Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
July 21st, 2019

Sandbar Secrets. And a Record-low-by far Used Canon 600mm f/4L IS II Lens

What’s Up?

I spent most of Saturday finishing packing for the Galapagos IPT. The next blog post will feature my gear bag. I fly to Guayaquil, Ecudaor on Sunday and continue on to Baltra on Tuesday. We will board the Samba that afternoon for two weeks in nature photography heaven.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. We have all but one of the BigFeet in stock (phone orders only for now: 863-692-0906) but are sold out of the new FLN-60 BigFoot that was recently re-designed for the Nikon 600 VR. Click here to access the pretty much complete FlexShooter Pro story with videos.

BIRDS AS ART

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


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 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.

As used gear sales have slowed a bit in recent months — especially with dSLR bodies, there are lots of great buys right now on the Used Gear Page

Big Price Reduction!

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

BAA Record-low Price reduced $400.00 on 7-20, 2019

Mansoor Assadi is offering a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for the low price of $6399.00 (was $6799.00). The sale includes the original box and everything that came in it, a LensCoat, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

Please contact Mansoor via e-mail or by phone at 1-415-559-8027 (Pacific time).

The 600 II has been the state of the art super-telephoto lens for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many years. When I was using Canon and could get it to my location, it was always my go-to weapon. It is fast and sharp and deadly alone or with either TC. With a new one going for $9,499, you can save a cool $3,100.00 by grabbing Mansoor’s practically new lens now. The lighter 600 III goes for $12,999.00! artie

bedford-logo-w-code

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.



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.

DeSoto-fall-composite

Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or very early October. I hope that you can join me there this September. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT/September 27-30, 2019: One-half and three FULL DAYS: $1499.00. Limit 6.

Afternoon session on Friday September 25 at 4pm. That followed by three full days. We photrograph till sunset on Monday September 30

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in fall. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, and gulls that winter on the T-shaped peninsula. With luck, we may get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and Roseate Spoonbill. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy. 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 may very well get to see and photograph the amazing heron/egret hybrid that has been present for four years. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. In addition, Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. 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.

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.
  • 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 the 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.

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 the hotel 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 …

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.

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 when you sign up for an IPT. 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.

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 BAA Online Store πŸ™‚

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.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right.

Typos

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

July 19th, 2019

Catching Up On Recent Blog Post Questions

What’s Up?

I have one of my two checked bags for the Galapagos trip packed. I am finishing up some laundry today and charging all the camera bodies. I was glad to learn that the sale of BPN friend Robert Kimbrell’s Canon 200-400 with Internal TC is pending. I have been swimming around the afternoon thunderstorms every day.

Amazingly, a second couple had to cancel the trip because the wife had a heart attack just a few days ago. The wife of the first couple that had to cancel had surgery. Fortunately, both couples had trip insurance. And both wives are doing well.

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 when you sign up for an IPT. 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.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. We have all but one of the BigFeet in stock (phone orders only for now: 863-692-0906) but are sold out of the new FLN-60 BigFoot that was recently re-designed for the Nikon 600 VR. Click here to access the pretty much complete FlexShooter Pro story with videos.

Used Gear Sales Price Drops

Canon EOS 7D

Price reduced $50.00 on 7-19-2019

Doug Rogers is offering a Canon EOS 7D in excellent condition for the bargain price of $299.00. The sale includes the front body cap, the strap, the battery charger, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

Please contact Doug via e-mail or by phone at 1-434-409-8156 (Eastern time).

This is a great body for anyone wishing to get started with digital photography, nature or not. artie

Canon EOS 7D Mark II (with grip)

Price reduced $50.00 on 7-19-2019

Doug Rogers is also offering a Canon EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition for only $849.00. The sale includes the BG-16 battery grip in like-new condition, the front body cap, the strap, the battery charger, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

Please contact Doug via e-mail or by phone at 1-434-409-8156 (Eastern time).

I loved my 7D II and to this day I am often amazed by many of the images that I created with it. It is the first choice camera body of highly skilled bird photographer and BPN Avian Moderator Dan Cadieux (whose work has been featured here often — do a search in the little white box at the top right of each blog post for “Cadieux”), and more recently Ravi Harekatur (see the recent blog post here if you missed his great macro shots). artie

Canon Extender EF 2X II (2X teleconverter)

Price reduced $25.00 on 7-19-2019

Doug Rogers is also offering a Canon Extender EF 2X II (2X teleconverter) in like-new condition for only $179.00. The sale includes the front and rear caps, the carrying pouch, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

Please contact Doug via e-mail or by phone at 1-434-409-8156 (Eastern time)

I used the 2X II TC for about eight years and made a zillion sharp images with my Canon 500mm and 600mmm f/4l IS lenses. artie


BIRDS AS ART

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

bedford-logo-w-code

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.



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.

osprey-back-of-head-_BUP9609-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

Tight crop showing detail on the back of a young Osprey’s neck

How Large a Crop?

In the blog post here, I asked, with regards to the image above, What percentage of the original pixels do you think have been cropped away?

osprey-back-of-head-original-_BUP9609-Indian-Lake-Estates-FL-1

This is the original frame. It was created on the morning of June 5, 2019 down by the lake near my home. Working while seated in the front seat of my SUV, I used the Induro GIT 304L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO 400. For the uncropped original, matrix metering at about +2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode was perfect with the histogram pushed all the way to the right. AUTO1 WB at 7:45am on a sunny morning with a very light cloud in front of the sun.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: a very significant +9. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

One up and two to the left of center Dynamic 9 points (d-9) Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. In the original frame, the selected AF point was on the bottom right of the bird’s neck.

