Lucky 13 Again! And a Nikon 600 VR $500 price drop! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Lucky 13 Again! And a Nikon 600 VR $500 price drop!

What’s Up?

After kissing the IPT folks goodbye and yet another great morning at DeSoto, Anita and I headed back to ILE on Monday to begin packing in earnest for the big road trip. We are planning on leaving early on Thursday morning, 22 October 2020. We have an AirBNB in Gulfport, MS for one night followed (amazingly) by three nights at an AirBNB in Anhuac, TX. Then we will be off for Rockport and six nights at two different Rio Grande Valley ranches.

I was glad to learn (and somewhat amazed) that Patty McCullough sold both Grab Bags; each was actually a great bargain. Only her Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC Wide-Angle Lens for Canon currently remains from what was effectively an estate sale of her late-husband’s photo gear. KW McCullough was a regular both on the blog and on the Used Gear page.

With income from IPTs approaching zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a Walmart greeter.

IPT Updates

The Bosque IPT is cancelled because of the recently enacted 14-day quarantine in New Mexico. The businesses in the eco-tourist friendly town of Socorro, NM will take a huge hit; each has my condolences.

I have decided to cancel the Homer Bald Eagle IPTs as well. A negative COVID test within 72 hours of entering Alaska is required. Not so terrible. But there is no outdoor dining in Alaska in winter. And the cabin on the boat will have six or seven folks crowded into a very small area for an hour or two each day. As they say, this move was dictated by an abundance of caution.

At present, the San Diego COVID-conscious IPT is the only scheduled IPT. It will be limited to 4 participants. I hope that you can join us. See below for details.

Please Remember

With income from IPTs approaching zero, please, if you enjoy and learn from the blog, remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so just might make it possible for me to avoid having to try to get a job as a WalMart greeter and will not cost you a single penny more. And if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save 3% on every order and enjoy free second-day air shipping. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes can always help out by clicking here if they see fit.

The BAA Used Gear Page

The Used Gear page continues to be red hot! It is BAA Used Gear Page is the place to sell your used photographic equipment. We will help you to get your gear sold quickly for 20 to 60% or more than what the big guys are offering … Doubt me? Check out the Recent Sales list for the past ten months at the bottom of the page.

Price Drops

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens (with extras)

Price Reduced $500.00 on 15 AUG 2020

Sale Pending One Hour after price drop …

BAA friend and skilled photographer Dr. Greg Gulbransen is offering a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens in like-new condition (with extras) for a very handsome $8796.95 (as $9296.95). As the lens was only used six times and Greg take great care of his gear, the front element is immaculate as is the entire lens. This one is a gem. The sale includes the original product box, the lens trunk, the strap, the front cover, the rear lens cap, the original lens foot, a RRS LCF-18 Replacement Foot for NIKON AF-S 500mm & 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lenses (a $120.00 value — installed), 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 Greg via e-mail. Photos are available upon request.

In all systems, the 600 f/4 lenses are the weapons of mass destruction when it comes to birds and wildlife. I loved my Nikon 600 both alone and with the 1.4X teleconverter. If you use Nikon gear and have been dreaming of moving up to the big leagues, do get in touch with Greg ASAP to save #3,000.00; this lens sells new for $12,296.95. artie

Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC Wide-Angle Lens for Canon

Price Reduced $100.00 on 15 AUG 2020

Patty McCulloch is offering a Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC Wide-Angle Lens for Canon in excellent plus condition for a very low $324.00 (was $424.00). The sale includes the original box, the lens pouch the front and rear lens caps, and insured ground shipping to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Patty via e-mail.

This fast Wide-Angle 24mm lens works well with both APS-C & full-frame camera bodies. It yields an 84° view when used with a full-frame 35mm camera, or 57.6° when used with an APS-C camera. It is excellent for landscapes, cramped interiors, street photography and general photography of all kinds. Four low-dispersion (ED) glass elements and two aspheric elements produce sharply defined images with a minimum of flare and ghosting. The lens focuses as close as 9.84″ from the lens allowing for great creativity in the righthand. All focus and exposure functions are manual; there is no AF or auto exposure. artie & B&H

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

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plugins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Topaz Stuff

As I said just a while back and have said often many times before, I should have listened sooner. If you, like me, are new to the Topaz party, please use this link to purchase. Right now I can wholeheartedly recommend both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Though I have not yet worked with JPEGtoRAW AI or Gigapixel AI, I have installed both of these plug-ins and look forward to trying them on some I-Phone 11 images fairly soon. If you are thinking like me, consider the Utility Bundle that includes all four plug-ins mentioned above at a money-saving price.

Again, those who purchase Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI using my link, can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. I had a bit of trouble getting the two plug-ins installed and having them appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu. In addition, I will explain how to best learn about the two plug-ins by applying them on a Layer (in Photoshop). I amazed myself yesterday by completing this guide in the car on the way to and from Sebastian. Huge thanks to Anita for doing the driving. Please include a copy of your Topaz order when requesting the guide.

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, by using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

116 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free overnight shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time). Be sure to mention the 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 and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and 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.

This image was created on the second afternoon of the Fort DeSoto COVID-conscious IPT — 16 OCT 2020 at Fort DeSoto Park. I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter (at 840mm), and the blazingly fast AF king, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital Camera. Exposure determined by Zebras with Exposure Compensation the rear wheel. Multi-metering +2 1/3 stops: 1/13 sec. at f/13 in Shutter Priority mode. Auto ISO > 50. AWB at 6:31pm on hazy afternoon.

