Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
September 18th, 2020

Nikon Camera Body Bargains! Thursday Morning Downpours. No More Sandbar Secrets. Sony Camera Body Weather Sealing. Having Fun Is Important: handholding the SONY 200-600G/a9 ii rig. And thanks Alfred Forns!

What’s Up?

At 6:50am on Thursday, there was a long line of cars waiting for the gate to open at DeSoto. I believe that the entry time has been pushed back from 6:30am to 7:00am. As the road is now gated in both directions, it is no longer possible for folks with Annual Beach Parking Permits to enter early.

The weather, to say the least, was unsettled. More on that below.

Please Remember

If you enjoy and learn from the blog, please remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so will not cost you a single penny and if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save at least $50.00 on all orders greater than $1000.00. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and will be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes can always help out by clicking here if they see fit.

BIRDS AS ART

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

The BAA Used Gear Page

Right now, the Used Gear page is red hot! It is BAA Used Gear Page is the place to sell your used photographic equipment. We will help you to get your gear sold quickly for 20 to 60% or more than what the big guys are offering … Doubt me? Check out the Past Sales list at the bottom of the page.

Nikon Camera Body Bargains!

Nikon D5 dSLR Professional Digital Camera Body (XQD Version)

BAA Record-low Price!

Karen McCormick is offering a Nikon D5 in near-mint condition for a BAA record-low $3200.00. The sale includes a SONY 64GB XQD card and reader, the front body cap, the strap, the battery & the charger, the original product box, 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 Karen via e-mail.

The D5 is Nikon’s vaunted professssional digital camera body. It is fast and features Nikon’s best AF system. I used mine with success with all of my Nikon lenses including and especially the 80-400, thee 200-500, the 500 PF, and the 600 f/4 VR (the latter often with the TC-E14. The D5 sells for $5,496.95 new right now so you can save an amazing $2296.95 by grabbing Karen’s D5 now! artie

Nikon D500 dSLR Digital Camera Body

BAA Record-low Price!

Karen McCormick is offering a Nikon D500 in near-mint condition for a BAA record-low $750.00. The sale includes a SONY 64GB XQD card, the front body cap, the strap, the battery & charger, the original product box, 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 Karen via e-mail.

The D500 is Nikon’s top-of-the-line crop factor body. It multiplies your focal length by 1.5X. Joe Przybyla and Dan Kearl, both excellent photographers on Bird Photographer’s.Net, use the D500 as their workhorse camera bodies. Joe, the co-author of The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide, was after this old dog for a long time to try a D500. The D500 sells new right now for $1,496.95; save a cool $746.95 by grabbing Karen’s camera body now. artie

Nikon D800 dSLR Digital Camera Body

BAA Record-low Price!

Karen is offering a Nikon D800 in very good condition for a very low $450.00. The sale includes the: front body cap, the strap, the battery & charger, the original product box, 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 Karen via e-mail.

The Nikon D800 is a 36.3-megapixel professional-grade full-frame dSLR. It was succeeded by the more expensive D810 and then but the still more expensive D850. The D800 was best known for its superb image files. artie

SONY e-Guide Discount Program

Purchase a (new) qualifying SONY camera body (a7r iii, a7r iv, a9, a9 ii) from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $40 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 200-600mm G lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $25 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a free SONY e-guide with one or two videos.

Please send your Bedford’s or B&H receipts to me via e-mail to receive your discount and your ordering instructions. Folks purchasing from Bedfords and using the BIRDSASART code will save $50. Folks sending their B&H receipts may need to wait a few days to have their purchases confirmed. Folks using Bedfords will have their purchases confirmed immediately.

114 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

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 of more than $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 at Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County, FL on the morning of 18 September. I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 600mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 400: 1/15 sec. at f/6.3. ABW at 7:34am in a heavy drizzle.

Center Zone Continuous AF was active at the moment of exposure and worked well. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: birders at North Beach in the rain

Thursday Morning Downpours

As we were getting our gear ready, Anita said, “Look, there are patches of blue here and there.” Those among huge, dark, ominous clouds that stretched from horizon to horizon. Two minutes later I looked to the east and saw a wall of water coming at us. I called out and we quickly got back into the SUV. The strange thing is that it was almost as if we were in a liquid atmosphere rather than in a rainstorm. Five minutes later we both grabbed our 200-600/a9 ii rigs and headed for the sandbar.

No More Sandbar Secrets

Outback Key has been forming for more than a few years. Two years ago, getting onto the ever-shifting bar was tricky. Now, you can park in pretty much any but the most northwestern-most North Beach lot, walk to the Gulf, and cross to the bar on pretty much any tide. Do cross carefully and take small steps as there are some tree roots in small stumps in the channel.

