A Small Platoon of Helmeted Soldiers: Handsome or Ugly? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Small Platoon of Helmeted Soldiers: Handsome or Ugly?

What’s Up?

It is getting chilly down here … On Tuesday morning the sun rose through a light layer of fog and the light was gorgeous for more than an hour, sort of golden and crystalline. But I was sitting on my couch having committed to setting up my brand new SONY a9 II … I was good to go this morning, Wednesday November 13, 2019 but when I peeked out the back door at 7:00am it was dark and cloudy and drizzling. But the sun came out by 9:15am.

In an effort to reduce the dawn effect increases in my blood sugar from the time I wake up until I eat at 10:30, I have begun swimming twice, 22 lengths at about 9:30am, and then another 44 lengths at about 3:00pm. So far I am shocked that my body is doing so well without insulin, surely in part due to the keto diet and the intermittent fasting. The pool was down four degrees in two days and the wind was rustling through that oak trees as I swam this morning.

The blog and BPN were down for a bit last night and this morning but all is well last night. I was thrilled to learn that DeSoto IPT veteran Muhammad Arif will be joining us on the Bosque IPT. First timer Bill Scheider (who will also be with me at Bosque next week) called this morning with a Bosque report. A friend told him that there are zillions of cranes and geese at the refuge. We still have room for you.

The Used Gear Page has been mega-hot for the past few weeks. Scroll down for details.

To learn about the great photographic opportunities available at Indian Lake Esates and other great central Florida hotspots, scroll down to learn about The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide.

Huge Thanks

Huge thanks and lots of love to all those who commented on the last blog post that honored my Dad, the late Private First-class Robert Edward Morris. There were so many warm, loving, heartlfelt, sincere, and elegant comments left that I was stunned, often left with goose bumps and tears of happiness sreaming down my cheeks. If you missed the post or the comments you can check both out here.

I forgot to mention that my Dad had a dry-wit that went hand in hand with his understated, often sardonic or cynical sense of humor. As I inherited some of that I often wonder if folks see that side of me as sarcastic …

IPT Updates

  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 3. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • 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: 5)

Click here for complete IPT info and details.

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 EOS-1DX, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the 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.

The Used Gear page has been hot for the past two months with the continuing price drops on Canon and Nikon gear. There are still lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page. In addition to the recent sales below there are many pending sales.

Recent Sales

I sold my SONY a9 in near-mint condition for $2,597.00 on November 11, 2019.
Jerry Barrack sold his Canon Extender EF 1.4X III teleconverter in near-mint condition and his Canon Extender EF 2X III teleconverter also in near-mint condition, both for a very low $224.00 in early Novemeber.
Jerry Barrack also sold a Wimberley WH-101 Gimbal Head w/QR C-30 clamp (the original) and a heavy-duty Gitzo 410 tripod for the silly low price of $399.00.
Peter Noyes sold his Sony Alpha A7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera body in like-new condition with a shutter count of less than 1,000 for $1998.00 the first day it was listed in early November.
Top Used Gear page seller Anthony Ardito sold his gripped Nikon D850 in like-new condition for only $2,399.00, his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens in like-new condition for only $3,396.95, his Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens in like-new condition for $1,796.95, and his Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED-IF lens in like-new condition for only $1,196.95, all during October 2019.
I sold my lightly used Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens in Excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $9796.95 in late October, 2019.
John Nelson sold his Canon 500mm f/4 IS USM lens (the “old five”) in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $2749.00 in mid-October 2019.
Multiple IPT participant Larry Master sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for a BAA record-low $5,989.00 and his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in like-new condition for $2099.00.
BAA friend and multiple IPT veteran Paul Reinstein sold a Canon Extender EF 2X III teleconverter in excellent condition for only $229.00 the first day it was listed in mid-October.
Top BAA Used Gear page seller Jim Keener sold his Canon mount Zeiss Distagon T 15mm f/2.8 ZE lens in like-new condition for the crazy low price of $799.00 (was $949.00) in early October 2019.
Allen Dale sold a Canon 300mm f2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for $3399.00 in early October,2019.
IPT veteran and dear friend Patrick Sparkman sold his SONY FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens in like-new condition for $10,698.00.
Sheldon Goldstein sold his Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens in like-new condition for $750.00 in September 2019.
BIRDS AS ART friend Don Carter sold his a7r III in near-mint condition for $2099.00 in early October.
I sold my SONY a7r III in excellent plus condition for $1974.00 in early October.
I sold my gripped Nikon D850 in excellent condition for $2,186.96 and my Nikon 500PF lens for $3,246.95, both in early October 2019.
Multiple IPT participant Larry Master sold a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for the BAA record-low price of $899.00 the first day it was listed in mid-October 2019.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II Lens

BAA record-low Price!

