Learning About Life and Light Angle From Fan Mail… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Learning About Life and Light Angle From Fan Mail...

What’s Up?

On Sunday I made it down to the lake yet again with my relatively new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. At this time of year, but for the cranes, bird photography at ILE is a slow pick at best.

I did lots more work on stock-piling blog posts, watched the UFC on TV in the morning, lots of NFL games afternoon and evening, enjoyed a late 3/4 mile swim, and did my shoulder stretching and exercises.

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.

Wanted to Buy

A friend is looking for a used 7D Mark II in excellent or better condition. If you are looking to sell one, please contact me via e-mail.

The Streak: 311!

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, 311 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.

Learning About Life and Light Angle From Fan Mail

The following comment came up for moderation with regards to the “200-400 w/Internal TC at the Beach/Bug-eyed But Not Bushy-tailed/7D II Pretty Darned Good…” blog post here.

Sorry, Artie, but how can you reconcile this image with your constant pounding of sun angle? I have seen a lot of your critiques that put an otherwise good image into the trash can because of slightly less than ideal sun angle. By opening up the shadows, aren’t you doing the same thing here? I am trying to learn and got confused by this blog post.

It seemed to me that the guy, let’s call him DH for now, was being a bit negative, and probably looking for a piss-fight. And it was even more obvious that he had a really big problem expressing himself clearly via written English. But I approved it anyway and followed up with a few questions. I am sure that as you continue reading you might figure out why I opted to refer to him as DH.

Here is what I posted:

What are you sorry about?
Whom do I need to reconcile with?
What are you referring to when you say “constant pounding of sun angle”?
Critiques of my work or of the work of others?
You wrote, “By opening up the shadows, aren’t you doing the same thing here?” I would ask, the same thing as what???
Please be sure to answer each of my questions above. Thanks.
I have long espoused that folks work on sun angle or within 15 degrees of sun angle and this image follows those guidelines.
later and love, artie

A few minutes later I received the following e-mail:

am: Whom do I need to reconcile with?
DH: With your own stupid and aggressive opinions.

am: What are you referring to when you say “constant pounding of sun angle”?
DH: Your constant pounding of sun angle, stupid.

am: Critiques of my work or of the work of others?
DH: Why, invariably others – your work is invariably beyond reproach.

am: You wrote, “By opening up the shadows, aren’t you doing the same thing here?” I would ask, the same thing as what???
DH: Trying to correct shadows created by shooting off sun angle in bright sunny conditions, stupid. Art, you are a master of deliberately misunderstanding a straightforward and well meant question with the with the express purpose of delivering a demeaning putdown. What a sad, self important old knob you are.Yep, I know, I’m spammed.

Talk about understanding and appreciation. Do note that DH’s question was not “well meant” and it certainly was not straightforward. He was looking to be nasty and pick a fight. I have no idea why the bitter and unhappy folks like him cannot control their need to spread their poison. I simply deleted his e-mail and yes, I spammed him.

Please understand that the purpose of publishing DH’s e-mail is not to solicit pats on the back. I get plenty of those; do know that each one is greatly appreciated.

From UrbanDictionary.com

Internet Troll

A person whose sole purpose in life is to seek out people to argue with on the internet over extremely trivial issues. Such arguments can happen on blogs…


A person who is an idiot and shows it all too well…


This sidelit image was created at Punta Suarez, Espanola (Hood) Island on a BAA Galapagos Photo-Cruise with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens (the “old five”) (now replaced by the much lighter Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens), the 1.4X II TC (now replaced by the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III)and the Canon EOS-1D Mark III (now replaced by the rugged, blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.) ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/7.1. AWB.

The far left AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s eye as framed was active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Waved Albatross sidelit!

Working Off Light Angle…

As for working off light angle, my advice has always been to try to work on or close to light angle, or at least within 15 degrees of light angle while paying careful attention to how the light strikes the bird’s face (as I did with the yellow-crowned “Big Eyeball” image. Except of course when creating silhouettes or backlit images.) Do understand that each and everyone of you is free to work 90 or even 135 degrees off sun angle on clear day if you wish. You are the artist. It will be your picture. And you are free to like those images. Or not. On rarer than rare occasion I might like one of every 100,000 images made 90 degrees off sun angle. Might. I think that I have seen one of those in my 33+ years…

Sidelit Waved Albatross

As near as I can figure, this image was created while I was about 40 degrees off sun angle. Why did I push the button?

