The Death of a Friend … I gave myself a kina hora. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Death of a Friend ... I gave myself a kina hora.

What’s Up

On Day 3 of the Spoonbill IPT we had our best morning with spoonies on the ground. And the afternoon of flying pelicans was not bad either. Late on Monday afternoon I learned that Captain Froggies customized pontoon boat, the Hoopetie Deux, had developed engine problems so on Tuesday morning we visited some of the quite amazing Lakeland lakes. And we did just great with White Pelicans and Limpkins (while ignoring all of the tame wild ducks).

Read on the learn why I have been less than responsive to e-mails for the past few days … Thanks for understanding; you should be hearing from me soon.

IPT Updates

I still need three folks for the Galapagos trip, and the UK Puffins and Gannets trip is wide open with only a single registrant. Please shoot me an e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount on the Galapagos trip.

  • The 2019 Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/THURS 18 APRIL through the morning session on SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2019: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 4. Meet and greet at 7PM on the evening of WED 17 APRIL.
  • 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. Please e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this trip.


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

Orlando Camera Club Program Sponsored By Bedford Camera

On February 25, 2019, I will be presenting “Lessons from the Field – BIRDS AS ART Style” for the Orlando Camera Club. They told me that they did not want to see beautiful images as they would rather learn. I told them that I would need to show them lots of beautiful images during the course of the lessons. 🙂 I have been having a ton of fun for three weeks creating this brand new program. The meeting begins at 6:15; my program is scheduled for 6:15 – 8:00pm at the Marks Senior Center, 99 E Marks Street, Orlando, FL 32803. The meeting is free and open to the public. If you learned about the program through the blog be sure to come up for a hug.

Huge thanks to Steve Elkins at Bedford Camera for sponsoring my appearance and to Holly Manus for the invitation. Click on the logo-link above or check out the Money Saving Reminder feature immediately below to get acquainted with Bedford.

From the OCC website here:

Arthur Morris will present “Lessons from the Field – BIRDS AS ART Style”. This slide-illustrated lecture will feature hundred’s of Artie’s spectacular photographs. As he shares images from his favorite locations around the globe he will be telling us about the birds and other creatures that he photographs and about the equipment and techniques that he uses to create his images. Topics to be covered include getting close to free and wild birds, flight photography, getting the right exposure, and image design. A selection of books and CDs will be available.

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. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 III. 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.

Recent Sales

I sold my Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II in near-mint condition for a BAA record low price of $299.00 in mid-February.
Multiple IPT veteran, dear friend, and BAA technical advisor Patrick Sparkman sold his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens in like-new condition for $10,996.95 his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens in like-new condition for $475.00, his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Lens in like-new condition for $910.00, and his Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III in excellent condition for $385.00 all within a day of listing them in early February.
John Svendsen sold a Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G IF ED lens (the original version) in near-mint condition for the BAA record low price by miles of $1499.00 in early January.
John M Wright sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR body in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $949.00, a Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR body in excellent plus condition for $799.00, and a Canon Extender (teleconverter) EF 1.4X III in near-mint condition for $265.00 in mid-January.
Brooke Miller sold a Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM in excellent condition for $1,199.00 (was $1,449.00) in late January, 2019.
Charlie Curry exhibited great patience and finally sold his Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II lens in like-new condition for a very low $1445.00 in late January.
Judy Helderman sold her Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM lens in very good condition for $2,799.00 and her Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM lens (the original IS version) lens in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $799.00.
John Wright sold a Canon 500mm f/4 IS USM and a Canon EF Extender 1.4X II, both in very good plus condition for $3399.00 in mid-January.
IPT veteran Mark Overgaard sold hisCanon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens in near-mint condition for $1,299.00 in mid-January.
John M Wright sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens in excellent to near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $6,950.00, his Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of 1,299.00, a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L lens in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $599.00, his Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS lens in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $499.00,
and a Canon Extender (teleconverter) EF 2X III in near-mint condition for $265.00, all within days of their being listed.

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.

