BAA IPTs « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
February 8th, 2017


BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo Tours (IPTs)

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) General Information.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Deposit and Cancellation Policies.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Registration and Release Forms.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

Please scroll down for info on each of the following:

  • The new, expanded UK Puffins and Gannets 2018 IPT. Monday July 2 through Tuesday July 10 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 11): $7,499 and a the Bempton Cliffs pre-trip: Wednesday June 27 (from EDI) through the morning of Monday, July 1 (ending in Seahouses, UK) on a cost-sharing basis.
  • Falklands Cheap Land-based IPT DEC 22, 2018 thru JAN 5, 2019: Limit 7 photographers/Sold Out with a waiting list: $7499
  • 2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099. (Limit: 10)Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; SAT JAN 19, 2019. Please see the Dancing Grebe Morning Add-On Info below.

What They are Saying …

Via e-mail from Jim Miller

I can’t stop thinking about how much fun the DeSoto Fall IPT was, and how much I learned. There were so many things that suddenly made perfect sense after I had been confused for so long. Thank you very much for the wonderful trip, and for being a great teacher. As I worked through the raw files last week, I realized what a fantastic lens the 600 IS is. Thanks for the rental! Maybe some day I will be able to afford one. Some images for critique are attached.

By the way, the plant we were looking at along the sidewalk in Gulfport is Blue Porterweed. It is worth a few minutes on the internet to read about it: native of Florida and the Caribbean, used for medicine in The Bahamas, etc. We have it in a large pot in the front yard and it takes a lot of water, but it blooms Spring through Fall. Thank you again, Artie. It was really wonderful to be with you and learn from you.

Via e-mail from Lee Sommie

I want to thank you for making the Fall 2017 Ft. DeSoto IPT such a fun and educational experience for me. I truly did not want the adventure to end. I now look through the viewfinder with an artist’s mindset. And the real bonus was making new friends with fellow students. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife photography. I had a great time with you and look forward to more adventures on future IPTs.

Followed by this one

BTW. I downloaded Photo Mechanic and started using it in my workflow. Since I like using Lightroom for my adjustments, I found a way to incorporate Photo Mechanic and Lightroom together. Lightroom was driving me crazy with how slow it is to import and preview photos. I was impressed with how fast you could preview photos and start editing your photos on the DeSoto Fall IPT. Life is too short to wait for applications to import and preview photos and Photo Mechanic solves that problem. 😉

Thanks again for everything Artie. Your knowledge keeps on giving well after the IPT!

Via e-mail from Muhammad Arif

I had a great time at Fort De Soto. Thank you for all the instruction, for your help and pointers; my photography has already improved tremendously and I’ve never made such good bird photos before. I wish I could’ve joined you on Monday and Tuesday morning as well but work got in the way. It was also nice to meet everyone on the IPT; sorry that I missed you Ray. Thanks again for everything and I hope to join you at a future IPT sometime again.


Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

Please click on the card to see a larger and inexplicably sharper version.

The new, expanded UK Puffins and Gannets 2018 IPT. Monday July 2 through Tuesday July 10 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 11.): $7,499. Limit 10 photographers/Sold out; all sign-ups are in for the Bempton Cliffs pre-trip; please see the info below. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

Join me in the UK next July to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, all at close range. We will also enjoy great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. Not to mention lots of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island in Maine, endure a two hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning, get driven down to Seahouses, and have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day (usually in cloudy bright conditions) after only a short boat ride?

While we are in Seahouses we will do six planned puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course. In four years we have averaged losing ½ day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the morning and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon session. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two of photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

On the morning of Monday, July 9, 2018, we will finish packing, sleep late, and head up to Dunbar Harbor for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 10, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip. On both trips we will enjoy great views of Bass Rock, a huge gannetry. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Early on the morning of Wednesday July 11, we will leave early and drive up to Edinburg Airport so that everyone can make their flights home in time. We will need to leave as early as need be to get those on early flights there on time. No moaning please. Try for a flight that leaves no early than 8:30am if possible.