1: the area to my left was off limit.
2: the bird’s head was being hit nicely by the very late afternoon light.
3: I was pretty much square to the world.

I think of this one whenever the discussion turns to sidelit images…

All but a handful of pairs of Waved Albatross in the world breed on Espanola (Hood) Island. My two-week Galapagos trip is the only trip to visit Hood and the equally spectacular Tower Island twice each on a single cruise… Join us.


Tame birds and wildlife. Incredible diversity. You only live once…

GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. August 8-22, 2017 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $12,499. Limit: 13 photographers plus the leader: yours truly. Openings: 4.

Same great trip; no price increase!

My two-week Galapagos Photo-Cruises are without equal. The world’s best guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), and two great leaders with ten Galapagos cruises under their belts. Pre-trip and pre-landing location-specific gear advice. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea!

The great spots that we will visit include Tower Island (including Prince Phillips Steps and Darwin Bay), Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world’s only nesting site of Waved Albatross, and Gardner Bay)—each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway. We will also visit Fernandina, Puerto Ayora for the tortoises, Puerto Egas—James Bay, and North Seymour for nesting Blue-footed Boobies in most years, South Plaza for Land Iguanas, Floreana for Greater Flamingoes, and Urbina Bay, all spectacular in their own right. We visit every great spot on a single trip. Plus tons more. And there will be lots of opportunities to snorkel on sunny mid-days for those like me who wish to partake.

It is extremely likely that we will visit the incredible Darwin Bay and the equally incredible Hood Island, world home of Waved Albatross twice on our voyage. The National Park Service takes its sweet time in approving such schedule changes.

We will be the first boat on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island every afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast skies, we will often spend 5-6 hours at the best sites. And as noted above, mid-day snorkeling is an option on most sunny days depending on location and conditions. On the 2015 trip most snorkeled with a mega-pod of dolphins. I eased off the zodiac to find hundreds of dolphins swimming just below me. Note: some of the walks are a bit difficult but can be made by anyone if half way decent shape. Great images are possible on all landings with either a hand held 70-200mm lens and a 1.4X teleconverter or an 80- or 100-400. I sometimes bring a longer lens ashore depending on the landing. In 2017 I will be bring the Canon 400mm IS DO II lens. In the past I have brought either the 300mm f/2.8L IS II or the 200-400mm f/4 L IS with Internal Extender.


Do consider joining me for this once in a lifetime trip to the Galapagos archipelago. There simply is no finer Galapagos photography trip. Learn why above.

An Amazing Value…

Do know that there are one week Galapagos trips for $8500! Thus, our trip represents a tremendous value; why go all that way and miss half of the great photographic locations?

The Logistics

August 6, 2017: We arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador a day early to ensure that we do not miss the boat in case of a travel delay.

August 7, 2017: There will be an introductory Galapagos Photography session and a hands on exposure session at our hotel.

August 8, 2017: We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2015 trip some people made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!

August 22, 2017: We disembark late morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; most will overnight there.

Most will fly home on the early morning of July 23 unless they are staying on or going elsewhere (or catching a red-eye flight on the evening of the 22nd).

$12,499 includes just about everything: all transfers, guide and park fees, all food on the boat, transfers and ground transportation, your flights to the archipelago, and three nights (double occupancy) in a top notch hotel in Guayaquil. If you are good to go, a non-refundable deposit of $5,000 per person is due immediately. The second payment of $4,000 is not due until 11/1/16. The final payment of $3449 per person will be due on 2/1/17. A $200 discount will be applied to each of the balances for couples or friends who register at the same time.

Purchasing travel insurance within 2 weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On two fairly recent 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.

Not included: your round trip airfare from your home to and from Guayaquil, beverages on the boat, phone calls, your meals in Guayaquil, personal items, and a $600/person cash tip for the crew and the guide—this works out to roughly $40/day to be shared by the 7 folks who will be waiting on us hand and foot every day for two weeks. The service is so wonderful that many folks choose to tip extra.

