Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
October 18th, 2020

Victory at Sea? A Story in Pictures ...

What’s Up?

We had a second great morning on Saturday, Day 2 of the Fort DeSoto COVID-conscious IPT. We headed straight to a spot on Outback Key where the Brown Pelicans gather to roost and then feed in the rip at the point on early morning low tides. After a few so-so blast-offs Donna Bourdon decided to stay with the pelicans and continue doing blurs. Anita opted to get in the water with the pelicans …

Mukesh Patel and I headed back south to do diving pelicans and eventually some shorebirds and terns while we were sitting or lying on the beach. Later on when I hooked back up with Donna she said, “Anita got blasted by a rogue wave!”

Today is Sunday 18 October 2020; we will be headed back to North Beach the morning for the start of Day 3.

I was glad to learn yesterday of the sale of Art Leyenberger’s Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM lens in excellent condition and both series I teleconverters for the very low price of $650.00. His Canon 100mm macro lens with the Kenko Extension Tube Set is a great buy an is still available. See that listing and lots more on the Used Gear Page.

Wanted to Buy

I have someone interested in a used Canon 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens. If you have one that you would like to part with, please contact me via e-mail.

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

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plugins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Topaz Stuff

As I said on Sunday and have said often many times before, I should have listened sooner. If you, like me, are new to the Topaz party, please use this link to purchase. Right now I can wholeheartedly recommend both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Though I have not yet worked with JPEGtoRAW AI or Gigapixel AI, I have installed both of these plug-ins and look forward to trying them on some I-Phone 11 images fairly soon. If you are thinking like me, consider the Utility Bundle that includes all four plug-ins mentioned above at a money-saving price.

Again, those who purchase Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI using my link, can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. I had a bit of trouble getting the two plug-ins installed and having them appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu. In addition, I will explain how to best learn about the two plug-ins by applying them on a Layer (in Photoshop). I amazed myself yesterday by completing this guide in the car on the way to and from Sebastian. Huge thanks to Anita for doing the driving. Please include a copy of your Topaz order when requesting the guide.

This image was created by multiple IPT veteran Donna Bourdon on the Fort DeSoto COVID-conscious IPT on the morning of 17 OCT 2020. She used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 312mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. Exposure was determined via Zebra evaluation with Exposure Compensation on the rear dial as detailed in The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide and One Camera Set-up Video. Shutter Priority mode +2.7 stops. Auto ISO > 100. 1/15 sec. at f/8. ABW at 8:03am on a then cloudy morning.

Lower Right Zone AF-C was active at the moment of exposure.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2020: Donna Bourdon

Image #1: Anita kneeling in the water to photograph pelicans …

Kneeling in the Water on an Incoming Tide …

As noted above, Anita ventured into the Gulf near the point in an effort to get close to the diving and feeding pelicans. She kneeled to get as low as possible so that she could create images with a very intimate perspective. Donna created this image of Anita kneeling in the surf while she was working at creating impressionistic images of the diving pelicans.

Donna, an award-winning photographer in her Chattanooga, TN photo club, is a long time Canon shooter. She joined this IPT to learn more about her a9ii/200-600 SONY rig and is doing just that.

This image was created by many-multiple IPT veteran and BAA friend Anita North on the Fort DeSoto COVID-conscious IPT on the morning of 17 OCT 2020. She used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 404mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. Exposure was determined via Zebra evaluation with Exposure Compensation on the rear dial as detailed in The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide and One Camera Set-up Video. ISO 6400: 1/1250 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. ABW at 7:59am on a then cloudy morning.

Center Zone AF-C was active at the moment of exposure.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2020: Anita North

Image #2: A developing Brown Pelican feeding spree

Water Level Photography

Obviously, being almost at water level can create some really powerful and intimate images. Anita described being thrilled as the pelicans approached her while feeding on schools of baitfish being herded by the Brown Pelicans. At one point, she was surrounded by pelicans.

Click on the image to view a larger version and note the superb noise reduction on this ISO 6400 image.

Image #2a: Topaz DeNoise AI on the developing Brown Pelican feeding spree image at 400%.

Topaz DeNoise AI

Be sure to click on the screen capture above to view the larger version and note the superb noise reduction on this ISO 6400 image. Notice in addition that DeNoise on Auto provides just the right amount of sharpening to most images. Anita converted the RAW file for this image last night and Air Dropped it to me. Therefore, I did the color correction to eliminate the BLUE cast after running DeNoise AI on Auto.

