Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
March 11th, 2019

Not a Bad Trip. And a Very Important Lesson Re-learned: Nikon 600 VR Sharpness Problem Solved, I Hope ...

What’s Up?

I am on my way to First Data Field in Port St. Lucie, Fl to see the Mets/Cardinals spring training game. Son-in-law Erik Egensteiner is driving. Alissa and Jen and Maya and Idris are in Lissy’s rental car on their way to the game. It is gonna be a warm one.

I am finishing up on the way home. The Mets rocked the Cardinals 9-1. I brought the SONY 100-400 OSS with the 1.4X TC and the A9 and took about a zillion images. If they are any good at all I will share a few with you here soon. It was nice to see Tim Tebow trying to make it in another sport; he was one for one with a walk.

Nikon 600 VR Sharpness Problem Solved I Hope …

I have been mystified recently on the unsharp images that I had been creating recently with my Nikon Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens with my back-up Nikon D850 with and without the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III. My main D850 was in the shop getting repaired; the rear LCD view button (for lack of a better term) quit working about two weeks ago. I got it back on Friday and ran several AFC consistency tests and the results were terrible — AF was all over the place and the sharpest image (as determined by FocusTune) was not very sharp. I went back to the Nikon AF Fine-Tune Guide to see if I was doing something wrong and I came across this: When micro-adjusting big lenses be sure to clean the drop-in filter. Bingo. The filter looked as if it had been in a cat’s litter box. I cleaned it with a soft brush and then with LensClens.

I re-tested the 600 VR (alone) with my main D850 body on Saturday night and tested it with my back-up D850 this morning and everything looked great with the line right on the axis at +5 with the AFC test along with nice tight Shot Deviations. And sharpest, most back-focused, and most front-focused all looked more than acceptable. I will be testing both bodies at 850mm early this week … I hope that the proof will be in the pudding when I get out in the field to shoot this week.

I am not sure why but with my Canon super-telephotos I always remembered to clean the drop-in filters. But that is not the case with the Nikon 600 VR …

SONY A9 Getting Started Guide with Video

If you are just getting started with your SONY a9 body and would like to know how to set the menu items that are relevant to bird photography, please send a Paypal for $22.00 to e-mail with SONY Quick Start Guide in the Subject line or at least somewhere in the e-mail. The guide also includes the best Focus Areas to use for photographing birds both in flight and action and at rest. Along with my comments.

Get a Free Copy!

If you have used my B&H or Bedford affiliate link to purchase a SONY a9 or the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens please shoot me your receipt via e-mail along with a request for your free copy of the SONY Quick Start Guide. Once I confirm that you have used the link correctly you will receive your guide with a link to the video via e-mail.

Lakeland In-the-Field Morning Sessions

If you would like to join me in Lakeland for a morning of great photography next week — I am free on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, March 12, 13, and 15 — please get in touch via e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372. Limit three photographers/session, more likely, 1 photographer/session if they are and I am lucky.

Morning Session — 7-10am: $250.00
Morning Session with a working lunch including image review and Photoshop: $350.00

IPT Updates

Despite lots of recent interest I still need three folks for the Galapagos trip. Please shoot me an e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount on the Galapagos trip.

  • The 2019 Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/THURS 18 APRIL through the morning session on SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2019: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 2. Meet and greet at 7PM on the evening of WED 17 APRIL. Free morning session on WED 17 APRIL.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers/Openings: 8. This trip is a go. Co-leader with more than 6 participants: Peter Kes.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 6 photographers/Openings: 5. This trip needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 13 photographers/Openings: 3. Please e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this trip.



BIRDS AS ART

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

bedford-logo-w-code

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.


Gear Questions and Advice

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

UK-2018-scrn-capt

2018 UK Puffins, Gannets, and Red Kite IPT Master File Composite

Not a Bad Trip …

I checked out the trip folder for last year’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Red Kites IPT and was a bit surprised to see so many excellent master files (above) and so many more RAW files that are worth optimizing. You will be seeing more than a few of those here in the coming weeks as I strive to sign up three more folks for this years trip. If you are at all interested, please get in touch via \e-mail and I will do my best to make it happen.

Your Favorite?

If you can determine a favorite from the thumbnails above, leave a comment. If it has not yet been published on the blog I will make sure to do so.

