Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
January 20th, 2020

If Ever a Lens was Made for a Location ... Miracle Image: Brown Pelican Greeting; the Holy Grail of Pacific-race Brown Pelican Photography; Zooming Out for Flight; and The Classic Breeding Plumage Brown Pelican Head and Shoulders Portrait ...

What’s Up?

Luis and I enjoyed a mega-morning at Morro Bay. We had about 200 tame Long-billed Curlews along with 50 tame Marbled Godwits and a few tame Whimbrels and Willets. I created nearly 2000 images. Surprisingly, more than a few of my tight flight and action images with the a9 ii and the 2-6 were not sharp. Probably due to operator over-excitement. The sunset was decent but one very skilled frisbee-chasing dog scared most of the birds off the beach. Photos soon.

I finally had some time off yesterday to update the Used Gear Page. See the revised list of Recent Sales below.

It looks as is there will be only a single spot left on the second Homer IPT very soon. If you are thinking of joining me, it would be best not to tarry; give Jim a call tomorrow.

Homer Bald Eagle Photography Lessons

Click on the play triangle to learn about getting the right exposure for black and white subjects in sun or on cloudy or snowy days, the best lenses for eagle photography in Homer, creating pleasing blurs, basic and advanced composition, and tons more in this free video. Click on the little broken white square lower right next to YouTube to view the video full screen. Hit Escape to exit full screen. Enjoy!

This image was made with the Canon 600mm f/4L IS lens, the 1.4X II TC, and the then MP-King, the EOS-1DS Mark II.

If you missed the Homer IPTs announcement (there are two separate trips), or if you are thinking of attending, be sure to see the complete offering here.

Image #30: Bald Eagle head portrait/blood on bill

More On Homer

For the first trip only, I am offering a $500/person discount for those who sign up with a friend or spouse. You can access the complete trip offering here.

IPT #1: FEB 25 through the full day on MAR 1, 2020. Six full days: $4799.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 2.

IPT #2: MAR 3 through the full day on MAR 7, 2020. Five full days: $3999.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 2.

Via e-mail from Multiple IPT veteran Greg Ferguson:

I attended this IPT in 2011 and can only say it was the most intensive bird photography I have ever experienced. My arms were tired and sore from shooting so many action photos. It is highly recommended! I called Jim today and signed up for a reprise. Greg

Via e-mail from Multiple IPT veteran Dick Curtain:

I attended the Homer IPT in the past and can only say it was a great experience. Many eagles, beautiful scenery, great instruction, and many fond memories. Don’t miss it.

IPT Updates

Coming soon: one or two Spoonbill Boat IPTs, a spring Fort DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT, and a Nickerson Beach IPT this summer.

Do check out the Galapgos Gallery here.

  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Archipelago Photographic Experience. August 17-31, 2021 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,999.00.
  • You can see complete IPT info and details here.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

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 EOS-1DX, 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.

The Used Gear page has been very hot for the past month with the continuing price drops on both Canon and Nikon gear. And there have been some great buys on SONY stuff too. There are still lots of solid bargains right now on the Used Gear Page.

Recent Sales

BIRDS AS ART Used Gear Page Mega-hot!