Thursday and Friday morning found large flocks of Black Skimmers, Royal, Sandwich, and Forster’s Terns, lots of young and adult Laughing Gulls, a few Ring-billed Gulls, and two adult and one immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Among the wading birds were hundreds of White Ibises, Great and Snowy Egrets, Tricolored, Great Blue, and Little Blue Heron along with as many as fifteen immature Roseate Spoonbills. Few than usual Brown Pelicans were seen diving off shore. As usual, there was a host of shorebird species including American Oystercatcher, Marbled Godwit, Red Knot, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Short-billed Dowitcher, Western and Least Sandpipers, and Black-bellied, Semipalmated, Wilson’s, Piping, and Snowy Plovers. In other words, par for the course for Fort DeSoto.

Sony Camera Body Weather Sealing

Back to Thursday morning, once we hit the beach we enjoyed three rain squalls with wind and pelting rain. Each lasted about five minutes. Our only gear protection was keeping our backs to the wind. In short, our a9 ii bodies got plenty wet. The functioned just fine at least through Friday morning. And remember, at Sebastian, both of my bodies got drenched and my a7r iv took two direct saltwater hits when big waves came over my right shoulder. Both bodies are doing just fine. I would have to assume that both the a9 ii and the 7r iv bodies are superbly sealed against moisture and rain. I’ve always pushed my gear to the absolute limits and have at times, paid a big price …

This image was also created at Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County, FL on the morning of 18 September. Anita used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 200mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 2000: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3. ABW at 8:29am in a heavy drizzle.

Upper Left Zone Continuous AF was active at the moment of exposure and worked well. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image courtesy of an copyright 2020: Anita North

Image #2: artie smiling with his 200-600/a9 ii rig after the rain let up a bit for a while.

Having Fun Is Important

As of Friday midday, my SONY 600 GM had remained in my SUV for all three of our shooting sessions. And Anita’s 600 GM has done the same. Walking around on a wild beach with the 200-600 G lens with an a9 ii gives one a sense of total freedom. Dragging the 600 GM around the beach is a chore despite its astoundingly light weight. Working with the 2-6 on the other hand is a delight, especially when you are around relatively tame birds. It is extremely versatile, relatively light in weight, it is great for birds in flight and in action, and actually focuses a good deal closer than the 600 GM. Fun at the beach is a good thing.

Thanks to Anita for the excellent photo of yours truly; I rarely like images of me, but I love this one.

Thanks Alfred Forns.

Thanks to Alfred Forns for my beloved floppy photo hat. The drapes protect me from the sun. And the soft brim makes perfect for flight photography and for putting your eye to the viewfinder. He gave me the hat as a gift more than twenty years ago. I actually had a new top sewn on when it was in complete tatters. I was best man at his wedding at a Bosque Thanksgiving meal probably fifteen years ago. Some time after that we had a falling out. If you know him — he is quite a good photographer — send him my love.

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.

Bosque del Apache NWR 2020 IPT

NOV 18 (afternoon session) thru the morning session on November 23, 2020. 5 DAYS. Four full and two half days. $1999.00. Deposit: $500.00. Limit: 8 photographers/Openings: 6.

Extra Day Options: Please e-mail to learn about the before or after In-the-Field Day options.

The very best news is that the 2020 Festival of the Cranes has been canceled so we will be able to visit on what are usually the perfect dates!

I quit going to Bosque several years ago as conditions had worsened each year for several seasons running. In 2018, things had improved dramatically and in 2019 the photography was great. Simply put, 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 blastoffs, 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 $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.

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 17th, 2020

Farmer Morris Hoeing. My Most Amazing Image Ever? And Any Photoshop Trickery?

What’s Up?

We spent so much time repairing the ruts in the South Field that I only took nine images on Wednesday morning. Three of them were keepers.

We drove over to Gulfport on Wednesday afternoon — 20 September 2020. We will be photographing at Fort DeSoto for the next four days. Though we will miss the cranes and the vultures, it will be great to see the different birds at the beach.

Please Remember

If you enjoy and learn from the blog, please remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so will not cost you a single penny and if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save at least $50.00 on all orders greater than $1000.00. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and will be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes can always help out by clicking here if they see fit.

BIRDS AS ART

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

The BAA Used Gear Page

Right now, the Used Gear page is red hot! It is BAA Used Gear Page is the place to sell your used photographic equipment. We will help you to get your gear sold quickly for 20 to 60% or more than what the big guys are offering … Doubt me? Check out the Past Sales list at the bottom of the page.

