Student Outdoes Teacher on Rare Bird with the Teacher’s Old Favorite Toy Lens … With a TC in Place! A Miraculous Repair Job. And a Bargain Basement House-cleaning Garage Gear Sale. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Student Outdoes Teacher on Rare Bird with the Teacher's Old Favorite Toy Lens ... With a TC in Place! A Miraculous Repair Job. And a Bargain Basement House-cleaning Garage Gear Sale.

Stuff

The pool was up to a balmy 79 degrees on Saturday afternoon and I am up to 50 lengths, a bit more than half a mile. I am in the early stages of thinking about the big Falklands Ground-based IPT. I fly from Orlando to MIA o Wednesday afternoon and catch a red-eye flight to Santiago, Chile that evening. On Saturday, weather permitting, are planning on making it to Stanley in the Falklands and then continue on the little yellow FIGAS (Falkland Islands Government Air Service) plane to The Neck on Saunders Island

I was thrilled the other day to learn that first-timer Shonagh Adelman of Chattanooga, TN signed up for the 2019 Puffins and Gannets and Red Kites IPT. As he is the first registrant, we need three more for the trip to go. I am counting on it and hope for a sellout with ten plus the two leaders; there are lots of puffins and gannets. 🙂 . Scroll down for the details if you would like to join us.

I still need three or four folks for the Galapagos trip. If you would like to explore the possibilities, please get in touch via e-mail or give me a call on my cell before next Wednesday (19 DEC) at 863-221-2372.

Bosque

If you have any interest past or present in Bosque del Apache NWR, you can learn a lot by reading the comments in the blog post here and the BPN post here.

I was horrified (not really) to learn that the 10-year policy of actively managing the refuge against nature photographers continues with the closing of Harry’s Crane Pool (the north one) to create more “non-wetlands” habitat. The two crane pools have been the only consistently decent spot left on the refuge. Now there is only one very crowded one 🙂

Big Mistake …

I priced my infrared Canon EOS-5D Mark II much too low at $299.00; I had six folks ready to buy it in five minutes. 🙁


BAA IPTs

  • The 2018 Fort DeSoto Early Winter IPT/Thursday December 7 through the morning session on Monday December 10, 2018: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 5.
  • Falklands Land-based IPT DEC 22, 2018 thru JAN 5, 2019/Two Weeks: Sold out.
  • 2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099. (Limit: 10/Openings: 4) Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins: THURS, 6 DEC.
  • The 2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — FEB 16 thru 19, 2019: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 2.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers/Openings: 9. This trip needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 photographers/Openings: 4.


BIRDS AS ART

BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

iPhone-composite

The iPhone Photography e-Guide

If you missed the long-awaited announcement yesterday, click here to learn about Cliff Oliver’s great new iPhone e-Guide. To order your copy of the The iPhone Photography e-Guide, please click here. The PDF is sent link by e-mail for downloading: the file is relatively huge at 216 MB.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog 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 went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking here or on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.

Bargain Basement House-cleaning Garage Gear Sale

Custom Brackets CB Gimbal for all long telephoto lenses

Sold in two hours!

I am offering a brand new, never used Custom Brackets CB Gimbal for all long telephoto lenses at the ridiculous low price of $199.00. The sale includes the head and insured ground shipping via UPS Ground. I will throw in the Custom Brackets GFM flash brackets as well. Your item will not ship until your check clears.

Please contact me via e-mail or on my cell at 863-221-2372 (before next Wednesday, 19 DEC).

This large, heavy duty unit sells for $579.95 new. It is suitable for all large, heavy super-telephoto lenses. artie

FEISOL Elite Tripod CT-3372LV

Sold in four hours!

I am offering a brand new, never used heavy duty FEISOL Elite Tripod CT-3372LV, also for the ridiculous low price of $199.00. The sale includes the tripod with spiked feet (no tool kit) and insured ground shipping via UPS Ground. You can purchase rubber feet off the Feisol website here. You will also need to come up with the right-sized allen wrench to tighten the bolts on one of the legs (unless Jim finds the tool kit on Monday …) Your item will not ship until your check clears.