UK-puffins-2018-CARD-

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 5 photographers/Openings: 3

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn, just fifteen minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography at there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best. Note: this trip needs a minimum of four photographers to run.

UK-Puffins-2017card

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

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip. The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as we will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer and my co-leader 🙂

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

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

Single Supplement Info

Single supplement rooms in Bridlington and Dunbar are available for those who register early. The cost of the single supplement for those six nights is $600.00. Single supplement rooms at the lodge may be available on a limited basis but only if the trip does not fill with ten photographers. The single supplement fee for those seven nights is $700. If you would like your own room in Bridlington and Dunbar, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement with your deposit: $2,600.00. The single supplement deposits are non-refundable as I will need to make the reservations well in advance.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check 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.

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

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

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 New 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 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 :).

March 9th, 2019

A Pleasant Surprise! And SONY or Nikon?

What’s Up?

My younger daughter Alissa and her younger son Idris are visiting from Long Island. I had lunch with them and my granddaughter Maya on Friday afternoon and all of us will be at Jennifer’s for dinner with her husband Erik.

I was thrilled on Tuesday to learn that multiple IPT veteran Malcolm MacKenzie signed up to join Shonagh Adelman and me on the 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, and Red Kites IPT; Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! That done, I committed to the trip and purchased my flights. See below to join us. If you are at all interested, or if you would like the IPT veteran and couple’s discount info, please contact me via e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372..

Lakeland In-the-Field Morning Sessions

If you would like to join me in Lakeland for a morning of great photography next week — I am free on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, March 12, 13, and 15 — please get in touch via e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372. Limit three photographers/session.

Morning Session — 7-10am: $250.00
Morning Session with a working lunch including image review and Photoshop: $350.00

IPT Updates

Despite lots of recent interest I still need three folks for the Galapagos trip. Please shoot me an e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount on the Galapagos trip.

  • The 2019 Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/THURS 18 APRIL through the morning session on SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2019: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 2. Meet and greet at 7PM on the evening of WED 17 APRIL. Free morning session on WED 17 APRIL.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers/Openings: 8. This trip is a go. Co-leader with more than 6 participants: Peter Kes.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 6 photographers/Openings: 5. This trip needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 13 photographers/Openings: 3. Please e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this trip.



BIRDS AS ART

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

bedford-logo-w-code

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Steve currently has several D850s in stock along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.


Gear Questions and Advice

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

Sandhill-Crane-chick-_BUP9360Indian-Lake-Estates,-FL

Image #1: Sandhill Crane chick vertical head and shoulders portrait

A Pleasant Surprise!

I start looking for crane nests down by the lake at my home in February. This year I had spotted only one nest — to the right of the pier — but last week that pair was no longer there. So I was quite surprised to find a pair of cranes with two small chicks to the left of the pair in an area where I had not seen a nest. I am hoping that there will be several more pairs with chicks in the next few weeks.

Sandhill-Crane-chick-stretching-wing-_BUP9407Indian-Lake-Estates,-FL

Image #2: Sandhill Crane chick stretching near-wing

SONY or Nikon?

Please leave a comment and answer the question, Sony or Nikon for Image #1 and for Image #2. Feel free to comment on the image quality, color, image design, and especially the sharpness and fine feather detail of each image. Note that I did some grass clean-up with Image #2 while Image #1 is right out of camera.

UK-puffins-2018-CARD-

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn, just fifteen minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography at there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best. Note: this trip needs a minimum of four photographers to run.

UK-Puffins-2017card

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

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip. The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as we will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer and my co-leader 🙂

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

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

Single Supplement Info

Single supplement rooms in Bridlington and Dunbar are available for those who register early. The cost of the single supplement for those six nights is $600.00. Single supplement rooms at the lodge may be available on a limited basis but only if the trip does not fill with ten photographers. The single supplement fee for those seven nights is $700. If you would like your own room in Bridlington and Dunbar, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement with your deposit: $2,600.00. The single supplement deposits are non-refundable as I will need to make the reservations well in advance.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check 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.

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

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

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 New 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 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 :).

March 7th, 2019

SONY and Nikon do Red, White, and Blue ...

What’s Up?

