If I’ve Said It Once, I’ve Said It a Thousand Times… And, the Nickerson Beach BAA IPT Gets Off With a Bang! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

If I've Said It Once, I've Said It a Thousand Times... And, the Nickerson Beach BAA IPT Gets Off With a Bang!

What’s Up?

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful group of five easy-going photographers, all willing and eager and wanting to learn. As you will learn below, our first afternoon proved to be quite exciting. Tuesday morning was excellent as we worked on Black Skimmer chicks of various ages and fledged Common Tern chicks. We arrived at the beach very early, so early in fact that when we were done after 3 1/2 hours of pretty good photography, there were still photographers arriving… NG for them.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 252 days in a row with a new educational blog post. And I still have dozens of new topics to cover; there should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-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. AND Please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.

Photoshop World 2016 Conference Specials

Be sure to check out the B&H Photoshop World 2016 Conference specials here.


This image was created on the first afternoon of the Nickerson Beach IPT by Elizabeth MacSwan (at risk of life and limb) with the hand held Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens (at 24mm) and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/5.6. It was dark! AWB.

Fast moving thunderclouds
Image courtesy of and copyright 2016 Elizabeth MacSwan

If I’ve Said It Once, I’ve Said It a Thousand Times…

“If you opt to leave your 24-105mm lens in the car you will usually not get far before you are kicking yourself.”

The Nickerson Beach BAA IPT Gets Off With a Bang!

We had just gotten out to the beach when it became obvious that we were gonna get creamed by a big thunderstorm approaching rapidly from the west. Even though it had started to rain a bit, we tried to photograph some oystercatcher chicks. Within minutes however, we were rousted by one of the local beach police guys: “There is lightning in the area; everyone must get off the beach now!” As we headed north, I realized that we needed to get to shelter quickly so I led the group to the nearby beach club. Before we made it the wind was howling and it was pouring. We even enjoyed a bit of sleet. Everyone got soaked.

Once we got to safety, Bob DeCroce peeked around the end of the row of cabanas and noted that there was clearing to the west and that it was likely that the storm would pass us in short order. In the meantime, many in the group started to photograph this and that from under the sheltering roof of the row of cabanas. Elizabeth MacSwan, whose image is featured here, climbed up on a picnic table with her tripod-mounted 500 to photograph the gulls on the roof of the next row of little beach cabins. Will Shilling being quite a bit taller did the same simply by raising his tripod. Girl-Kerry Morris (no relation) photographed a neat looking wooden plaque that was painted like a US flag. And I photographed a tattered and wind-whipped stars and stripes at 1/30 second until it wrapped around the flagpole it hung from. Mike DeRosa, always thirsty for exposure lessons, did the same.

Within 15 minutes we were headed back to the beach where we had a good afternoon with skimmers in flight, some young Great Black-backed Gulls, and baby oystercatchers. We topped off our adventurous afternoon with a glorious sunset that was well photographed by the group with a variety of intermediate telephoto lenses with TCs.

It goes without saying, BTW, that my 24-105 was in the trunk of my car 🙁 Sometimes a guy never learns…


Images and card copyright Arthur Morris/BEARS AS ART 🙂

2017 Bear Boat Coastal Brown Bear Cubs IPTs: July 18-24, 2017 from Kodiak, AK: 5 FULL & 2 Half DAYS: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 8/Openings 3.

Join us in spectacular Katmai National Park, AK for six days of photographing Coastal Brown Bears. Mid-July is prime time for making images of small, football-sized cubs. The cubs, and these dates, are so popular that we had to reserve them three years in advance to secure them. There are lots of bears each year in June, but the mothers only rarely risk bringing their tiny cubs out in the open for fear of predation by rival bears. In addition to making portraits of both adults and cubs, we hope to photograph frolicking and squabbling youngsters and tender nursing scenes. At this time of year the bears are either grazing in luxuriant grass or clamming. There will also be some two- and three-year old cubs to add to the fun. And we will get to photograph it all.

We live on our tour operator’s luxurious new boat. At 78 feet long its 24 foot beam makes it quite spacious as well. And the food is great. We will likely spend most of our time at famed Geographic Harbor as that is where the bears are generally concentrated in summer. On the odd chance that we do need to relocate to another location we can do so quickly and easily without having to venture into any potentially rough seas. We land via a 25 foot skiff that has lots of room for as much gear as you can carry.

Aside from the bears we should get to photograph Horned and Tufted Puffin and should get nice stuff on Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Harbor Seal, and Steller’s Sea Lion as well. A variety of tundra-nesting shorebirds including Western Sandpiper and both yellowlegs are also possible. Halibut fishing (license required/not included) is optional.

It is mandatory that you be in Kodiak no later than the late afternoon of July 17 to avoid missing the float planes to our boat on the morning of July 18. Again, with air travel in Alaska (or anywhere else for that matter) subject to possible delays, being on Kodiak on July 16 is a much better plan.

Barring any delays, we should get to photograph bears on our first afternoon and then again every day for the next five days after that, all weather permitting of course. On our last morning on the boat, July 24, those who would like to enjoy one last photo session will have the opportunity to do so. The group will return to Kodiak via float plane from late morning through midday. Most folks will then fly to Anchorage and to continue on red-eye flights to their home cities.

What’s included? 7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS on the boat as above. All meals on the boat. National Park and guide fees. In-the-field photo tips, instruction, and guidance. An insight into the mind of two top professionals; we will constantly let you know what we are thinking, what we are doing, and why we are doing it. Small group image review, image sharing, and informal Photoshop instruction on the boat.

What’s not included: Your round trip airfare to and from Kodiak, AK (almost surely through Anchorage). Your lodging and meals on Kodiak. The cost of the round-trip float plane to the boat and then back to Kodiak as above. The cost of a round trip last year was $550. The suggested crew tip of $200.

Have you ever walked with the bears?

Is this an expensive trip? Yes, of course. But with 5 full and two half days, a wealth of great subjects, and the fact that you will be walking with the bears just yards away (or less….), it will be one of the great natural history experiences of your life. Most folks who take part in a Bear Boat IPT wind up coming back for more.

A $2,000 per person non-refundable deposit by check only made out to “BIRDS AS ART” is required to hold your spot. Please click here to read our cancellation policies. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us by mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.

Your deposit is due when you sign up. That leaves a balance of $4699. The next payment of $2699 will be due on September 15, 2016. The final payment of $2000 is due on February 15, 2017. We hope that you can join us for what will be a wondrously exciting trip.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

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 New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, 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, and for everything else in the new store, 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 those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART 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 🙂

4 comments to If I’ve Said It Once, I’ve Said It a Thousand Times… And, the Nickerson Beach BAA IPT Gets Off With a Bang!

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Awesome photo Elizabeth

    From Girl Kerry not Kelly (my sister’s name!!!!!)

  • avatar David Policansky

    Sounds like fun, Artie. The police were right to get you off the beach. That “sleet” was actually hail, and you’re lucky it wasn’t big or hard enough to hurt you. I be you all got some lovely photos, including today’s featured image. As for that 24-104 lens, does it cost less than the 24-105? 🙂

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yes hail. That’s what I meant. And yes, the 24-104 mm costs exactly one dollar less 🙂


      ps: typo fixed…