The Next Frame (or Not?)… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Next Frame (or Not?)...

What’s Up?

I am fasting all day on Monday and doing the prep for my routine colonoscopy tomorrow morning. Yuck. I will spend a good deal of time today catching up on e-mails and planning my big South America trip. And an easy 3/4 mile swim of course.


Thanks to the many who responded to my request for help in the form of posting question that they have been dying to ask me, for an Facebook Live interview that I will be doing with Peggy Farren of Understand Photography in conjunction with my visit to Naples, FL to do a program for DPI-SIG on Saturday morning. Details on that will follow on the blog soon. If you would like to chime in with a question or two, click here.

There are lots of excellent questions both there and on my Facebook page. I will make a blog post out of the questions that wind up not being used in the interview.

A Fabulous Weight Gain Program

My dear friend and health advisor, Dr. Cliff Oliver, told me that I should not snack on peanut butter as peanuts and most peanut butters contain aflatoxins. So I switched to organic almond butter, organic cashew butter, and organic sunflower butter. The almond butter was great. The cashew butter was fabulous. And the sunflower butter was amazingly delicious. During my five week Long Island visit I purchased and devoured eight jars of the various nut butters. As snacks… When I left Florida on July 15, I weighed 182 pounds. When I got on the scale on Saturday morning, August 20, I weighed 188 3/4 pounds. You can’t beat that: I gained 6 3/4 pounds in only five weeks. That would represent a weight gain of about 70 pounds in a year!

Not good. 190 has long been my panic weight. I know that if I go beyond that that 264 (the most I have ever weighed, at age 18) would not be far behind. It is good to be home and eating well and normally again. But man, I enjoyed every tablespoon of those yummy nut butters… I do, however, look forward to my pants fitting well again in a few weeks.

E-mails from a former student (from forty years ago!)/More High on Life


Hi Mr. Morris

Hope all is well. I was wondering if you are the same Mr Morris who taught in Brooklyn New York. It’s Sylma, I was either in your 3rd or 4th grade class. I was Dorothy in the play we did, The Wiz. I moved to Long Island and ended up having Mr. Caliman (your brother in law) in high school. I don’t know if you remember. Please let me know if it’s you. I would continue writing but want to make sure it’s you.

Sincerely, Sylma Vasquez (Cortes)

After I responded to Sylma–I remember her as a wonderful, smart, sweet (and very skinny!) kid, I received #2:

OMG! I’m so happy it’s you!! I am so happy for you!! Mr. (Famous) Bird photographer. Congratulations!

I can call you tomorrow in the afternoon if that’s ok. I work tomorrow 7-3. I’ll tell you about myself though. I am married. It will be 26 years 9/15. I have 3 kids a boy and 2 girls. My sons are 24 (Michael), 20 (Madison), and my daughter is 17 (Rebecca). I am a Radiation Therapist here in Long Island. I live in West Babylon. I read one of your daughters lives in Holbrook.

I actually just googled your name. I always thought of you. I’ve told my husband about you. Your kindness when I was in your class has never been forgotten. It must have been around 1975-76. I think you probably knew my life at home wasn’t good. You were right. I will call you tomorrow then. Yay!! I’m so happy it’s you!!!:))

With so much love,

The Streak

Todayโ€™s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 285 days in a row with a new educational blog post. There should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. Or not… As always-โ€“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. 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.


This image was created at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on Thursday morning past while I was with private client and multiple IPT veteran Elizabeth MacSwann. I sat behind my Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the fast, rugged Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/400 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode. Cloudy WB.

Lower center Zone/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure; the five active AF points were (incorrectly, due to operator error) on the bird’s neck. As sharpest focus was on the neck, past the plane of the eye, I replaced the eye and a few head feathers using source material from a sharp frame in the series. Click on the image to see a larger version.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment = +5.

Semipalmated Sandpiper dispute (both in fresh juvenal plumage).

The Very Next Frame…

Well, this is actually the frame after the very next frame of the “feeding threat display” image featured in yesterday’s blog post here. But “The Very Next Frame” is a much more effective title than “The Frame After The Very Next Frame.”

In any case, the image above was made less than 3 seconds after yesterday’s featured image (8:29:13 versus 8:26:56). Based on what we can see of the out-of-focus wing, I am sure that the second bird in the frame was running away from the attacking bird. When the semi-plovers squabble, they almost always do so facing each other. The semi-plovers fight much more often than the SESAs.

The first frame in the series was the sharpest. Both frames were converted in DPP 4. It was very convenient to copy the recipe from yesterday’s image, paste it into the next two frames, and then batch process the additional files. I grabbed the sharp eye and a few head feathers from the sharpest image using a selection created via Quick Masking and then placed on its own layer. I used the Move Tool (V) to drag that layer onto the second image. I reduced the Opacity of the top layer to about 50% so that it was east to properly place the selection by lining up the eyes on each layer. Next I and then transformed and rotated the selection. Then the selection was refined after adding a Regular Layer Mask. Lastly, NIK Color Efex Pro’s “White Neutralizer” helped with the color balance.

You can learn to do pretty much all of the above and lots more in my Digital Basics File. Learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair.