This image was created by many-multiple IPT veteran and BAA friend Anita North on the Fort DeSoto COVID-conscious IPT on the morning of 17 OCT 2020. She 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. Exposure was determined via Zebra evaluation with Exposure Compensation on the rear dial as detailed in The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide and One Camera Set-up Video. ISO 6400: 1/1250 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. ABW at 8:08am on a then cloudy morning.

Lower Right Zone AF-C was active at the moment of exposure.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2020: Anita North

Image #3: Brown Pelican fishing/Victory at Sea?

Victory at Sea!

Anita was ecstatic as the big birds — all juveniles — got closer and closer to her. As soon as I saw this one, I named it “Victory at Sea.” It reminded me of a head-on shot of a WW II naval flotilla! It is unusual for Brown Pelicans to dip feed on the surface as the much larger White Pelicans always do. The whites never dive for fish, opting instead — often in very large groups — to herd the fish while scooping them up.

Congrats to Anita for being nuts enough to create this quite powerful image.

This image was created by multiple IPT veteran Donna Bourdon on the Fort DeSoto COVID-conscious IPT on the morning of 17 OCT 2020. She used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 452mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. Exposure was determined via Zebra evaluation with Exposure Compensation on the rear dial as detailed in The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide and One Camera Set-up Video. Shutter Priority mode +2.3 stops. Auto ISO > 100. 1/15 sec. at f/8. ABW at 8:09am on a then cloudy morning.

Center Zone AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and worked well.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2020: Donna Bourdon

Image #4: Anita in the water to photograph pelicans …

Oops!

Just moments after Anita created Image #3, she got slammed by a rogue wave. Donna created this image of Anita with water pouring off of her as she attempted to save her gear. Both her a9 ii and her 200-600 got soaked by saltwater; both survived with flying colors (knock on wood …) On rare occasion, saltwater damage to a camera does not surface (pardon the pun) until sometime after the bath. The good news is that Anita’s a9 ii was doused but never submerged. As noted here previously, the a9 ii and the a7r iv are well sealed; both of my SONY bodies were slammed by waves while photographing at Sebastian Inlet this fall.

Was It Worth It?

Please leave a comment in answer to the question above. I think that the punctuation mark here: Victory at Sea!, clearly answers that question for me.

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 :).

October 17th, 2020

More on SONY a9ii/200-600 Versatility. Topaz DeNoise AI and image crispness -- including a DeNoise Auto tip

What’s Up?

The folks enjoyed another spectacular day on Friday, Day 2 of the COVID-conscious Fort DeSoto IPT. We did lots of spoonbill photography as they finally returned to Hidden Lagoon. I am up early as usual today, Saturday 17 October 2020. We will be on the long line at the Pay Booth by 6:45 to enter at 7:00 when they open. With the recently installed COVID-gate, the spectacular pre-dawn sunrise-color photography at East Beach is a thing of the past. And when they move the clock back on 1 November, things will be even worse; you will not be able to get to the beach until 30 minutes after sunrise. We can hope that they will open earlier after the time change and go back to allowing Beach Parking Pass holders to enter the park at 6:00am, but it is extremely likely that that will not happen. I’d love to be wrong on this one …

The trend over the past two decades is that nature photographers keep getting the short end of the stick. Unfortunately, this is often due often to mis-/over-management…

Today’s blog post again emphasizes the incredible versatility of the SONY 200-600 GM with the a9 ii. Yes, it is on the slow side at f/6.3 wide open, but the focal length range, the fact that it does well with the 1.4X TC (see Image #2 below), and SONY’s incredible AF system (See both Image #1 and Image #2), make it both an extremely useful tool and a bargain for bird and nature photographers who cannot afford $13K for the 600 GM.

At one point I was going to do a comparison of the 2-6 with the Nikon 500 PF but the advantages of the SONY 200-600 are so huge and obvious that I have never gotten around to it … And likely never will.

Bosque Down the Tubes

Thanks to Chris Loffredo for letting me know that New Mexico now has a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine policy in place in lieu of the previously-required “negative COVID test within 72 hours of entering the state”. Visiting New Mexico for any purpose including eco-tourism is now out of the question. Anita and I will need to re-do our travel plans.

The BAA Used Gear Page

The Used Gear page continues to be 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 Recent Sales list for the past year at the bottom of the page.

Re-Listings

FlexShooter Pro

Multiple IPT veteran and BAA good friend William Schneider is offering a barely used FlexShooter Pro for a very low $549.00. The sale includes insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Payment by Zelle is now available or PayPal +4%.

Please contact me via e-mail.