David Ramirez sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II lens in excellent plus condition for the BAA record-low price of $5299.00 (was $5699.00) in early January.
Jerry Barrack sold a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Digital Camera Body in near-mint condition for $1399 (was listed at 1,999.00) in December 2019.
Ken Siegel sold his Sony a7r III in mint condition for only $1949.00 (was $2049.00) in early December 2019.
IPT veteran Joe Randle sold his Canon 500mm f4L IS USM Super Telephoto lens (the “old five”) in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $2499.00 in December 2019.
Multiple IPT veteran Jake Levin soold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II in excellent plus condition for $648.00. in December 2020.
IPT veteran Richard Russ sold his Nikon D850 dSLR in near-mint condition for the very low price of $1996.95 and a Nikon 500mm PF lens in near-mint condition for the very low price of $3,096.95 the first day they were listed on January 11, 2020.
Errol Bellon sold his Nikon 80-400 AFS Nikkor f/4.5-5.6 G ED N VR lens in mint condition for a BAA record-low $1096.95 (was $1396.95).
Jim Lewis sold his Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens in like-new condition for a very low $3,198.00, a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III (teleconverter) in like-new condition for only $223.00, a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III (teleconverter) in like-new condition for only $223.00, and a Fujinon XF100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS lens is in excellent condition for $899.00 all right after they were listed on December 21, 2019.
Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Monte Brown sold his used Gitzo GT3530 LSV Tripod in very good condition for the practically giving-it-away-for-free price of $200.00 less than an hour after it was listed on 1/18/20.
IPT veteran Dane Johnson is offering a Canon EOS-1D X in like-new condition (with a low shutter count of < 7,100) along with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens in mint condition for the crazy low price of only $2,399.00 (was 2,599.00), a Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO USM Lens in like-new condition for the BAA record-low price of $4,099.00, and a 4th Generation Design Mongoose M3.5 Mongoose Action Head in like-new condition for the crazy low price of only $249.00 all in mid-December. BPN friend Ravi Hirekatur sold his Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS lens (the original 1-4) in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $499.00 in late December 2019. Sensibly reducing the prices on the items that did not sell, multiple IPT veteran Jim Miller sold his rarely used Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens in near-mint condition for the new BAA record-low price of $399.00 (was $499.00), a Canon 580 EX II Speedlite in excellent condition for only $99.00 (was $199.00), a rarely-used, refurbished Canon Speedlite 430EX II (flash) in near-mint condition for $49.00 (was $99.00), a Canon Extender EF 1.4X II (teleconverter) in very good condition for $99.00 (was $169.00), and a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM L zoom lens in excellent condition for a BAA record-low $349.00 (was $449.00). All on the first day of the price reductions! By reducing the prices as I suggested Jim now has $1,000 dollars in his pocket rather than having those items collecting dust in his home ... BAA friend and multiple IPT veteran Paul Reinstein sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in near-mint condition (shutter count 40,054) for the lowest-ever-by-a mile price of $1749.00 (was $1899.00). Joe Randle sold his Canon EF 24-70 f2.8L II USM lens in near-mint condition for the very low price of $899.00 in mid-January 2019. Multiple IPT veteran Jim Miller sold his rarely used Canon EOS 5DS R in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $1599.00 (was $1799.00) in early January 2010. Multiple IPT veteran Jim Miller sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM telephoto lens (the “old five”) in excellent condition for $2399.00, his Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for a very low $5,699.00, his Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for a BIRDS AS ART record-low $1149.00, his Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in excellent condition for only $849.00, a Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (teleconverter) in very good condition for $199.00, his refurbished Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera body in excellent condition for a ridiculously low $699.00, a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens in excellent condition for $129.00, and a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV body in excellent condition for the BIRDS AS ART record-low-by-far price of $1549.00 all in December 2019. Charlie Curry sold his lightly used Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM lens in like-new condition for only $3299.00, a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III (teleconverter) in like-new condition for only $223.00, a. Canon Extender EF 2x III (teleconverter) in like-new condition for only $223.00, his Canon Speedlight 600EXII-RT in new condition with the soft case for $249.00, a Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens in like-new condition for only $749.00, and a WH-200 Wimberley Head (the current version) in excellent condition with the Wimberley CK-100 Side-mount conversion clamp and the F-1 Flash Bracket for only $399.00 in December 2019. Multiple IPT veteran Larry Master sold his Sony a7r IV Mirrorless Digital camera body in absolutely like-new condition for only $2898.00 (was $3098.00) in early January 2020. Top pro-Jim Zuckerman sold his Sony Alpha a7R Mirrorless Digital camera in excellent condition for $1399 in Late-December 2019. Joe Randle sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II Zoom Lens in excellent plus condition for $999.99 in early January 2020.

Canon EOS-1D X Professional Digital Camera Body with Extras!

Jim Lewis is offering a Canon EOS-1D X in near-mint condition with extras for a very low $1,895.00. The sale includes the original box, the CD’s, the strap, the cables, the manual, the front body cap, the charger w/LPE4N battery and an extra Canon LPE4N battery, 2 Lexar 1066X CF cards (one 32GB & one 64GB), a Canon RS-80 N3 remote switch, 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 Jim via e-mail.

Several rugged 1D X bodies served as my workhorse cameras for about four years. I made many hundreds of family jewels images in all types of weather all around the world. artie

Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with Great Extras!