I gave myself a kein ayin hora …

In Tuesday’s blog post, I wrote: I am and have been quite happy with my MacBook Pro (Retina display, 15-inch, Mid 2014), so happy that I would love to purchase another brand new one exactly the same. My MacBook Pro had been the most reliable computer that I have ever owned. By far. I loved it. To death. This Yiddush phrase, kein ayin hora, is often mis-pronounced as “kina hora.” It translates as “without the evil eye.” When people relate their assets or blessings, they say “kein ayin hora” when realizing that they might be bringing some bad luck upon themselves. Or upon their laptop. Learn more here.

The Death of a Friend …

On Monday, February 19, 2019 I was working on my beloved laptop. It was showing 46% battery power left. Then it shut down instantly. When we got back to our AirBNB, I plugged it in. It tried to start up but quit. Twice. Miraculously, I was able to schedule an appointment for that vety afternoon at the Apple Store in Brandon, FL. The nice lady at the Genius Bar said that she had never seen a laptop so “well used.” She said that the battery was “swollen” and that there was so much sand and (salt) corrsion in, on, and around the components that she had no idea how the laptop had been working at all. The “a,” “s”, and “e” keys were worn smooth (from too many blog posts!) “Repairs would be about $1,300.00. Plus tax.”

I declined and she kindly removed the 1TB solid state drive. I had backed my stuff up less than a week ago. I ordered the new laptop below along with an ElecGear SATA m.2 SSD Gen 2 Enclosure and with luck — kein ayin hora — I should be able to restore all of my latest photos and other work.

The New Killer Laptop

Even before the death knell, I ordered a Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2018, Space Gray), two of the best-money-can-buy Samsung 2TB T5 Portable Solid-State Drives (Black), and four Apple USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C Male to USB Type-A Female Adapters (needed to connect my old drives and devices to the new laptop). All from B&H of course.

With 32 gb of ram, the new laptop will really smoke:

2.9 GHz Intel Core i9 Six-Core
32GB of 2400 MHz RAM | 2TB SSD
15.4″ 2880 x 1800 Retina Display
AMD Radeon Pro 560X GPU (4GB GDDR5)

Regularly priced at $4,699.00. I enjoyed an Instant Savings of $700.00. My lucky day!

The laptop arrived on Tuesday afternoon and we will be working very, very hard for a few days getting it up and running. Hint: be sure to have all of your codes, license keys, and passwords stored in several easily accessible locations. I will be doing that from now on … The ElecGear SATA m.2 SSD Gen 2 Enclosure arrives today.

Fort DeSoto in spring is rife with tame birds, many in full breeding plumage. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left around to center: Laughing Gull landing on head of Brown Pelican, Laughing Gull in flight, Reddish Egret sunrise silhouette, Great Blue Heron with needlefish, Yellow-crowned Night Heron with ghost crab, Roseate Spoonbill, Sanderling in breeding plumage, and white morph Reddish Egret in glorious breeding plumage.

The 2019 Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/THURS 18 APRIL through the morning session on SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2019: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 4. Meet and greet at 7PM on the evening of WED 17 APRIL.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for a great variety of migrant shorebirds, gulls, terns, and passerines in Spring. Many of the gulls and terns will be courting and copulating. There the migrants join hundreds of Florida resident egrets, herons, night-herons, and pelicans on the T-shaped peninsula. We should get to photograph one of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher almost guaranteed. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis are easy as well and many of those will be in their spectacular breeding plumages. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is a strong possibility. We may get to see and photograph the amazing heron/egret hybrid that has been present for three years. And we should enjoy some great Brown Pelican flight photography. In addition, Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork might well be expected. And we will be on the lookout for a migrant passerine fallout in the event of a thunderstorm or two. Yikes, I almost forgot to mention that nearly all of the birds are ridiculously tame!

Yes, Fort DeSoto in spring is rife with tame birds, most in breeding plumage. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left around to center: breeding plumage Dunlin, dark morph Reddish Egret displaying, Laughing Gull vertical front-end portrait, Laughing Gull with prey item, landing on head of Brown Pelican, breeding plumage Royal Tern displaying, Royal Terns — pre-copulatory stance, Laughing Gulls copulating, Laughing Gull head portrait, breeding plumage Sandwich Tern with fish, and a rare treat, a breeding plumage White-rumped Sandpiper.