SONY e-Guide Discount Program

Purchase a (new) qualifying SONY camera body (a7r iii, a7r iv, a9, a9 ii) from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $40 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 200-600mm G lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a $25 discount on the SONY e-guide. Purchase a (new) SONY 600mm f/4 GM lens from Bedfords or using a BIRDS AS ART B&H affiliate link, and you will receive a free SONY e-guide with one or two videos.

Please send your Bedford’s or B&H receipts to me via e-mail to receive your discount and your ordering instructions. Folks purchasing from Bedfords and using the BIRDSASART code will save $50. Folks sending their B&H receipts may need to wait a few days to have their purchases confirmed. Folks using Bedfords will have their purchases confirmed immediately.

114 sold to rave reviews.

The SONY e-Guide by Patrick Sparkman and Arthur Morris

The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide (and Videos)

Click here to purchase the guide with one Camera Set-up Video. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your camera body so that we can send you a link for the correct video.

Click here to purchase the guide with two Camera Set-up Videos. Be sure to e-mail us by clicking here to specify your two camera bodies so that we can send you links for the correct videos.

Click here to learn more about the SONY e-Guide.

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 of more than $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.

I-Phone 11 photo by Anita North

Note the big Osprey nest in the pine tree. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Farmer Morris at work

Repairing the Ruts

A Conversation from the Comments Section on Tuesday’s Blog Post

Bob. September 16, 2020 at 10:04 am

Dear Artie,

We have all been in a spot like that and can only laugh at it once we look back. My question for you is, “are you responsible to fix the rut damage you left in the mud? I cannot wait to see your blog on the best photograph ever! I would guess 45 pounds on the tarpon.

With love from Wisconsin, Bob

Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. September 16, 2020 at 10:15 am

Hi Bob,

That is a fair question. Anita and I spent an hour on Wednesday morning repairing the ruts by flattening the sides with a rake and then smoothing things out. I was very happy with what we did, but she is a perfectionist so went back down for two additional hours after dropping me off at home to pack for DeSoto. In a few weeks, nobody will be aware of the ruts.

That said, the big mowing machines often do far more damage than I did (both, of course, unfortunate). And the same is true of other private vehicles. We are the first to repair the results of poor thinking.

with love, a

ps: so there is no real responsibility involved other than to our own morals.

The iPhone Photography e-Guide

To order your copy of the iPhone Photography e-Guide, please click here.

The PDF is sent link by e-mail for downloading: the file is relatively huge at 216 MB.

Hard to Believe

Yes, Cliff has a great eye and wonderfully creative vision. Yet it is still hard for me to believe that he can make so many great images with just an i-phone. Almost more amazingly Cliff captures with his iPhone and does all of his post-processing on the phone! In this great new e-Guide written for BIRDS AS ART you will learn to use set up you iPhone quickly and efficiently and how to use it. In addition, there are dozens and dozens of tips on Cliff’s favorite apps and his favorite gear. Scroll down to the bottom to see the Table of Contents.

The iPhone Photography e-Guide: $20.00.

To order your copy of the iPhone Photography e-Guide please click here.

Dr. Cliff Oliver

Dr. Cliff Oliver is an award-winning photographer, former photography instructor for the San Diego Natural History Museum, cutting-edge integrative health care professional, and international workshop leader. He created and taught the first 5-day immersion iPhone photography workshop at Hollyhock, Canada’s premier Leadership Learning Center. He teaches quarterly iPhone photography classes at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library School of the Arts (these include Art on the iPhone, iPhoneography, Portraits and Selfies, and Practicing in the Field). His images have been on the cover of WildBird magazine, on display at Scripps Oceanography Institute, and been honored with multiple first-place finishes in the International Exhibition of Photography Del Mar. The San Diego Natural History Museum’s, “Birds of the World” centennial exhibit featured several of his images. One of his iPhone images received an honorable mention in the Athenaeum 23rd annual juried exhibition. He has displayed images at Art Speaks: Expressions of Hope and Healing and has produced a series of books, called Zen I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII that feature original images that promote inner peace. The last 4 books feature only images taken on the iPhone. He teaches individuals and groups the skills of capturing iPhone/mobile photographs and then how to create personalized works of art.

To see some of Cliff’s iPhone images, click here. Learn more about Cliff and what he does on his Center for Balance website here. And don’t forget, if I had never met Cliff I would be pushing up daisies somewhere. To request my Health Basics File that contains the whole story, please shoot me an e-mail by clicking here..