Jim Lewis is offering a Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital camera body in-near mint condition with some great extras for an incredibly low $699.00. The sale includes the original box, the strap, the manual, the charger and battery, the VPB-XT2 Power Booster with 2 batteries (3 batteries total), the MHG-XT2 hand-grip, the RR-90 remote release, 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 Jim via e-mail.

Offering a more conventional form factor and packing in UHD 4K video recording, FUJIFILM’s X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera certainly aims to fill the needs of many working professionals and serious amateurs. Equipped with a 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III image sensor and the X-Processor Pro Engine, users will be able to capture finely detailed imagery quickly and with low noise at sensitivities up to ISO 51200. The powerful combination permits rapid image capture at up to 8 fps with full AF tracking or at up to 14 fps using the silent electronic shutter. In terms of AF, the X-T2 uses an Intelligent Hybrid system with 325 points that assures accurate, fast tracking of subjects in all modes. B&H

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This image was created on January 15, 2020 at La Jolla, CA. I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 332mm) with the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 3200. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/500 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:12am on a cloudy morning.

Zone Continuous/tracking (C) AF worked perfectly here.

Click to enlarge and enjoy the larger version.

Image #1: Brown Pelicans greeting each other

Miracle Image!

I’ve seen these spectacular greetings dozens of times. And failed dozens of times; why?

  • 1- I did not have enough reach.
  • 2- I had a fixed focal length lens in my hands and could not frame the image properly.
  • 3- The were numerous extraneous gulls, cormorants, and pelicans either in the way or ruining the backgrounds.
  • 4- There were one or more poor head angles.

With the SONY 2-6 and a bit of luck on my side, I was able to overcome the odds against success. And the lightning-fast initial focusing acquisition of the SONY a9 II did not hurt either …

tooo

This image was created on January 15, 2020 at La Jolla, CA. Again, I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (this time at 600mm) with the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 1600. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:54am on a clear morning. .

Wide Continuous/tracking (C) AF worked perfectly here.

Click to enlarge and enjoy the larger version.

Image #2: Brandt’s Coormorant coming in for a landinig

If Ever a Lens was Made for a Location …

If ever a lens was made for a location the SONY 200-600 was made for the cliffs at La Jolla. As seen in Images #1, #3, and #4 the ability to zoom out can often save the day when trying to capture pelican behavior. The 2-6 is just light enough for me to handhold making it easy to move around and quickly get into position (as I did for the magical image, #1). This great zoom lens gives you 600mm (12X magnification) of reach when you need it as you often do for flight photography.

This image was created on January 1, 2020 at La Jolla, CA. Again, I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (this time at 493mm) with the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 9:14am on a clear morning.

Wide Continuous/tracking (C) AF worked perfectly here.

Click to enlarge and enjoy a slightly larger version.

Image #3: Brown Pelican head throw

The Holy Grail of Pacific-race Brown Pelican Photography

Capturing really good images of Pacific-race Brown Pelican head throws is one of the great challenges when photographing at La Jolla. One of my very best efforts, on Fuji Velvia pushed one stop, was honored in a BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition just after the turn of the last century. For me, you need to be parallel to the head throw with nice light and a clean background. Image #3 fits that bill nicely. It was the best of a six or seven frame sequence. As is usual, some were cliipped …

This image was created on January 13, 2020 at La Jolla, CA. Again, I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (this time at 344mm) with the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 6400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on th rear wheel: 1/1000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:02am on a cloudy dark morning.

Wide Continuous/tracking (C) AF worked perfectly here.

Click to enlarge and enjoy the larger version.

Image #4: Brown Pelican landing in low light

Zooming Out for Flight

Being able to zoom out when a bird is flying right at you can spell the difference between success and failure as seen in Image #4. I am becoming so comfortable shooting the a9 II at ISOs in the 4,000 to 10,000 range (pushing all of my exposures far to the right of course) that it is downright silly.

This image was created on January 13, 2020 at La Jolla, CA. Again, I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (once again at 600mm) with the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 640. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 9:05am on a clear morning. .

Upper center Zone Continuous/tracking (C) AF worked perfectly here.

Click to enlarge and enjoy a slightly larger version.