Please contact me via e-mail or on my cell at 863-221-2372 (before next Wednesday, 19 DEC).

This large, heavy duty has been replaced by a newer model that sells new for $699.95. This item too is suitable for large, heavy super-telephoto lenses. If you are looking for a heavy, super-sturdy tripod you can save some serious dollars by grabbing this on asap. artie

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers 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 questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.


The 2018 B&H/BAA Bird Photography Holiday Contest!

Thanks to the generosity of the great folks at B&H, I am proud to announce the first-ever B&H/BAA Bird Photography Holiday Contest. The rules are simple:

1-Anyone can enter one or two of their favorite avian images that were created in 2018. As below, each image must be sent in a separate e-mail.
2-Image clean-up and repair is permitted.
3-Send you JPEGs in two separate e-mails only by clicking on this link: Contest Entry e-mail.
4-Please size your properly sharpened JPEGs as follows: 1200 high or wide less than 600 kb.
5-If you do not follow the instructions above to the letter your images will not be judged and you will not receive any notification.
6-There is one judge and you can guess who it is.
7-Here are the five prizes:

1st place: a $100 B&H gift certificate
2nd through 4th place: a $50 B&H gift certificate

All prizes will be awarded.

8- Entries my be submitted from now until January 16, 2019. Happy New Year! Please remember to do your holiday shopping at B&H using a BAA affiliate link or by clicking here or on any of the B&H banners in this blog post; many offer great holiday savings.

Good luck.

Scissor-tailed-Flycatcher-in-flight-Narayanan-photo_62Q1681-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL

This image was created on Day 2 of the Early Winter DeSoto IPT by first timer Narayanan Mangalath from Houston, TX. He used the hand held Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens, a Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X that he purchased off the BAA Used Gear Page (thank you very much). ISO 1000. Evaluative metering plus about 1/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 in Manual Mode. AWB on a sunny morning.

Center/Expand/AI Servo AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the center of the leading edge of the far wing.

Click on the image to see a larger version that reveals the shiny green fly in the bird’s bill.

Image #1: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher approaching wispy perch
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Narayanan Mangalath.
Image optimization by the teacher, aka yours truly.

The Situation

I was excited to locate and identify the scissor-tailed on the first morning of the IPT. We tried stalking the bird but it was quite skittish; we wound up only with distant photos. By the second day the bird was becoming more accepting of our presence. And we learned (as is sometimes the case) that we would do better overall if one person approached the bird at a time. In addition, the bird had several favored perches. To make today’s featured image, Narayanan set up on one of those perches and waited for the bird to fly to him.

Scissor-tailed-Flycatcher-in-flight-BRANCH-REMOVED-Narayanan-photo_62Q1681-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL-copy

This is the same image with the wispy perch completely removed in Photoshop. Image optimization by the teacher, aka yours truly. Click on the image to see a larger version that reveals the shiny green fly in the bird’s bill.

Image #2: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher with wispy perch removed in Photoshop
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Narayanan Mangalath

Removing Elements That Cover the Subject …

Removing elements that merge with or cover a subject is something that few folks try and many think is impossible to do well. When I suggested to Narayanan that I might be able to completely remove the wispy perch from the the image he jumped at the chance to watch me do the work. 🙂 So I did. I used a variety of techniques to remove the parts of the perch that were set against the sky — that was the easy part of the task. I used the Divide and Conquer techniques detailed in Digital Basics II where I first cut up the perch into manageable sections using the Clone Stamp Tool and then eliminate them with either the Patch Tool or Content Aware Fill. That left me with the in-progress version below.

Your Favorite?

Which of the two images above do you like best, Image #1 with the wispy perch, or Image #2 without the wispy perch. Please let us know why. Before I created Image #2 I was sure that I would like the cleaned up version better. Now, even though I did a pretty damned good job, I am not so sure …

in-progress-Scissor-tailed-Flycatcher-in-flight-Narayanan-photo_62Q1681-Fort-DeSoto-Park,-FL-copy

This is a crop of the same image with the most of the wispy perch removed from the sky. But as you can see, there was still a lot of work to do … Note that the more you crop the more that image quality and fine feather detail (FFD) degrades.