This image was created on September 13, 2020 at Sebastian Inlet, FL. I used the Induro GIT 404L/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and the 61-MP Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 4000. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/2000 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode perfect was about +1 1/3 stops on the analog scale. AWB at 8:09am on dark cloudy morning.

Center Zone Continuous/tracking AF was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection.

Image #2: Tarpon Jumping!

My Most Amazing Image Ever?

So we’re on the jetty trying for Ospreys and Royal and Sandwich Terns flying and diving. It had just finished pouring. There were Tarpon jumping clear out of the water up and down the inlet. I pointed the lens randomly at the water to pre-focus at about 100 feet when a Tarpon jumped out of the water right into my viewfinder. I fired off three frames. I just clipped the tail on the first two, but number three was both perfectly framed and perfectly sharp. Talk about amazing blind luck! My reflexes are light-years short of being able to react to a jumping fish. I had the exposure set for the terns and — as confirmed by RawDigger — it turned out to be perfect for the big sliver fish.

I’d guess that the fish in the photo weighs between thirty and forty pounds.

From where I sit, it is by far the single most amazing image I have ever created. And certainly my luckiest capture ever!

WDYT?

Any Photoshop Hanky-Panky?

If you see any evidence of Photoshop hanky-panky, please leave a comment and let us know what you think is phony. Or, is Image #2 a perfect representation of the RAW file as it came out of the camera. As always, your thoughts would be appreciated.

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.

Bosque del Apache NWR 2020 IPT

NOV 18 (afternoon session) thru the morning session on November 23, 2020. 5 DAYS. Four full and two half days. $1999.00. Deposit: $500.00. Limit: 8 photographers/Openings: 6.

Extra Day Options: Please e-mail to learn about the before or after In-the-Field Day options.

The very best news is that the 2020 Festival of the Cranes has been canceled so we will be able to visit on what are usually the perfect dates!

I quit going to Bosque several years ago as conditions had worsened each year for several seasons running. In 2018, things had improved dramatically and in 2019 the photography was great. Simply put, 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 blastoffs, 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 $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.

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 15th, 2020

Wet and Wild at Sebastian Inlet. R5 Kit and RF 100-500s in stock at Bedfords! Finally and Hilariously Stuck in the Mud. And Learning to Love What Is ...

What’s Up?

In the past 24 hours, many things did not go well. Despite them all, I am feeling great and happy. See the Loving What Is feature below.

On Sunday and Monday morning I photographed at Sebastian Inlet with friend Anita North. The Osprey action was so-so, but we had lots of good chances with the fishing terns. On Sunday we photographed in cloudy very dark conditions interspersed by several downpours. We used our a9 ii bodies with the 1.4X TC and ISOs of 10,000 and higher. That morning and the next we tried the a7r iv alone on the 600 GM and crop plan (to save a full stop of ISO). Anita used Wide AF and did fairly well. I used Zone and did not do so well. a7r iv AF accuracy definitely suffers when compared to the a9 ii. I’ve noticed that once the sun comes out, a7 r iv AF does pretty well with the 600 GM, but has lots of problems making crisp images in low light.

Monday morning was totally wild at the Inlet. See the tarpon feature below. Tuesday was less wild and a lot drier and they were catching snook rather than tarpon. I forgot to mention that on Monday morning I made one of the most incredible photos in my 37 years of bird and nature photography. It was not a bird photograph. I will share the image and the story here in the next blog post.

It is now midday on Tuesday and I just finished picking my keepers from our Monday session. Once things brightened up a bit and I got to 1/2500 sec. at f/4 at ISO 1000, a7r AF performance improved drastically (as compared to AF performance in the images made at ISO 4000 and 5000 in very low light, low contrast situations.

EOS R5/24-105 Kit and several RF 100-500mm lenses available from Bedfords

I spoke with Steve Elkins on Monday and he let me know that he is getting an EOS R5/24-105 Kit at the end of this week. It has been close to impossible to get an R5. In addition, he has several RF 100-500 lenses in stock right now. See Steve’s contact info immediately below. But do not tarry. In addition, he may have several EOS R6 bodies in stock now or soon … Remember to use the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout to save $50 on your order.

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 of more than $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.

The BAA Used Gear Page

Right now, the Used Gear page is red hot! It is BAA Used Gear Page is the place to sell your used photographic equipment. We will help you to get your gear sold quickly for 20 to 60% or more than what the big guys are offering … Doubt me? Check out the Past Sales list at the bottom of the page.