David Ramirez is offering a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II lens in Excellent Plus condition for the BAA Record-low Price of $5699.00. It would be near-mint but for the wear on the knob of the lens hood. Otherwise there are no blemishes. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the original tough front lens cover, the lens strap, the manual the original product box, a 4th Generation Design CRX-5 lens plate (that’s what I used) a Realtree Advantage Max4 HD LensCoat, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Photos are available upon request. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact David via e-mail or by phone at 1-541-892-3726 Pacific Time.

The 500mm f/4 super-telephoto lenses have long been the world’s most popular for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. Canon’s Series II version is light, fast, super-sharp, and, in competent hands, produces amazing images with both the 1.4X and 2X III TCs. The 500 II is relatively small, easily hand-holdable for some folks, and is much easier to travel with, focuses closer than, and costs a lot less than the 600 II. The lighter 600 III costs an astounding $12,999.00. Lastly, and you might find this amazing, the magnification for the 500 II is the same as it is for the 600 II: .15X. How is that possible? Magnification is calculated at the minimum focusing distance of the lens — 12.14 feet (3.7 meters) for the 500 II and 14.77 feet (4.5 meters) for the 600 II. Simply put, the 500 II focuses more than two feet closer than the 600 II. The seller for the last one that sold here had five calls the first day; the first four folks quibbled on price. The fifth one jumped right on it … Please do not tarry if you are seriously interested in David’s lens as it too should sell quite quickly. Or not. As the 500 II goes for $8999.00 new, you will be getting a great copy and saving a very nice $3,300.00. I loved my 500 II. artie

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

Brand-new-in-the box/Incredible Low Price!

Anthony Saka is offering a brand-new-in-the-box Canon EOS-1D X Mark II body for an incredibly low price of $3,699.00. The camera is still in the unopened box along with everything that comes with a new camera. Why? Because is is brand-new! The sale includes 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 Anthony via e-mail or by phone at at 1-516 902-6997) (Eastern time zone).

The EOS-1DX Mark II is Canon’s flagship professional camera body. I made many fine images with mine. It is rugged and fast and features Canon’s best AF system. The 1DX II sells new for $5499.00 so you can save a very cool $1800.00 by grabbing Anthony’s new-in-the-box camera body. artie

BIRDS AS ART

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

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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 over $1000.00, 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 has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



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.

vultures-at-boat-ramp

This image was created on October 27, 2019 at Indian Lake Estates, FL with my i-Phone 8+.

Image #1: Black Vultures boat ramp, Indian Lake Estates, FL

The ILE Boat Ramp Hot-Spot

Some mornings there might be 20-40 vultures (mostly Black) in the area of the boat ramp at ILE (with lots more at other locations). I learned recently that on some mornings they can be silly tame. By walking slowly with my tripod held in front of me just off the ground I am ofter able to get within 15 feet of them. That is just right for creating head portraits at 1200mm. While I can generally get just as close working from my SUV, I enjoy the freedom of being out of my vehicle and standing in this situation offers a lot more options as far as perspective is concerned.

Your Opinion?

After taking a good look at today’s featured images, do you think that Black Vulture faces are handsome or ugly or something else? All as always are invited to leave a comment.

Black-Vulture-head-portrait-green-BKGR-_DSC4675-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

This image was created on October 4, 2019 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Standing at full height, I used the Induro GIT 304/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter, and the 61-MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 1000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/400 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode was about a stop under-exposed due to operator error. AWB at 8:52am on a sunny morning.

Flexible Spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure. I selected an AF point to cover the bird’s eye. With large in the frame subjects like this, Animal Eye Tracking works very well even though it is not supposed to work on birds. But heck, an eye is an eye.

Image #2: Black Vulture head portrait, green background

The Green Background

Being out of the Sequioa for this one allowed me to adjust the height of the tripod so that while working a vulture on a dock piling I was able to line things up to assure an all-green background — the distant grass on the far side of the canal. Despite the under-exposure there was no evidence of noise during or after the RAW conversion in Capture One. For the most part, I simply go with the Capture One SONY default settings for noise reduction.

Sony 600 GM Sharpness at 1200mm (and more …)

Sharpness with my favorite new combination, the SONY 600 GM, the 2X TC, and the a7r IV continues to impress to the point of incredulity. AF performance at f/8 is superb and the availability of virtually full frame AF points allows for amazing compositional freedom. Lastly, it is neat to watch the little red square hold focus on the eye if you inadvertently move the lens a bit. The little red square shows that Animal Eye AF is working.