Image #5: Brown Pelican classic breeding plumage head and shoulders portrait

The Classic Breeding Plumage Brown Pelican Head and Shoulders Portrait

I often receive e-mails asking if image quality with the 200-600 suffers in terms of sharpness and contrast and color when compared to the 600 GM lens. My first answer is always to say that all top quality lenses are sharper than all photographers, even top quality photographers. I can say that the RAW file for Image #5 is breathtaking. The bird featured in Image #5 landed right in front of me when I was down on the lower shelf. All I needed to do was to schooch two feet to my left to get right on sun angle with a distant Pacific-blue background; so I did just that!

Note the dead-solid-perfect head angle.

The SONY Zebras Exposure Guide Short Video

If you own a high-end SONY camera body, there is absolutely no reason that you should not be getting a perfect or near-perfect exposure every time with every image even in the most difficult situations — white birds, dark backgrounds, dark birds against white skies, simply pick your shutter speed and aperture and then adjust the ISO on the Control Wheel until you see faint Zebras. It’s that simple. Learn how in the SONY Zebras Exposure Guide Short Video. To order your copy, please send a Paypal to us at birdsasart@verizon.net for $30. Please state in the Paypal that the payment is for the SONY Zebras Exposure Guide Short Video.

Alternatively, you can place a phone order for the SONY Zebras Exposure Guide by calling Jim at 863-692-0906 MON to THURS and most FRI mornings.

Folks who have purchased a SONY lens and/or a SONY body using either my B&H affiliate links or from Steve Elkins at Bedfords will enjoy a $20 discount. If you qualify, please shoot me an e-mail so that I can confirm your discount.

Folks who have purchased the SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens using my links will receive the file for free. If you qualify for a free copy, please shoot me an e-mail so that I can confirm your discount.

After I confirm your discount, you can either call Jim or send us a Paypal (as above).

If In Doubt …

If you are in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.



Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog or Bedfords, for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would, of course, appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links or Bedfords for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who 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 :).

January 18th, 2020

Announcing the 2020 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT

This image was created on January 17 2020 by good friend and multiple IPT veteran Luis Grunauer along the shore at Oceana, CA. He used the hand held Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR Camera Premium Kit with 64GB Card and Reader. ISO 800: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode on a sunny but slightly hazy morning.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2020: Luis Grunauer/Silvia’s Jovial Photography.

Brant braking coming in for a landing

What’s Up

On the morning of Friday 17 JAN, multiple IPT veterans Luis Gunauer and Ed Dow and I packed up Ed’s 4WD truck and headed to the beach at Oceana/Pismo where driving is permitted. We started with some foggy pink ocean scenics and stopped several times for some un-cooperative Whimbrels as we headed south. After a u-turn, we did the same. I spotted a large dark bird on the shore a good distance up the beach, headed for it, and was rewarded by a beautiful and somewhat out-of-habitat Pacific Brant. The bird turned out to be silly tame and we worked it for more than an hour in nice light. It was flashed several times by huge trucks each carrying perhaps twenty 4-wheel ATVs to be rented out to the dune-buggy-riding public. Luis came up with the shot of the day when he nailed the small handsome goose braking to land with his hand held Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1DX Mark II.

As I type we are headed for the Rancho Guadaloupe Dunes Preserve hoping to find some photographable birds along the beach and near the mouth of the Santa Maria River. Time will tell.

Do consider joining me on the spoonbill boat for some great photography of Florida’s most sought after avian subject, ten tons of flight photography, and lots more.

Gitzo GT3530 LSV Tripod

Sold in one hour

Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Monte Brown is offering a used Gitzo GT3530 LSV Tripod in very good condition for the practically giving-it-away-for-free price of $200.00. The sale includes 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 Monte via e-mail.

I used and depended on the Gitzo GT3530 LSV Tripod for many years. artie

From left to right clockwise back to the center: Brown Pelican, Roseate Spoonbill downstroke, Brown Pelican sunrise silhouette, Double-crested Cormorant pre-dawn blur, Roseate Spoonbill flapping after bath, Brown Pelican taking flight, Roseate Spoonbill taking flight, Reddish Egret white morph breeding plumage in flight, and Reddish Egret dark morph breeding plumage in flight.

All images on this card were created by me on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks on the 2018 trip.

You can click on each card to enjoy a larger version.