Please Remember

If you enjoy and learn from the blog, please remember to use one of my two affiliate programs when purchasing new gear. Doing so will not cost you a single penny and if you use Bedfords and remember to enter the BIRDSASART code at checkout, you will save at least $50.00 on all orders greater than $1000.00. In these crazy times — I am out at least forty to sixty thousand dollars so far due to COVID 19 (with lots more to come) — remembering to use my B&H link or to shop at Bedfords will help me out a ton and will be greatly appreciated. Overseas folks who cannot order from the US because of import fees, duties, and taxes can always help out by clicking here if they see fit.

BIRDS AS ART

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



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.

Stuck in the mud with X-Drive (full time 4WD)

Hilarious Tale

I’ve been mentioning the heavy rains and my fear of getting stuck down by the lake for many weeks if not months …

On Monday, Matt, a BMW Genius, drove from Lakeland to teach me about my new X5. He was cordial and bright and extremely helpful. After an hour of lessons while sitting in my driveway, we opted to head down to the lake. We saw an adult Bald Eagle right off the bat. We made a u-turn in the driveway at the end of Banyan Drive adjacent to the South Field. As we headed back north I mentioned that though I had driven on the fields in some wet sloppy conditions, I did not completely trust the X-Drive. So, I pulled onto the grass for a road test. After a while the car began to slip. In short order, we were stuck in the mud. That was at about 2:20pm. I almost got out a few times but eventually we simply could not get any traction in the mud that was the consistency of oatmeal.

We locked the car. My friend Ralph responded to my phone call but was unable to help. Then Jim came down and drove us all back to my home. Almost six hours later, the car was safely towed out of the mud by Seasall LLC. The best news? The tow was provided free by BMW roadside assistance. It was not the fastest service, but everything worked out just fine. The car will be getting a serious bath this morning.

Releasing a Tarpon

Releasing Tarpon

On Sunday morning it was windy and wild at Sebastian Inlet. Tarpon ranging from 40 to 60 pounds were jumping clear out of the water. Fisherman hooked about a dozen of these strong, spectacular fighters. With their steel-like scales, nearly all shook the hook after short fights. One guy — with a lot of help from his friend — managed to secure the fish, remove his lure, and then release the fish. Any guesses on the weight of the fish in the image above?

Every thing that could have gone wrong …

In less than a day the following things went wrong:

1- I got stuck in the mud and could not get out.

2- The towing service took more than five hours to arrive.

3- On Tuesday morning I woke at 4:50am, late for me. My plan was to do this blog post before we went out to photograph. At first I could not get online with either our WiFi or via my cell phone.

4- When I did get online I could not access the blog because of a Trojan horse program called Cloudfare. Don’t ask. If you have experience removing this monster from a Mac computer please get in touch via e-mail.

5- Next my new MacBook Pro decided to update even though it was not plugged in. That took about 40 minutes.

6- Once I was online and ready to get to work, I discovered that the blog was down: “Cannot Access Server.”

7- I got onto the office computer to try to log in to our provider, HomePage Universe. I was unable to do so.

8- I noticed an e-mail from HomePage Universe stating that our automatic payment credit card payment had failed. The card had expired.

Anita and I left for a morning photo session at about 7:30am. I asked Jim to try to chat with the provider. He was 100% successful and by the time we got home at 9:30am, the blog was back up. Great work by Jim.

Click on the image for a larger version to make reading the fine print easier.

Learn to know peace with The Work of Byron Katie

Loving What Is

Years ago, I would have cursed my own stupidity for getting the X5 stuck in the mud, and the difficulties with the blog and Cloudfare and the expired credit card would have had me pulling my hair out. Now, thanks to The Work of Byron Katie, my stress levels for were past 24 hours were close to zero. I laughed out loud at getting stuck in the mud. And the stuff with the blog was a non-issue. I’ve gone from “these are the worst things that could have happened” to “no big deal, everything will be fixed in short order. To simplify, I have simply learned to love what is. I can hear Katie saying, “If you want to bang your head against the wall of reality, just grab your ears and have at it.”

I first became aware of The Work when struggling to heal from the loss of my beloved second wife, Elaine Belsky Morris in 1994. Doing the work on Elaine’s death helped me to heal. Finally, in 2017 I attended the Nine-Day School for the Work in Ojai, CA (along with more than 200 other folks), met Katie, and enhanced my practice of The Work. Today, The Work does not take much work as learning to hold my thoughts and beliefs up to inquiry, has become second nature. I have been told that The Work is Buddhist-like, and have been told by respected psychologists that the work is simply mumbo jumbo and could not be helping me. But it has helped me tremendously to fine peace in my life.

If you would like to see what it’s all about, click on this link. You might wind up realizing the peace and happiness are choices. You might wish to begin by reviewing some of the free YouTube videos. Then you can print a free worksheet and get to work!

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 :).