It’s a Start. And Getting Better … And Two Great-buy Big Lenses for Sale! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

It's a Start. And Getting Better ... And Two Great-buy Big Lenses for Sale!

What’s Up?

Anita North and I have been working like dogs in the midday Texas heat. We’ve had some good chances and DAY 2 was better than DAY 1 — more birds, more species, better set-ups. Creating a feeder set-up is a long, exacting, and arduous endeavor. The best way to sum it up is too realize that on our last morning with ten minutes to go we will still be leaving the blind to make small adjustments in the perches and the oranges. That said, I have no idea what I would have done without Anita’s help; thank you Dr. North.

We drive into town tonight (10 APR) to meet multiple IPT veteran Indranil Sircar and Warren and Kathy Robb who are driving down from Fort Worth as I type. We will do our Meet and Greet at the highly recommended Caro’s Restaurant in ARIo Grande City. But first we need to see if any Crested Caracaras came to the beef liver that we hung in the perch tree on Wednesday morning; we are on our way as I type.

IPT Updates

There is still one slot open on the Fort DeSoto IPT; please e-mail for to learn about the last minute registration discount. I now have three folks for the UK Puffins and Gannets trip; that leaves two (or seven) openings on what will be an amazing experience and will possibly be my last trip and almost surely the last of the amazing Dunbar gannet boats trips — Gordon is getting old. 🙂

I learned yesterday that one or possibly two folks will be signing up for the Galapagos trip this week. I may still have one or two openings: please shoot me an e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this 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: 1. 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 5 10) or photographers/Openings: 2 (or 7). This trip is a definite go.
  • 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.
  • The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 7)

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.

Important Used Gear Note

All sales include insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens

Chris Tricou is offering a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens in excellent condition for $8296.95. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the original Nikon neoprene tough front lens cover that goes over the hood, a camo lenscoat, a black hoodie (neoprene front cover), the lens strap, the original product box, the low profile Nikon tripod foot, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Chris via e-mail or by phone at 225-445-6777 (Central time).

The 500 f/4 super telephoto lenses have been the world’s most popular for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. This is Nikon’s latests/greatest version. It is super-sharp with the TC-14E III (the 1.4X teleconverter). This lens is relatively small and can be easily hand holdable for some folks. It is much easier travel with, focuses closer than, and costs a lot less than the current Nikon 600 VR. This lens sells for $10,296.95. Grab Chris’s lens asap while $2000.00 for a pretty much new lens with extras. I loved my Canon 500 II. 🙂 artie

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Dennis Behn is offering a Canon 600mm f/4L IS II Lens in excellent condition for $6699.00. The sale includes the lens trunk, the tough front lens cover, the rear lens cap, the extra tripod foot, a Kirk LP58 Arca-Swiss plate, the trunk strap, the lens strap, and the original warranty card. The price also includes insured UPS ground shipping to the lower 48 only. Your item will not ship until your check clears.

Please contact Dennis via e-mail or by phone at 303-378-5556 (Mountain Time zone).

The Canon 600mm f/L IS lens is the state of the art super-telephoto for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports. When I can get a 600 to a location, it is always my go-to weapon unless the birds are silly tame. They are fast and sharp and deadly alone or with a 1.4X TC and most folks can learn to make sharp images with the Canon 2X III TC. With the new 600 III going for $12,999.00, you can save a cool $6,300 by grabbing Denny’s lens right now. artie

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style is a 1 hour, 15 minute, 314 image,
click and play MP4 video

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style: $10.00

Click here to order or see the Save $10 Bundle offer below.

Lessons From the Field/BIRDS AS ART Style is a 1 hour, 15 minute click and play MP4 video. It is available here in the BAA Online Store, by phone order, or by sending a Paypal for $10.00 to As the file is a large one, be sure to upload it when you have a good internet connection.

The video features 314 of artie’s best images, educational and otherwise. Based on his 35 years of in-the-field experience, it covers all the basics along with many fine points. Are you making mistakes that give you no chance to create a great image? Learning to avoid those and learning to think like a pro will make you a better photographer. If you purchase and study the video, it will surely prove to be the best ten dollars you’ve ever spent on photography.


birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100:

Save Ten Bucks!

Order the Lessons From the Field MP4 video and add a copy of the birds as art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris/The Top 100 (via convenient download — normally sells for $20.00) for an additional 10.00.

Order the bundle for $20.00 by clicking here.

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.


Many IPT folks have been using the Booking.Com link below to get great rates and save a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.