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All lodgings, all meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting we will enjoy six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trips. Plus an afternoon castle and perhaps some nesting kittwakes in the town of Seahouses (if ya’ll are not too, too tired.)

The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as I will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer 🙂

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale, country cottages with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with a private bathroom. See the single supplement info below.

We cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the five boat trips. On our mid-IPR gannet day we will enjoy lunch at the wonderful Dunbar Garden Center. We will do a barbeque or two at the cottages but most dinners will be in excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

gannet-incoming mike poole

Incoming Northern Gannet, Bempton Cliffs, UK. Image copyright and courtesy of Mike Poole

Please click on the card to see a larger and inexplicably sharper version.

The UK Puffins and Gannets 2018 Bempton Cliffs Pre-trip. Free Instruction with cost sharing (from Edinburgh, Airport). Wednesday June 27 (from EDI) through the morning of Monday, July 1 (ending in Seahouses, UK). Limit 10 photographers. Sold Out. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

This is an offer that you might not be able to refuse … Why travel to Europe and not add on five great days of photography and photographic instruction for barely more than the cost of your food and your room?

I have been hearing about Bempton Cliffs for years. It is about 3 hours by car south of Seahouses, less than five hours from Edinburgh Airport. It hosts the only mainland gannetry in England and also the largest kittiwake colony in mainland Britain. In addition to the gannets and kittiwakes we will get to photograph Razorbill. Much of the photography will be of birds in flight with both incoming birds and top shots (dorsal views of birds flying below us) being especially attractive. My understanding is that sunny afternoons are best; with the right winds, they can be mega. There is a good chance that we can get in a short photo session on our first afternoon.

gannet-flight-grass-v2 mike poole

Northern Gannet with nesting material, Bempton Cliffs, UK. Image copyright and courtesy of Mike Poole

Please click on the card to see a larger and inexplicably sharper version.

We will be staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn in Bridlington, just ten minutes from Bempton Cliffs. Marston’s Inn properties are both fine and economical: $316.42 for the four nights (possibly plus 20% VAT). Morning options may include one or two (optional) gannet chumming trips or, on cloudy or foggy days, photographing at Bempton Cliffs. I am looking to hire a local guide for one day (with that cost shared by all on the pre-trip).


Incoming Razorbill, Bempton Cliffs, UK. Image courtesy of and copyright Rich Steel

Please click on the card to see a larger and inexplicably sharper version.

After our last afternoon session on Sunday July 1 we will drive up to Newcastle where we will be staying at the again economical Holiday Inn Express Newcastle Metro Centre — $116.02 (possibly plus 20% VAT).

I am hoping that everyone who joins the IPT will fly over early to join the pre-trip. Those who opt to fly over only for the IPT will need to arrive at Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) on the early morning of Monday, July 2. (There are lots of red-eye flights arriving from around the world at that time). There, they will be met by a 100% reliable, professional driver from Executive Transfers for their transfer to our cottages in Seahouses; I have used their services several times before and they are simply fantastic.

Those who will be making both the pre-trip and the IPT will need to arrive at EDI on the early morning of Wednesday June 27, 2018. (Again, there are lots of red-eye flights arriving from around the world at that time). Interested folks from the UK who are considering driving their own vehicles are asked to e-mail for details.

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome–please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 29, 2018. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Deposit Info

Single supplement rooms at the cottage are available on a limited basis. To ensure yours, please register early. The single supplement fee is $1575. If you would like your own room, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement; your single supplement deposit check should be for $3,575. As we will need to commit to renting the extra space, single supplement deposits are non-refundable so please be sure that check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below.

Pre-trip Cost Sharing

Enjoy free instruction for five days by agreeing to share the following pre-trip costs equally (by all particpants and artie):

The cost of our vehicle pro-rated for five days.
The cost of the luggage transport.
The cost of gas from EDI to Bridlington and then back up to Seahouses.
The cost of Peter Kes’s food and lodging.
The cost of one or two gannet chumming trips (optional).

