Monkeying Around… And Difficult Pipe Removal. Good Post-Processing Guide News. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Monkeying Around... And Difficult Pipe Removal. Good Post-Processing Guide News.

What’s Up?

I worked all day getting ready for the Namibia trip. With four folks signed up for Japan 2017, there are only five slots left so the trip is a definite go. Scroll down for details.

The Streak

Todayโ€™s blog post marks 153 days in a row with a new educational blog post. Assuming that I will be making the trip to Namibia on April 11, this streak will come to an end soon. As alwaysโ€“and folks have been doing a really great job recentlyโ€“please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. Please remember that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.

Price Reduced $2500

Japan In Winter IPT. February 9-24, 2017: $11,499 (was $13,999)/double occupancy.

Price Reduced $2,500 on 3-8-16!

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

As I really, really want to make it back to Japan in winter one more time, I decided to lower the price of the world’s best Japan in Winter trip by $2,500. Yes my trip has three great leaders including the best bird photography instructor on the planet. That’s the guy who knows where to be when and why. And yes, it is now a bit more expensive than most. And yes, we stay at a fine hotel in Tokyo. And yes, we stay in a marvelous traditional hotel for our three nights at the Snow Monkey Park. And yes, we are perfectly located on Hokkaido, minutes from the premier Red-crowned Crane sanctuary and an easy drive to most of the other wondrous avian attractions. And yes, we enjoy home cooked breakfasts and dinners prepared by Shinobu, the wife of our local Japanese guide. She is an incredible chef. After three visits her meals are now traditional Japanese fine-tuned for the American palate. And yes, my tour is longer than the others, giving us many days with the cranes. I saw one trip with only two days of crane photography; what a bummer. End each day with a traditional onsen (hot springs mineral bath) to complete your immersion in Japanese culture.

Life is short. I hope that you can join me. Scroll down for details.


This image was created on the 2015 Japan in Winter IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 117mm) and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 2/3 stops off the snow: 1/250 sec. at f/7.1. AWB.

Two AF points up and one row to the left of the center AF Point/AI Servo Surround/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when hand holding). This was a small crop from above, left, and below. The selected AF point was on the side of the upper breast of the male. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Snow Monkeys copulating

AF Point Question

Why would it have been better in this case to have selected the AF point that was four AF points up and two rows to the left of the center AF Point?

Up the Hill at the Snow Monkey Park

The walk up the hill to the Snow Monkey Park takes about 30 minutes uphill for fast walkers. I take 40 minutes. The good news is that all you need lens wise is an 80- or 100-400 f/5.6 lens or a 70- or 80-200f/2.8 lens. And there is a heated shelter for those who wish to warm up. But it is rarely really cold at this location. The photography is about as easy at it gets as long as you do not monkey around…

Animated GIF Screw-Up

Please note that I reversed the Original and Optimized text layers in the animated GIF above. It is too much work to re-do it so you will need to adjust your thinking ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks to Ryan Sanderson for catching that one. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Difficult Pipe Removal

Check out the elimination of the white plastic pipe in the lower right. I used the Clone Stamp Tool, the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, and even the Blur Tool. In addition fairly large, warped quick mask of the water on the right was used to create the water needed to cover the bottom of the pipe. Keys to the relative success of the repairs were to work very large and to eliminate repetitive patterns as soon as they were spotted. I use the Patch Tool and the Spot Healing Brush to do that.

Noise reduction via Arash’s Neat Image techniques was very successful. The new guide is finally done. It will be for sale here soon for $48. A huge amount of work went into its creation.


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: $11,499 (was $13,999)/double occupancy.

Price Reduced $2,500 on 3-8-16!

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 is unparalleled and 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. Our stay includes three ten course Japanese dinners; these sumptuous meals will astound you and delight your taste buds. There are many traditional hot springs mineral 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. An overnight trip to Rausu for Steller’s Sea Eagle and White-tailed Eagle photography on the tourists boats is 100% dependent on the weather, road, and sea ice conditions. Only our trip offers complete flexibility in this area. It has saved us on more than once occasion. The cost of 2 eagle-boat trips is included. If the group would like to do more than two boat trips and we all agree, there will be an additional charge for the extra trip or trips. No matter the sea ice conditions, we will do two eagle boat trips (as long as we can make the drive to Rausu; it snows a lot up there). We have never been shut out.In 2016 there was no sea ice but our guide arranged for two amazingly productive boat trips.

Lodging notes: bring your long johns for sleeping in the lodge. At the Snow Monkey Park, and in Rausu, 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

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.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right ๐Ÿ™‚

6 comments to Monkeying Around… And Difficult Pipe Removal. Good Post-Processing Guide News.

  • avatar Ryan Sanderson

    The “Original” and “Optimized” labels seem to be reversed in the example.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Ryan. Not “seem to be.” They are. My bad. I am not gonna re-do the GIF but will add a note above ๐Ÿ™ That’s a first for me. Thanks again. a

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie.
    Focus point question, I’m thinking that you would have got more on the males face and eyes with the suggested point of focus.
    Either way , what you posted looks pretty sharp on both faces to me.

  • avatar Jackie M

    The trip sounds like fun and the treat would be having the world’s best bird photographer showing you how it’s done. Mineral bath sounds good too!

    On the pipe removal: I would have cloned or patched out the pipe reflection and the edge where it touched the water. If I hadn’t known it was there I wouldn’t have noticed. ๐Ÿ™‚ Jackie

    Have a safe trip!