Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
September 9th, 2019

Setting the Scene. More on the importance of choosing the best perspective ...

What’s Up?

On my 2.3 mile Sunday morning walk, I had 33 species of birds including all four dove species and eight wading bird species along with a Pileated Woodpecker and several Eastern Bluebirds. Last week I saw my first-ever ILE Black Tern that was possibly — heck — probably, Dorian-related. I am doing lots of walking and swimming and stretching and getting (just a bit) fitter. With Jennifer’s help, I should be able to finish up my 2019 tax return stuff on Tuesday.

See below if you would like to pre-order a FlexShooter Pro Mini; we have sold three already.

Congrats both to Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev on their amazing performance in the finals of the US Open tennis tournament last night. Whew!

IPT News!

I learned last week that Mary van Deusen and her friend Patti Romano will be driving down from South Carolina (they survived Dorian …) to join UK Puffins and Gannets veteran Shonagh Adelman on the 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT at the end of this month. Then things got even better when DeSoto IPT veteran Jim Miller e-mailed letting me know that he would also be joining us. Everyone is excited. There are still two spots left on this great workshop. Do check out the Extra Day options that were recently added to the Bosque IPT.

IPT Updates

  • The 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT/September 27-30, 2019: One-half and three FULL DAYS: $1499.00. Free Morning Session on Tuesday, October 1. Limit 6/Openings 2. Afternoon session on Friday, September 25 at 4pm, followed by three full days. We photograph till sunset on Monday, September 30
  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 6. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • 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: 5)

Click here for complete. IPT info. Couples, IPT veterans, and folks wishing to sign up with a friend or with a partner are asked to contact me via e-mail

BigFoot-COMPAT

FlexShooter Pro News

All FlexShooter Pro BigFeet are now in stock in the BAA Online Store. You can click on the chart above or here for more information.

Coming Soon

The FlexShooter Mini

Several months ago I had a FlexShooter Mini to test on both the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT and the Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime. It is a smaller, lighter (one pound!) version of the amazing FlexShooter Pro. I used it often with both the Nikon 500 PF and the SONY 100-400 GM with great success and in a pinch, I was able to make sharper images with the Nikon 600 and the TC-E14. All with the Mini mounted on the lighter Induro GIT 204. I suggested to developer/manufacturer Csaba Karai that the Mini needed a bit more spring tension. A new batch with my suggested changes should be in stock in about two weeks.

The FlexShooter Mini with the lighter Induro GIT 204 is dead-solid-perfect for those whose intermediate telephoto or telephoto zoom is their workhorse lens for bird and nature photography. It will sell for $579 plus shipping. Folks who wish to be assured of getting one from our first shipment can order theirs by phone by calling Jim at 863-692-0906 asap. Your card will not be charged until your Mini is shipped.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have only four 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.

IPT Updates

  • The 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT/September 27-30, 2019: One-half and three FULL DAYS: $1499.00. Free Morning Session on Tuesday, October 1. Limit 6/Openings 2. Afternoon session on Friday, September 25 at 4pm, followed by three full days. We photograph till sunset on Monday, September 30
  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 6. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • 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: 5)

Click here for complete. IPT info. Couples, IPT veterans, and folks wishing to sign up with a friend or with a partner are asked to contact me via e-mail

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 getting folks the hot new SONY stuff: the 200-600, the 600 f/4 GM, and the 7R iv. And the wait-list is short for the Nikon 500 P.



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.

Flightless-Cormorant-nests-on-lava-rock-A-_DSC5100-1

This image was created on the morning of July 25, 2019 on the Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime. I used the handheld Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 lens at 35mm with the Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless digital camera body. ISO: 500. Multi metering with Zebras: 1/640 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. AWB at 10.39am on a solidly overcast morning.

Image #1: Flightless Cormorant nests on lava rock

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Setting the Scene

Back in the days when I wrote prolifically for the various birding magazines, I would send a tightly edited submission with a dozen or so clean tight portraits of the birds mentioned in the articles. Editors would always ask, “Do you have an establishing shot?” I replied, “What’s an establishing shot?” They would explain that they needed a photograph to set the scene, to show the habitat, and to give the reader an understanding of the situation. That’s why I always made sure to have a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens in my vest. When I switched to Nikon, that became the (far sharper) Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR. And there is a very good chance that there will be a Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 lens in my future. And yes, there are lots of implications there …

Though I rarely write for magazine publication anymore, I continue to strive to create good establishing shots as they can help tell the story and explain the situation both here on the blog and in slide programs. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The image above does a great job of setting the scene detailed in the Flightless Cormorant Nest with Eggs blog post here.