Image #2: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher with most of the wispy perch removed in Photoshop
Image courtesy of and copyright 2018: Narayanan Mangalath
Image optimization by the teacher, aka yours truly

The More Difficult Part

One of the keys to completely removing the twigs that overlap the subject is to work very large and very slowly with great care. To complete the repairs I used the Divide and Conquer technique often, the Clone Stamp Tool, the Patch Tool, the Spot Healing Brush, and Content Aware Fill. As I said to Narayanan, the use of all the tools and techniques that I use on images like this are detailed in Digital Basics II (aka The BAA Current Workflow e-Guide), but in order to master the techniques you need to study them, practice them often, think a bit creatively, and sometimes try or invent new stuff using the same tools and techniques. Several times with this optimization I experimented by using Content Aware Fill on a rather large area and each time I was amazed by the excellent results …

DBII-cover

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II).

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

Your guessed it, everything mentioned above and tons more — including all of my personalized Keyboard Shortcuts — is covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. While the new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow, folks using a PC and/or BreezeBrowser will also benefit greatly by studying the material on DB II. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II): Note: all of the videos are now priced at an amazingly low $5.00 each.

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

Though I have become more proficient converting my Nikon RAW (NEF) files in Adobe Camera Raw, I continue to optimize my old Canon images in DPP 4. You can learn how and why I converted (and still convert) nearly all of my Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide here. And, yes, I still have many Canon images to work on. 🙂 The RAW conversions for all three of today’s featured images was straightforward once I entered my camera/ISO specific recipes (as detailed in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide). You can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

UK-puffins-2018-CARD-

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn, just fifteen minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography at there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best. Note: this trip needs a minimum of four photographers to run.

UK-Puffins-2017card

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip. The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as we will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer and my co-leader 🙂

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — 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 February 28, 2019. 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.

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

Single Supplement Info

Single supplement rooms in Bridlington and Dunbar are available for those who register early. The cost of the single supplement for those six nights is $600.00. Single supplement rooms at the lodge may be available on a limited basis but only if the trip does not fill with ten photographers. The single supplement fee for those seven nights is $700. If you would like your own room in Bridlington and Dunbar, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement with your deposit: $2,600.00. The single supplement deposits are non-refundable as I will need to make the reservations well in advance.

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 or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

I truly hope that you can join me on this exciting venture.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my 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. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

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.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.

Typos

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

20 comments to Student Outdoes Teacher on Rare Bird with the Teacher’s Old Favorite Toy Lens … With a TC in Place! A Miraculous Repair Job. And a Bargain Basement House-cleaning Garage Gear Sale.

  • I like the 1st photo with the wispy branch. Soothing to my eye as part of the birds natural habitat. To me, not distracting but adds the the picture when the two are compared. I do think the skills you showed to your student are valuable but discretion is certainly needed. I saw in a book a picture of I believe Utah Arches & the writer photoshp’d in a nice sunset palette in the sky & then 2 flying hawks or falcons. it was a truly made up picture. He may call it Art but where is the reward for the patience of waiting for the right moment & using golden light when it can all be made up in the software… I was offended when I saw that in his book & Nature Photography to me should reflect reality not a made up dream picture imagined by the computer specialist. Are we always trying to improve on the picture as captured and do we make the mistake of trying to slick up everything. Are we getting the photo closer to what we saw in the viewfinder or are we just imagining ways to spruce up/customize/ enhance an already wonderful moment in God’s unfolding day!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jeff, I sort of like the photo with the brach better too. I enjoy cleaning up images, sharing the results, and then sharing the techniques that I use. Each of us is the artist and everyone has the with to do what they please with their images. It is however, always important to let folks know what you have done.

      Was the image that you speak of labeled as a composite?
      with love, artie

  • avatar Nish

    Hats off to your patience and desire to use PS to the extreme 🙂
    Nothing beats what’s naturally captured. Image 1 is the better one.
    Seeing the photoshopped version was like a punch to the gut. The pursuit of art shouldn’t be at the cost of forsaking reality. The time spent in cleaning up twigs in PS could as well be invested in many other activities while sending out the message that nature has twigs and other “unwanted” elements 🙂

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Nish, Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I love tongue in cheek comments 🙂 You wrote, Nothing beats what’s naturally captured. Is that according to you or to God or to some law that I am not aware of?