Center Zone AF-C was active at the moment of exposure. Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Brown Pelican flight blur

Lucky 13 Again!

While every morning on the recently-concluded DeSoto IPT was great, the afternoons were challenging because of the wind-against-sun conditions. Fifteen to twenty mph northeast winds with higher gusts and sunny skies made most traditional bird photography difficult at best. Remember, however, that wind-against-sun conditions are perfect for silhouette photography. So, for the most part, we headed out late to try for some sunset silhouettes and tern/skimmer/gull flock blurs.

Noting that there was already some color in the sky and that there were some pelicans flying by below the sun and above the horizon, I set up for pleasing blurs in Shutter Priority mode with EC on the rear wheel. I decided to go with the super-slow-for-birds-in-flight (but often lucky) shutter speed of 1/13 second. It paid off once again. Normally, with single birds in flight you will want to go with shutter speeds higher than those used for flock blast-off blurs — 1/30 to even 1/125 sec.

The slower the shutter speed, the fewer keepers you will come up with, but the more chance you will have of creating something very different and very special. The frame before this one and the frame after this one were insta-deletes … But as we saw in a recent blog post, it never hurts to try.

RawDigger partial screen capture for Brown Pelican flight blur

RawDigger Partial Screen Capture

One of the many things that I have learned from using RawDigger in my workflow is that everyone underexposes sunrise and sunset silhouettes. The rosy red in the sky (with the OvExp warning activated) indicates a huge over-exposure. But for creating a silhouette, I wanted the sky blown. The exposure here was so perfect for the situation — I did not need any detail in the sky — that Topaz DeNoise AI was not needed as there was zero noise in the sky and I brought the bird down to detail-less black. A rare image indeed.

Do understand that there is a whole lot more to RawDigger than the OvExp/UnExp check-boxes. I spoke to Patrick Sparkman for almost an hour on Sunday and will work hard to finish the RawDigger guide on the way to Texas …

Note that the wing of the bird below and behind the subject was removed in Photoshop.

RawDigger e-Guide and Video Advance Copy Available

Save $10 Now

The RawDigger e-Guide and Video is almost finished. It will sell for $51.00. If you are anxious to get started with RawDigger, learn to mega-Expose to the Right, and wind up with the highest quality image files, you can save $10.00 and have a chance to review a pre-publication copy of the guide by sending a PayPal for $41.00 to with the words RawDigger e-Guide and Video Pre-publication Copy cut and pasted into the Subject line.

You will of course receive a link for the completed PDF when the guide is finished.

A Guide to Pleasing Blurs

Learn everything there is to know about creating pleasingly blurred images in A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Denise Ippolito and yours truly. This 20,585 word, 271 page PDF is illustrated with 144 different, exciting, and artistic images. The guide covers the basics of creating pleasingly blurred images, the factors that influence the degree of blurring, the use of filters in creating pleasing blurs, and a great variety of both in-the-field and Photoshop techniques that can be used to create pleasingly blurred images.

Artie and Denise teach you many different ways to move your lens during the exposure to create a variety of pleasingly blurred images of flowers and trees and water and landscapes. They will teach you to recognize situations where subject movement can be used to your advantage to create pan blurs, wind blurs, and moving water blurs. They will teach you to create zoom-blurs both in the field and during post-processing. Artie shares the techniques that he has used and developed for making blurred images of flocks of geese in flight at his beloved Bosque del Apache and Denise shares her flower blur magic as well as a variety of creative Photoshop techniques that she has developed.

With the advent of digital capture creating blurred images has become a great and inexpensive way to go out with your camera and have fun. And while many folks think that making successful blurred images is the result of being a sloppy photographer, nothing could be further from the truth. In “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” Artie and Denise will help you to unleash your creative self.

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.

San Diego 2021 COVID-conscious Brown Pelican IPT

January 12 thru the morning session on January 16, 2021. Four full and one-half day: $2299.00. Deposit: $500.00. Limit: 8 photographers/Openings: 7.

Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; MON JAN 11, 2021.

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 or healthy bread.

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 takeaways 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 lots 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-brunch 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 as well.

A $599 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, is due immediately after you sign up. 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. If you cancel due to COVID 19 concerns, all of your payments will be refunded.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for both big international trips and US-based IPTs is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality travel 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.


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 landscape and seascape opportunities.


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

3 comments to Lucky 13 Again! And a Nikon 600 VR $500 price drop!

  • avatar Narayanan Mangalath

    🙂 I live in Katy TX Artie.

  • avatar Narayanan Mangalath

    Hello Artie,

    Love to hear that you are coming to Texas. Eager to see some pictures from there. Anahuac is my long pending trip.

    I fondly remember our stay and IPT at Fort De Soto. I would love to do another one as soon as the COVID subsides. I hear your concern on the decline of income at this time and I will make sure I use your links for any purchase.

    I whole heartedly wish that you do not have to become a Walmart Greeter. I felt a pain somewhere in my heart reading that. Let Almighty bless us all to recover from this soon…!

    I am also going through some amount of stress and I can relate to yours.

    Thank you
    Narayanan Mangalath

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Nayanan,

      Do you live in TX? If yes, where? Thanks for your kind words and for using the links 🙂

      With my teacher’s pension, my social security, and forced withdrawals from my IRA I will not need to apply to be a Walmart greeter 🙂 No stress here.

      I hope that you and your family are well.

      with love, artie

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