I fell in love with the FlexShooter Pro moments after I first mounted it on my Induro tripod. It is a ballhead that acts like a gimbal. Not convinced? See the video here.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G Lens & Filter Holder Kit with Landscape Circular Polarizer

Mansoor Assadi is offering a Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G lens in near-mint condition and the NiSi S5 150mm Filter Holder Kit with Landscape Circular Polarizer for Sony 12-24mm lens in new condition for the very low price of $1,163.15.The sale includes the original box, the rear lens cap, the front lens cap, the lens hood, 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 Mansoor via e-mail.

Ultra-wide and versatile, the FE 12-24mm f/4 G Lens from Sony is a flexible zoom lens for full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras, characterized by its constant f/4 maximum aperture. Benefitting the wide field of view is a sophisticated optical design that incorporates aspherical and low dispersion glass elements to control both spherical and chromatic aberrations for improved sharpness and clarity. A Nano AR Coating has also been applied to individual elements to reduce surface reflections, flare, and ghosting for greater contrast and color fidelity when working in bright, backlit situations.

In addition to the optical attributes, this lens is also distinguished by a Direct Drive SSM autofocus system, which benefits both stills and video application with its quick, quiet, and precise performance. The lens also sports a dust- and moisture-sealed design to support shooting in inclement conditions and a dedicated focus hold button and AF/MF switch. B&H

I loved my Canon ultra-wide-angle 11-24mm lens especially for big skies. This combo sells new at B&H for $2,163.15. Save a very handsome $1,000.00 on the pair. artie

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 is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Great Topaz News!

Folks who use the BAA Topaz link to purchase Sharpen AI, DeNoise AI, or the Utility Bundle (or any other Topaz plugins) will receive a 15% discount by entering the ARTHUR15 code at checkout. To get the discount you must use my link and you must enter the discount code. Be sure to start with this link.

Topaz Stuff

As I said on Sunday and have said often many times before, I should have listened sooner. If you, like me, are new to the Topaz party, please use this link to purchase. Right now I can wholeheartedly recommend both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz DeNoise AI. Though I have not yet worked with JPEGtoRAW AI or Gigapixel AI, I have installed both of these plug-ins and look forward to trying them on some I-Phone 11 images fairly soon. If you are thinking like me, consider the Utility Bundle that includes all four plug-ins mentioned above at a money-saving price.

Again, those who purchase Sharpen AI or DeNoise AI using my link, can e-mail to request a short Getting Started with Topaz e-Guide. I had a bit of trouble getting the two plug-ins installed and having them appear in the Photoshop Filter Menu. In addition, I will explain how to best learn about the two plug-ins by applying them on a Layer (in Photoshop). I amazed myself yesterday by completing this guide in the car on the way to and from Sebastian. Huge thanks to Anita for doing the driving. Please include a copy of your Topaz order when requesting the guide.

RawDigger e-Guide and Video Advance Copy Available

Save $10 Now

The RawDigger e-Guide and Video is almost finished. It will sell for $51.00. If you are anxious to get started with RawDigger, learn to mega-Expose to the Right, and wind up with the highest quality image files, you can save $10.00 and have a chance to review a pre-publication copy of the guide by sending a PayPal for $41.00 to birdsasart@verizon.net with the words RawDigger e-Guide and Video Pre-publication Copy cut and pasted into the Subject line.

You will of course receive a link for the completed PDF when the guide is finished.

New and Better Bedfords Discount Policy!

You can now save 3% on all of your Bedfords photo gear purchases by entering the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. Your discount will be applied to your pre-tax total. In addition, by using the code you will get 2nd day air shipping via Fed Ex.

Grab a Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and save $14.99. Purchase a Canon EOS R5 and your discount will be $116.97. Purchase a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and save a remarkable $389.94! Your Bedford’s purchase no longer needs to be greater than $1,000.00 for you to receive a discount. The more you spend, the more you save.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would enjoy free overnight shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time). Be sure to mention the 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 and everywhere else. The wait lists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard to get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a9 ii, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and 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 15 OCT 2020. I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 404mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. Exposure was determined via Zebra evaluation with ISO on the rear dial as detailed in The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide and One Camera Set-up Video. ISO 500: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. ABW at 8:10am on a clear morning with just a hint of moisture in the air.

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: Great Egret landing/butter light

Butter Light Landing

Butter light is the sweet yellow light encountered for about 45 minutes after sunrise and then again before sunset on clear days. It is enhanced when there is a bit of moisture in the air.

SONY AF

I continue to love Center Zone for flight photography while SONY e-Guide co-author — the junior author — Patrick Sparkman continues to love and use WIDE for birds in flight and in action. BTW, Patrick owns both the 200-600 OSS lens and the 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens. As do I.

