post took 2 1/2 hours to prepare.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks 88 days in a row with a new blog post. Again, please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. 🙂


Thanks to Dan Neri, Len Musmeci, and the Canon Explorers of Light program for their support of the Camera Club of Brevard speaking gig.

Melbourne EoL Speaking Event

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016 I will be presenting “A Bird Photographer’s Story” for the Camera Club of Brevard. The meeting begins at 6:30pm and is free and open to the public. This program is sponsored by Canon USA/Explorers of Light. A small selection of books and CDs will be available for sale. You can find complete details including the location here.



B&H contributed generously as the primary SDNHM exhibition sponsor. Thank them (and me for the blog) by clicking on the logo link above to shop.


DeSoto in spring is rife with tame and attractive birds. From upper left clockwise to center: breeding plumage Dunlin, dark morph breeding plumage Reddish Egret displaying, breeding plumage Laughing Gull/front end vertical portrait, breeding plumage Laughing Gull with prey item, Laughing Gull on head of Brown Pelican, screaming Royal Tern in breeding plumage, Royal Terns/pre-copulatory stand, Laughing Gulls copulating, breeding plumage Laughing Gull/tight horizontal portrait, Sandwich Tern with fish, and a really rare one, White-rumped Sandpiper in breeding plumage, photographed at DeSoto in early May.

Fort DeSoto IPT: May 10-13, 2016. 3 1/2 DAYS: $1399

Meet and Greet at 3pm on Tuesday May 10.

Fort DeSoto is one of the rare locations that might offer great bird photography 365 days a year. It shines in spring. There will Lots of tame birds including breeding plumage Laughing Gull and Royal and Sandwich Terns. With luck, we will get to photograph all of these species courting and copulating. There will be American Oystercatcher and Marbled Godwit plus sandpipers and plovers, some in full breeding plumage. Black-bellied Plover and Red Knot in stunning breeding plumage are possible. There will be lots of wading birds including Great and Snowy Egrets, both color morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue, Tricolored and Little Blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, and killer breeding plumage White Ibis. Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork are possible and likely. We should have lots of good flight photography with the gulls and terns and with Brown Pelican. Nesting Least Tern and nesting Wilson’s Plover are possible.

We will, weather permitting, enjoy 7 shooting sessions. Our first afternoon session will follow the meet and greet on Tuesday May 10. For the next three days we will have two daily photo sessions. We will be on the beach early and be at lunch (included) by 11am. At lunch we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me choose my keepers and deletes–why keep this one and delete that one? If you opt to bring your laptop, we will be glad take a look at a few of your best images from the morning session. We will process an image or two in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. Our lunch learning session will be followed by a break that for me will include Instructor Nap Time. Afternoon sessions will generally run from 4:30pm till sunset. We photograph until sunset on the last day, Friday the 13th… Please note that this is a get-your-feet and get-your-butt wet and sandy IPT. And that you can actually do the whole IPT with a 300 f/2.8L IS, a 400 f/4 ID DO lens with both TCs, or the equivalent Nikon gear. I will likely be using my new 500 II as my big glass and have my 100-400 II on my shoulder.


DeSoto in spring is rife with tame and attractive birds. From upper left clockwise to center: Laughing Gull in flight, adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, copulating Sandwich Terns, Roseate Spoonbill, Great Egret with reflection, Short-billed Dowitcher in breeding plumage, American Oystercatcher, breeding plumage Royal Tern, white morph Reddish Egret, and Snowy Egret marsh habitat shot.

What You Will Learn

You will learn to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to understand the effects of sky and wind conditions on bird photography, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you are scared of it).

The group will be staying at the Magnuson Hotel/Marina Cove, 6800 Sunshine Skyway Lane South, St. Petersburg, FL, 33711. Tel: 727-867-1151. I use The best airport is Tampa (TPA). A deposit of $499 is required to hold your spot. Your balance will be due on March 10, 2016. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 to register. The $5 park entry fee is on you. Tight carpools are recommended. The cost of three lunches is included. Breakfasts are grab what you can on the go, and dinners are also on your own due to the fact that we will usually be getting back to the hotel at about 9pm. Non-photographer spouses, friends, or companions are welcome for $100/day, $350 for the whole IPT.

Why Join an IPT?

For many folks, hands-on, in-the-field instruction is the very best way for them to learn to improve their skills… To see some early spring DeSoto images, click here.

I don’t give up easily…

When I announced the Nickerson Beach Terns/Skimmers/Oystercatchers Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) here the other day, I wrote: Click on each IPT card to enlarge it. Then leave a comment letting us know which is your very favorite image. And do let us know why. While I love ’em all, I will share my three favorites with you here soon.

Not a single person responded…

Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make it in mid-May? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

Shorebirds/Beautiful Beachcombers

If shorebirds give you pause, get yourself a copy of my Shorebirds/Beautiful Beachcombers. Includes ID tips, shorebird biology, migration, and tons more. All in my simple-to-read easy-to-read style.


birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100
The companion e-book to the solo exhibit at TheNat, San Diego, California

The new e-book on CD is available here. The new e-book via is also available via convenient download for $20 by clicking here.

From Rod Anton via e-mail

Dear Artie, Beyond the superlatives you have received for your beautiful presentation, all of which I agree with whole heartedly, I would like to add my thoughts about your exhibition. I see the the dedication, the determination, the passion and the tenacity that drives you, as well as your love of the birds and of your love of photography. Congratulations. The exhibit-companion CD deserves a shout out. Sincerely, Rod Anton

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