Mazel Tov to an Old Friend. And Lots of Stuff. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Mazel Tov to an Old Friend. And Lots of Stuff.

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What’s Up?

On Friday morning at 9:07 am I finished the first draft of the Lens/Align/FocusTune Micro-adjusting e-Guide and sent it off to Michal Tapes and Patrick Sparkman for review. It will be available for purchase on or before September 1, 2017. Now I can get back to work on the long overdue 5D Mark IV User’s Guide.

I will pack my photo gear on Friday afternoon. I fly to Guayaquil Ecuador this Sunday and continue on to the Galapagos archipelago on Tuesday to lead the sold out IPT. Lot of folks have already e-mailed about their interest in the August 2019 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT. I am hoping to have the exact dates before I leave.

Lots of Stuff

If you get in the habit of clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow Menu Bar above, you will find lots of really good stuff, odds and ends that can help you with your photography. I added two new books just this morning. To save you a click, I offer the page in its entirety below.

LED Light Panel for Micro-adjusting

I use the light panel above for 100% of my micro-adjusting. Even when working outdoors. It will ensure your getting consistent and accurate results. Please click on the logo-link above to purchase.

The Sibley Guide to Birds

Simply put, this is the gold standard for identification guides to the birds of North America. I consult mine often. Sibley’s artwork is fantastic on its own and paintings are always more consistently accurate for ID purposes than photographs.

Shorebirds: An Identification Guide to the Waders of the World (in paperback): Prater, Hayman, & Marchant

This great and immensely detailed guide has been my shorebird bible since 1986. My hard copy is worn and frayed and the binding has come loose. This book is only for seriously addicted shorebird loonies like me. New and entry-level students are directed instead to my Shorebirds, Beautiful Beachcombers to learn the basics of identifying and aging North American shorebirds.


This beach cart is so good that I have one in Florida and another on Long Island as you cannot travel by air with one of these. It allows you to bring a ton of gear and accessories to the beach and works great even in soft sand. Learn lots more here.

Add a Milk Plastic Crate

You will need to add a plastic milk crate.


To order a pair of surf booties click on the active link in blue immediately below.

Surf Booties

Surf Booties

When I will be or might need to be walking in the water be it at Fort DeSoto, Little Estero Lagoon, or Nickerson Beach, I have a pair of surf booties on. The are comfortable, add a bit of warmth on cold days, keep your feet cool on warm days, prevent cuts from shells, broken glass, and the like, and give some degree of protection against sting rays.

You can order a pair of surf booties by clicking on the active link above. They tend to run a bit small. I wear mine with socks. You do not need split toe booties.

Kahtoola MICROspikes

Walking on frozen snow or ice? Don’t want to fall on your butt? There are many cheaper models by far on Amazon. These are the very best I have found. Over the years I had one failure–the rubber broke near the end of the trip, but basically these have been excellent. Please clink on the logo link above to order. If Amazon does not show your size in stock, try REI.


I could not secure the lodging that I needed for the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT in Dunbar, Scotland, so I went from Hotels.Com to Booking.Com and was pleasantly surprised. I found the rooms that I needed with ease at a hotel that was not even on Hotels.Com, and it was a nice hotel that I had seen in person. And the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward.

The Streak

Today marks fourteen days in a row with a new educational blog post. This blog post took less than two hours to create.


I finally updated the IPT page to properly reflect the recently completed trips. If you doubt that I am really slowing down do click here to see the meager IPT schedule. Right now there are only two US-based IPTs on the schedule. Best news is that I turned up the missing registrant for the Fort DeSoto IPT so that will run. Do consider joining us if you would like to learn from the best.

Photographers Wanted

If you would like to learn to be a better bird photographer, consider joining me on the Fort DeSoto IPT in late September. Scroll down for details. With just one person signed up, you will be enjoying practically private instruction. And you can tack on the In-the-Field/Meet-up Workshop Session on the morning of Tuesday September 26, 2017 for free.

