Hurricane Irma and ILE. And Learn High Key Flight Photography As If You Were Actually On the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Hurricane Irma and ILE. And Learn High Key Flight Photography As If You Were Actually On the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT!


On Friday morning I just about finished the jigsaw puzzle that is my 2016 tax return. I am waiting for my accountant — now on vacation somewhere — to answer a single question. After that I can wrap everything up and have it to him on 20 SEPT when he gets home.

I exercised and stretched on Friday and got in the pool in mid-afternoon. At 32 lengths — I have planned on 48 — my swim was ended by big clapping thunderclouds. At about 7pm I got back in the pool planning on swimming another 32 lengths but I felt great so I went for the whole 48. But then I added 48 and 32 and came up 80. So I swam another eight lengths to bring my total for the day up to 88. One mile right on the nose.

Used gear sales during the past week have been through the roof! I was glad to learn that IPT veteran Mike Ross sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II with the Canon BG-E16 Battery Grip all in mint condition for $1,099 on the first day it was listed in early September. In addition, I learned that the sale of Robert Blanke’s EOS 5Ds body in like-new condition for $2249.00 is pending.

Jim and I watched lots of Weather Channel on Friday. Irma is headed our way and with the storm tracking a bit to the west late on Friday that is bad for Indian Lake Estates as the strongest hurricane winds are generally north and east of the storm. That might be good news for Jim who lives in Melbourne; the storm surge might be less than if it had taken a more eastward track. Jim’s family is planning to stay in a shelter while Jim is staying here with me to ride things out. Right now they are forecasting winds of 100mph in Polk County with 10-12 inches of rain. We are hoping of course for a bit of a fizzle before or after the storm hits Miami and makes landfall somewhere in South Florida. Time will tell.

Thanks to the many who sent e-mails of concern. Note: there is no talk at all of evacuation in Polk County. ILE is 70 miles from the Atlantic and 100 miles from the Gulf.

The Streak

Today marks forty-six days in a row with a new educational blog post. This one took about an hour to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of (I think) four hundred eighty something … Good health and good internet connections willing.

Everybody’s Doing It…

Everybody’s buying and selling used gear on the BAA Used Gear Page. Sales recently have been through the roof. 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 charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They recently folded. And eBay fees are now in the 13% range. 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 at the top of each blog post.


I could not secure the lodging that I needed for last year’s 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.

Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.


I recently updated the IPT page. If you doubt that I am really slowing down, click here to see the meager IPT schedule. Right now there are only two US-based IPTs on the schedule. Best news is I now have two folks registered 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 become a much better bird photographer, consider joining me on either the Fort DeSoto IPT in late September or the San Diego IPT in January, 2018. With four folks signed up, DeSoto will offer 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. Scroll down for details. Click here for complete IPT info and the current but abbreviated schedule.

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 many 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.

This image was created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 340mm) and my favorite bird photography flight camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops off the sky: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Daylight WB.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -1.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand/Shutter button AF as originally framed. The selected AF point fell one-third of the way up the bird’s left wing and was active at the moment of exposure.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Arctic Tern, adult hovering with tiny sand eel for young

High Key Flight

“Hey gang, we have perfect conditions for photographing the Arctic Terns in flight. Meter the sky, add two to 2 2/3rd stops, and set that manually. Then make one image and check to see that there are no blinkies on the bird. A few blinkies in the sky are fine. Be sure to use either the center AF point or center AF point with Expand. Make sure that your limit range switch is not set to Full so that the lens does not have to search down to its minimum focusing distance. Let everyone on the boat walk up the gentle hill to the big stone house ahead of us. By staying behind, them, and with the wind at our backs, the birds will be facing us as they hover right above the visitor’s while trying to peck their heads. Once we get to the top of the path there will be lots of adults on our right coming into their nests with fish for the chicks so we will hang out there for at least a while before we head for the puffins and murres.”

And that’s how it was.

Your Call

Thumbs up or thumbs down for today’s featured image? Why?

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. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.

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 :).

21 comments to Hurricane Irma and ILE. And Learn High Key Flight Photography As If You Were Actually On the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT!

  • Hoping for the best for you. Stay safe.

  • Beautiful! Simple and sharp. You and Jim take care. Hope everything goes well.

  • avatar Charles Scheffold

    Stay safe and dry, Artie!

