Keep Your Eyes Open All the Time … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Keep Your Eyes Open All the Time ...

What’s Up?

I made my flight to Helsinki despite the delay on the way from Orlando to JFK and the flight to Kuusamo was easy. It was a miracle that the four of us got our carry-ons onto the plane, but we did. Story at some point.

Finland has been beyond amazing so far. And we practically just got here. We got to our amazing beautiful (brand new) lodge on Tuesday afternoon at about 3pm, had lunch/dinner at about 3:30 pm, and got into the blinds at about 5:30. They are relatively small so we could not all photograph together. There were lots of Whooper Swans but I have photographed them extensively and well in Japan many times so I was not too interested in them. I had never seen or photographed Common Crane so I had high hopes for that new species. At first they were way, way too far away. They came closer. We took some OK images and then two of them landed just to our left and the sun came out. Woohoo! 🙂 Photographing the cranes in flight from the blinds was difficult but I managed a few decent ones. Though Common Crane is on the plain side compared even to the Sandhill Cranes by my home and though it pales in comparison to the Red-crowned Cranes in Japan, the thrill for me is in seeing a new species and photographing it well.

We got back to the lodge after photographing at about 9:30pm and had a small snack —dinner I guess? Then I set the alarm for 2:30am. Yes, 2:30am, so not much sleep. Then we drove to the Black Grouse blinds leaving the lodge at 3am. We were all set up by 3:45 am or so. No birds came for one hour. And we were thinking that they might never come. And then we took a magic carpet ride and enjoyed a surreal morning photographing the birds displaying and fighting. It was one of those wondrous experiences that I will never forget. We leave for Black Grouse session #2 in less than one hour as I am working on this extra post at 2:12am. Images to come.

With love from Finland, artie

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.

Please Don’t Forget …

As always–and folks have been doing a really great job for a long time now–please remember to use our B&H links for your major and minor 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 Gatorland on the late afternoon of April 7, 2017 with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 560mm) and my favorite bird photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

Upper Large Zone/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The AF system activated three AF points that fell on bird’s upper back, right on the same plane as its eye.

Great Egret in late afternoon light …

Keep Your Eyes Open All the Time …

Whenever and wherever you are photographing you need to have your gear accessible and ready and you need to keep your eyes and mind open to new and unique situations. I noticed the amazing light on this bird as we exited Gatorland. You would not think that you could find a good photo in a manmade enclosure-pen filled with alligators. But this bird was standing between sort of wooden docks that with a partial roof overhead that caused the deep black shadows. And the sun was at just the right angle so that it reflected off the dark water onto the bird in pretty interesting ways that changed each moment. I needed all the reach of the 100-400 II/1.4X III combo to eliminate the surrounding wooden docks and platforms. Join me at Gatorland on the weekend of May 13/14 to learn to see and think like a pro. Sign up for the whole weekend and enjoy a free hour of instruction on Friday afternoon.

Image Question

If you take a close look, you will be able to answer this question: What is the bird standing on?

BIRDS AS ART May 13-14 Gatorland In-the Field Instructional Meet-Up Sessions

Join me in Kissimmee, FL for all or part of the weekend of May 13-14, 2017. We should get to photograph several species of nesting herons and egrets as well as Wood Stork, American Alligator (captive), and more. We should get to make lots of head portraits of all the bird species and to photograph chicks and fledged young. Learn to see, find, and make the shot in cluttered settings. Learn exposure and how to handle WHITEs. Learn fill flash and flash as main light. All of the birds are free and wild. These inexpensive sessions are 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 see you there.

May 13-14, 2017 Schedule

  • Saturday May 13 Meet-up Morning (early entry): 7:30 till 10:30am: $99.
  • Lunch and Image Review: $99.
  • Saturday afternoon till closing (late stay): $99.
  • Sunday May 14 Meet-up Morning, (early entry): 7:30 till 10am: $80.

Cheap Canon lens rentals available: 600 II, 500 II, 400 DO II, or 200-400.

To pay for one or more sessions in full via credit card, call Jim or Jen in the office weekdays at 863-692-0906. You will be responsible for the cost of your Gatorland Photographer’s pass or passes. Please shoot me an e-mail with questions.

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 :).

11 comments to Keep Your Eyes Open All the Time …

  • avatar Guido Bee

    Pretty sure he’s standing on his feet.

    What his feet are on looks like a piece of fence or a pallet that has fallen into the water.
    Nice shot. Interesting light coming back up from below.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: congratulations on making your flight and photographing new species well. Lovely egret image. It is standing on what seems to be a submerged wooden walkway consisting of planks separated by spaces.

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    Having been to Gatorland, I’m betting it’s standing on an alligator!

  • avatar Pierre Williot

    On a street pedestrian walkway.

  • avatar David Peake

    Interested in the ‘get your gear onto the Plane’ story. Gone away for the weekend myself for photography and we are weight restricted to 7 kg or about 15 lbs. What to do?
    Nicely seen image of the Egret.
    Enjoy Finland.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      See the gear on plane story in tomorrow’s What’s Up.

      Thanks 🙂


    • avatar MikeH

      I presume this is carry-on only?
      Get a photography vest (or fishing vest). Load as much heavy stuff (usually lenses) as you can into the pockets and get through check in. Take lenses out of the jacket and put them in the bag then board in comfort.

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        If you have a rolling bag and a laptop bag you can get busted even for an empty vest …

        with love, artie