Just Back From Fishing … The Wet Head May Be Dead But the Wet Neck is Not! Plus the surprising ISO Answer « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Just Back From Fishing ... The Wet Head May Be Dead But the Wet Neck is Not! Plus the surprising ISO Answer


My flight from Long Island to Orland was a piece of cake. As usual, Jim picked me up right on time at MCO at 6:20pm on Thursday and after our customary stop at Publix in Lake Wales we were back home at ILE just after 8:30. I did lots of re-hab work on Friday on my right hip and my right shoulder along with a swim, a walk, and my core exercises.

A Must to Avoid

Several times in the past few weeks I’ve received e-mails like this: Is there room on the XYZ IPT? I want to sign up. How much is the deposit? Tell me where to send the check. I’m in. I can’t wait. Joe. Two weeks later after not having heard from Joe and not having received the promised check, I send another e-mail and receive a reply like this. Changed my mind. Joe

While I would love to have each and everyone on an IPT, please check your schedule and other opportunities before committing 🙂

When I came up with the title for this little item, I thought that “She’s a Must to Avoid” was a Beatles song. Wrong again. Herman’s Hermits. So off to You Tube it was to listen to that song. As is often the case with You Tube, this led to many other Herman’s Hermits’ hits: I’m Into Something Good; Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter; I’m Henry The 8th, I Am; Wonderful World; Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat; There’s A Kind Of Hush; Silhouettes; Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat; and an unreleased version of Walk Away Renee. I listened to them all with fond memories. Walk Away Renee led me to the Four Tops who had an international hit with the song that was originally recorded by the Left Banke.

The Four Tops was my favorite group as a young man; I saw them in concert many times around New York City. Does anyone remember the free Schaefer Music Festival concerts in Central Park? I saw the Tops there on July 15, 1970. I was 24. And Silhouettes led me back to my Jersey Boys You Tube addiction …

Below is an excerpt from a neat little article here on You Tube:

Herman’s Hermits were one of those odd 1960’s groups that accumulated millions of fans, but precious little respect. Indeed, their status is remarkably similar to that of the Monkees and it’s not a coincidence that both groups’ music was intended to appeal to younger teenagers. The difference is that as early as 1976, the Monkees began to be considered cool by people who really knew music; it has taken 35 years for Herman’s Hermits to begin receiving higher regard for their work. Of course, that lack of respect had no relevance to their success: 20 singles lofted into the Top 40 in England and America between 1964 and 1970, 16 of them in the Top 20, and most of those Top Ten as well. Artistically, they were rated far lower than the Hollies, the Searchers, or Gerry & the Pacemakers, but commercially, the Hermits were only a couple of rungs below the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

It is fascinatingly interesting to compare the slim, 15-year old Peter Noone of the mid-60s with the handsome Peter Noone of today; he and the group are still performing regularly.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of 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.

The Streak: 442

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, 442 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–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 BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

This image was created at Lima, Peru with the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) with my very favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -1.

Three AF points up and one to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo/Manual selection/Shutter button AF. The selected AF point fell nicely on the bird’s eye, somewhat of a rarity for me. Selection of the AF point, choice of the AF Area Selection Mode, and placement of the selected point — all as determined by the photographer in milliseconds — are instrumental when it comes to creating consistently sharp images. Well, not really milliseconds. See the discussion on this subject in yesterday’s blog post. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #2: Inca Tern, Lima Peru

Inca Tern

The main reason that I wanted to get to Lima was to photograph this beautiful and charismatic species. Ever since I had seen some excellent head portraits on BirdPhotographer’s.Net almost a decade ago, I dreamed of getting some good chances with Inca Tern before they nail the box shut. We did better than expected with Inca Terns on our layover in Santiago but a lot worse than we had expected on our first efforts in and around Lima. But when we returned to Peru’s capital city after our southern and northern Peruvian travel legs, we hooked up with local photography guide Miguel Jose Moran Moran who led us to the promised land. Even that day started off a bit slowly but we killed in the afternoon. Today’s featured image is my favorite from that great day.

Just Back From Fishing …

I watched (and tried to photograph) this individual as it dove for fish in a small bay. When it landed at the top of a breakwater right in front of me I was thrilled. While it is a beautiful species as noted above, the wet neck feathers put this image over the top for me. The red bill, the bright yellow structure behind the base of the bill — if you know the name for that please do share via a comment, and the amazing white feather-whiskers all fit beautifully with the lead grey plumage. Note that bird’s bill’s can look virtually immaculate when they have just emerged from the water …

If you are seriously interested in an early spring 2018 trip to Lima mainly to photograph this and a few other coastal species, do shoot me an e-mail. More photos to follow of course.