  • avatar Ed


    Will be trying to stay dry in Mount Dora. If anyone ever tells you that you “should” never center the subject in the frame, show this image to them. Perfect! Stay safe.

  • avatar Ted Willcox


  • Good luck, Artie! Hope you are safe from Irma. I am in South Carolina and Irma is moving west of us, but not Florida.

  • avatar john seibert farnsworth

    Fair winds, Artie. Keep those cameras dry.

  • avatar Bob Allen

    Artie, I really really dig this image! Great action, composition, and beautiful high-key. Thanks for sharing.

  • avatar James Saxon

    Thumbs up. Just experienced Harvey and the city lost the drinking water. Have plenty of bottled water and a 5 gallon bucket. Use the 5 gallon bucket to dip water from your pool to flush the toilets. Had to do that here for a couple of days. Good luck with Irma. Not a fun time.

  • avatar Mitch Haimov

    Love this one! Wings and tail appear translucent; very ethereal feel to the image. Would be a winner even without the nicely posed lunch.

    Typo alert: “…top of the path _their_ will be lots…”

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Mitch, and thanks for catching that typo. I do of course know the difference between “their” and “there” but I am usually in too much of a hurry when I write 🙂

      with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Great image. I have spent a lot of time photographing terns with sandeels and I know how hard it is to get good images, even with relatively big terns like arctic terns. My usual subjects are least terns. Stay dry and safe.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks X 2 David. Least Terns are tougher: they are smaller and faster and do not hover much …

      with love, artie

  • Hey Arthur, thumbs up for this image love the pose and the high key look.

  • avatar Anthony

    Thumbs up! Love the angelic wings

  • I like the image, nice angelic pose! I love a well done high-key image so that helps too. Stay safe riding out the hurricane.

  • Thumbs up! A little hurricane advice from my niece who lives in FL.

    1. Start running your ice makers now and bagging the ice in freezer bags. Fill as much space in between your freezer items as you can.
    2. Freeze regular tap water for pets, cleaning or drinking in tupperware-type containers. REMEMBER to leave a small bit of space between the top of the water & the lids so the ice expands but doesn’t crack the container.
    3. Start using up your perishables to make more room for ice in the freezer.
    4. Fill up all vehicles & check tires & oil.
    5. Cash from ATM, at least enough to get you through tolls and gas out of town. Call your bank if you plan on leaving the state so they don’t freeze your card for out-of-area “suspicious” transactions.
    6. All important docs screenshot & send to your email. Take originals in sealed bags or plastic bins.
    7. Pet & livestock food & supplies. Vet records in case you need to shelter then at a storm-safe facility.
    8. Evacuation plans and share with family members so they know where you’re headed.
    9. Consider putting heirlooms & photos in plastic bins in a high place, second floor, or safe room if you don’t plan on taking them with you.
    11. Old rags & beach towels on your windowsills. Even with the best windows & shutters, water seeping from the wind pressure happens. A few damp towels is better than soaked drywall or floors!
    12. Shutter windows and doors and bring everything outside into your garage or house NOW. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early and relax than wait until its too late, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE MANDATORY PERSONNEL (hospital employee or first responder).
    13. If you don’t already have your hurricane supplies, you might want to get them now. Shelves are already empty in most places.
    14. If you have special needs call 311 and register
    15. Have a bucket in the bathroom & fill the tub. Use this water & bucket for flushing.
    16. Walk pets during the calm that comes during the eye of the storm.
    17. Charge your phone & keep it charged. A car charger is handy for when you lose electricity.
    18. Do your laundry now. Everything gets dirty during the clean up & aftermath. You can’t wash clothes
    w/o electricity.
    Be safe!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Debby. We are good on everything above except that I am keeping all of my loaded guns, rifles, and shotguns on the living room table in case any looters come by!

      Only kidding. With the storm tracking to the west I am hoping that if we lose power that it will only be for a day or two. With Charley the power was out for about two weeks. Yuck!

      with love, artie

  • Beautiful image! Stay safe during Irma…hoping all goes well!

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie,
    A thumbs up from me, the only thing stopping it from being a big both thumbs up is the beak overlapping with the bird’s right foot. Nice fish angle! There seems to be quite a lot of noise in the shadows, did you have to raise them at all? I hope all goes OK in terms of incoming Irma,