Nikon DeSoto Memories … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Nikon DeSoto Memories ...

What’s Up?

After a fantastic beginning, it is difficult to believe that the opportunities to create great Bald Eagle images have continued to be varied and excellent. We are delaying our sailing today in hopes of getting some images of perched and flying eagles in the falling snow predicted for this afternoon. Today, Saturday 7 MAR 2020 will make fourteen out of fifteen days of traveling by boat to Kachemak Bay to photograph our national symbol. As Scott Van Pelt might say, it is day 15 and I am not tired yet. In fact, I am as energized and excited about going out today as I was on day one.

I was glad to learn that Craig Elson, after following my pricing advice, made deals with prospective buyers and was able to finalize the sale of three high=-dollar Canon items by further reducing his already low prices he sold his Canon 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens in near-mint condition for $5496.00 (was $5,996.00), a Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens in excellent plus condition for $5001.00 (was $5,299.00), and a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with 14,004 actuations in excellent plus condition for $3,000.00 all in early March 2020.
Rob Heifner sold his Canon EOS-1D X Mark II in mint condition (<29,000 Shutter Actuations) plus a mint condition Canon Speedlite 580EXII (with the original soft case) for an incredibly low $2799.00, all on the first day of listing in early MAR 2020. With Canon prices tanking, my advice is to sell your Canon gear at almost any price ASAP ...

Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4X Extender

$800.00 price drop on 7 MAR 2020: BAA Record-low Price by far!.

Craig Elson is offering a Canon 200-400 f/4L IS USM lens in very good condition for a BAA record-low-by-far/shock the world price of $4899.00 (was $5,699.00). Other than some paint blemishes, the lens is in great condition. The glass is in mint condition and it has been cleaned and checked by CPS. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the original tough front lens cover, the lens hood, the lens strap, the original lens foot, a 4th Generation replacement foot, RealTree Lenscoat covering, the original product box, manual and warranty card, 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 Craig via e-mail or by phone at 1-704-904-7953 (Pacific time zone).

This is the world’s best lens for a trip to Africa. It kills also in the Galapagos and in South Georgia, the Falklands, and Antarctica. And I used mine a lot at Bosque and other dusty places where the built-in TC helps to keep your sensor clean. And I love it in the Palouse for its versatility. At one point, I found myself wishing that I had taken the 200-400 rather than my 500 II on the Bear Boat Cubs IPT. Many nature photographers use this lens as their workhorse telephoto as it offers 784mm at f/8 with an external 1.4X TC added. The lens sells new at B&H right now for $10,999 so you save a substantial $5300.00 by grabbing Craig’s lens today. artie

The Sony Camera Videos and Pre-publication e-Guide Costs and Discount Info

The cost of the SONY e-Guide is $100.00 US and will include one of the camera set-up videos — we offer one video each for the a7r iii, the a7r iv, the a9, and the a9 ii — and the written guide with the galleries. The guide is now 98% done and you will — of course, receive the final version when it is completed. I sent out the third draft today to those who have purchased the Guide with or without the discount.

Folks who have used my B&H links or purchased their SONY gear from Bedfords will receive said discount based exactly on how much they spent. If you spent more than $10,000 you will receive one free video and the e-Guide. Additional camera videos are $25.00 each. If you spent $2400, you will receive a 24% discount, and so on and so forth. And again, additional camera videos will be $25.00 each.

I will need time to verify your B&H purchases so folks will need to send their receipts and then be a bit patient. It is much easier to verify Bedfords’ purchases but I need those receipts as well.

If you have not used BAA links, please do so in the future. If that is the case and you would like the e-Guide now, please send a Paypal for $100 US to and be sure to include the words “SONY Pre-publication Guide” in the Paypal e-mail along with the name of your camera or cameras so that you can receive the correct video or videos. Please add $25 for each additional camera video. Be sure to send a copy of the Paypal transaction to me via e-mail.

Folks who have used BAA links to purchase their SONY gear should send their receipts to me via e-mail asap and let me know which camera videos they need. I will verify their purchases as quickly as possible and send a quote to be paid via Paypal as above.

Thanks to all who have properly used my B&H links or gone through the fabulous Steve Elkins at Bedfords, and thanks to everyone for having faith in the information that I provide, knowing that it will be the best available anywhere.


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

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.

