2018 BAA Top Twenty Images: Part II of IV. Subtitle: Five Good Reasons Why I Switched to Nikon … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

2018 BAA Top Twenty Images: Part II of IV. Subtitle: Five Good Reasons Why I Switched to Nikon ...


I will be away for almost a month while leading the 2018/2019 Falklands land-based IPT. I should be back in the office (and back in the pool) on the afternoon of Monday, January 14, 2019. Happy new year! I should have good internet access until Friday December 21 and then again on the weekend of January 12/13. I will surely not be online from December 23-27 and then again from January 4-7. I may or may not have limited internet access at other times.

Jim and Jen will be in the office weekdays to help you with your online orders and with IPT registrations.

I was thrilled recently 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. 🙂

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. No reasonable offer will be turned down.

BIRDS AS ART B&H Essential Gear Bags

BIRDS AS ART B&H Essential Gear Bags

Click here or on the logo-link above to check out some great B&H year-end deals in the category that best suits you and your photography.

  • 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 is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The iPhone Photography e-Guide

If you missed the long-awaited announcement recently, 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.

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.

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 the banner just below.

Good luck.

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.

2018 BAA Top Twenty Images: Part I of IV

Below are five of my twenty favorite images created in calendar year 2018; I am not quite done yet 🙂 All in all it was a wonderful year, a year filled with blessings and great opportunities. The remaining 15 images will be shared with you here in three future blog posts.

Please leave a comment and let us know which of the five images below is your very favorite. And do let us know why.

This image was created on the morning of February 12 on Cayman Brac with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 290mm) and the Nikon D850. ISO 400: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:44am on a sunny morning with just slight edge off the sun.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Brown Booby in flight with wings raised looking at cliff

Brown Booby in flight

Anita North and I had a great time on Cayman Brac with BPN Landscape Moderator Andrew McLachlan.

Recipe for Success:

Tread carefully over the limestone cliffs to get in position with the wind and the sun at our back.

This image was created on the miracle morning of April 9, 2018 at the Riparian Preserve at the Gilbert Water Ranch in Phoenix, AZ. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering about +2/3 stops as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/7.1. AUTO1 WB at 7:18am on a sunny morning.

Center Group (grp) AF point/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The left hand AF point in the array was right on the bird’s face.

If you do not click on the image to see the larger version you are missing something very special.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +4.

Image #2: Cinnamon Teal in flight

Cinnamon Teal in flight

This species had been a nemesis bird for me until I encountered a small group of cooperative Cinnamon Teal at the Riparian Preserve at the Gilbert Water Ranch in Phoenix, AZ.

Recipe for Success:

Get the AF array tracking on the bird’s face, neck, or upper breast and fire away.

This image was created at Harewood, UK with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens (at 195mm) and my main Nikon D850. ISO 1000. Matrix metering +1 stop as framed: 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3 was a bit hot. NATURAL AUTO WB at 4:52pm on a clear afternoon.

Center Group (grp)/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon)/Shutter button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure; this is just a small crop from below and from the left. The bird’s face was centered between the upper and right-most points of the array. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: zero. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #3: Red Kite upside down dive

Red Kite upside down dive

Thanks a stack to BPN member Mikey Poole of the UK for guiding us first around Bempton Cliffs and then escorting us to Harewood for the kites!

Recipe for Success:

Don’t give up. We worked hard in unfavorable conditions for several hours. Late in the day the light got softer and the kites seemed to slow down just a bit. As always, persistence with flight photography was the key to success for me.

This image was created at the Riparian Preserve at Gilbert Water Ranch on the afternoon of Monday March 5, 2018. I was sitting behind my Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the Nikon D850. ISO 800. Matrix metering -1/3 stops: 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3 in A (Aperture priority mode –Av in Canon). AUTO2 WB at 5:27pm.

Group (grp) shutter button AF.

Nikon Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: -6.See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #4: Ring-necked Duck landing

Ring-necked Duck landing

What a thrill it was to have these guys landing right at us in late afternoon light.

Recipe for Success:

At locations where feeding the ducks is permitted doing so can pay handsome rewards.

This image was created on the morning of Friday, February 16, 2018 with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the blazingly fast AF king, the Nikon D5 DSLR (Dual XQD Slots). ISO 400. Matrix metering at about – 1 2/3 stops: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 AUTO0 WB at 7:52am on a clear day.

Nikon quick and easy AF fine-tune: +8.

Center Group (grp) Shutter Button AF as originally framed. Be sure to click on the image to see the spectacular larger version.