I was thrilled on Tuesday to learn that multiple IPT veteran Malcolm MacKenzie signed up to join Shonagh Adelman and me on the 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, and Red Kites IPT; Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! That done, I committed to the trip and purchased my flights. See below to join us. If you are at all interested, or if you would like the IPT veteran and couple’s discount info, please contact me via e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372..

I met Malcolm in Lakeland on a very cold (45 degrees F with a brisk north wind) Wednesday morning. The White Pelicans were much more skittish than they had been but we did enjoy some good chances with these huge birds. In addition we photographed the White Ibises along with Ring-necked Duck and Lesser Scaup. We also had a tame Limpkin. But the highlight of the day was a pair of totally tame Green-winged Teal. Photos to follow.

Just as I was about to start micro-adjusting, I realized that I did not have a copy of FocusTune on my new laptop. I was able to download and install that with some help from Michael Tapes. Thank you Michael. If you have a new MacBook Pro and are having problems installing the newest version of FocusTune click here for help.

Lakeland In-the-Field Morning Sessions

If you would like to join me in Lakeland for a morning of great photography next week — I am free on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, March 12, 13, and 15 — please get in touch via e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372. Limit three photographers/session.

Morning Session — 7-10am: $250.00
Morning Session with a working lunch including image review and Photoshop: $350.00

IPT Updates

Despite lots of recent interest I still need three folks for the Galapagos trip. Please shoot me an e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount on the Galapagos trip.

  • The 2019 Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/THURS 18 APRIL through the morning session on SUNDAY APRIL 21, 2019: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 2. Meet and greet at 7PM on the evening of WED 17 APRIL. Free morning session on WED 17 APRIL.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers/Openings: 8. This trip is a go. Co-leader with more than 6 participants: Peter Kes.
  • The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins, Gannets, & Red Kites IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 6 photographers/Openings: 5. This trip needs four to run. Co-leader: Peter Kes.
  • The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 23 to August 6, 2019 on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 13 photographers/Openings: 3. Please e-mail to learn about the huge late registration discount for this trip.



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 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.

Important Used Gear Note

All sales include insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only.

Recent Used Gear Sales Rocking!

Karl Schneck sold a Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II USM zoom lens (the new 1-4) in excellent condition for $1,299.00 in early March.
Multiple IPT veteran, dear friend, and BAA technical advisor Patrick Sparkman sold his Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens for Nikon F in like-new condition for $699.00 (was 799.00) in early March.
John M Wright sold his Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS lens in near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $488.00 in early March.
Errol Bellon sold his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 G VRII N-ED Lens lens in new condition for a very fair $1125.00 (was $1296.95).
John Bowden sold his Sony a7R III mirrorless camera in mint condition (only 136 actuations!) for $2298.00 one day after it was listed.
Dick Bernard sold his Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM zoom lens (the new 1-4) in excellent condition (with an original 1.4X TC) for a BAA record-low-by-far $1,198.00 about 30 seconds after it was listed.
John Bowden sold his Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS lens in like-new condition for $998.00 the first day it was listed.
I sold my barely used (shutter count 16,263) Nikon D5 in excellent to near-mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $4,496.95 (was $5,496.95) and my Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens in excellent plus condition for only $1,499.00 (was $1799.00), both in late February 2019.
John M Wright also sold his Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS lens in near mint condition for the BAA record-low price of $488.00and his Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR body in near-mint condition with 28,567 shutter actuations for $1999.00 in mid-February.
I sold my Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 lens in pretty close to near-mint condition along with the the RRS Collar Foot Package for a silly low $1099.00.
Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Paul Reinstein sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM in excellent plus condition for the BAA record-low price of $6,599.00 in mid-February.
Multiple IPT veteran, dear friend, and BAA technical advisor Patrick Sparkman sold his Nikon D850 DSLR for $2699.00 just days after listing it in early February.
I sold my Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II in near-mint condition for a BAA record low price of $299.00 in mid-February.
Multiple IPT veteran, dear friend, and BAA technical advisor Patrick Sparkman sold his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens in like-new condition for $10,996.95 his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens in like-new condition for $475.00, his Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Lens in like-new condition for $910.00, and his Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III in excellent condition for $385.00 all within a day of listing them in early February.

Price Drops and More

Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

Price reduced $50 on March 5, 2019

John Bowden is also offering a Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS lens in near-mint condition for $798 (was) $848.00. The sale includes the original box and everything that came in it: the front and rear caps, the lens shade, the soft case, the instruction manual and insured ground shipping via UPS to the lower 48 after their check clears.