Just some of the stuff you will learn …

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. Most importantly you will surely learn to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

Again, Fort DeSoto in spring is rife with tame birds, most in breeding plumage. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left around to center: Laughing Gull in flight, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Sandwich Terns copulating, Roseate Spoonbill, Great Egret with reflection, breeding plumage Short-billed Dowitcher, American Oystercatcher, Royal Tern, white morph Reddish Egret, and Snowy Egret in marsh.

What we do

There will be seven shooting sessions in all: four 3+ hours morning session and three 2 1/2 hour afternoon sessions. There will be a Photoshop/image review session during or after lunch (lunch is included) on each of the three full days. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time.

The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Once you register, you will receive an e-mail with the hotel/lodging information.

You got it, Fort DeSoto in spring is rife with tame birds, most in breeding plumage. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left around to center: Roseate Spoonbill, immature Brown Pelican in flight, the heron/egret hybrid, American Oystercatcher feeding, immature Royal Tern on railing, Great Egret morning silhouette, Black Skimmer in surf, and underside head portrait of Great Blue Heron.

Signing Up

A $500 deposit is due when you sign up and is payable by credit card. Balances must be paid by check after you register. Your deposit is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight folks so please check your plans carefully before committing. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand or by sending a check as follows: make the check out to: BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, clothing, and gear advice. Please remember that the meet and greet will take place on the evening of WED 17 APRIL. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.


Folks attending this IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, juvenile Tricolored Heron, Marbled Godwits, Great Blue Heron, juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, Wood Stork, smiling Sea Scallop, Ruddy Turnstone scavenging needlefish, Great Blue Heron sunset silhouette at my secret spot, and southbound migrant tern flock blur.

Early and Late

Getting up early and staying out late is pretty much a staple on all BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours; on this particular trip we will get lots of sleep as the days are short. Being in the field well before the sun comes up and staying out until sunset will often present unique photographic opportunities, opportunities that will be missed by those who need their beauty rest. I really love it when I am leaving the beach on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers arrive.

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.


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 :).

12 comments to The Death of a Friend … I gave myself a kina hora.

  • avatar Andrew

    Friendly advice.
    Since you got 2018 model you better make sure you have time machine backup running all the time or you’ll be very sorry one day.

  • Artie, I am so sorry to hear about your beloved MacBook Pro. I was fortunate to see her perform during the San Diego IPT, and she ROCKED!!! I am glad you saved all the important files before she succumbed. The 2018 model you’ve got will serve you well…

    Take care and see you soon!!!

  • avatar Jordan Cait

    Artie, so sorry to hear that you are saying kaddish for your Mid 2014 Macbook z.l. It sounds like it had a good, productive life. Enjoy your new one – it sounds like quite the beast.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba …

      Thanks. I am making progress … Without too much too much agita.

      with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: Did you and friends sit shiva for the poor old laptop? 🙂 Glad you didn’t lose any important files.

    Typo alert: Yiddish, not Yiddush. [ This Yiddush phrase, kein ayin hora, ]

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      All mirrors are covered. Company bringing large dishes of food while playing party music.

      Tanks for the typo correction.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    Did you use your B&H link to buy the laptop? Get credit for your self 😉

  • All your bird photos on this email are BEAUTIFUL and CUTE!!

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    How did the crud get inside? artie being artie! I am very hard on stuff. Doing slide shows at the beach in the rain under a bridge abutment … And lots more. Not to mention being on the laptop an average of ten hours a day for the past five years 🙂

    with love, artie

  • avatar Joel Eade

    That is sad news about your MacBook. Any clue how all that crud got inside? I am still using the MacBook I bought in 2010 when I first started with digital photography and went on a solo trip with Mr. Shadle using a 1D MKIII and a rented 500mm f/4 (of course mine hasn’t traveled a fraction of what yours has)