Many times I will use an intermediate telephoto zoom lens at the widest setting to create a bird-scape to show the situation. But on this day, I made the landing with only the Nikon 500 PF. I knew the image that I wanted to create but I did not have the right tool so I asked Anita North if I could borrow her SONY 24-105 and she kindly complied. Thanks again, Anita.

Flightless-Cormorant-wing-detail-_BUP7168-Punta-Albemarle-Isabela-Galapagos-1

This image was also created on the morning of July 25, 2019 on the Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime. I used the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens and my souped-up Nikon D850 ISO: 800. Matrix metering +2 1/3 stops off the light gray sky: 1/400 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. Natural Light AUTO1 WB at 9:58am on a solidly overcast morning.

Center d-25 Continous AF was active at the moment of exposure. Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: Flightless Cormorant wing detail

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Flightless Cormorant

From the CornellLab of Ornithology website here:

The Flightless Cormorant is the only cormorant that has lost the ability to fly. Restricted to Fernandina and Isabela islands in the Galapagos archipelago, this species has a small population averaging about 1000 individuals. It is a large, brown cormorant with a relatively large head and small wings with very reduced remiges. The wings are useful, however, for maneuvering during surface-dives in search of fish, octopus, and squid. The population fluctuates widely with marine productivity. This species breeds year-round, sometimes twice in a year. Nests are constructed of seaweed and placed among the rocks above the high tide mark, generally in loose associations of several pairs.

Perspective Question

Why was it vitally important to the success Image #2 that I crouched down?

Your Call?

Which of today’s two featured images do you like best? Each has something different going for it so be sure to let us know why you made your choice.

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 :).

September 7th, 2019

Exposure Tip. Used Mongoose 3.6. BigFoot Update. And my favorite Flightless Cormorant on eggs image ...

What’s Up?

It has been steamy-hot down here every day. I had some fun hand holding the 500 PF while walking around with a cooperative flock of young Wild Turkeys on Friday morning. I walked almost three miles that morning and enjoyed an early evening swim. I am continuing in my efforts to get a bit more fit. I got some serious work done on my 2018 tax return and should be close to done by Monday …

I was thrilled to learn of the pending sale of Patrick Sparkman’s SONY 400mm f/2.8 GM lens on the first day of listing.

IPT News!

I learned early this week that Mary van Deusen and her friend Patti Romano will be driving down from South Carolina (they survived Dorian …) to join UK Puffins and Gannets veteran Shonagh Adelman on the 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT at the end of this month. Then things got even better when DeSoto IPT veteran Jim Miller e-mailed letting me know that he would also be joining us. Everyone is excited. There are still two spots left on this great workshop. Do check out the Extra Day options that were recently added to the Bosque IPT.

BigFoot-COMPAT

FlexShooter Pro News

All FlexShooter Pro BigFeet are now in stock in the BAA Online Store. You can click on the chart above or here for more information.

Coming Soon

The FlexShooter Mini

Several months ago I had a FlexShooter Mini to test on both the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT and the Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime. It is a smaller, lighter (one pound!) version of the amazing FlexShooter Pro. I used it often with both the Nikon 500 PF and the SONY 100-400 GM with great success and in a pinch, I was able to make sharper images with the Nikon 600 and the TC-E14. All with the Mini mounted on the lighter Induro GIT 204. I suggested to developer/manufacturer Csaba Karai that the Mini needed a bit more spring tension. A new batch with my suggested changes should be in stock in about two weeks.

The FlexShooter Mini with the lighter Induro GIT 204 is dead-solid-perfect for those whose intermediate telephoto is their workhorse lens for bird and nature photography. It will sell for $579 plus shipping.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have only four 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.

IPT Updates

  • The 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT/September 27-30, 2019: One-half and three FULL DAYS: $1499.00. Free Morning Session on Tuesday, October 1. Limit 6/Openings 2. Afternoon session on Friday, September 25 at 4pm, followed by three full days. We photograph till sunset on Monday, September 30
  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 6. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • 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: 5)

Click here for complete. IPT info. Couples, IPT veterans, and folks wishing to sign up with a friend or with a partner are asked to contact me via e-mail

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 since 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

Mongoose M3.6 Action Head

BAA record-low price!

Multiple IPT veteran Phil Frigon is offering a Mongoose M3.6 action head in good condition for the BAA record-low price of $380.00. The sale includes the long wrench and insured ground shipping to lower-48 US addresses only.

Please contact Phil via e-mail.

