Dime a Dozen I: Attack Squadron … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Dime a Dozen I: Attack Squadron ...


It was cloudy all afternoon on Thursday. At 5:10pm I walked out on the pool deck, looked west, and saw a large bright opening below the clouds. “Hey Jim, I am gonna head down to the lake for a few; it looks as if something nice might develop. It did. Another dime-a-dozen evening was in store. Photos from that night will follow in this series.

Friday was a nice day and things are finally warming up. I had fun in the morning down by the lake mostly with foraging Cattle Egrets (after a slow start). I am about halfway through adding images to the 5D IV Guide so it should be ready for publication some time this coming week. I swam my slow 48 lengths, a bit more than a half mile, in the 73.7 degree water, up 3.2 degrees in one day. 🙂 There was another colorful sunset — with this one, I had fun with the Boat-tailed Grackles.

I was glad to learn on Thursday of the sale of Joel Williams’ Fujifilm XF 1.4x TC WR teleconverter in like-new condition for $299. The sale of several other of his items are pending.

Once again I ask that you use the BAA Amazon link below or to the right for all of your online shopping needs.

Right now two folks are signed up for San Diego #2 with two more interested; San Diego #1 has been sold out for some time. IPT #2 represents an amazing opportunity to enjoy some great bird photography with the spectacular breeding plumage Pacific race of Brown Pelican and to learn from possibly the finest bird photography teacher to ever walk on the planet (he said with all modesty …) This IPT is the first to offer a free morning session the day before the IPT starts. I hope that you can join me.

A Very Nice Facebook Message from Johnny Madrigal.a long-ago former student

Hi Mr. Morris, I don’t expect you to remember me but I can’t ever forget you. You were one of the most important teachers I ever had. I was a student of yours in P.S. 106; I had two consecutive years with you: 4th & 5th grade. At times when I look at a bird its you I think about. You definitely made a mark in my life. I learned a lot as kid with you as my teacher. I guess I’m just trying say thank you Mr. Morris for being a great teacher. I remember all the class the trips. An the lunch breaks when you selected a few of us to come up to the old gym room to play play floor hockey. Those were good times. Please feel free to contact me if you like.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Zoom Lens

Featured Item: Save $502!

Les Greenberg is offering a used Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lens in mint condition for the record low BAA price of $1397 (was $1599). The sale includes a Kirkphoto LP-2 lens plate, the tripod collar, the lens case, the rear lens cap, the hood, the front lens cap, the original product box, and insured ground shipping to US addresses only. The lens was purchased new in 2010 and used less than a dozen times. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Les via e-mail or by phone at 1-216-571-3636 or 1-216-292-7510 after 6:00 PM (Eastern time).

The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens is amazingly versatile. I still own one and have made zillions of great images with it. It works well with both the 1.4X III and the 2X III TCs, even with the 7D II! It is easily hand holdable. It is great for tame birds, landscapes, urbex, indoor stuff likes concerts and recitals, and just about anything you want to photograph. A new 70-200 II currently sells on sale for $1,899 so you can save a cool $502 by buying Les’s mint copy now. artie

Click on the logo-link above for great holiday savings!
$300 off on the Canon 100-400 II!


If you have sent me a FB friends request that has gone unrequited, it is because I am up to the 5,000 limit on my personal FB page. You are invited to click here and then Like and Follow the identical content. 🙂

The Streak

Today makes one hundred forty-one days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about 90 minutes 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.

Click on the logo-link above
Amazing 5D Mark IV Bundles and Deals


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. Those might include system, camera body, accessory, and lens choices and decisions.

This image was created late in the day on December 13, 2017 with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 420mm), and my favorite crane silhouette photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/320 sec. at f/11 in Av mode. WB = K7500.. Minutes after sunset at 5:33pm.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: extrapolated to -1.

Upper Large Zone/AI Servo/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure and worked perfectly. The system selected a single AF point that was one to the right and five rows up from the center AF point. That point fell on the bill just forward of the nares (nostrils).

