Catching Up Times Three: Coot, Pickerelweed, and Marbled Godwit « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Catching Up Times Three: Coot, Pickerelweed, and Marbled Godwit


It is 9:28am on Wednesday November 15 as I put the finishing touches on this blog post. I am on the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) on the way to Penn Station to see the new Broadway musical “A Bronx Tale.” Going to visit my friends at B&H on Thursday to celebrate $5,000,000+ in BAA affiliate sales. Mazel tov to all concerned. No swimming for me till I get back to ILE and 25 NOV.

Do consider joining me on the Early Winter DeSoto IPT. Details below.

This Just In

It is now 5:47am on Thursday November 16, 2017. I just spent almost an hour responding to the many comments in the Answers please: a-, b-, & c … blog post here. Even if you did not leave a comment there it would behoove the serious students to give it all a careful read. I will comment on the generalities in a future blog post.

ps: A Bronx Tale was fabulous!

The Streak

Today makes one hundred eleven 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 480 … 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 of lenses especially have been picking up recently. There are lots of great deals on a variety of camera bodies right now, all with low prices. 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 yellow-orange menu bar at the top of each blog post.


Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all 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.

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.


This image was created on the 2016 San Diego IPT with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and the greatest-ever value in a digital camera body, the 1.6X crop factor Canon EOS 7D Mark II. ISO 800: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB in soft, late afternoon light at 3:59pm.

Center AF point/AI Servo/Expand AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell on the bird’s lower breast above the raised left foot; this was pretty much on the same plane as the coot’s eye.

American Coot running

Multiple Choice Exposure Quiz

In the Ugly as a Coot … And Multiple Choice Exposure Quiz blog post here, I wrote:

Given the lighting conditions as noted in the caption above, which would be the correct EC (exposure compensation) for this image?

A: +1 1/3 stops

B: zero (the metered exposure)

C: -1 1/3 stops

Most folks came up with the right choice. Southern Oceans group participant David Peake explained things perfectly when he wrote, The image is overall dark tones so the camera is likely to meter to bring the exposure up. This necessitates a compensation of -1 1/3. Don’t want to blow out those white highlights now.

A few folks thought otherwise. If you had any doubt, you need to study the section on Exposure Theory in The Art of Bird Photography and the section entitled “Exposure Simplified” in The Art of Bird Photography II (on CD). Please call Jim at 863-692-0906to order the downloadable version).


This 5-frame in-camera multiple exposure was created early on the morning of Thursday, November 9, 2017 down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL. I used the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 476mm) and my favorite bird aquatic wildflower photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode. AWB in bright early morning sunlight with clear skies.

Flexi-zone Single rear button AF in Live View (for mirror lock) with the 2-second-timer. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial.

No LensAlign/FocusTune Micro-adjustment is needed or applied when you focus in Live View via contrast off the sensor.

Pickerelweed, 5-frame multiple exposure

Pickerelweed Multiple Exposure: one frame, five images …

In the Free 5D Mark IV User’s Guide Excerpt. One frame, five pickerelweed images … blog post here, I posted this:

Image Design Question

Why do I wish that I had lowered the position of my lens six inches?

I was surprised that no one came up with the correct answer. By lowering my tripod and thus the position of the lens about six inches, I would have moved the out-of-focus brown strip down in the frame so that it was placed just at the top of the green stem (rather than bisecting the blossom). Yes Eleanor, there would have been more “light green in the background” but you missed the main reason.

Marbled Godwit Straightforward Image Optimization Challenge Results

In the Marbled Godwit Straightforward Image Optimization Challenge Results Offer a Tremendous Opportunity for Learning … blog post here, I posed the following questions.

  • 1-In general, do you prefer the cropped or the un-cropped versions?
  • 2-Do you think that the image needed to be leveled?
  • 3-Which image is a big overexposure?
  • 4-Which image or images have the best beach clean-up?
  • 5-Which image is presented too dark?

