On Being Square and Learning, Thanks to Faraaz. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

On Being Square and Learning, Thanks to Faraaz.


Gatorland was great all weekend. The place is infested by just-fledged and almost-fledged young Tricolored Herons along with lots of Snowy and Cattle Egrets at these same stages. And there are still some small and even tiny chicks around. Stokes and Pat and I had a ton of fun on Sunday morning. Via e-mail from Pat Fishburne:

Dear Art: Just a note to let you know how much we enjoyed dinner out with the “new” Artie (but, we liked the old Artie too)!! We also had a wonderful time this morning at Gatorland. This was the first time that I really tried to use Manual mode. There was so much that I didn’t understand, but Stokes has promised to take me out sometime soon so I can get more practicing what you taught me about using Manual mode. Love, Pat

By way of explanation, this was the first time I had seen the Fishburnes since attending The School for the Work in March. Pat and Stokes have known me for 20 years and they both said that they have never seen me looking so good and so relaxed; “a different persona.” Though I feel pretty much the same aside from being more at peace, lots of others agree so thank you Byron Katie and the boys and girls from The School for the Work.


Here is a loving reminder: if you have sent a FB Friend Request to my regular (old) FB page and I have not responded, it is because I am up to 5,000 there and that is the limit. 🙁 Simply go here and then click on Like and Follow and you will get to see the identical content. 🙂 With love, artie

ps: to get to the new unlimited friends page you can always click on the FB icon on the top right of each blog post page 🙂

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.

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 5). The (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on is now part of the trip.

Please call 863-692-0906 for info on the substantial Late Registration Discount.

Here is some great info on the July 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT: I have finalized the cottage and vehicle rental arrangements. We have room for several additional folks, at least for a couple and single. And I am in position, as noted above, to offer a rather substantial late registration discount. Please call us at 863-692-0906 or get in touch via e-mail. Scroll down for additional details and our travel plans.

This image was created on a UK Puffins and Gannets IPT with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and the EOS 1D X now replaced by the rugged, blazingly fast Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/5 in Manual mode. AWB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: 0.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Rear Focus AF on the closest bird lower left and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Atlantic Puffins on rocks

Thanks Faraaz!

When I say here regularly that the more that “the folks who comment the more that everyone learns, including me,” it might be possible that some folks might be thinking that I am joshing them with the “including me” comment. Below is a great example of me learning from a student and friend from Trinidad.

In the Step-back Wide Angle Technique. And Why I Rarely Use Back Button Focus Anymore … blog post here, IPT veteran Faraaz Abdool left the following comment in part):

re: the featured image – have you ever tried working with a square (1:1) format? The trimmed puffin at the right-hand side bugs me. I would’ve tried a square crop that ends somewhere in the space between the two groups of birds. I think it’d be a bit stronger that way.

I responded (in part):

I see what you are saying on the square crop. I have no aversion to square crops or to crops to any proportions that I like artistically. That said, I would likely have to go a bit narrower than a perfect square …

As you can see by the reposted version above, Faraaz’s suggested crop was an excellent one; it really cleaned things up and reduced the clutter while making the image’s message even clearer.

More help from Faraaz

In the previous blog post, Mis-named IPT? Canon 7D II/100-400II Rocks Northumberland. Hand Holding Freedom here, Faraaz in part left this comment:

Also 400mm on a 1.6x crop factor lands you to 640mm. Add the 1.4x tele and you’d get 896mm, not so?

I responded, Thanks for the comment and the correction. My mind added the 1.4X TC for the math rather than doing it correctly with the crop factor (1.6X) as you did. 🙂

I have since corrected the original text.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Monday July 3 through Wednesday July 12, 2017: $5999 + $1499: Limit 10 photographers — Openings: 4).
All who register will be required to join the (really cheap) two-day Gannet/Bass Rock Add-on. See below for details.

Please call 863-692-0906 for info on the substantial Late Registration Discount.

Here are the plans: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on July 2 and arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday July 3 no later than 10am (or simply meet us then at the Edinburgh Airport–EDI, or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe). Stay 7 nights in one of two gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are five days of planned puffin/seabird trips and one morning of gannet photography, all weather permitting of course. In three years we have yet to miss an entire day because of weather… In addition, we will enjoy several sessions of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will get to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet; Arctic, Sandwich, and Common Terns, the former with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks. We will be staying in upscale country-side lodging that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the limited single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared by you in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day.

If you wish to fly home on the morning of Monday July 10 we will get you to the airport. Please, however, consider the following tentative plans: enjoy a second Gannet boat trip on the afternoon of Monday July 10 and book your hotel room in Dunbar. If all goes as planned, those who stay on for the two extra days will make a morning landing at Bass Rock, one of the world’s largest gannetries. We will get everyone to the airport on the morning of Wednesday July 12.

Great News on the UK Puffins and Gannets/Bass Rock Extension

On the morning of Jul 10, 2017, we will sleep late and head up to Dunbar Harbor for lunch and an afternoon Gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. One gannet boat trip is included in the IPT but everyone always wants more.

Then, as a possible mega bonus — we are scheduled to make a Bass Rock landing on the morning of Tuesday July 12, 2017. I am hoping to go two for two! If not, we do another chumming trip for flying gannets.

Included will be two nights lodging at the wonderful Dunsmuir hotel, two fine dining meals there, any additional meals, all boat, guide, and landing fees, and all transportation including the early morning transfer to the Edinburg Airport on the morning of WED July 12.

So far all five sign-ups are maximizing their travel dollars by signing up for the extension in part because I priced it so cheaply at $1499 despite my greatly increased costs.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2016.

Deposit Info

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on March 29, 2017. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. If your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Deposit Info

Single supplement rooms are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. 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. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. 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 of running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print careful 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.


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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

7 comments to On Being Square and Learning, Thanks to Faraaz.

  • avatar Craig Wiese

    Totally agree – the narrowed image is more arresting and appealing. Good thought from Faraaz.

  • It looks even more beautiful than I envisioned – the OOF puffins have their own arrangement that directs the eye to the subject below. Their black backs form a “Y” and a loose “7” that both point to the in-focus Puffin.

    Much love and blessings from the rastaman!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Agree. And thanks again for your great suggestion.

      With love, artie

      ps: did you ever get your 500 II from B&H?

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    That is one heck of a nice image! Very glad you reposted. Well done Faraaz!