2020 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT — MAR 19 thru the morning session 22 MAR 2020: $2599.00. Limit: 5 photographers/Openings: 4.

3 1/2 days on the boat including four morning photo sessions and three afternoon sessions via customized pontoon boat.

Price per day Reduced from the 2018 rates! Please e-mail for details on IPT veteran and couples’ discounts. Pro-rated options may be available …

We will be leaving the dock very early for the morning sessions (weather permitting) in hopes of photographing pre-dawn fly-outs and blast-offs. All sessions are planned for the Alafia Banks Roseate Spoonbill Rookery. We might consider other options in the unlikely event of horrific weather. There will be lots of opportunities for flight photography of several species including and especially Roseate Spoonbill. Also likely for flight photography are nesting Brown Pelican, both morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, White and Glossy Ibises, and Double-crested Cormorant. We should have some good chances with birds carrying nesting material. This IPT includes all boat and guide fees, in the field instruction, chest waders (feel free to bring your own of course to assure a perfect fit), and three working lunches on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. For the most part, we will be standing in mid-calf to knee-high water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with mobility or balance problems. Note however that some folks opt to stay on the boat to photograph. They usually have lots of chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

All images on this card were created by me on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks

The Timing and Tides are Perfect!

I recently saw a similar trip advertised two months too late for breeding plumaged spoonbills … The 2020 Hooptie Deux/Roseate Spoonbill Boat 3 1/2 DAY IPT represents an incredible opportunity to photograph Florida’s most wanted species. I do hope that you can join us. There will be a meet and greet at 7:00pm sharp on the evening of WED 18 MAR, 2020. All of the images on the cards were made on the Hooptie Deux from late-February through March, prime time for the spoonies in mega-breeding plumage. Many folks have written expressing interest so please do not tarry.

Please e-mail to hold your spot. Then you may either secure your spot by calling Jim or Jennifer at the office at 863-692-0906 and leaving the $500 deposit on a credit card or sending your check for payment in full to us as follows with the check made out to:

BIRDS AS ART and sent here via US mail:

BIRDS AS ART
PO BOX 7245
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855

If you call to leave your deposit, you will be asked to mail your check for the balance.


hooptie-card-shadle-aa

Images courtesy of our guide; copyright 2017 Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Everybody Loves Spoonbills!

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in mid-February is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage…. with long telephoto lenses. A 500 or 600 with a 1.4X TC is perfect for this trip.

Mornings to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography often with the birds likely carrying nesting material), Double-crested Cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White) in breeding plumage. Some of the White Ibises may be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition, we may get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. Afternoon trips will most likely be back to Alafia Banks for the spoonbills with an option to visit a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather, artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an extensive image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes lunches on the full days with small group image sharing and review and some over-the-shoulder Photoshop instruction.

January 17th, 2020

Flight Photography Editing and Education Video. And Three Great Flight Shots ...

What’s Up?

Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Luis Grunauer and I left San Diego at 4:30am and photographed at Bolsa Chica Lagoon. I had not been there for many years. The good news is that we had two pairs of Surf Scoters and lots of drake Buffleheads at close range. The bad news is that it was cloudy dark the whole time. The fun started after brunch as we headed up toward Morro Bay, a busman’s holiday for me. My computer was about out of juice so we headed to the nearest WalMart so that I could purchase an inverter. They were out of stock so we headed through LA traffic to Fry’s Electronics in Manhattan Beach where I picked one up. That after it took us 30 minutes to find a parking spot. Mercifully, he was successful.

We had hoped to make the mouth of the Santa Maria River for an afternoon session but that is not looking likely as I type at 2:00pm … By 4pm we were in the middle of a nasty rainstorm with strong winds, dropping temps, and power outages.

If you are considering a switch to SONY you might wish to purchase a copy of The Flight Photography Editing and Education Video Part I below to get an idea of the deadly AF accuracy with the a9 II/200-600 combo. Under examination at 100% with the Capture One loupe, all 530 unedited flight images were either sharp, very sharp, or razor-laser sharp …

I was thrilled to learn that two couples and a single had signed up for the 2021 Galapagos trip; just five more folks are needed by 15 June to make that one a go. In addition, multiple IPT vet Warren Robb signed up for the first Homer Bald Eagle IPT. Now, there are just two slots open on each trip. Scroll down for details.