Sandhill Crane at sunset, with midges

Dime a Dozen I: Attack Squadron …

If you head down to Lake Walk-in-Water, three minutes from my home at Indian Lake Estates, it is usually a piece of cake to find a few cranes and, on all but totally overcast days, have some good opportunities to create some very fine silhouetted images. Even on clear evenings you will have some color in the sky as the sun gets close to setting. On Wednesday, there were a few light clouds on the horizon that made conditions a bit better than average.

My very favorite rig for these dime-a-dozen sessions is the hand held 100-400mm IS/, 1.4X III/5D IV combo. It is lightweight and for most folks easily hand holdable. Working without a tripod allows me to get into position quickly. At times I need to change my perspective by mere inches to improve the image design and the 1-4 allows me to do that easily. It offers a versatile focal length range of from 140 to 560mm, short enough to step back and include the whole bird in the frame and long enough to create tight horizontal head portraits of the completely tame and willing subjects. And since I am pointing the lens in the direction of the sunset I can usually work at ISOs between 400 and 800. And if I need to get a bit wider to do a sky-scape at 100mm, I simply remove the TC and put it into my fanny pack.

Though the little flying bugs look like mosquitoes, I am pretty sure that they are midges. The little buggers definitely like hanging around the heads of the cranes and the cranes seemed to find them somewhat annoying based on some vigorous head shaking by the big birds.


From Wikipedia here.

Midges are a group of insects that include many kinds of small flies. They are found (seasonally or otherwise) on practically every land area outside permanently arid deserts and the frigid zones. The term “midge” does not define any particular taxonomic group, but includes species in several families of Nematoceran Diptera. Some midges, such as many Phlebotominae (sand fly) and Simuliidae (black fly), are vectors of various diseases. Many others play useful roles as prey items for insectivores, such as various frogs and swallows. Others are important as detritivores, participating in various nutrient cycles. The habits of midges vary greatly from species to species, though within any particular family, midges commonly have similar ecological roles.

One type of midge ceratopogonid midges (a type of fly in the family Dipteran) is a major pollinator of Theobroma cacao (cocoa tree) because of its unique morphological and behavioral characteristics. Having natural pollinators has beneficial effects in both agricultural and biological production because it increases Theobroma cacao crop yield and also density of predators of the midges (still beneficial to all parties).[1]

Examples of families that include species of midges include:[2]

Blephariceridae, net-winged midges
Cecidomyiidae, gall midges
Ceratopogonidae, biting midges (also known as no-see-ums or punkies in North America, and sandflies in Australia)
Chaoboridae, phantom midges
Chironomidae, non-biting midges (also known as muffleheads in the Great Lakes region of North America)
Deuterophlebiidae, mountain midges
Dixidae, meniscus midges
Scatopsidae, dung midges
Theumaleidae, solitary midges

Various types of ILE midges hatch practically year-round. At times, they can cover every plant and building in sight. And the same is true with the much larger mayflies that hatch more commonly in spring and summer. Both midges and mayflies here are non-biting. At times they can be so thick that you breathe them in. Both midges and mayflies provide fodder for many species of birds including the cranes, Cattle Egrets, and Boat-tailed Grackles.

Support the Blog

Please help support my (stupendous) efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. with love, artie


San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You can do most of your photography with an 80- or 100-400 lens …

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?


Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include four 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, three 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo 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.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance is payable only by check. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

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.


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 Dime a Dozen I: Attack Squadron …

  • avatar Jake

    Hi Artie, I love the image and the midges. But what are the lighter bits in the black part of the background? Their regularity is distracting, I thought it might be a building or buildings but the curved top of the dark section ruled out that one for me.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Jake, The curve is the hill the bird was on; I am not seeing any “lighter bits” in the black …

      with love, artie

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Stay warm and let me know if you make one photo after the crane pools 🙂

    with love and thanks, artie

    • avatar David Policansky

      It got down to 13! The south crane pool was great for geese and a few cranes, but there are not many opportunities elsewhere. Birds not close and poor light. But it’s still great just to be here.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Nice image and nice email from a former student, Artie. I am at Bosque–not light yet–and it’s about 17 degrees. Happy holidays and new year to you and yours.