Black Grouse Hen Mysteries … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Black Grouse Hen Mysteries ...

What’s Up

Gatorland was great on Sunday morning especially with the small Snowy Egret chicks in the nest. The two clients, Marj Kao and Char Hulse (who was in Orlando for the weekend) had a great time and learned a ton. It was Marj’s third BAA meet-up. Char had only rarely pointed her lens at a bird before and was amazed by both Gatorland and by how much she learned in such a short time. It took us a while to figure out the blinkies on her Nikon D-500.

I was glad to learn yesterday that multiple IPT veteran and all around nice guy, Dwayne Marrott is also joining us in the Palouse. That makes five. There is still room for you.

The Used Gear Page (see more below) continues to perform amazingly well especially with high ticket stuff. The above-mentioned Dwayne Marrott purchased Ron Paulk’s Canon 16-35 and his 100 Macro. In addition, Ron sold his ST-E3-RT Transmitter. And the sale of the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT and the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM Zoom lens is pending. The sale of Tom Phillips’ 1DX II and 400 DO II is also pending. As I said, amazing.

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.

Selling Your Used Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Gerry Keshka

Hi Artie, I wanted to share how much I appreciate your Used Gear “service.” You have posted how you help sellers, but the other side of the equations is how much this service helps buyers. I have purchased three lenses (Canon 200-400, 500 f4 II, and 70-200 F2.8) all lovely experiences and I saved almost $5K over retail. Each of the sellers was delightful, willing to help me assess if the purchase was right for me by sharing their experience with the lens. Each lens was in the condition advertised (or better), and typically included several “add-ons” that would have cost several hundred dollars.

Unsolicited, via e-mail, from Sandra Calderbank

Hi Artie, I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you. I have sold two camera bodies on your BAA used gear site. Your friendly expertise and knowledgeable, trustworthy buyers have made this an extremely satisfying experience. Selling on BAA Used Gear page is the best transaction experience I have ever encountered. Thank you for all you do for our photography community. Sincerely, Sandra

Recent Successful Used Gear Sales
Big Ticket Items Continue to Sell Like Hotcakes on the Used Gear Page in April and May!

  • Larry Peavler sold a Canon EF 100-400 zoom f/4.5 – 5.6 L IS Telephoto Zoom lens, the old 1-4, in excellent condition for $549 soon after it was listed.
  • Ron Paulk sold his Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens in excellent condition for $999and his Canon EF 100mm Macro f/2.8L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $549 the day they were listed.
  • Ron Paulk sold a Canon EOS-1D X Professional Digital Camera Body in excellent condition for $2699 and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens in mid-May before they were listed and is kindly sending me a check for the 2 1/2%.
  • Hisham A. sold a Canon EOS 7D Mark II in excellent plus condition for the BAA record low price of $847 in early May.
  • John Stuhlmuller sold his Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS Lens with Internal 1.4 Extender in mint condition with lots of extras for a very low $8149 in early May.
  • John Stuhlmuller also sold his Canon EOS 5DS R digital camera body in like-new condition with lots of extras for an amazingly low $2799, also in early May.
  • Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Doug Holstein sold his Canon 500mm f4/L IS USM Super Telephoto lens and a 1.4X II teleconverter, both in in excellent condition, for the great low price of $3699 in early May, 2017.
  • Larry Peavler sold his Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in near-mint condition for the amazingly low price of $4199 soon after it was listed in late April.
  • KW McCulloch sold his Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS lens with Internal 1.4X Extender in excellent plus condition for $8294 in mid-April.
  • Stan Hoyt sold his Canon 500mm f4L IS USM Super Telephoto lens in like-new condition (with extras) for the great low price of $3899 soon after it was listed in mid-April.
  • Leonard Malkin sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f2/.8 L IS lens excellent condition for $899 in mid-April, 2017.
  • Paul Abravaya sold his Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO II lens in excellent condition for $5,799 soon after it was re-listed in mid-April.

New Listings

Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Multiple IPT veteran Duncan Douglas is offering a lightly used Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM lens (the “old five”) in like-new condition (but for some small scratches on the bottom of the original lens foot) for $4199. The sale includes the original box, lens trunk, the lens strap, the front leather cover, the rear lens cap, a 4th Generation Designs CP-51b replacement foot with all the wrenches, the original Canon lens foot, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. The lens is expected back today, Monday May 15, 2017 after being cleaned and checked by Canon.

Please contact Duncan via e-mail.