Homer Bald Eagle Photography Lessons

Click on the play triangle to learn about getting the right exposure for black and white subjects in sun or on cloudy or snowy days, the best lenses for eagle photography in Homer, creating pleasing blurs, basic and advanced composition, and tons more in this free video. Click on the little broken white square lower right next to YouTube to view the video full screen. Hit Escape to exit full screen. Enjoy!

This image was made with the handheld Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens rested on the gunnels of the boat.

If you missed the Homer IPTs announcement (there are two separate trips), or if you are thinking of attending, be sure to see the complete offering here.

Image #29: Emperor Goose

Rarities in Homer

Aside from a gadzillion Bald Eagles and virtually non-stop flight photography, we have encountered some of North America’s most highly sought-after avian rarities. Those have included Emperor Goose (above), Slaty-backed Gull, and Yellow-billed Loon. Who knows what we might turn up this year? Heather Forcier discovered this mega-rarity by looking out the restaurant window at Land End just as lunch was being served. We had cold burgers two hours later!

More On Homer

For the first trip only, I am offering a $500/person discount for those who sign up with a friend or spouse. You can access the complete trip offering here.

IPT #1: FEB 25 through the full day on MAR 1, 2020. Six full days: $4799.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 2.

IPT #2: MAR 3 through the full day on MAR 7, 2020. Five full days: $3999.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 2.

Via e-mail from Multiple IPT veteran Greg Ferguson:

I attended this IPT in 2011 and can only say it was the most intensive bird photography I have ever experienced. My arms were tired and sore from shooting so many action photos. It is highly recommended! I called Jim today and signed up for a reprise. Greg

Via e-mail from Multiple IPT veteran Dick Curtain:

I attended the Homer IPT in the past and can only say it was a great experience. Many eagles, beautiful scenery, great instruction, and many fond memories. Don’t miss it.

IPT Updates

Coming very soon: a mid-March Spoonbill Boat IPT, a spring Fort DeSoto Sandbar Secrets IPT, and a Nickerson Beach IPT this summer.

Do check out the Galapgos Gallery here.

  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Archipelago Photographic Experience. August 17-31, 2021 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,999.00. Limit: 12 photographers plus the leader; openings: 7.
  • You can see complete IPT info and details here.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase over $1000.00, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.



Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

The Flight Photography Editing and Education Video Part I

Click here to purchase.

The Flight Photography Editing and Education Video

In the recent B&H Event Space Photographing Birds in Flight video (here if you missed it) I touched briefly upon the basics of wing positions, poses, and lighting. I realized that there is so much more to cover that I needed to do a few videos that address those topics in detail. With incredibly accurate tracking AF systems and super-fast frame rates, today’s best modern equipment is capable of producing hundreds of sharp flight images in a single session. Just how do you pick the best ones? In this 49-minute video presentation, you can sit beside me as I review 579 flight images on my laptop. All of the images were made on a single day on the San Diego IPT.

In the first section, I review 49 keepers from the morning session pointing out in great detail the positives and negatives of each image. In the next session, I edit (pick my keepers) from 530 flight shots made that afternoon. Keep or delete? What are the nuances that determine the fate of each image? All are covered in this video, the first of a series, I hope … You will learn dozens of flight photography fine points

As stated here previously, I edit (pick my keepers) and convert my SONY images in Capture One after Ingesting them in Photo Mechanic. The SONY images have only small JPEGs embedded while Canon and Nikon bodies have full-sized JPEGs embedded in every RAW file even if you are not capturing RAW + JPEG. Thus, when you attempt to check a SONY image for critical shaprness in Photo Mechanic as it will not enlarge nearly enough to do so. The loupe in Capture One does that brilliantly with images from all three of the aforementioned systems.

Part I deals mostly with birds flying toward the photographer. I am hoping to do a similar video featuring birds flying from side to side. It all depends on the wind.

Today’s three featured images are four of the photos that earned a B (GREEN color tag). I should have given a B to one or two of the Heerman’s Gulls in flight in front of the grey storm cloud … They are near the end of the video.

You can purchase your copy of the Flight Photography Editing and Education Video Part I for $19 from the BIRDS AS ART Online Store by clicking here or by sending a Paypal to e-mail. If the latter, please include the name of the video in your Paypal. A link to the video will be sent via e-mail. The file is 1.2GB so you will need a good internet collection for the download.