Image Question

Do you like or dislike the out-of-focus wing of the second (combatant) sandpiper? Please let us know why or why not.

Advanced Image Design Question

Why would the image have been better if I had been sitting one yard–even one foot–to my right?

1DX AF Guide Offer

The 1DX II is so similar to the original 1DX that I have no plans on doing any type of 1DX Mark II guide. If you use my B&H affiliate link to purchase your Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with 64GB Card and Reader and send me your B&H receipt via e-mail, I will be glad to have Jim send you the 1DX AF Guide as a thank you once I confirm that I received credit for the sale.


Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this fall one way or another. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

BIRDS AS ART Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Workshop (ITFW): $99. Limit 12/Openings: 10)

Join me on the morning of October 2, 2016 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images, especially with a 7D Mark II. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive morning workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place one week before the event.


Folks attending the IPT will be in the field early and stay out late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in early fall. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto Short Notice Fall IPT/September 28 (meet & greet at 2pm followed by our afternoon session) through the full day on October 1, 2016. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1549. Limit 10/Openings: 6. Sunday morning ITFW free to IPT registrants.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds in fall. There they join dozens of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With any luck, we should get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher likely. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join me as my guest on the ITFW on the Sunday morning following the workshop. See above for details on that.

On this and all other IPTs you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify and age many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

At brunch (included) we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one? If you opt to bring your laptop, we can take a look at a few of your images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

As I already have one signed up for this workshop, it is a go. Hotel info will be e-mailed when you register. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). It is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel so if you are interested it would be a good idea to register now and make your hotel reservations as soon as you hear from us. We can, however, coordinate with local folks who opt to stay at home.

Because of the relatively late date, payment is full is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a spot. If the latter, please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to register. Your registration fee is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight so please check your plans carefully before committing. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions and gear & clothing advice a fairly soon.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 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 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.


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™‚

13 comments to The Next Frame (or Not?)…

  • avatar Bob Schwartz

    Hope your colonoscopy went well (at least as well as a colonoscopy can go ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). My wife and I fasted on Monday and had ours Tuesday. Loads of fun!! ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Wow, couple’s colonoscopies, four times as much fun. Last time I had one, about six years ago, I was semi-conscious, cracking jokes. Now they put you totally to sleep. Easier for the procedure but surely more stressful for the body… Hope that yours do not show any problems.


  • avatar Jake Levin

    Not sure if I like the OOF wing or not. You know me and my like of keeping everything sharp (unless you’re blurring on purpose). To answer your advanced design question, if you had been sitting just a bit to the right, the bill and the leg would show some airspace between them as opposed to appearing one in front of the other, plus you wouldn’t have half an eye on the bird’s right side of his head…but it could be something else you were getting at entirely!

    Hope all goes well with the intestinal photo shoot. Feh.

  • Sorry to say but I find the wing of the second bird distracting, it isn’t clear as to what ut is without an explanation.

  • avatar Andrew Grandys

    I dislike this picture as it is right now. Maybe if the obstructing wing was placed somewhere else in the frame or maybe if the angle was different but right now with it right smack in the middle it’s very distracting.


  • avatar Michael Gotthelf

    What a wonderful tribute Art. I’m sure letters and contacts like this, and I know that this is not the first, and I’m sure won’t be the last, mean more to you than all the accolades (of which there have been many) that you receive for your wonderful photography.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Mike,

      You are most correct. To know that you influenced even a single life in a positive manner is quite wonderful. And I try–to an admittedly lesser degree, to do the same thing here on the blog and on IPTs.

      later and love, a

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    Art, what a wonderful letter from your former student. Obviously, you were a bright light for her at school, which she badly needed in her difficult family situation. It’s amazing how just one bright light can make the difference in a child’s life.

  • Art – A sincere congratulations to you for having a former student remember you in this way. I hope you continue to stay in touch with this student. From my perspective, this is the ultimate accomplishment. I, too, re-connected with a favorite teacher, a band director, when a classmate put the word out he was ill. Living in different states, we corresponded for a year and talked on the phone until his illness overcame him, and he passed away. It was time very well spent. We collectively gave him a gift of an embroidered blanket, which he cherished during his illness. At the funeral, it was displayed at his request. Thank you, Art, on behalf of all of your students.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Will do. Thanks for sharing your personal story. I am not sure exactly why, but two of my teachers from elementary school, Mr. Lienwand and Mr. Mel Agotta had positive affects on my life. Perhaps because they were both confident in what they were doing and obviously loved what they were doing….

      later and love, artie

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Nearly all your images require no explanation.
    Maybe you’ve spoiled us with your amazing captures and framing!
    This shot requires an explanation. For bird photography, I want a ‘WOW’ moment right away.
    I don’t want to have to ‘work’ to figure out what I’m looking at. For this shot, my eye had to search around the image to try to make sense of the blur going across the frame. Yet, I love the idea of the image.
    I would like to see much more of the OOF bird’s body. I’m not sure if that could have been accomplished by moving more right or left.

  • I’m on the fence of liking it or not. It’s not that I dislike it. I just keep imagining what it would look like if he was more under the wing, with the out of focus ‘piper wing tip reaching more and touching near the left wing of the other ‘piper.