Like White on Rice « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Like White on Rice

What’s Up?

We photographed at dawn at the Otowa Bridge in Tsurui Japan but it was not cold enough for mist and a low lying layer of clouds killed the yellow light we have been hoping for. It is just after dinner on Tuesday night here in Japan which is just before breakfast on Monday on the east coast.

We spent the afternoon at the Akan Crane Center for our first crack at the Red-crowned Cranes. We had lots of great flight chances with the cranes and the fish feeding offered a half hour of non-stop action with White-tailed Sea Eagles and Black-eared Kites. The wind came up in the late afternoon and it got really chilly so most of the group joined Paul and me for a trip to the local onsen. On the way there I was bundled up and chilly. On the way back I and everyone else was warm as toast. Every meal at our lodge has been great but tonight, our guide’s wife Shinobu, outdid herself; each course was better than the previous one. Tomato salad with sesame seeds and sesame oil dressing. Tempura chicken. Burdick rice. An amazing radish dish. Cold soba noodles to die for. Sweet tea tempura shrimp with snap beans. We all gave our chef a well deserved standing ovation!

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks 105 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a great job recently–please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated.



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.

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. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

A New Record-Low BAA Price

Ted Krug is offering a used Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera in excellent condition for the record low BAA price of $1599. The sale includes the camera, the strap, the battery, the front cover, 2 CDs and the manual, 2 connecting cables, the original shipping and product boxes, and insured ground shipping via major courier. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Ted by e-mail.

I have used the 5D III for birds on occasion with excellent results, even with the 2X III TC and the 600 II. It has long been my go-to dSLR for flowers, landscapes, and Urbex photography. In my experience, the quality of the image files is second only to those from the 5DS R. artie


This image was created at Lake Kusharo, Hokkaido, Japan with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens and the mega megapixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 2/3 stops off the snow: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6. Shade WB.

One AF point to the left and one row above the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best with moving subjects). The selected AF point was on the bend of lower neck. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Whooper Swan walking on snow-covered frozen lake

Like White on Rice

On Sunday I stuck with my 400 DO II like white on rice all morning long. It was the only lens that I used. And I never even thought about adding a teleconverter. For today’s featured image I sat in the snow to get lower and effectively move the background farther from the bird.

Too Yellow

With the soft overcast light all of my swan images had a yellow color cast. When I was converting the image in DPP 4 I noticed something new for the 5DS R as I was working on the color balance: Auto: White priority. Wow! This setting brightened the WHITEs and left the snow a perfect white: R = 248, G = 248, B = 248. I am pretty sure that it is only available on the 5DS R (and almost surely on the 5D S as well).


Consider joining me in Japan in February, 2017, for the world’s best Japan in Winter workshop. Click on the card to enjoy the spectacular larger version.

Japan In Winter IPT. February 9-24, 2017: $13,999/double occupancy.

All lodging including the Tokyo hotel on 9 FEB, all breakfasts & dinners, ground transport and transfers including bus to the monkey park hotel, and all entrance fees and in-country flights are included. Not included: international flights, all lunches–most are on the run, and alcoholic beverages.

Please e-mail for couple and IPT repeat customer discount information.

This trip is one day longer than the great 2014 trip to allow for more flexibility, more time with the cranes, and most importantly, more time for landscape photography. Hokkaido is gorgeous. You will enjoy tons of pre-trip planning and gear advice, in-the-field instruction and guidance, at-the-lodge Photoshop and image review sessions in addition to short introductory slide programs for each of the amazing locations. Skilled photographer Paul McKenzie handles the logistics and we enjoy the services of Japan’s best wildlife photography guide whom I affectionately call “Hokkaido Bear.” His network of local contacts and his knowledge of the weather, the area, and the birds enables him to have us in the best location every day.


Amazing subjects. Beautiful settings. Nonstop action and unlimited opportunities. Join me.

The Logistics

Arrive Tokyo: 9 FEB 2017 the latest. 8 FEB is safer and gives you a day to get acclimated to the time change. Your hotel room for the night of the 9th is covered.

Bus Travel to Monkey Park Hotel: 10 FEB: A 1/2 DAY of monkey photography is likely depending on our travel time… This traditional hotel is first class all the way. Out stay includes three ten course Japanese dinners these sumptuous meals will astound you and delight your taste buds. There are many traditional hot baths (onsens) on site in this 150 year old hotel.

Full Day snow monkeys: FEB 11.

Full Day snow monkeys: FEB 12.

13 FEB: Full travel day to Hokkaido/arrive at our lodge in the late afternoon. The lodge is wonderful. All the rooms at the lodge have beds. Bring your warm pajamas. A local onsen (hot springs bath and tubs) is available for $5 each day before dinner–when you are cold, it is the best thing since sliced bread. The home-cooked Japanese styles meals at the lodge are to die for. What’s the best news? Only a small stand of woods separates us from the very best crane sanctuary. During one big snowstorm we were the only photo group to be able to get to Tsurui Ito; we had the whole place to ourselves in perfect conditions for crane photography!

FEB 14-23: Red-crowned Crane, raptors in flight, Whooper Swans, and scenic photography. Ural Owl possible. One 2-night trip to Rausu for Steller’s and White Tailed Sea Eagles on the tourists boats is 100% dependent weather, road, and sea ice conditions. Only our trip offers complete flexibility in this area. It has saved us on more than once occasion. An afternoon of duck photography in the harbor at Rausu is a strong possibility. The cost of 3 eagle-boat trips is included. If the group would like to do more than three boat trips and we all agree, there will be an additional charge for the extra trip or trips. Do understand that few if any tours offer at least one afternoon boat trip….

Lodging notes: bring your long johns for sleeping in the lodge. In Rausu and at the Snow Monkey Park, the hotel the rooms are Japanese-style. You sleep on comfortable mats on the floor. Wi-fi is available every day of the trip.

FEB 24. Fly back to Tokyo for transfer to your airport if you are flying home that night, or, to your hotel if you are overnighting. If you need to overnight, the cost of that room is on you.


Life is short. Hop on the merry-go-round.

To Sign Up

To save your spot, please send your $5,000 non-refundable deposit check made out to “Birds as Art” to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. I do hope that you can join me for this trip of a lifetime. Do e-mail with any questions or give me a buzz at 863-692-0906.

Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On two fairly recent Galapagos cruises a total of 5 folks were forced to cancel less than one week prior to the trip. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links πŸ™‚

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 BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. 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 we are 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 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 visiting the BAA Online store as well.


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

4 comments to Like White on Rice

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie,
    The blog timing suits me nicely too when you are in Japan. You are such a lad did you know.
    You have a job to do and all you can think about is the food. πŸ˜‰ I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a photograph of the food one of these days. Taken with the 5dsr and the 100-400 ll for its close focussing , taken -2/3 of a stop metered off the brown table mat, 1/30 th sec at f8 in the muted ambient light. You are becoming a foodie. Life is always better when the food is good, I’m just a wee bit envious.
    The goose is beautiful. This week I felt confident to Facebook post some of my latest flight images. You can see the Artie influence. It’s so much fun. Thank you for all you do.
    Travel safe.

  • avatar Ted Willcox


  • I kinda like it when you’re in Japan…your blogs come out nice and early
    for me on the east coast so I can read them while I’m working the midnite

    Beautiful swan and love the whites with the touch of yellow and black.

    Just out of curiosity…is this the same swan who was checking out the
    pond on your previous blog?