My Capture One Editing Keyboard Shortcuts

Click to enlarge.

My Capture One Editing Keyboard Shortcuts

To set up your Capture One for editing the way that I do as described in the video, go to Edit > Edit Keyboard Shortcuts > Adjustments > Color Tag. I used T to tag my keepers (RED), A to untag, and B (GREEN) for “Best” to designate potential family-jewels type images.

This image was created on January 11, 2020 at La Jolla, CA. I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 600mm) with the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/3200 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 10;22am on a clear sunny day.

Wide Continuous tracking (C) AF worked perfectly by getting razor-sharp focus on the bird’s eye.

Click to enlarge and enjoy the spectacular larger version.

Image #1: Western Gull turning in flight

Be Aggressive

When attempting to photograph birds in flight, be aggressive. Once you acquire focus with the bird in the zone, flying toward or parallel to you, filling 1/3 to 1/2 the frame, and within ten or fifteen degrees of light angle, hold the hammer down. There is simply no way to predict the instant that will produce a stunning pose. Once the bird is past you — its tail is closer to you than its head — let up. Firing off 100 images of a single bird on one pass will not impress anyone; 100% of your too-small-in-the-frame and butt shots will be insta-deletes.

This image was also created on January 11, 2020 at La Jolla, CA. I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 335mm) with the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 10:56am on a clear sunny day.

Wide Continuous tracking (C) AF worked perfectly by getting razor-sharp focus on the bird’s eye.

Click to enlarge and enjoy the spectacular larger version.

Image #2: Heerman’s Gull taking flight

Behavioral Knowledge

One of the things explained in the video is that when you see one tern land amongst a group of terns on a beach, the chances are excellent that more terns will be joining the flock. Once I saw a single Royal Tern land, I hustled the group into position with the wind and the light behind us. We were well rewarded with many great chances.

This image was created on January 11, 2020 at Coronado Beach, CA. Again I used the hand held Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 459mm) with the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 500: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. Exposure determined by Zebras: 1/2500 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 4:32pm on a somewhat hazy afternoon.

Wide Continuous tracking (C) AF worked perfectly by getting razor-sharp focus on the bird’s eye.

Click to enlarge and enjoy the spectacular larger version.

Image #3: Royal Tern braking to land

Sometimes You’ve Just Got to Use Your Noggin

Many gulls were landing on the edge of the low cliff near The Crevice. Every time a big was would hit they would take flight. I counseled the group to acquire focus on any gull on the edge and fire off a few frames just as a wave hit. Lots of us hit bingo.

Patrick and I witnessed something we had never seen before: a young Western Gull was smashed by a wave while floating in the shallow water and tumbled around as if it were in washing machine. Then it flew off.

I’ve been remiss in not mentioning that all of the spots that we visited on recently -concluded IPT (along with many more) are covered in detail in the San Diego Site Guide.

The SONY Zebras Exposure Guide Short Video

If you own a high-end SONY camera body, there is absolutely no reason that you should not be getting a perfect or near-perfect exposure every time with every image even in the most difficult situations — white birds, dark backgrounds, dark birds against white skies, simply pick your shutter speed and aperture and then adjust the ISO on the Control Wheel until you see faint Zebras. It’s that simple. Learn how in the SONY Zebras Exposure Guide Short Video. To order your copy, please send a Paypal to us at birdsasart@verizon.net for $30. Please state in the Paypal that the payment is for the SONY Zebras Exposure Guide Short Video.

Alternatively, you can place a phone order for the SONY Zebras Exposure Guide by calling Jim at 863-692-0906 MON to THURS and most FRI mornings.

Folks who have purchased a SONY lens and/or a SONY body using either my B&H affiliate links or from Steve Elkins at Bedfords will enjoy a $20 discount. If you qualify, please shoot me an e-mail so that I can confirm your discount.

Folks who have purchased the SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens using my links will receive the file for free. If you qualify for a free copy, please shoot me an e-mail so that I can confirm your discount.

After I confirm your discount, you can either call Jim or send us a Paypal (as above).

If In Doubt …

If you are in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.



Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog or Bedfords, for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would, of course, appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links or Bedfords for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who 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 :).