Please contact John via e-mail or by phone at 919-358-5717 (Eastern time zone).

This outstandingly sharp versatile lens is a landscape and general photographers dream for fill frame Sony camera bodies. It sells new for $1248.00 so you can save $450.00 by getting in touch with John now. artie

Canon 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Multiple IPT veteran Morris Herstein is offering a Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for the incredible BAA record-low price of $7,999.00. The sale includes the rear cap and the front lens cover, the lens trunk, a Kirk low foot, the original lens foot, a LensCoat, and insured ground shipping via Fed Ex to US lower 48 addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Morris via e-mail.

The 600 II has been the state of the art super-telephoto for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many years. When I was using Canon and needed the reach and could get it to my location, it was always my go-to weapon. It is the same now with my Nikon 600 VR. All are fast and sharp and deadly alone or a TC. With a new one going for $11,499, you’d better grab this one quickly and save a cool $3500.00 by grabbing Morris’s lens now. artie

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens

Hussein Aliyu is offering a Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens in near-mint to like-new condition for the BAA record-low price of $3999.00. The sale of this gem-of–a-lens includes the original box and everything that came in it including the rear cap, the front cover, the lens strap, the lens trunk, a LensCoat (an $80.00 value), an off-brand low foot (a $99.00 value), and insured Worldwide shipping via DHL to all US lower 48 addresses. Most will want to make this purchase via wire transfer. If by check, your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Hussein via e-mail.

This one is a gem; super-sharp, hand holdable for almost everyone, great for flight and action photography, and great as well with both teleconverters for portraits and for flight. It has long been the favorite focal length of the world’s best hawk photographers. As it sells new for $5,496.95, Hussein’s near-mint, latest-greatest Nikon version of this lens is priced to sell. Save almost $1500.00! artie

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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 taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.


Gear Questions and Advice

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

White-Ibis-tight-head-portrait-_A9A4978Lakeland,-FL

This image was created on Wednesday, March 6 at Lakeland, FL. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter (at 800mm) and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless digital camera. ISO 400: 1/800 sec. at f/13 in Manual mode. Highlight Exposure Mode with Zebras. AWB at 8:41am on a sunny day.

Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #1: White Ibis tight head portrait

White Ibises in Lakeland

There are about a zillion White Ibises in Lakeland right now. They are all tame as there are folks feeding the waterfowl all around town. Many of the White Ibises are coming into full breeding plumage; their bills are going from flesh pink to red and both sexes develop a distended, naked throat pouch that is typically larger in females (as seen in Image #2) — from the Birds of North America No. 9.

White-Ibis-)-breeding-plumage-head-portrait-_BUP9124-Lakeland,-FL

This image was created on the Saturday-past Lakeland in-the-field session. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and my souped up back-up Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering at about zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/9. NATURAL AUTO WB at 9:59am on a clear day.

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

One up and to the right of the center Group (grp)/Continuous (C in Nikon/AI Servo with Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The array was centered on bird’s cheek right on the same plane as the birds eye.

Image #2: White Ibis > full breeding plumage/tight head portrait

I would love to hear your comparative thoughts on today’s two featured images. Feel free to comment on image quality, color, fine detail, specular highlights and sheen on the bill, image design, and anything else that suits your fancy. Note that the dark feathers on the back of the head of the bird in Image #2 were the result of a shadow cast by some blowing leaves. Note also that I did some bill clean-up with each image.

UK-puffins-2018-CARD-

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Seahouses, Bempton Cliffs, and the Dunbar, Scotland Gannet boat to Bass Rock! Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn, just fifteen minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography at there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best. Note: this trip needs a minimum of four photographers to run.

UK-Puffins-2017card

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

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip. The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as we will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer and my co-leader 🙂

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

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

Single Supplement Info

Single supplement rooms in Bridlington and Dunbar are available for those who register early. The cost of the single supplement for those six nights is $600.00. Single supplement rooms at the lodge may be available on a limited basis but only if the trip does not fill with ten photographers. The single supplement fee for those seven nights is $700. If you would like your own room in Bridlington and Dunbar, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement with your deposit: $2,600.00. The single supplement deposits are non-refundable as I will need to make the reservations well in advance.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check 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.

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

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

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 New 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 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 :).