Please e-mail for the tentative itinerary or with questions. Please cut and paste “Galapagos 2017 Tentative Itinerary Please” into the Subject line.

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 🙂

17 comments to Learning About Life and Light Angle From Fan Mail…

  • I have a saying that fits DH mentality he is ” A mood hover he tries to suck any positivity energy from people he he comes in contact with ” And lets face he will never aspire to be any body like
    you our, a top Canon Professional of long standing, bring it on Artie.

    Love and best



  • What’s really sad is that there are so many nasty people like this, that there is a name for them. You would hope it would be rare for someone to be so rude.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Peggy. It is very rare and I feel sorry for the guy. Much of it comes from folks who are bitterly envious of the success of others. I am sure that you have run into a few of them…

      later and love, a

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    That is is whole response. When you have been doing this as long as I have you learn to read between the lines. In my reply to him, I simply asked questions. Then he went off on me as I suspected.

    As for his ability to express himself properly in English, all I can say is “you have got to be kidding.” If you would like a few examples, let me know–also, see the questions I asked of him. And BTW, I knew pretty much what he was trying to ask but since I knew what he wanted–a fight, I asked him to clarify. Do you think that is responses were anywhere normal (whatever that is)?


    ps: perhaps you can share the meaning of “knob” with me…

  • First thing I thought of when I saw today’s image: “Wow Grandma! What a big beak you have!” 🙂

    I am glad that there is an open discussion on this blog. Artie respects when folks don’t agree with him, or if they don’t like all of the images that he posts, just don’t be rude about it. And, as pointed out by others, if you don’t like what he says, go elsewhere.

  • Hi Art

    Sorry all i can say is an aggressive envious troll.

    I have reading your blogpost for over a 2 years and still do. There is no other photographer who actually openly discusses the basics of photography in so much depth. I have learnt a lot from your blog post. Sun angle, wind direction, exposure meter and how it works on a dull and bright day, DOF, composition , head angle, expose to the right, Prevent highlight clipping the list goes on and on.

    There is a lot to learn from you post everyday. He is an Aggressive envious troll.

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    Art, I sure hope you don’t get that type of email very often! He certainly is a very angry guy. Unfortunately, I have a cousin like that who is bipolar and is constantly creating havoc in his own life. The guy you decided to spam sounds just like my cousin!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Pat, You are surely right. I get stuff like this infrequently. It is part of having a large online presence. I feel sorry for the guy. I strive not to take it personally and I am getting pretty good at that :). The key is not responding or sending your defense to the attacker. It is good also to consider that some of the rant might be accurate in some way that might help you grow.

      later and love to you and Stokes and thanks again for the great lunch at Sushi Thai!


  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. The rule seems simple enough to me; this is your blog and if we don’t like it we are free to leave. I think of you often when I try to get on or near sun angle–and when I don’t! Let me try to answer Ruthie’s question in part for me. I upgrade when I think a newer camera or lens will do something my current equipment can’t dp, or do it better or make it easier. Artie has made clear that he can get great images from any decent equipment.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey David,

      Typos fixed. And please, not just me. Anybody can…


      • avatar David Policansky

        OK, Artie, anybody can. But not anybody does. 🙂



        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          True enough David but please remember that I delete 80-90% of the images that I create, and that most of those are deleted because they are not sharp enough…

          later and love, artie

  • avatar Ruthie

    Dear Artie,
    I have no intention to be a DH, and I appreciate what you are trying to do even if I do not always understand it. I have only one question: Why should you constantly renew and replace your equipment? Sometimes I have the feeling that for some followers buying and selling is more important than taking pictures!
    No offence meant…..

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Ruthie,

      No offense taken. I often have the same thoughts. I believe that folks should learn to create better images with the gear that they own by studying and taking an IPT before they go out to get the latest greatest gear.


    • He is a Canon Explorer of Light. It’s part of his “office” to evaluate Canon gear and give us and them his opinion. You can pull off great shots with an old Canon 1D Mark II (250 bucks used), but if you have the money and experience then by all means get the latest gear. If not, just worry about being an experienced and creative photographer. Eventually you run into scenarios where a feature on a new camera will fill in that gap, but gear shouldn’t be a show stopper for you either way.