I used the Mongoose to make sharp images with both my super- and intermediate telephoto lenses (at focal lengths up to 1200mm) for well more than a decade. The Mongoose sells new here in the BAA Online Store for $680.00 plus shipping so if you do not customarily work with a camera body mounted on a ballhead with a short lens, you can save some serious money by grabbing Phil’s Mongoose right now. 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 getting folks the hot new SONY stuff: the 200-600, the 600 f/4 GM, and the 7R iv. And the wait-list is short for the Nikon 500 P.



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.

FLCOblinkiesA

Photo Mechanic Screen Capture #1: Flightless Cormorant (calling) on nest with three eggs

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Exposure Tip!

On the Punta Albemarle (Isabela) landing on my last Galapagos trip, I constantly intoned, Be sure to blink the whitewash! Why? When you are photographing a dark bird you want to make sure to push the exposure far to the right to maximize detail and reduce the noise in the darker feathers. In addition, by aiming for at least a few blinkies in the highlight areas you will produce larger image files with more data and color information. When working with black and white birds the same strategy works well: for best results, aim for a few blinkies in the brightest areas of the bird’s plumage. Because the JPEGs that we view on the back of the camera are more contrasty than the actual RAW files, minimal blinkies can be easily recovered during the RAW conversions.

FLCOblinkiesB

Photo Mechanic Screen Capture #2: Flightless Cormorant on nest with three eggs

Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Image Comparison

In the Flightless Cormorant Nest with Eggs blog post here, I posted:

Your Call

Which of today’s two featured images do you like best? Each has something different going for it so be sure to let us know why you made your choice.

Many folks responded and most chose Image #1 for the action and for other reasons as well and there were lots of insightful comments. Many suggested lightening or removing the distracting dark areas in the background of Image #1. Either would be difficult in part because two of the dark areas merged with the soft feathers of the cormorant’s body and in part because of the gradations in the dark tones. The quality of the background is so, so important to me that I far-preferred Image #2 despite the many strong elements of Image #1. Please understand that there is no right or wrong here πŸ™‚

Bosque-2019-big-card

Bosque del Apache 2019 IPT

Notice the incredible variety of images that you can learn to make by developing your skills and your creative vision on a BAA IPT.

2019 Bosque del Apache IPT

Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT #1. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 6. Introductory Meet and greet at 7pm on MON 25 NOV.

Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three In-the-Field Days as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.

I quit going to Bosque several years ago as conditions had worsened each year for several seasons running. My understanding is that things have improved dramatically in recent years. Photography-wise, I know Bosque better than anyone. Join me to learn how wind and sky conditions influence bird photography, how to create dramatic sunrise and sunset silhouettes, how to be in the right place at the right time, and how to create contest-winning blurs. As usual, you will learn to get the right exposure every time, to use your camera’s AF system to create pleasing, balanced image designs, and to improve your flight photography skills.

We should get to photograph many thousands of Snow Geese, more than a few blast-offs, some Ross’s Geese, and lots of Sandhill Cranes in the water, taking flight and flying. Depending on local conditions we may get to shoot some ducks: point-blank American Wigeon and Wood Duck. With any luck, we might enjoy sunrises and sunsets that leave you in tears. Live, eat, and breathe photography with one of (if not the) world’s premier photographic educators at one of his very favorite locations on the planet. Top-notch Photoshop instruction. Join me to learn to think like a pro and to recognize situations and to anticipate them based on the weather. Every time we make a move, I will let you know why. When you get home, applying what you learned will prove to be invaluable.

Lunch is included.

To Register

To register, send your non-refundable $500 deposit — check made out to BIRDS AS ART — via US Mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Or call Jim weekdays at 863-692-0906 to put your non-refundable deposit on a credit card. Balances must be paid in full by check no later than two months before the IPT. If you cancel, all but your deposit will be refunded only if the IPT sells out.

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.

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 :).

September 5th, 2019

Patrick Sparkman's SONY 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens visits the Pribilofs and is then put up for sale! Why?

What’s Up?

Well, not Dorian, at least not here in central Florida. We are thankful for that. Jim’s home near Canaveral is also fine.

I took my first day off from swimming in almost a month but did the rest of my exercise routine including my walk. I was glad to learn of the sale of multiple IPT veteran Phil Frigon’s Canon 600mm f/4L IS II, of the saLe of Doug Rogers’Canon EOS 7D and his Canon Extender EF 2X II (2X teleconverter) in late-July, and of Don Carter’s Canon 100-400 II, the latter on the first day of listing.

