My Great Weekend Telling Stories: Scrapping the Script! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

My Great Weekend Telling Stories: Scrapping the Script!

What’s Up?

Sunday was spent on the Sisyphean task of stock-piling blog posts… I got my core exercises done in the morning and was in the pool by noon. Watched lots of NFL football for the rest of the day while working.

Please remember that the blog is intended to be interactive; the higher the number of folks who participate, the more everyone learns, including you. And me.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending IPTs and dozens of the folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

Speaking Gigs

If you are a member of a photography club that can put more than 100 folks in the seats–200 or more is way better–and are looking for a 2017 or 2018 keynote speaker for a year-end event or a seminar weekend, please contact me via e-mail with the pertinent details. I will do my best to arrange for Canon support for my appearance.

The Streak

Today’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, 305 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-–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.

My Great Weekend Telling Stories

I worked out a deal for extra days off with my right-hand man, Jim (Litzenberg) in return for him driving me to Naples on Friday, manning the sales table on Saturday, and getting us back to ILE safely on Saturday after the DPI-SIG program. On the drive down, I put the finishing touches on a brand new, longer version of the very popular “A Bird Photographer’s Story.” Then I made some notes on the interview script that Peggy Farren and I had worked on for a week. When I was done and satisfied, I answered a bunch of e-mails, many dealing with the Used Photo Gear Page which has been red hot recently with lots of stuff selling the day it is listed.

We made it Peggy’s home in Naples by about 2:45pm. The Facebook Live interview was scheduled for four sharp in her living room which turned to be ideal. I should have taken a quick nap but instead we chatted and got acquainted. Peggy’s technical assistant, the very pleasant and capable Joe Fitzpatrick, got us miked up and ready to go. When we started getting ready for the interview I assembled a list of questions from my blog and a Facebook post. I sent them to Peggy. From those, she crafted a script for the interview and sent it to me. I revised it a bit and sent it back to her. Then, as mentioned above, I created some cheat-sheet notes on my copy.

Peggy began the interview right on script with “So tell us about Arthur Morris.” After that we were off to the races. As is typical with me, one story led to another. For the most part, our carefully designed script of questions went out the window. At times the effervescent Peggy managed to get us back on target, but for the most part we went here and there and everywhere. In no time flat is was almost 5:30 so we called it a wrap. Afterwards, while discussing our efforts, we were both elated. We felt that we has been totally relaxed and that the conversation had flowed naturally throughout. And to our great shock, we realized that we had covered a good deal of the material that had been planned for. I will go back over the script more carefully and create a blog post answering the few big misses and possibly expanding on some of the points that I made.

Peggy and Joe graciously took Jim and me to dinner at Shula’s Steak House in Naples. We all had the same thing, the Filet Mignon Trio. On our plates came three small portions of perfectly cooked (rare for me) center cuts of “premium black angus beef, hand selected and aged to perfection.” One had a peppercorn crust, one was prepared oscar style, and the third with a blue cheese crust. I started with the peppercorn and it was excellent. The oscar style one was just a bit better. And the blue cheese crust was fantastic. I had the creamed spinach side and it too was delish. After dinner when discussing our steak topping preferences, we all agreed: blue cheese first, then the oscar, and lastly but still really, really good, the peppercorn. Thanks again to Peggy and Joe for the great dinner and the great conversation.


Click here, scroll down, and then hold your cursor over the pane above to view the complete interview video.


You can view the entire interview, with the sound synced properly, by clicking here.

Viewing the Interview Video

Some folks have had trouble finding and viewing the video so complete directions for computer dummies like me follow. To view the unexpurgated version of the video, click here. Scroll down a bit until you get to Facebook pane that you see above. Hold your cursor over that pane and you will see the video commands appear at the bottom. Un-mute it and hit play and you will be good to go. (Please bear with us as at this time, most likely due to a Facebook error, the sound does not sync properly with the video.)

Note: The logo below is currently at the top of the Understanding Photography page. Resist clicking on is as it will not lead you directly to the video…

Peggy and Joe are going to edit the interview down to 50-60 minutes and make it into a podcast. She noted, “Hopefully that will be a quick and painless project but who knows?” In addition, they will also upload the entire near-90 minutes to their YouTube channel. As you might suspect, you will be seeing links to both of those here on the BAA Blog soon after they are posted.