The following costs will also be included:

Four night’s lodging in Bridlington as above.
One night’s lodging in Newcastle.
Your food and beverages.
The cost of your park entry fees.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality 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 of running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print careful even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

I truly hope that you can join me on this exciting venture.


Join me in late 2018 for two weeks in penguin and albatross heaven …

Falklands Cheap Land-based IPT DEC 22, 2018 thru JAN 5, 2019: Limit 7 photographers/(Effectively sold out/TBD): $7499

Please e-mail to be put on the wait list or if interested in the 2019 trip.

I will be leading an innovative land-based Falklands IPT leaving from Stanley, The Falklands on SAT 22 DEC 2018 –yes, 2018 — and flying back to Santiago, Chile on SAT JAN 5, 2019. Why innovative? We will be spending six nights at The Neck on Saunders Island, one of the premier wildlife photography destinations on the planet. That followed by three nights on Sea Lion Island, and ending up with four nights on Bleaker. Note that most BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature’s Best contests usually honor multiple images made in The Falklands each year.

What else is innovative? Most two-week land-based photo trips have you visiting four or five or even six islands hopping on a FIGAS plane every two days or so. As you are at the mercy of the flight operations you may miss several mornings or afternoons of photography. Why not stay at three great locations, locations that offer the best photo opps without any long walks?. Saunders and Bleaker will get you close-up to the great species with ease. At The Neck we will be staying in rustic cabins right in the heart of the action. There is great stuff on Sea Lion a short walk from the lodge and we have a vehicle to use for the more distant locations. On Bleaker we will be enjoying near-luxury accommodations and great home-cooked meals. And there we will have two vehicles at our disposal.

What else? The first Black-browed Albatross chicks hatch every year on or about 12 DEC. If you visit in early January you will miss most of the tiny chicks. And worse yet, the Rockhopper Penguin chicks are leaving by the second week of January. This trip is timed to get you chances on tiny fluffy white albatross chicks, some of the larger fluffy white chicks, and the rockhopper chicks as well.

With several years of experience on the Falklands, more than six in fact, nobody knows how to read the sky conditions, the wind, and the light better than me and have the group in the best possible spot at all times. With lots of strong west winds, you will need someone who knows how to put you in position to make good images on near-impossible mornings.

If you are seriously interested, please shoot me an e-mail and I will get back to you during the second week of November. Happy campers only please.

ps: You can make a ton of great images on this trip with “just” an 80- or 100-400 lens.


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.

2019 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) SUN JAN 20, 2019 thru and including the morning session on THURS JAN 24: 4 1/2 days: $2099.

(Limit: 10/Openings: 8)

Introductory Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the evening before the IPT begins; SAT JAN 19, 2019.

Please see the Dancing Grebe Morning Add-On Info below

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 will be attracted (or re-located) with offerings of grains and healthy breads.

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 take-aways 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 wealth 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. An 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.


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 land/sea scape opportunities.


This image was created in San Diego, CA with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the simply amazing, astounding, mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 500. Evaluative metering -2/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Av mode. AWB.

61-Point (Automatic selection)/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure (as is always best when photographing moving subjects). Though the optimized image above was a healthy crop from the original the result was a high quality 148+ MB 16-bit file. Click on the image to see a larger version. The AF system selected two AF points, one above the other, between the two birds;the eye of the bird on our right is razor sharp.

Clarke’s X Western Grebe courtship rush

The Dancing Grebe Add-On. FRI JAN 25, 2019: $399.

Those registering for the 2019 San Diego IPT might wish to join me for the Dancing Grebe Add-On Morning as above. Please read the details carefully. You will need to wade at least mid-thigh deep with your tripod over an uneven bottom. Lightweight chest waders are advised. Long lenses are needed; a 100-400 will not cut it at this spot, even with a TC. Chances at this location (easily accessible from the IPT hotel), vary from day to day so there will be no guarantees. But when those grebes dance, it can be an amazing rush. We may also enjoy chances to photograph both species, Western and Clarke’s Grebes, at fairly close range.

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