My Answers

#1: I far prefer the un-cropped versions. Had you asked me that same question 15 years ago I would surely have said that I preferred the cropped versions. In general, my tastes have changed– matured if you would — to preferring the bird smaller in the frame while including more habitat. Of the cropped versions, Image #7, by Rachel Hollander was my favorite. Rachel is one of the excellent moderators in the Wildlife Forum on BPN.

#2:There is no right answer here as either choice (or somewhere in between) might be correct; there are no firm indications either way. It is simply a matter of personal preference.

#3: Image #9 as presented is the only one that has been processed much too light. There are RGB values in the highlights in the 250s with more than a few 255 readings.

#4: The very best beach clean-ups for me were in Images #2, 10, and 12. Images #13 and 16 were quite good as well but just a tad behind.

#5: Image #18 was the only one processed well too dark.

In a few days, I will post a short critique each of the submitted images.


Image #1

Image #1


Image #2

Image #2


Image #3

Image #3


Image #4

Image #4


Image #5

Image #5


Image #6

Image #6


Image #7

Image #7


Image #8

Image #8


Image #9

Image #9


Image #10

Image #10


Image #11

Image #11


Image #12

Image #12


Image #13

Image #13


Image #14

Image #14


Image #15

Image #15


Image #16

Image #16


Image #17

Image #17


Image #18

Image #18


Recent Fort DeSoto Images

From bottom left clockwise back to center: Great Egret, blasting sunrise highlights; Black Skimmer, winter plumage in pre-dawn light; Roseate Spoonbill foraging; Brown Pelican, juvenile landing; hybrid heron X egret???; American Oystercatcher feeding; Royal Tern, worn juvenile; Great Blue Heron from below.

You can see a composite of more recent images in the DeSoto Sucked This Past Weekend blog post here.

Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT. 3 1/2 days: $1599

Saturday DEC 2 (afternoon session) through the full day on Tuesday DEC 5, 2017. Meet and Greet Introduction on SAT DEC 2, 2017

With no water in Estero Lagoon, Corkscrew Swamp and Anhinga Trail total busts for many years, and Ding Darling NWR managed into oblivion, Fort DeSoto has emerged as the premier bird photography location in the state. Join me in early winter to escape the cold weather and photograph lots of tame terns, gulls, herons, egrets (including Reddish Egret), shorebirds (including and especially Marbled Godwit), Osprey, and Brown Pelican. Long-billed Curlew, Wood Stork, and Roseate Spoonbill all range somewhere between likely and possible.

Learn to get the right exposure every time, to approach free and wild (and often tame!) birds, and to design a pleasing image. And learn the location of my new Fort DeSoto hotspot along with my favorite sunset location (sky conditions permitting). To register call Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 or shoot me an e-mail.

DeSoto IPT Details

This IPT will include four 3 hour afternoon sessions, three 3 1/2 hour morning sessions, three lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. Dinners are on your own so that we can get some sleep.

Because of the narrow time frame, your $499 non-refundable deposit can be paid not by credit card. Call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906 to register. Your balance must be paid by check once you sign up. The balance check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART) should me mailed to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your balance check. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Canon lens rentals are available on a limited basis: 600 II, 500 II, 400 DO II, and 200-400 f/4 with Internal TC.

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 :).

5 comments to Catching Up Times Three: Coot, Pickerelweed, and Marbled Godwit

  • avatar Tony Z

    Great post. Thanks.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Brian, Which images do you like and why?

      with love, artie

      ps: folks might enjoy clicking on Brian’s link to see a bit of the work of this remarkable artist and person.

  • avatar Pat Dunnuck

    Congrats Arty on the sales at B & H!!!!! That’s a lot of camera gear!!! You going to pick up a MacBook Pro 15″ 2T laptop while there? They are really impressive except for no card slot & nothing but USB-C ports. I am having trouble pulling away from the touch screen on the PC!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Pat. Thanks to all of those who made it possible. I am planning on staying with my present 15″ Macbook Pro with retina screen for now; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

      with love, artie

      ps:the only thing that I can say about PCs is that I wished that I had switched 25 years earlier …