Gila Monster in Central Florida? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Gila Monster in Central Florida?

What’s Up?

I drove around on Saturday morning looking for relatively small, interesting scenes so that I could create some in-camera Multiple Exposures and some in-camera HDR images for the BAA EOS R5 User’s Guide. I did fairly well. I did find lots of old oaks with patches of Baton Rouge (Strawberry) lichen, but none were suitable for photography. I created some nice two-frame soft/sharp Multiple Exposures of Florida Tickseed and then created some six frame Multiple Exposure lens twirls of the same flowers. I ended up the morning creating some nice fall-colored vines growing on a tree trunk (those while fighting the wind).

I spent much of the rest of the day working on the R5 User’s Guide. I need to return the Canon loaner gear tomorrow …

Today is Sunday 3 January 2021. Am I the only one who has had the days of the week messed up very recently? I will be heading out soon again looking to create some additional HDR and Multiple Exposure images. The weather should be perfect with developing clouds and even some drizzle in the forecast.

I’ve been swimming my slow 1/2 mile in a nice warm pool, doing my bursts, and taking two walks every day.

This blog past makes seventeen days in a row with a new blog post. This one took less than an hour to prepare. Please remember …

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 very active. The 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 eleven months at the bottom of the page.

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. The recent delay is the result of my recent conversations with Iliah Borg, the brains behind RawDigger. It is likely that the Shock-your-World section will shock you.

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

Canon R5/R6 AF e-Guide Info

So far, 64 folks have sent PayPals for their copy of the Canon R5/R6 AF e-Guide. And 27 who used my affiliate links to purchase their R5 bodies have e-mailed for and received their free copy of the guide. If you e-mailed or sent a PayPal and did not receive your guide, please LMK immediately via e-mail.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so far. Three folks wrote stating that they had a better way of setting up AF on their R5s. When I wrote back explaining why they were in error, two of them back-tracked. One stubborn guy is still doing it his way — less efficiently. Be sure to scroll down to read about my plans for a Canon R5/R6 User’s e-Guide. Understand that the info in the BAA Canon R5/R6 Autofocus e-Guide is so important that I opted to publish the AF guide immediately as the R5/R6 User’s Guide will take at least a month to finish.

BAA Canon R5/R6 Autofocus e-Guide

Twenty-one pages. 3,452 words. 28-DPP4 screen captures showing the R5’s vaunted AF system in action. Note: the AF system of the R5 is identical to the AF system of the R6.

You will learn:

1- The two most useful AF Methods for general bird photography and for birds in flight.

2- How to set up your R5/R6 AF Menus.

3- What boxes to check (and un-check) under Limit AF Methods.

4- How to change the AF Method quickly, easily, and efficiently. Note: the default way of doing this is clunky, cumbersome, and inefficient at best. One person replied that this tip alone was worth the price of admission.

5- The only setting that should be used for Initial Servo AF pt for Face Detection + Tracking.

I you are currently using multiple back buttons either for general bird photography or for birds in flight, what you learn in this guide will change your life. For the better.

Here are the first three paragraphs of this e-Guide:

From the moment I learned about the new Canon mirrorless bodies, I read about using two or three back-buttons to focus using different AF methods. The word on the street said that the way to go for birds in flight was to use one button to acquire focus with Zone AF or with Large Zone: Horizontal AF and then switch to another button to activate Face Detection + Tracking AF and then use the shutter button to make an image. My immediate thought was, “This is insanity! There has got to be a better way.” In short, there is a far superior way to set up AF on your R5 or R6.

Remember that I got away from any form of back-button or rear focusing many years ago after finally realizing that it is always easier to do one thing (press the shutter button), than it is to do two things (press a back button and then press the shutter button).

The default method of switching AF Methods with the R5/R6 bodies is cumbersome at best. It involves first pressing the grid button (my name) on the upper right back of the camera and then pressing the hard-to-access M-Fn button to toggle through the AF Methods. This method is so bad that it will not be mentioned again in this guide.

The guide is free to all who have ordered an R5 or an R6 using my B&H affiliate link or from Steve Elkins/Bedfords using the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Please send your receipt to me via e-mail. It will take me a few days to a week to verify the B&H purchases. Bedfords folks should expect their free e-Guides fairly quickly.

To purchase your copy of the e-Guide, please send a PayPal for $25.00 to and be sure to include the words R5/R6 AF Guide in your PayPal e-mail.