The Somewhat Surprising Chestnut-breasted Coronet ISO Answer

In the Using Tv Mode to Attain a Minimum Shutter Speed. ISO Quiz, and Pushing the Limits … blog post here , I asked folks to enlarge the image, take a close look at it, and share their best guesstimate on the ISO. Mark Jordan was the first and only one to nail the correct answer: ISO 16,000. I applied some off-the-scale DPP 4 noise reduction during the RAW conversion by extrapolating Arash’s settings for the 1DX II/ISO 4000-6400 ISO and then applied quick and easy NeatImage noise reduction once the image was in Photoshop.


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 me 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 I 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 in 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 will 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 we 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 the 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 will 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 a top professional nature photographer; I will constantly let you know what I am thinking, what I am doing, and why I am 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 $4,000 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 linked to here and send it to us by mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. That leaves a balance of $2699 that will be due on February 15, 2017. I hope that you can join me for what will be a wondrously exciting trip.

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 please remember that I am 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, 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 :).

13 comments to Just Back From Fishing … The Wet Head May Be Dead But the Wet Neck is Not! Plus the surprising ISO Answer

  • avatar Chris

    Schaefer, is the, one beer to have, when you’re having more than one. Wow, what a blast from the past. That was all the played during Met’s games in the early 70’s. Thanks for the memory, Artie.

  • avatar Richard Curtin

    Beautiful image. Beautiful exotic bird. Truly a shame it is becoming threatened.

  • avatar William Wingfield Jr

    Fleshy edges at base of the bill are the gape. Check David Sibley’s Guide to Birds, 2nd edition, Bird Topography at the beginning of the book. Great photo, Arthur, as usual. Count your blessings to be photographing in so many wonderful places on our planet.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Billy. I am not sure that you are 100% correct but at least you put me on the right track. I will however check my Sibley. My first thought was “gape” but that usually refers to the interior of a bird’s mouth, like this: the gape is the interior of the open mouth of a bird.

      I believe that the proper term might be the gape flange or wattle.


      ps: in Sibley, it looks as if you are on the right track, or actually right. I will run it by noted avian artist Julie Zickefoose and share what I learn.

  • avatar MR

    Hi Art,
    Just wanted to alert you to the possibility that this is post #442 in a row, not #441. Your last two posts were listed as day #440 (“more on learning about light” and “picking the right tool for the job”). Just didn’t want you to sell yourself short!
    All the best.

  • avatar Loren Charif

    Your mention of the Four Tops brought back some memories for me; I was a DJ at the college radio station (c.1967) when the FT did a concert at our school, and I got to interview them and got them to record a few promos for the station. Cool gig!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I am envious.

      Last night I found a You Tube of Aretha Franklin honoring Levi Stubbs just before his death in late 2008. Though in a wheelchair he was still able to use his amazing voice, through tears. Allmusic’s Ed Hogan has remarked that Stubbs had a “pleading urgency in his voice that perfectly captured the longing anxiousness of the songs written by the producing trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland”. While reading his Wiki entry I was reminded that he was the voice of the plant, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors.


  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I was at a Hermits concert in London around 1963–I lived there then–and my main memory is of disappointment (I didn’t know then that it was a choice) with my young lady companion for being more interested in the Hermits than in me. Maybe she had good taste!

    Wonderful image of the Inca tern.

  • avatar John Cullum

    When I saw your headline, “a distinct impossibility” immediately popped into my head, then wondering if the title was a coincidence. Glad it wasn’t; thanks for the trip to the fabulous 60’s! I’ve heard Peter Noone perform half dozen or so times at Epcot…it’s a wonderful, warm show every time. He walks into the crowd, hugs the absolutely giddy “girls,” looks a bit embarrassed about it all, and nails every performance. Thanks for the 16,000 ISO answer; I would never ever guessed anything set that high could look so good. Thanks also for the explanation of how that image got there. Rock on and keep living those glory days! (BTW, if you havent seen the documentary called “The Wrecking Crew” on Netflix, it is a wonderful visit to just how those ’60’s hits were made.)