Peggy Farren’s Take on the Interview

First, a little backstory: the leader of our local camera club here in Naples, Sonny Saunders, is an amazing guy. He has grown DPI-SI–which stands for Digital Photography Imaging – Special Interest Group–into a world-class camera club. When he announced a lecture series with the first guest this season as Arthur Morris, I knew I had to start a podcast to take advantage of these amazing photographers coming right here to my hometown. The podcast didn’t seem as if it would be enough, so I decided to start with a Facebook Live show and then turn the content into a podcast.

I was super-nervous to even approach someone at the level of Arthur Morris. I had met him briefly when we were both speaking at a convention in 2012. He was very nice but I still felt intimidated. I bit the bullet and sent him an email. Artie responded very quickly with a “yes!” Happy dance! I studied his blog, read a couple of his books (okay – I skimmed them) and put together a list of questions. Artie suggested he ask people on his blog and Facebook what they’d like to ask. So we redid our script based on the feedback we received. Artie has a big fan base so we condensed the questions and we were ready to go! I was pleased by how responsive and nice Artie was in all our communications ahead of time. He really put me at ease. By the time he arrived in Naples, I felt like we were friends.

The week before the live show was filled with technical problems and stress. We resolved everything Friday morning, just in the nick of time! Joe Fitzpatrick, without whom I couldn’t have done any of this, studied the Facebook rules and learned that we had to limit the Live show to 90 minutes or we would be cut off. I knew that would be a problem even before we began as we had so much to cover!

We got started right on time and as Artie mentioned, go off script right away. But honestly, Artie was so interesting that I didn’t think it was a big deal. Everyone wants to know how Artie went from “regular guy” to “world famous bird photographer”. At times, I coaxed him back on to the script, which I had on my iPhone in my hand. Well, somehow after about 40 minutes the script disappeared so I was listening and trying to remember what to ask him! When I saw that we only had 15 minutes left, I started to panic a bit. We had quite a few questions about focusing, which Artie answered very well. And very quickly. Thank goodness he remembered to give his Top Ten Bird Photography Tips since that went out of my mind when I lost the script! We ended at about 89 minutes! Talk about cutting it close!

I could not have had a better guest for my first show. I never expected Artie to be so helpful and so extremely nice. He helped me with the script, had great suggestions, and he helped promote the show – even after we were done! Because he was so accommodating and kind, I felt at ease. And he was amazing on camera! The next day, he gave a fabulous presentation at DPI-SIG. Artie shines on stage, as he did in the interview. I am forever in your debt, Arthur Morris, for making my first “Understand Photography Show” a success!

The DPI-SIG Program

With the program scheduled for three full hours, I expanded “A Bird Photographer’s Story”into two parts with a break. Though the program is primarily a general interest biography, I always weave in lots of photo tips. My biggest problem when speaking is keeping my stories short and persuading myself to leave a few out… I simply love telling stories. In spite of my extensive story-telling, I was able to keep the first segment right at 90 minutes as planned. During the potty break, lots of folks visited Jim at the sales table. We started back up at 10:45am and were finished in 45 minutes. That left a half hour for demos and questions. Lots of folks came up afterwards to thank me and many stated that they really loved the personal stuff that I included about my Mom and Dad, my two daughters and their families, and The Work of Byron Katie.

After the program many multiple IPT veterans Stokes and Pat Fishburne who recently moved back to Fort Myers, kindly took Jim and I to lunch at Sushi Thai Too in North Naples. Thanks again guys! I have been to this place before and the Panang Curry is so good that I always get a second one as takeout. We had a ball and everyone enjoyed the great food.

Having been up at 4am on Friday morning with no nap all day and then doing the DPI-SIG program on Saturday morning, I was exhausted by the time we got in the car and headed home. I got some work done and then set my cell phone alarm for 25 minutes. I fell asleep pretty quickly and felt refreshed after my short nap. Jim got us back to ILE just after 5 and headed home to Canaveral quickly, another two hour drive for him. I do not know how he does it but I surely appreciate all he does for me. He is taking Monday off 🙂


Palouse 2016 Horizontals Card

Why Different?

Announcing the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour

In what ways will the 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour be different from the most other Palouse workshops?