The 500 f/4s have been the world’s most popular telephoto lenses for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. I owned and used and loved my “old five” for many years. We have sold more than a few recently for $3999 and even two for $3799. Bill’s lens is priced a bit higher as it is in pristine condition. If you don’t have the cash for the 500 II and can handle the additional 1 1/2 pounds (exactly) then this is your next best option. The 500 II goes for $8999 so you will be saving a cool $4,800 and getting a virtually brand new lens to boot. artie

Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a RRS L-bracket

David Ramirez is offering a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (with extras) in near-mint condition (but for two small rub marks/nicks on the upper part of the body. Photos available upon request) for $1449. The camera had only 7963 shutter actuation’s on it. It has had Vello glass screen protectors on both LCDs from the beginning. Included are the original box, one battery, the charger,the discs, the strap,the manual, the front lens cap, a RRS L-bracket, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact David via e-mail or by phone at 541-892-3726 (Pacific time.)

I owned and used this superb, full frame, 22mp digital body for several years. It was always my first choice for scenic, Urbex, and flower photography until I fell in love for a while with the 5DS R (for a lot more money!). In addition, I loved my 5D III body for birds with my big lenses and both TCs. artie

Canon Extender EF 2X III

Price reduced $70 on May 15, 2017.

Larry Peavler is also offering a Canon Extender EF 2X III in like-new condition for $299 (was $369). The sale includes the TC pouch, the front and rear caps, the original product box, and insured ground shipping via UPS to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Larry via e-mail by phone at 1-317-908-0729 (Eastern time.)

The 2X III TC is a valuable accessory for folks who can use it to make sharp images with f/2.8 or f/4 telephoto lenses. artie

This image was created on the 2017 Finland IPT by somebody with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Image #1: Black Grouse hen on lekking ground
Image copyright 2017: ???

Black Grouse Hen Mysteries …

One of today’s images was created by yours truly, Mr. Famous Bird Photographer. The other was created by one of the IPT participants. Please leave a comment and let us know which one I made and which one was created by the for now un-named participant.

Then try your hand at these:

Image #1 focal length? (Note: a TC might or might not have been used to create each image …)
Image #1 shutter speed?
Image #2 focal length? (Note: a TC might or might not have been used to create each image …)
Image #2 shutter speed?

Your Favorite?

Please also let us know which of the two images you feel is the stronger of the two. And let us know why you made your choice.

This image (of the same bird) was also created on the 2017 Finland IPT by somebody with the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Image #2: Black Grouse hen leaving lekking ground
Image copyright 2017: ???

Black Grouse Hens …

Black Grouse hens rarely visit the lekking grounds. Our guide noted that the females visit most often on windless mornings. On the very calm morning of May 4, 2017, our second morning in the Black Grouse hides, his prediction came true. We were all thrilled.


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 learn to create this look in Photoshop from a single image while winding up with a higher quality image file.

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.

You will learn to create the very popular detailed, slightly grungy, slightly over-saturated look in Photoshop.


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: 7.

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 my friend Denise Ippolito, 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 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.

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.


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 Black Grouse Hen Mysteries …

  • avatar Kerry

    I will say you created these and usednmax focal length of 1200

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. Pretty smart. Or not. Answers on Wednesday.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Jeff Friedhoffer

    Picture 1 Artie
    Picture 2 someone else

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    All, While each was made with the 600 II, a TC might have been used, that’s why I asked you to guess on the focal length for each image 🙂

    with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I like image 1 better than 2 but both are strong. The first has classic composition, exposure, sharpness. The second has a nice mixture of a sharp body and blurred wings, and the blur looks almost cinematic and also pleasing composition and exposure. Both must have been at 600 mm focal length if your captions are correct. I’d guess the first one was at 1/400 or higher and the second at 1/20 or thereabouts. I don’t know which one you made. You like blurs but also are the chief of the head-angle police, and you can’t even see this bird’s head. But you teach your students well, and so neither answer would surprise me.

  • avatar Warren H

    I believe Image #1 was yours. (You like to put a thin border strip on top or bottom, where you can.) I would say focal length was 600 mm (based on caption…) and shutter of 1/200.

    The second image, by someone else was also 600 mm and guessing at 1/60 sec.

    • avatar Warren H

      Based on Artie’s comment, I will guess at a focal length of 1200 for both. The bird appears similar in size in both, so without cropping, they should be the same focal length. Given that this is not a real large bird and you are working from a blind, the bird may not be that close.

      Also, it may be easier to keep the back feathers in sharp focus in Image 2 if the bird is farther away, since the angle it moves relative to camera would be less. i.e. If the bird was only 15 feet away and flying up and away, you would have to have a pretty good shutter speed to be sharp, but that would not give the motion blur in the wings. So, I think the bird was relatively far away.