A Pleasant Surprise! And SONY or Nikon? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Pleasant Surprise! And SONY or Nikon?

What’s Up?

My younger daughter Alissa and her younger son Idris are visiting from Long Island. I had lunch with them and my granddaughter Maya on Friday afternoon and all of us will be at Jennifer’s for dinner with her husband Erik.

I was thrilled on Tuesday to learn that multiple IPT veteran Malcolm MacKenzie signed up to join Shonagh Adelman and me on the 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, and Red Kites IPT; Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! That done, I committed to the trip and purchased my flights. See below to join us. If you are at all interested, or if you would like the IPT veteran and couple’s discount info, please contact me via e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372..

Lakeland In-the-Field Morning Sessions

If you would like to join me in Lakeland for a morning of great photography next week — I am free on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, March 12, 13, and 15 — please get in touch via e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372. Limit three photographers/session.

Morning Session — 7-10am: $250.00
Morning Session with a working lunch including image review and Photoshop: $350.00

IPT Updates

Despite lots of recent interest I still need three folks for the Galapagos trip. 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: 2. Meet and greet at 7PM on the evening of WED 17 APRIL. Free morning session on 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: 8. This trip is a go. Co-leader with more than 6 participants: Peter Kes.
  • 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 6 photographers/Openings: 5. 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: 13 photographers/Openings: 3. Please e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this trip.


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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.


Image #1: Sandhill Crane chick vertical head and shoulders portrait

A Pleasant Surprise!

I start looking for crane nests down by the lake at my home in February. This year I had spotted only one nest — to the right of the pier — but last week that pair was no longer there. So I was quite surprised to find a pair of cranes with two small chicks to the left of the pair in an area where I had not seen a nest. I am hoping that there will be several more pairs with chicks in the next few weeks.


Image #2: Sandhill Crane chick stretching near-wing

SONY or Nikon?

Please leave a comment and answer the question, Sony or Nikon for Image #1 and for Image #2. Feel free to comment on the image quality, color, image design, and especially the sharpness and fine feather detail of each image. Note that I did some grass clean-up with Image #2 while Image #1 is right out of camera.


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. Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! 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.


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.

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10 comments to A Pleasant Surprise! And SONY or Nikon?

  • avatar Paul Mckenzie

    Can’t see any difference to my amateur eye (admittedly on a low res, uncalibrated computer screen) which tells me that it’s not the camera make that matters but the person behind it.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Paul. With many multiple BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition- and Nature’s Best-honored images Paul’s eye is a lot better than an amateur eye … I think that Paul had two honored in this year’s BBC WPOTY competition. Mazel tov on that Paul.

      with love, artie

  • Hey Artie, prove me wrong again but I say Image #1 is Sony and Image #2 is Nikon. The detail and color in Image #2 look better. As you know I shoot Nikon and Image #2 looks like what I regularly post process. Me thinks you are trying to convince yourself, not sure yet regarding Sony. The problem I see now with Sony is lenses, the maximum is the 80-400mm which with a full frame body is not enough reach. So that always means using a teleconverter which always to a degree lessens the acuity.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Time will tell. f/8 is a challenge just as with the 500 PF with the TC 🙂 Time will tell.

      Thanks for playing.

      with love, artie

  • avatar David Peake

    Hi Artie,
    I come by here and catch up often. Although rarely do I get to comment much these days.
    My thoughts are the first image is out of the Nikon and the second from your Sony.
    I like the first one very much. Straight out of camera its pretty good.

  • Love’em both. 1st pick may have a much shallower depth of field. The fuzziness of the feathers in 1st picture not nearly as sharp as the 2nd picture. I would guess Sony 1st pic & Nikon 2nd picture only because of the larger file from the Nikon would allow more detail. But, again DOF may be the reason #2 is sharper overall. Look forward to hearing the answer and seeing the f stop and ISO settings.
    Also am looking forward to seeing your favorites from the photo contest and tipping my cap to the winners. To Good Health, God Bless.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Great images. For all I know, those could have been made with an i-phone (except you didn’t mention an i-phone). You have long since proved that you can make fine images with almost any camera. For sure I have no idea whether you used Sony or Nikon for these.

  • avatar Kathy Graff

    Both images are quite different and elicit different responses in me. Image # 1 is of course a portrait. My guess would be that you photographed it with your Nikon camera. Only the head seems very sharp to me due to the shallow depth of field. The coloring of the birds in the two images appears very similar to me but the grass in both is different with image #1 having more blue and image #2 having more yellow. Image #2 is very different since it is an action shot. The depth of field appears to be greater but perhaps that is only because more of the bird is on the same plane. I think that the sharpness of this image is very good also. I like both images very much and each illicits a very different “feeling” response from me. The slightly different hue (?) of the grass works very well for each image. Also, I would guess that the second image was taken with the Sony camera.