      Image’s that are naturally captured are often over- or under-exposed, have color casts, exhibit too much or too little contrast, include distracting elements, and yes, have too many twigs. I am curious as to your telling me that I should spend my time pursuing activities other than improving my Photoshop skills and teaching others to do the same.

      The last I heard art was a matter of personal choice 🙂

      with much love, artie

      • avatar Nish

        Artie, with a lot of love and respect, all I can say is that such over-manipulation of an image to remove stuff by someone so highly regarded makes amateurs feel that it is okay to capture a bad image in the field and manipulate it in photoshop later. That’s what I was referring to when I said “naturally captured” – probably a poor way of phrasing it.
        I’m sure an amateur photographer can spend more time in the field perfecting their art rather than spend hours in removing twigs just because they didn’t me around to reduce the clutter in the first place. Ideally that’s what learner’s should be doing right ? Learn that moving a few steps is easier, than spending hours fixing clipped wings and removing unwanted distractions?

        If this was painting, by all means the artist can take whatever time they want to paint what they wish to, but photography is supposed to present a reality that was presented to the photographer – calling it art is only good until it does not venture into extensive manipulation.

        What’s going to prevent someone from taking two bee eater images and then cloning them side by side in photoshop and then fooling people that it’s a real photo?

        Photoshop skills are necessary but when someone (not you, but a regular, learner) runs a risk starts thinking it is better to spend an extraordinary of time to fix what they could’ve gotten right on the field, that’s worrisome.

        And every now and then, that’s the message one gets from your blog – that’s pretty much my point.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks for getting back to me Nish, but obviously we disagree. You are missing three major points:

          1- The photographer is an artist. The decision of what do do with their images is theirs alone. As stated here quite often if I enter a contest I abide by the rules. Photography is art.

          2- You cannot create a good picture from a bad picture. I repeat, you cannot make a good picture out of a bad picture.

          3- On the blog, and on IPTs, and in e-guides, I strive to teach folks how to eliminate distracting elements while they are in the field.

          If you wish to convert your RAW files straight up and present them as they came out of the camera, that is your choice.

          with love, artie

  • avatar Wayne Lea

    Hi Artie, I am at Bosque. I always think of you when I am here having previously purchased your Bosque guide, seeing your program at the visitors center, and photographing near you several years. I always appreciated the free advice you gave! However, all is not lost here. Conditions are excellent here. The tour loop they have this year which is well north of the farm road is outstanding. There are large fields of corn both cut and non-cut. There has been literally thousands of geese and cranes on these fields and many are within fifteen yards of the road. With the north wind conditions couldn’t possibly be better as they are literally landing in your face. There are turkey everywhere in the corn fields. They have cut quite a few viewing areas on the south road and in several other places. Yes the north crane pool has no water, but they put in a new parking lot for the south pond and it is still heavily utilized by the cranes. I know you are frustrated with them, but it is still a national treasure.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Wayne,

      Many thanks. I know that all is not lost. When the birds are flying at you, where is the sun? Are there any good opps for flocks of birds in the sunrise color?

      with love, artie

      • avatar Wayne Lea

        Sunrise for flocks pretty much the same as always. Sun at your front where biggest groups are on the ground, but overcast most of the day with little sun. However, when flying into the field would be at your back.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks Wayne, Sounds like I might have to visit next year. Where are you photographing the flocks agains sunrise color? Do shoot me a few 1200 wide JPEGs via e-mail 🙂

          with love, artie

          ps: sounds as if you have perfect weather.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I do prefer image # 1. There’s a typo in your answer to Jake Kneale, here: I like #1 a lot too, probably more than #1 … Go figure.”