Everyone who gets the guide will receive a free update no later than the first week in January.

Canon R5/R6 User’s e-Guide

I am working on a complete Canon R5/R6 User’s e-Guide. This will require a lot of research, a lot of time, and a lot of effort. I am hoping to have it complete by mid- to late January. As always, folks who use the BAA affiliate links and discount codes to purchase their Canon gear will receive a substantial discount.

Understand that the info in the BAA Canon R5/R6 Autofocus e-Guide is so important that I opted to publish the AF guide right off the bat to help folks get started with their new camera bodies.

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)

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.

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 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order to save 3% and enjoy free 2nd-day air shipping. 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 in-camera HDR Art Vivid image was created on 31 December 2020 on the pier at Indian Lake Estates. I used the handheld Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens (at 500mm) and the highly touted 45MP Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 3200. Exposure determined using the in-camera histogram followed by a histogram/blinkies evaluation and some luck. The three exposures were bracketed around +2/3 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 5:24pm on a cloudy day.

1-point (moved well toward the bottom of the frame) AI Servo AF was active at the moment of exposure and performed perfectly. Click on the image to see a larger version.

What is it?

What is it?

I see these small objects regularly on the pier and the pier railing. It is about 2 1/2″ in length. What is it? WAGs (wild-ass guesses) are welcome.

R5 in-camera HDR

I loved creating in-camera HDR images with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and missed this great feature once I switched first to Nikon and then to SONY. If I do wind up buy the R5/RF 1.4X TC/RF 100-500 rig, both the in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposure features will be two reasons why I do. Right now I am at about 67%. At one point it was 99%.

In any case, the R5 User’s Guide will have detailed instructions on setting up the camera and using it to create both in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposures. The set-up for each are a bit tricky.

Click on the image to see the vast improvement. The After image is on our right. Noise in the blacks has been eliminated and the image is both cleaner and sharper.

Topaz DeNoise AI on the What is it? image

Topaz DeNoise AI

I ran Topaz DeNoise AI on Auto on the whole image (as I do with almost every photo that I process). Image Quality with in-camera HDR images is always somewhat suspect, in part because the final result is a JPEG. DeNoise cleaned it up and sharpened it beautifully. Be sure to click on the image to enlarge it and see the improvement, especially with regards to the detail in the BLACKs.


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

11 comments to Gila Monster in Central Florida?

  • avatar Al C.

    Hey Art, I was able to use your code to get 3% off the RF 1.4x from Bedford. I should have it by the end of the week and get to use it on the RF 100-500. I am starting to really like the 100-500 after getting to use it more and more. Unlike many, the f7.1 aperture is not an issue for me at all as I have always like to stop down to f8 anyways.


  • My guess is the decaying flower of the Umbrella Magnolia. Seems a bit southern for a native tree.

  • avatar Bill Lloyd

    I’m surprised no one so far has suggested pellet. Most people are aware of “owl pellets” but birds of prey and many shore birds regurgitate pellets, something that would be expected if you watched them feeding.

  • avatar David J Policansky

    Looks like scat to me. But somehow I don’t think it is. Yes, I lose track of the days too.

  • avatar Eddy Vaes

    I think it is feces of a small mammal. The seeds should give away the fruit it has eaten.

  • avatar Joel Eade

    Looks like “scat” to me …. not sure what animal …. maybe a raccoon or possum?

  • avatar frank sheets

    Hi Artie, Yesterday was Saturday. Both Laurie and I thought it was Sunday and I was blown away when a friend convinced me it was Saturday. Guess I get two Sundays this week. Strange. I’ll be curious whether you keep the Canon. I too miss the ability to see the active AF points in post but would dearly miss zebras. In camera HDRs are not important to me. I think you have better control if you bracket and merge in post. What does impress me as I understand it is the “eye” af with the Canon. Sony needs to work on that. Have no desire to purchase the Canon.

  • Hi Artie
    You think you have had a bad day, virtually the whole of the UK is either in lockdown three or four we have a new strain of this virus is more contagious than the original virus. Which means no moving out of your own area no swimming no eating out no nothing how would you like that? Our only hope is the new vaccine which was developed in Oxford England. I ‘m not quite old enough to warrant an injection at the moment, but will be just a matter of time, my brother has had his first jab. As regards the What is it image I haven’t got a clue so there, I’m sure all will be revealed in the not too distant future, very intriguing.

    Best and love

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