I have been using AirBNB for all of my travel lodging needs. Everyone on the Fort DeSoto IPT is staying at an AirBNB property in Gulfport. Airbnb lists more than 4.5 million homes across 200 countries; you’ll find spacious, affordable options for every occasion. With Airbnb you will travel with confidence as reviews from past guests help you find the right fit. Once you do, their secure messaging makes it easy to coordinate with your host. And Airbnb support teams are available 24/7. And this morning, I made a 17-day reservation for an Airbnb condo for San Diego, 2020. I am staying with Rick again: his place has lots of room, a full kitchen, two bedrooms, and great WiFi. All for a lot less than the price of a chain hotel.

Yikes. I almost forgot the best part: Airbnb rates average less than half of even the least expensive chain hotels and motels. If you would like to save $40 on your first booking sign up by using this link: Airbnb. Airbnb does charge clean-up and service fees that make short stays less attractive bargains than long stays.

Those who prefer to stay in a motel or hotel are invited to use the link above to save $25.00.

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.

This image was created on the morning of Tuesday, April 9, 2019 in Roma, TX. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 800. Matrix metering at about -1/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/7.1 was a bit of an underexposure. AUTO0 WB at 9:41am on a clear day.

Center Group (grp) Shutter Button AF as originally framed. The array was centered on the bird’s black hood. The upper point of the array was right on the bird’s eye. This image is a significant crop from the left and below.

Nikon Focus Peaking/FocusTune fine-tune value: +7. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here

Green Jay

It’s a Start. And Getting Better …

Green Jay, the spectacular Rio Grande Valley specialty species is undoubtedly the star of the show. Creating a really nice image is a challenge. Green Jays love peanut butter and halved oranges. Part of a successful set-up is one that allows you to make image without telltale evidence of either PB or juicy bits of orange on the birds’ bills. One way to accomplish this is to be ready behind your lens at all times so that you can fire off a few quick images before the bird partakes of your offerings. As a general rule, the fewer places you give the bird to land the more successful your efforts will be.

There was more birds and more species on scouting DAY 2 than on scouting DAY 1. On Wednesday I saw two species of oriole, some cardinals, some kingbirds, and Northern Mockingbird, in addition to the usual suspects: Green Jay, Long-billed Thrasher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, White-tipped Dove, White-winged Dove, and Plain Chachalaca.

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8)

Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; WED JAN 7, 2020.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (nesting with eggs and possibly chicks) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heermann’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others are possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lions; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the IPT cards, there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Not to mention a ton of excellent flight photography opportunities and instruction.

Please note: where permitted and on occasion, ducks and gulls may be attracted (or re-located) with offerings of grains and healthy breads.

Learning Exposure, Whether You Like It Or Not

Whether you like it or not, we will be beating the subject of exposure like a dead horse. In every new situation you will hear my thoughts on the exposure situation along with my thoughts on both Nikon and Canon histograms and the subject of blinkies. Whether you like it or not, you will learn to work in manual mode and to get the right exposure every time as long as a bird gives you ten seconds with the light constant.And you will learn what to do when the light is changing constantly. What you learn about exposure will be one of the great take-aways on every IPT.

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT, there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

It Ain’t Just Pelicans

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography as well. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You will be guided as to how to make the best of all of those opportunities. And depending on the weather and local conditions and tides, there are a variety of fabulous photo chances available in and around San Diego.


Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter? Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, four lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. And so that we can get some sleep, dinners will be on your own.

A $599 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 3385, or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 10/11//2018. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


Variety is surely the spice of life in San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Getting Up Early and Staying Out Late

On all BIRDS AS ART IPTS including and especially the San Diego IPT, we get into the field early to take advantage of unique and often spectacular lighting conditions and we stay out late to maximize the chances of killer light and glorious sunset silhouette situations. We often arrive at the cliffs a full hour before anyone else shows up to check out the land/sea scape opportunities.

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.


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

8 comments to It’s a Start. And Getting Better … And Two Great-buy Big Lenses for Sale!

  • avatar Bob Allen

    Hi Artie. Your green jay has just made my day – such a great image. Might you have images of the perches, blind, and/or other parts of the setup to share?

  • Man, you never cease to amaze me! Killer (in a good way) picture… No focus issues here! A beautiful bird. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your Texas trip and one and all have safe trips home!

  • avatar Rick

    I think that Green Jay photo is stunning!

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    Nice Green Jay! I find underexposing even slightly on the D850 creates much more noise than I can take. That is one thing I do not like with the D850. Am I crazy? I see sooo much more noise than with my previous Canon 5D3 or DxII. How do you combat the noise on the D850 when underexposed on your Green Jay. NeatImage plugin for photoshop?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for your question. Noise with the D850 does not bother me a whole lot … When working with 30 and 40MB files you will always see more of what I call “small pixel noise,” the tiny pixel packed in tighter. If I need to smooth the noise I do so with NeatImage noise reduction as detailed in The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly. We teach you to apply more NR to the BKGR and less to very little to the subject.

      with love, artie

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