There are so many great locations that a seven-day IPT (as opposed to the typical three- or five-day workshops) will give the group time to visit (and revisit) many of the best spots while allowing you to maximize your air travel dollars. In addition, it will allow us to enjoy a slightly more relaxed pace.

You will be assured of being in the right location for the given weather and sky conditions.

You will learn and hone both basic and advanced compositional and image design skills.

You will learn to design powerful, graphic images.

You will visit all of the iconic locations and a few spectacular ones that are much less frequently visited.

You will learn long lens landscape techniques.

You will learn to master any exposure situation in one minute or less.

You will learn the fine points of Canon in-camera (5D Mark III, 5DS R, and 7D II) HDR techniques.

You will be able to share a variety of my exotic Canon lenses including the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens and the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens, aka the “circle lens.”

You will learn to use your longest focal lengths to create rolling field and Urbex abstracts.

You will learn when and how to use a variety of neutral density filters to create pleasing blurs of the Palouse’s gorgeous rolling farmlands.

As always, you will learn to see like a pro. You will learn what makes one situation prime and another seemingly similar one a waste of your time. You will learn to see the situation and to create a variety of top-notch images.

You will learn to use super-wide lenses both for big skies and building interiors.

You will learn when, why, and how to use infrared capture; if you do not own an infrared body, you will get to borrow mine.

You will learn to use both backlight and side-light to create powerful and dramatic landscape images.

This trip will run with one participant.


Palouse 2016 Verticals Card

The 2017 BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tour
June 8-14, 2017. Seven full days of photography. Meet and greet at 7:30pm on Wednesday, June 7: $2,499. Limit 10/Openings: 9.

Rolling farmlands provide a magical patchwork of textures and colors, especially when viewed from the top of Steptoe Butte where we will enjoy spectacular sunrises and at least one nice sunset. We will photograph grand landscapes and mini-scenics of the rolling hills and farm fields. I will bring you to more than a few really neat old abandoned barns and farmhouses in idyllic settings. There is no better way to improve your compositional and image design skills and to develop your creativity than to join me for this trip. Photoshop and image sharing sessions when we have the time and energy…. We get up early and stay out late and the days are long.

Over the past three years, with the help of a friend, we found all the iconic locations and, in addition, lots of spectacular new old barns and breath-taking landforms and vistas. What’s included: In-the-field instruction, guidance, lessons, and inspiration, my extensive knowledge of the area, all lunches, motel lobby grab and go breakfasts, and Photoshop and image sharing sessions. As above, there will be a meet and greet at 7:30pm on the evening before the workshop begins.

To Sign Up

Your non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to hold your spot. Please let me know via e-mail that you will be joining this IPT. Then you can either call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 during business hours to arrange for the payment of your deposit; if by check, please make out to “BIRDS AS ART” and mail it to: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail: artie.

Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options. You can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

Please Remember to use my 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.


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 🙂

8 comments to My Great Weekend Telling Stories: Scrapping the Script!

  • I loved the interview! You were so interesting. I’ve listened to it a few more times this week. It’s on Youtube now:
    Thanks again, Artie!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Peggy. I still am 🙂 And now the sound is synched! Hooray. And thanks again for all your help with the interview and the program. later and love, artie

  • avatar James Saxon

    Just watched the interview and it was great. Great advice and very personal. Thanks

  • avatar Ward Mitchell

    Thanks for doing that and sharing with us……

  • avatar Guido Bee

    Just finished watching your video interview.
    Great. I really enjoyed it. Wish I could have been in FL for the next day, but living in NW Washington state, it’s a long way. I do have the west coast of FL on my to-do list for the birding sites down there.
    Might be able to do the Palouse tour one of these days. I have been there before, but it has lots of possibilities yet un-explored (by me).
    Keep up the good work, and thanks for all the effort you put into it. Great advice.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Guido, It was great fun and Peggy was a doll. And yup, I know all the great spots in the Palouse, and yet every year we find some new ones… Please see my e-mail.


  • avatar John Patton

    Just watched Understand Photography; that was a fantastic interview. Very inspirational. Especially the part where you talk about Elaine. It hit very close to home with me; had the same life changing experience. Thank you for sharing.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi John, Not the club you want to be in, but I know that it helps to learn that you are not alone…. YAW. I would strongly recommend that you visit and do the work on your loss.

      later and love, artie