Image #5: Roseate spoonbill taking flight

Roseate spoonbill taking flight

This is one of a series of five razor sharp images of this takeoff.

Recipe for Success:

Get yourself out to Alafia Banks and if you want sharp images of the birds flying right at you, be sure to bring your Nikon gear; it works quite well for me.

From left to to right clockwise back to the center: Brown Pelican, Roseate Spoonbill downstroke, Brown Pelican sunrise silhouette, Double-crested Cormorant pre-dawn blur, Roseate Spoonbill flapping after bath, Brown Pelican taking flight, Roseate Spoonbill taking flight, Reddish Egret white morph breeding plumage in flight, and Reddish Egret dark morph breeding plumage in flight.

All images on this card were created by me on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks on the February 2018 trip.

You can click on each card to enjoy a larger version.

2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — FEB 16 thru 19, 2019: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 3.

3 1/2 days on the boat including four morning photo sessions and three afternoon sessions via customized pontoon boat.

Price per day Reduced from the 2018 rates! Please e-mail for details on IPT veteran and couples’ discounts. Pro-rated options may be available …

We will be leaving the dock very early for the morning sessions (weather permitting) in hopes of photographing the pre-dawn American Crow and White Ibis blast-offs. All sessions are planned for the Alafia Banks Roseate Spoonbill Rookery. We might consider other options in the unlikely event of horrific weather. There will be lots of opportunities for flight photography of several species including and especially Roseate Spoonbill. Also likely for flight photography are nesting Brown Pelican, both morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, White and Glossy Ibises, and Double Crested Cormorant. We should have some good chances with birds carrying nesting material. This IPT includes all boat and guide fees, in the field instruction, chest waders (feel free to bring your own of course to assure a perfect fit), and three working lunches on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. For the most part we will be standing in mid-calf to knee high water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with mobility or balance problems. Note however that some folks opt to stay on the boat to photograph. They usually have lots of chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

All images on this card were created by me on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks

The Timing and Tides are Perfect!

I recently saw a similar trip advertised two months too late for breeding plumage spoonbills … The 2019 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT represents an incredible opportunity to photograph Florida’s most wanted species. I do hope that you can join us. There will be a meet and greet at 7:00pm sharp on the evening of Friday February 15, 2019. All of the images on the card were made on the Hooptie Duex during the last two weeks of February, prime time for the spoonies in mega-breeding plumage. Many folks have written expressing interest so please do not tarry.

Please e-mail to hold your spot. Then you may either secure your spot by calling Jim or Jennifer at the office at 863-692-0906 and leaving the $500 deposit on credit card or sending your check for payment in full to us as follows with the check made out to:

BIRDS AS ART and sent here via US mail:

PO BOX 7245
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855

If you call to leave your deposit you will be asked to mail your check for the balance no later than December 15, 2018.


Images courtesy of our guide; copyright 2017 Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Everybody Loves Spoonbills!

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in mid-February is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage…. with long telephoto lenses. A 500 or 600 with a 1.4X TC is perfect for this trip.

Mornings to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography often with the birds likely carrying nesting material), Double-crested Cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White) in breeding plumage. Some of the White Ibises may be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition we may get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. Afternoon trips will most likely be back to Alafia Banks for the spoonbills with an option to visit a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an extensive image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes lunches on the full days with small group image sharing and review and some over-the-shoulder Photoshop instruction.

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.


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

6 comments to 2018 BAA Top Twenty Images: Part II of IV. Subtitle: Five Good Reasons Why I Switched to Nikon …

  • Are these five pictures your five reasons for switching? if not can you post link to that article please. Thank-you & the pictures are truly art.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Jeff. My point is that AF with Nikon when shooting birds in flight is far, far better than with Canon. For me. There are lots of things that I hate about Nikon. Do a search for “switching to Nikon” in the little white search box at the top of each blog post page. Most from the beginning of 2018.

      with love, artie

  • Cinnamon Teal image is the best in my opinion.

    Couldn’t find the 5 good reasons!

    Nikon is a great brand undoubtedly. However, the market gives an indication that Canon still enjoys 50% of total DSLR sales.

    May I request your opinion on this?

    Thank you with best regards.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


      Each of the images is one of the five reasons 🙂

      If the fact is that Canon still has 50% of dSLR sales then that is the fact. As I have been saying here all along, I do much, much better with birds in flight with my Nikon gear (even though there is a lot about the Nikon system that I hate) 🙂

      with love, artie

  • avatar Ray


    One of the best Roseate Spoonbill shots I have ever seen.