I have begun working on my 2018 taxes again and will continue with that chore today, Thursday, September 5, 2019.

IPT News!

I learned early this week that Mary van Deusen and her friend Patti Romano will be driving down from South Carolina to join UK Puffins and Gannets veteran Shonagh Adelman on the 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT at the end of this month. Then things got even better when DeSoto IPT veteran Jim Miller e-mailed letting me know that he would also be joining us. Everyone is excited. There are still two spots left on this great workshop.

IPT Updates

  • The 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT/September 27-30, 2019: One-half and three FULL DAYS: $1499.00. Free Morning Session on Tuesday, October 1. Limit 6/Openings 2. Afternoon session on Friday, September 25 at 4pm, followed by three full days. We photograph till sunset on Monday, September 30
  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 6. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • 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: 5)

Click here for complete. IPT info. Couples, IPT veterans, and folks wishing to sign up with a friend or with a partner are asked to contact me via e-mail

FlexShooter Pro News

All FlexShooter Pro BigFeet are now in the BAA Online Store here. They should all be in stock in a day or two at most.

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 since 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

Sony FE 400 mm F2.8 GM OSS

Sale Pending first day of listing!

IPT veteran and dear friend Patrick Sparkman is offering an FE 400 mm F2.8 GM OSS Lens in like-new condition for $10,698.00. This immaculate lens is only four months old and has seen little use. The sale includes the lens hood, original product box, the lens trunk, the front lens cover, the rear lens cap, the lens strap, and insured shipping via Fed Ex Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Patrick via e-mail.

This super-fast lens is amazingly light at 6.4 lbs, the same weight as the Nikon 300mm f/2.8. Patrick made lots of great images at St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands last July with the lens alone and with either the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters. He really enjoys the 8.86 ft close-focusing capability and the beautiful bokeh that the lens produces. Now that he owns the new SONY 600mm f/4GM OSS lens, he cannot justify owning both. As this lens sells new right now for $11,998.00, you can save a cool $1,300.00 by grabbing his virtually new lens asap. artie

ps: at the time of publication this lens is very hard to get; it is not in stock at B&H or at Bedfords.

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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 getting folks the hot new SONY stuff: the 200-600, the 600 f/4 GM, and the 7R iv. And the wait-list is short for the Nikon 500 P.



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.

PSP-Park-AUKL_A711010-1

This image was in St. Paul, AK by good friend Patrick Sparkman. He used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter and the Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless digital camera body. ISO: 400. Multi-metering. Exposure determined via the Zebra feature: 1/400 sec. at f/5.6.

Image #1: Parakeet Auklet head portrait

Image courtesy of and copyright 2019: Patrick Sparkman. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Head Angle

Parakeet Auklet is one of about a half-dozen Pribilof specialty species. I visited several times in the 1990s with film. With Patrick’s fine image above, note the perfect head angle for a side head portrait with the bird’s head turned two to three degrees toward us. Do understand that the perfect head angle varies with the pose and the orientation of the bird to the back of the camera.

PSP-RL-KITT_A713230-1

This image also created at St. Paul, AK by Patrick with the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 2.0x teleconverter and the Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless digital camera body. ISO: 500. Multi-metering. Exposure determined via the Zebra feature: 1/800 sec. at f/6.3.

Image #2: Red-legged Kittiwake head portrait

Image courtesy of and copyright 2019: Patrick Sparkman. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Red-legged Kittiwake

Red-legged Kittiwake is a mega-rare bird breeding only in the Pribilofs with the world epicenter of that population breeding on St. Paul and nearby St. George. The less than 9-foot minimum focusing distance is deadly at 800mm. You have AF points available for more than 93% of the frame, and AF is fast and deadly accurate even with the 2X. When I visited the only images of this species were of young birds at a distance …

PSP-TUFT-PU-_A9A6834-1

This image also was in St. Paul, AK by good friend Patrick Sparkman. For this flight image, he used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens and the Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless digital camera body.. ISO: 800. Multi-metering. Exposure determined via the Zebra feature: 1/800 sec. at f/2.8.

Image #3: Tufted Puffin incoming flight

Image courtesy of and copyright 2019: Patrick Sparkman. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Tufted Puffin

Tufted is the largest of the world’s three puffin species and for me, the most beautiful by far. For incoming birds in flight at high speed, the SONY a9 is without peer. Period. While I usually use center ZONE for flight, Patrick sticks with WIDE which offers almost full frame-AF.

Your Favorite?

Please leave a comment letting all know which of Patrick’s three images is your favorite. And why.

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 :).