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 2020 Fort DeSoto Spring Sandbar Secrets IPT/April 22 through the morning session on April 25, 2020. 3 1/2 DAYS: $1499.00. Limit: 8 photographers/7 openings

An inexpensive add-on day is available.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for breeding terns and gulls and wading birds in spring. Migrant shorebirds are in abundance, and many are exceedingly tame. We should have great chances on Royal and Sandwich Terns and both white- and dark-morph Reddish Egrets. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two along with some American Oystercatchers. We will enjoy lots of great flight photography.

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.

We will also get to photograph a variety of other shorebirds including Black-bellied, Semipalmated, Wilson’s, and Piping Plovers, Willet, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, most especially, Red Knot with many individuals in their handsome breeding plumages. In spring the T-shaped peninsula and the newly formed sandbar, Outback Key, are literally packed with avian treasures.
With luck, we might get to photograph one of Florida’s most desirable species: Roseate Spoonbill. And we will almost surely get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. With luck, they will have Laughing Gulls landing on their heads. And though not guaranteed, 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.

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.

On the IPT you will learn:

  • 1- The basics and fine points of digital exposure; how to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure (or before if you are using SONY gear).
  • 2- How and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).
  • 3- How to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them.
  • 4- Lots about bird behavior and how to use that knowledge to help you create better images.
  • 5- To age and identify many species of shorebirds including sandpipers, plovers, dowitchers, and possibly yellowlegs.
  • 6- To spot good situations and to choose the best perspective.
  • 7- To see, evaluate, and understand the light.
  • 8- To design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system.
  • 9- And perhaps most importantly, to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography.
  • 10- How and when to access the magical sandbar safely.
  • 11- More than you could ever imagine.

You got it by now! 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.

Morning sessions will run at least three to 3 1/2 hours, afternoon sessions 2 1/2 to 3 hours. There is never a set schedule on an IPT — we adapt to the conditions. There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time. This IPT will run with only a single registrant (though that is not likely to happen). The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Once you register, you will receive an e-mail with lodging information. Do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same general area (rather than at home or at a friend’s place a good distance away).

Folks attending this IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors; this is pretty much a staple on almost all BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours. Doing so will often present unique photographic opportunities, opportunities that will be missed by those who need their beauty rest and those who need to get home for a proper dinner. I really love it when I am leaving the beach at 9:30am on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers are arriving … We will be getting wet.

Payment in full is due now. Credit cards are OK for your $500 deposit. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand. If you leave a deposit you will receive an e-mail with your balance statement and instructions for sending your balance check. If you wish to pay in full right off the bat, you can make your 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, and clothing and gear advice in mid-August. Please remember that we will meet early on Saturday morning. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.

IPT veterans and couples or friends signing up together are urged to e-mail for discount information.

This image was created at Fort DeSoto on the 2019 Spring Sandbar Secrets IPT. I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR AF lens and the Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 800. Matrix metering +1 /2/3 stops: 1/2500 sec. at f/5. Auto WB at 8:20am on a hazy morning. Center Group AF.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Royal Tern with fish for mate.

Royal & Sandwich Terns

Royal and Sandwich Terns, in their handsome breeding plumages, will be two of our top targets species on the 2020 Fort DeSoto Spring Sandbar Secrets IPT. We should have lots of chances to photograph them in flight, on the beaches — tight head portraits should be fairly easy, and courting and copulating.

This image was created at Fort DeSoto on the 2019 Spring Sandbar Secrets IPT. I used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and my favorite Nikon camera body, the Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 1250. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/10. Auto WB at 6:04pm oon a sunny afternoon. D-9 C-AF with the selected pointt on the face of the sharper bird.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Shorebirds molting into breeding plumage

Breeding Plumage Shorebirds

From mid-April through mid-May you have a great chance to see a variety of artic nesting shorebirds either molting into or in full breeding plumages. Thsoe include the two birds seen in image #2 above. If you can identify one or both of them, please leave a comment.

Shorebirds: Beautiful Beachcombers

If you are interested in learning to identify and age all of the common North American shorebirds and learn about their amazing migrations, their breeding biology, their feeding habits, and everything else you might have wanted to learn on the way to the nearest mudflats, get yourself a copy of my softcover book, Shorebirds: Beautiful Beachcombers.

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 regularly visit 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 :).

2 comments to Nikon DeSoto Memories …

  • avatar Ryan Sanderson

    Nice White-rumped Sandpiper (foreground) and Dunlin! That orange at the base of the bill of the WRSA as well as the long primary extension are good marks for the WRSA. The Dunlin is just obvious with that black belly.

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