    I have spoken to many of the Bosque del Apache NWR staff, including the just-retired refuge manager, and they all recognize photographers as important users of the refuge. I won’t deny that some recent management actions have made some photography more difficult at times, but do you have evidence that this resulted from a “policy of actively managing the refuge against nature photographers”? If so, you should let me know because as a board member of the Friends of Bosque del Apache, several of whose members in addition to me are avid bird photographers, I might be able to have an influence on any such policy.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Dr. Fish,

      I cannot believe that I lost two paragraphs of typing so now I am starting again.

      Either they cannot or have chosen not to grow corn/crops anywhere near the north tour loop for many years. That was the death knell. They quit putting water in the North Railroad Pond and closed it permanently. It was a spectacular pre-dawn spot. I suggested many safe work-arounds so that that location could be kept open and wanted to do some fund-raising to get the work done. No interest. If it’s good for photography, close it. They quit putting water in the small pond by the Marsh Deck about six years ago. Why? Because it was the best place for photographing afternoon ducks from the car.

      They cut down the trees along the road where Roadrunners were easily and consistently photographed. Yes, they were invasive trees but there are hundreds if not thousands of acres of those same trees that remain. Now, the have permanently closed the crane pool to the north. Why? To grow more brush while eliminating wetlands? Give me a break.

      Once Phil Norton left, they stopped cutting the tall stuff in the ditches blocking access to planted fields and geese. I formed a volunteer group. We visited for three years and did a bang-up job of clearing sight lines. The hard corp guys quit in disgust because of a complete lack of support from refuge management.

      The way that the Intermittent Tour Loop Road was managed was a joke. I asked why it was not open all season. They said, “We do not have enough staff to patrol.” In all of my visits I never saw any refuge staff patrolling on any of the tour loop roads. I saw and photographed and reported several refuge vehicles speeding through flocks and flushing of geese on the inner roads.

      When I saw what was happening I began doing a drive-around with various refuge staff before my groups came. Heck, one year I did that while we were out working in September! Nearly all of my suggestions were ignored.

      Eventually I got sick of seeing a national treasure ruined while nobody cared. You just gotta love uninspired, lazy, unimaginative, uncaring management. That is why I quit going 🙂

      with love, artie

      ps: I am sure that I forgot more than a few.

      • avatar David Policansky

        Artie: Thanks for your reply. I will discuss these matters when I’m next with the refuge staff. There has been a huge effort to get rid of the invasive salt cedar, including burning, cutting, applying pesticides, bulldozing, and some work by hand. They’ve removed many hundreds of acres of them and continue to work at it. They had trouble with outside farmers growing corn; the deal was that the farmers had to grow a certain amount of corn and then they could grow whatever crop they wanted in other areas and sell it. The refuge finally gave up and grew the corn themselves, which was a huge success, but they didn’t have the staff to manage the other areas where the farmers had grown their own crops and so those areas look pretty rough now. I hope you’ll consider my assessment that the managers are dedicated to their jobs and to the refuge, but they aren’t perfect and they are under-staffed, a condition that seems to be getting worse rather than better.

        By the way, on many late mornings and afternoons recently the geese have massed in the Flight Deck pond, often right at and even on the shore. There are sporadic and unpredictable blast-offs.

        • avatar David Policansky

          I meant herbicides, of course, not pesticides. 🙁

          • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

            David, I wish you luck. All I know is that the place was a crown jewel of the NWR system when Phil Norton was managing it for the birds, the visitors, and the photographers. It is at best a faint shadow of what it was. Please read everything that I said about being ignored for close to ten years as the place went to hell.

            with love, artie

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for catching my typo 🙂

      a

  • Hi Artie,
    Amazing photoshop skills – one would never know. That being said I prefer image #1!
    Just got my hands on the old canon 500! Thanks as always for the teaching,
    Jake

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Jake,

      Thanks. And you are welcome. I like #1 a lot too, probably more than #2 … Go figure.

      with love artie

      ps: mazel tov on the new lens.

      pps: where do you live?

      • I guess you cant know which you will prefer until you try. 🙂
        Thanks, I’m looking forward to having a good play.
        I live in Southern England.
        Jake

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks for getting back to me. Do consider the 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets and Red Kites IPT 🙂

          with love, artie