Tight crop showing detail on the back of a young Osprey’s neck

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The Answer

The size of the cropped file is 2.22M. The size of the converted TIFF is 130M. The cropped back-of-the-head shot is just 1.7% of the original. So the correct answer is a: 98.3% of the original pixels were cropped away. Kudos to IPT veteran Joel Eade who somehow did the math correctly and thus played the role of spoiler.

One person commented that they did not think that there was much feather detail in the cropped image. Methinks that they are not in the habit of viewing their images at 250% magnification. I was astounded by the quality of the cropped image. Noe: the image does look a lot sharper when you enlarge it.

Northern-Gannet-immature-ready-to-dive-_BUP6097-Dunbar-Scotland-1

This image was also created on July 9 near Bass Rock, Scotland on the 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT with the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR lens (at 145mm) and the Nikon D850 DSLR. ISO: 800. Matrix Metering plus about 1 2/3 stops of the grey sky: 1/2500 sec. at f/4.5 in Manual mode. AWB at 11:31am on a drizzly day.

Center Group (grp) Continuous (C in Nikon and SONY, AI Servo in Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure.

AF Fine-tune value: +4 at 200mm.

Image #3: Northern Gannet juvenile ready to dive

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Gannetry Insanity

In the blog post here, I wrote, Please leave a comment and let us know which of today’s five featured images is your favorite and let us know why you made your choice. Image #3, above, was the consensus favorite. Image #2 was the only one not to garner any support. I agree that #2 was the least special but my favorites were #1 (with the prison) and #5 (the upside-down diving gannet).

puffin-vert-with-fish-_DSC8913-Bempton-2019

This image was created on July 2 on the first of our puffin boat trips on the 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Anita North used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and her souped-up Nikon D850 AUTO ISO: 1600. Matrix metering at about -1/3 stop as framed: 1/2500 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 12:15pm on a cloudy-bright day.

One up from the center Group (grp) Continuous AF was active at the moment of exposure.

Image #2: Atlantic Puffin with sand eels — vertical portrait.
Image courtesy of and copyright 2019: Anita North

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Math Quiz

In the Jet-Black Backgrounds blog post here, I wrote: Which settings let in more light, those for Image #1 or Image #2? No guessing β€” please share your math. At best, my question was poorly worded … I was trying to point out that the exposure parameters for Image #2: ISO: 1600 — 1/2500 sec. — f/8 were 1/3 stop brighter than the exposure parameters for Image #1: ISO 400 — 1/1250 sec. — f/6.3.

Here is the math that shows that the exposure parameters for Image #2 were indeed 1/3 stop brighter:

EXP-Parameters

Comparison of exposure parameters

If …

If I screwed up yet again, please leave a comment and let me know.

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 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 πŸ™‚

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.

Facebook

Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right.

Typos

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

July 17th, 2019

I'd Only Dreamed of a Place Like This for American White Pelicans ... And Announcing the BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide


SONY a7R iii

Follow the link above to learn about saving $500 on a SONY a7R iii along with many dozens of incredible summer deals.

What’s Up?

I spent a good part of the day on Tuesday getting my replacement cell phone up and running. (It turned out that I had lost phone insurance with Verizon.) The process was a challenge. We spent an hour trying to get the new SIM card in until Jim turned it over and it fit like a charm. Next was getting the service re-connected; that took 1 1/2 hours on the phone. Last was restoring the iCloud back-up. That went just fine and it was good to be back in business.

Today I will be reviewing Patrick Sparkman’s SONY video. Though we pay for two DSL lines, internet here at ILE is nothing short of slow as molasses. It took us more than six hours to download the 5MB video and close to 20 to upload it to Hightail. You gotta love that.

I slept long and well last night; it was my best night of sleep since returning from the UK.

Wanted to Buy

If you have a used Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens in excellent to like-new condition that you would like to sell, please let me know via e-mail. I have a buyer lined up.

Used FlexShooter Pro

Sold instantly!

I have a barely used FlexShooter Pro head for sale for only $499.00 including the shipping. You can save $100 by getting in touch asap via e-mail.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. We are sold out on the newly-arrived FLN-60 BigFeet recently re-designed for the Nikon 600 VR. Click here to access the pretty much complete FlexShooter Pro story with videos.

BIRDS AS ART

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

bedford-logo-w-code

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.



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.

American-White-Pelican-immature-_BUP8589-Lakeland-FL

This image was created on March 2, 2019 at Lakeland, FL. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and my souped-up Nikon D850. AUTO ISO: 500. Matrix metering plus 2/3 stop as framed: 1/2000 sec. at f/10 in Manual mode was right on. AUTO1 WB at 8:37pm am with light clouds.

One array up from the center Group (grp) Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on the base of the bird’s upper mandible. Today, I would have used d-9 or d-25 AF for this image.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +1. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

American White Pelican vertical head and bill portrait

I’d Only Dreamed of a Place Like This for American White Pelicans …

The first time that Joe Przybyla guided me around Lakeland, I was floored. Amazed. Stunned. There were tame Limpkins. And tame White Ibises. And tame moorhens. And tame Anhingas in killer breeding plumage. But most of all, there were tame American White Pelicans. Many dozens of them! With a relatively careful approach, tight face shots were possible even without a super-telephoto lens. With the beautiful early morning light and lots of nice backgrounds to choose from, I visited many times during the later winter and early spring of 2019. And in the early morning, flight photography can be pretty decent as well.

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.

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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/Openings: 6)

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 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.

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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.


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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-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.

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.


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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.

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 BAA Online Store πŸ™‚

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.

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Typos

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