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 the BAA 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.

bee on flower, image courtesy of and copyright George Lepp/Photo Researchers, 1994

Mazel Tov to an Old Friend

On Thursday, I received this e-mail from old friend, George Lepp:

Hi LeppPhotoSpamees:

I have won the mini Post Office Lottery. They have chosen one of my images for a stamp that was released today. The series is “Protect Pollinators” and one of the 5 images is mine. The real story is that I placed this image with the agency Photo Researchers in 1994 (23 years ago) and it is a film image. Fortunately it is sharp and properly exposed and scanned by Photo Researchers to make it a digital image in their files. A Post Office representative chose it from the agency files and now I’m on a “Forever” stamp. Not much monetary return after the agency takes their cut, but it’s really about the honor. No credit line, but whatever.

Mazel tov to George.

The Protect Pollinators sheet of stamps

Why forever?

I have no idea why the word “forever” was struck through in the two stamp images above. Perhaps it was because those photos were released before the stamps were officially released on Thursday …

This Just In!

See George on local TV in Oregon here. Click soon as I am not sure how long this will be up.

The vertical strip of five stamps

George Lepp and BIRDS AS ART

Few know that George Lepp has had large influence on my career. I attended a seminar that he did in Tampa, FL in the mid-1990s. That helped me become a better photographer and probably more importantly, a better lecturer. I was impressed that when George spoke he managed to keep everyone awake by changing tracks often — his programs were never just a series of 90-minute lectures guaranteed to put everyone asleep. The programs, demonstrations, and activities were varied. It was at that event that I first learned about Canon autofocus when George showed some amazing images of Snow Geese in flight. Though I could not afford a big lens at that time, I did purchase the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. During the course of the next few years I worked hard to put the 400/f5.6, my beloved “toys lens,” on the map. That hard work, along with the publication of the original “The Art of Bird Photography; The Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques,” helped to put me on the map as well.

If In Doubt

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.


Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The Fort DeSoto 2017 Fall IPT/September 22 (afternoon session) through the full day on September 25, 2017. 3 1/2 FULL DAYs: $1649. Limit 8.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With luck, we may get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher almost guaranteed. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join us on the ITF/MWS on the morning of Tuesday, September 26 as my guest. See below for details on that.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time.

This IPT will run with only a single registrant (though that is not likely to happen). The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Though I have not decided on a hotel yet — I will as soon as there is one sign-up — do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel (rather than at home or at a friend’s place).

A $500 deposit is due when you sign up and is payable by credit card. Balances must be paid by check after you register. Your deposit is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with ten folks so please check your plans carefully before committing. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand or by sending a check as follows: make the check out to: BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, gear advice, and instructions for meeting on the afternoon of Friday, September 22.


Fort DeSoto in fall is rich with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this October. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

BIRDS AS ART In-the-Field/Meet-up Workshop Session (ITF/MWS): $99.

Join me on the morning of Tuesday September 26, 2017 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive afternoon workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on a BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tour. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal non-refundable registration fee. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place at least two weeks before the event.


BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT.

Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make the IPT? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

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 :).

5 comments to Mazel Tov to an Old Friend. And Lots of Stuff.

  • avatar Guido Bee

    I think forever is crossed out because there is no “price” on forever stamps. I agree with the statement about making it more difficult to counterfeit.
    The whole ideas is that once purchased, any first class forever stamp will be good regardless of the difference between whatever the “current” price happens to be relative to the price paid when purchased. If the cost goes up, you can still use the same stamp at the later, higher price.
    That’s my $0.02 worth. All the best.

  • avatar J D Kelleher

    Photos/images of stamps generally have the price (in this case “forever”) crossed out in order to complicate counterfeiting. I haven’t looked at every stamp offered by the USPS, but a quick review showed the prices crossed out on the stamps that are available on their website.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. But the question remains, why is the word “forever” crossed out?

      with love, artie

  • avatar Sarah Mayhew

    Nice! Forever probably crossed out as all the pollinators are disappearing at a fast rate. ;-(

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Could be, but it is not crossed out on the actual stamps themselves …
      with love, artie