Image #1a: Topaz DeNoise on the Great Egret landing/butter light image at 400%

Topaz DeNoise AI Auto Tip

First note that mid-tones will be technically one-stop under when you are exposing for bright whites and that dark tones will be about 1 2/3 stops under in those situations. That means that even with perfectly exposed images, there will be some visible noise in the mid-and dark tones. Click on the screen capture above and check out the totally effective noise reduction on the background. I began with Auto but felt that the Enhance Sharpness slider value was too high, so I reduced it from 40 to 30. Notice the slight pixilation (only) along the edge of the upper mandible. Perhaps I should have moved the Enhance Sharpness slider down to 20. The lesson here is that while Auto is a great place to begin, there are times when you will want to fine-tune the suggested values.

I now use DeNoise AI on every image that I process.

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County, FL on the morning of 3 OCT 2020. While seated, I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (at 840mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. Exposure was determined via Zebra evaluation with ISO on the rear dial as detailed in The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide and One Camera Set-up Video. ISO 1250: 1/1250 sec. at f/9 (wide open) in Manual mode. ABW at 9:57am on a cloudy morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) AF-C (Continuous) was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image #2: Red Knot striding

SONY 200-600 with the a9 ii and the 1.4X TC

The SONY 200-600 with the a9 ii and the 1.4X TC is a viable combination even on less than sunny days. Though at times it even does well with birds in flight (see the blog post here), I try to avoid this combo in a pure flight situation.

Red Knots visit DeSoto in the fall and many remain through May. At all seasons, you need to stay low and crawl or advance on your butt when hoping to get close enough to isolate single birds. Here the former approach worked well. With so much practice I have become more skilled at creating the compositions that I want when using Tracking Flexible Spot (M). But it does take practice. (Practice? Did you say practice? To basketball fans, that is a familiar quote from NBA Hall-of-Famer Alan Iverson).

For the past two mornings I have headed afield with only the 200-600 (with the 1.4X TC in my fanny pack) while leaving the 600 GM and the tripod in the car. Note that when working handheld with the TC in place that I will strive to sit down so that I can use the knee-pod technique; I rest my left forearm on my left knee to maximize stability (and thus, sharpness). As stated here often being able to work with a relatively light (hand-holdable for most) lens without a tripod is an absolute pleasure and in addition, allows you to be far more mobile than when you are dragging around a big lens on a tripod … On Thursday afternoon I went with the 600 GM on the tripod and used it with great success with both TCs. On Friday afternoon, I dragged out the big glass and in retrospect wished that I had taken only the 2-6 …

Image #2a: Topaz DeNoise on the Red Knot striding image at 100%

Topaz DeNoise AI Makes Everything That Much Crisper

While there was pretty much zero noise in this well exposed image, note the additional crispness (check out the eyelashes!) provided by DeNoise AI on Auto. The Preview image on our right simply looks a bit sharper and much cleaner than the Before image on our left.

Again, I now use DeNoise AI on every image that I process.

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 :).

October 16th, 2020

Great Egret Prancing Decisions ...

What’s Up?

DeSoto was fabulous on Thursday, the first day of the first-ever COVID-conscious IPT. In the morning, we enjoyed a mostly Great Egret fishing spree — white birds in butter light set against still blue water — followed by lots of incoming tern flight photography. We ordered lunch in and ate a socially distanced lunch on our spacious patio. The afternoon began well as we worked a flock of 300 recently-arrived White Pelicans and finished the day off with lots of bathing terns and a nice sunset.

We meet at the park just after 7:00am, today — Friday 20 October 2020.

We have a great AirBNB in Socorro, NM for the Bosque IPT. We will eat all of our lunches there. The same is true for San Diego. Click here for more details or scroll down for info on the Bosque IPT.

Click on the screen capture to see a larger version.

Photo Mechanic four image comparison screen capture — square

For Comparative Purposes …

After clicking on each screen capture, please leave a comment and let me know if you prefer the horizontal presentation above or the square approach below when comparing four images.

Click on the screen capture to see a larger version.

Photo Mechanic four image comparison screen capture — horizontal

The Strongest Image?

Which of the four poses do you feel makes for the strongest image? Why? The four images were created in about one second with the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 467mm) and the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. Exposure was determined via Zebra evaluation with ISO on the rear dial as detailed in The Sony Camera User’s e-Guide and One Camera Set-up Video. ISO 640: 1/2500 second at f/6.3 (wide open) in Manual mode. ABW at 8:13am on a clear morning with just a hint of moisture in the air.

Upper Center Zone AF-C kills for tall birds when you are working vertically.

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 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 due to COVID-19 concerns, all of your payments will be refunded.

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 :).