Black-Vulture-head-portrait-dust-spotter-_DSC5753-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

This image was created on October 27, 2019 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Working from my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 304/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter, and the 61-MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 1000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/400 sec. at f/13 in Manual mode was perfect. AWB also at 8:52am on a sunny morning.

Flexible Spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure. I selected an AF point to cover the bird’s eye. With large in the frame subjects like this, Animal Eye Tracking works very well even though it is not supposed to work on birds. But heck, an eye is an eye.

Image #3: Black Vulture head portrait, light blue background

On Top of the Shelter

I am pretty sure that this image was created from my car. The bird was sitting on top of the small shelter to the left, thus the light sky background.

Editing Similars

With the SONY stuff produces virtually all sharp images at 1200mm, it is important to edit ruthlessly so that you do not wind up with a full computer on a week. I have been constantly re-editing and culling folders that contain the 61MB a7r IV files.

I currently have 204 keepers in my SEPT-OCT-NOV Fall 2019 ILE folder. That down from more than 1000 after the first edits of teh day folders. The last time I visited I had about 75 Black Vulture head portraits. I got those down to 27 and I chose the best five of those for today’s blog post. I still have some more work to do … As you view today’s featured images, take note of the head angles and the head positions, and the very small changes in posture and attitude that effect the image designs, especially the negative space in each image. Doing so will help you become a better photographer as you learn what to look for.

Black-Vulture-head-portrait-_DSC5810-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

This image was also created on October 27, 2019 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Working from my vehicle, I used the Induro GIT 304/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter, and the 61-MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/250 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode was perfect. AWB also at 9:05am on a sunny morning.

Flexible Spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure. I selected an AF point to cover the bird’s eye. With large in the frame subjects like this, Animal Eye Tracking works very well even though it is not supposed to work on birds. But heck, an eye is an eye.

Image #4: Black Vulture head portrait, blue background

Sitting on Top of the Bench

On rare occasion, a vulture or two (or three) will sit on the top railing of the bench seat in the little shelter. This allows me to get close enough to shoot down for a canal-blue background. As there are usually many vultures to choose from, I always opt for the most handsome one — a bird not covered in whitewash, one with a fairly clean face. On the morning that I made this image there were three birds on top of the bench. As I approached driving vrey slowly I scared two of them away. Only the really handsome bird stayed put 🙂

Best Background?

Which of today’s five featured images has the most pleasing backgound? Please leave a comment and let us know why you made your choice.

Black-Vulture-head-portrait-_DSC0517-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

This image was created on November 8, 2019 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Working from my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 304/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter, and the 61-MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 500. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/320 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode was a slight under-exposure. AWB also at 9:46am on a sunny morning.

Flexible Spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure. I selected an AF point to cover the bird’s eye. With large in the frame subjects like this, Animal Eye Tracking works very well even though it is not supposed to work on birds. But heck, an eye is an eye.

Image #5: Black Vulture head portrait, blue background

From the SUV, Pointing Up at the Sky

This bird clean and handsome bird was sitting and posing on the tallest post, the one just to the left of the garbage can. While several birds flew away, this one steadfastly refused to go anywhere and sat facing right into the northeast wind; situations like that with the wind 90 degrees to the sun (that now rises in the southeast) are excellent for bird photogrpahy as they afford excellent side-views.

Stongest Image?

Which of today’s five featured images do you feel is the strongest image? Please leave a comment and let us know why you made your choice.

Black-Vulture-vertical-head-portrait-_DSC0530-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

This image (of the same bird as in Image #5) was also created on November 8, 2019 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. Working from my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 304/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter, and the 61-MP monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 500. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/250 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode was perfect. AWB also at 9:48am on a sunny morning.

Flexible Spot (S) Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure. I selected an AF point to cover the bird’s eye. With large in the frame subjects like this, Animal Eye Tracking works very well even though it is not supposed to work on birds. But heck, an eye is an eye.

Image #6: Black Vulture head portrait, vertical with blue background

Vertical Head Portrait!

This bird (the same bird as in Image #5) was sitting so nicely for so long that I created some vertical head and neck portraits. I was quite please with the results attained simply by trying something different.

Middle-of-coverA

The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide

You can purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide

126 pages, 87 photographs by Joe Przybyla and Arthur Morris.
The PDF for this e-Guide is an electronic download sent via e-mail.

Purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

I had thought about doing a guide to some of the great but little-known photo hotspots around central Florida for about a decade, but those plans never came to fruition. I met Joe online in the Avian Forum at BirdPhotographer’s.Net about two years ago. Joe’s photography has improved tremendously over the past few years; he credits the BAA blog, my books and PDFs, and his participation on BPN. The one thing that I learned right from the get-go about Joe is that he is a hard and tenacious worker, always striving to improve his skills and to grow his knowledge base. As he knew of more than a few good spots in central Florida, I broached the idea of us doing a photographic site guide that covered many of the little-known photographic hotspots from Brandon to Lakeland to Joe Overstreet Road to Indian Lake Estates (my Florida home for the past 20 years or so). After more than many, many dozens of hours of effort, The BIRDS AS ART Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide is now a reality. Thanks to Joe’s wife Dottie for her review of our writing. We all learned once again that writing is a process, a back and forth process. All thanks to the white pelicans of Lakeland. Here are the locations that are detailed in this e-Guide:

  • Indian Lake Estates: Sandhills Cranes with chicks and colts, lots of vultures, and Ospreys up the kazoo!
  • Gatorland, Kissimmee: Learn to make great images of wading birds in a cluttered rookery.
  • The Brandon Rookery: Great for nesting Wood Storks, Great Egrets, and more.
  • Circle Bar B Reserve, Lakeland: Here you will find a great variety of avian subjects in a great variety of habitats.
  • Lake Morton, Lakeland: There are lots of silly tame birds here including and especially American White Pelican during the colder months.
  • Lake Mirror, Lakeland: Tame Anhingas, Limpkins, and a zillion White Ibises at times.
  • West Lake Parker, Lakeland: Here you will have a chance for two difficult birds, Snail Kite, and Purple Gallinule.
  • Joe Overstreet Road, Kenansville: Crested Caracara, meadowlarks, Loggerhead Shrike, and much more on the fenceposts and barbed wire.

Each location includes a map, a detailed description of the best spots, best season, light and time of day instructions, the expected species, and an educational and inspirational gallery that is designed to open your eyes as to the possibilities.

You can purchase a copy here in the BAA Online Store.


If In Doubt …

If you are 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 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 or Bedfords, 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 or Bedfords 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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Typos

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13 comments to A Small Platoon of Helmeted Soldiers: Handsome or Ugly?

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    Man tough question as all backgrounds are blue, so I’ll pick the green one.

  • avatar Paul Burdett

    Hi Artie. I’m in Brisbane, Australia (since 1969…before that London, UK)

  • avatar Loren Charif

    Hey Artie –

    Not handsome, not ugly, just lots of character

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. Thanks for the tribute to your father. I was overwhelmed by all the tributes to people’s parents–mostly fathers–on that day. I am grateful to all current and past veterans almost beyond words, although I always try to thank every veteran I meet if I know they served.

    I like black vultures. I think # 4 is my favorite but I really like all of them. If ever I am tempted to think of any natural creature as ugly, a quick look in the mirror cures me instantly. 🙂

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Image #6 is my favourite, I like the vertical format and the blue background best. The sharpness at 1200 mm is incredible!

  • avatar Marr Miller

    Artie, 3 is my fav. The blue background and head position make it a great portrait. I’d be happy with any of the 5.

  • avatar Paul Burdett

    Hi Artie. I like image #3 the best. It would have been #1, as I like the BG, but the bird’s “real?” colour is evident on all the other shots. I really like #5, but feel that it is a little tight in the frame (a comment often given to my photos on the forum). Your thoughts on that?
    Looks like the 600mm a7RIV combo is a killer. What about the a9, 600mm combo…as good? better/worse?
    Cheers.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks. The color of the BKGR affects our perception of the color of the bird. In addition, that one was taken before the time change so the light was much warmer …

      I do not mind the framing in #5 at all; I rather like it 🙂

      a9/600GM much better for flight and action. 7r IV better for everything else.

      with love, artie

      ps: are you Down Under or NZ?

  • Very Nice Images, I like the first one because of the background colors.

    TFS

  • avatar Jim Miller

    Hey Artie, I think Black Vultures make elegant head shots. Flight, feather and body shots usually disappoint me, but the head portraits remind me of distinguished barristers in curly white wigs.
    Thanks for sharing. Take care. Jim Miller

  • Hey Artie, not ugly but rather unique. When seen close quite striking. I like the blue background best. I think image #3 is the strongest. Thank you for sharing.

  • avatar Mike Cristina

    Hi Artie, I like #2 bird and #3 background. I guess I’m used to seeing (these beautiful) vultures with their heads down.

    Mike

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