The Mark IV, Recent BAA Bulletins, and a Tale of Two Nelsons… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Mark IV, Recent BAA Bulletins, and a Tale of Two Nelsons...

Two days ago, Canon released information on their next professinal digital camera body.  I was fortunate to have one to test about two weeks ago.  You can read my initital impressions on this BPN post:

The short story is that I ordered two of them immediately <smile>

Bulletin #301 & #302

BIRDS AS ART Bulletin #301 can be viewed on line here:

These are two of the featured items:

  • ALAN MURPHY’S “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography”  ($10 pre-publication discount)
[Not a valid template]
If you have ever pointed a lens at a bird coming to a feeder you will find Aan's guide an amazing resource.

You can pre-order one here and save $10:

BIRDS AS ART Bulletin #302 can be viewed on line here:

These are the most important featured items: 

  • TOO WONDERFUL NOT TO SHARE, GALAPAGOS 2010 (looking for one lady….)


If you have already read  “TOO WONDERFUL NOT TO SHARE”  in BAA Bulletin #302 (immediately below),  be sure to read on to see Nelson’s follow-up e-mail and to learn of the second Nelson, Nelson Serrano. 

I received this e-mail this morning at 9:45am.  It put a huge smile in my heart and more than a few tears in my eyes.

Hello Mr. Morris,  My name is Nelson Gonzalez. I don’t know if you remember me, but you were my sixth grade teacher at P.S. 106 (Class 6-306) in the late 70’s. I’m the one who played the rich guy in the Happy Days play that we did (Cynthia, please come along, the cocktail guests are waiting at the club.”)   I was browsing the net and came across BIRDS AS ART.  As I looked at the pictures, I was caught by surprise when I came across a picture of you.  I’m happy you followed your dream after teaching for so many years. Now I know why you always took our class on trips to Gateway National Park and to natural history museums.  I just wanted to take the time to let you know that you had a big impact on my life.  From all the grades, I have fond memories of being a student in your class.  I remember you taking students to your home and your wife serving us spaghetti and meatballs. I don’t know how many other students have told you that you were a great teacher, but I felt the need to tell you.  Although we came from a poor and rough neighborhood, you gave your students hope by teaching us that we could accomplish anything if we put our minds to work.  

I wanted to tell you that I came out okay.  I joined the Navy after high school and served 6 years.  After the Navy, I attended Long Island University, and I now work as a relationship manager at a bank.  I have been married for 21 years and have 2 daughters and a son.  My oldest daughter Melissa is a junior in college.  Denise is a senior in high school and Nelson Jr. is a junior.  Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Mr. Morris, thank you for being my giant.   Take care and I hope to hear from you.  Nelson Gonzalez, U.S. Bank Corporate Trust Services


After responding to Nelson’s original e-mail, I received this from him yesterday:

Mr. Morris, I’m sorry to hear about Mrs. Belsky.  My brother loved being in her class because she had such a gift to teach. My mom was also very fond of her.  It’s funny, when my mother spoke about our time at 106, she always reminded us that Mr. Morris, Mrs. Belsky and Mr. Alexandro were the best teachers her children ever had. I think she was right.   As for talking to anyone from 106, I used to talk to Jorge, who was in our six grade class (do you remember him?), but lost touch with him.  Jorge also served in the Navy. After the Navy, Jorge was working as a para- professional at Bushwick High School while attending college to be a teacher. I also spoke to Pablo about 8 years ago.  Pablo was also in your class at the same time I was.  I don’t know if you remember him.  Sadly, Pablo dropped out of school and was into drugs.  It’s sad that most of the kids I grew up with ended up serving time in jail, getting into drugs, or are dead now.  I remember growing up, most of these kids made fun of my brothers and me because we had a curfew.  My parents were very strict and watched over us like hawks. I thank my parents all the time.  I now live on Staten Island.  I bought a two family home and took my parents with me.  I appreciate them so much for how they managed to bring us up well despite the environment that I wanted them to live their last days in a peaceful environment. Well take care and God Bless.

P.S. I will try and send you some pictures of my kids soon.


Nelson Serrano was a tall Spanish kid with red hair and freckles.   He was a gifted student by any standards, another member of Class 6-306 some time in the early 1980s.  He was one of the most brilliant group of kids that I ever had.  On the city-wide tests, he scored in the 99th percentile in both reading and math.  And he always had a neat smile on his face. 

Nearly a decade later I was approached by a short Spanish man while standing in the hallway outside of the office at PS 106.  “Hi,” he said, “I am Nelson Serrano’s uncle.   I am not sure if you have heard that Nelson has been in prison for several years now after killing two drug dealers in a deal gone bad when he was 16 years old.  Would you be willing to write a positive letter on Nelson’s behalf?  He thinks that you and his sister are the only two who might be able to help him; we are trying to get his sentence communted.”

I wrote the letter and a year later I received a letter from Nelson, from prision.   He said something like this:  “Mr. Morris,  Thanks for writing the letter for me.  My appeal was turned down.   I would like to apologize to you.   You warned us of the dangers of drugs and I did not listen to you. I am sorry.  Nelson Serrano”.

It was amazing to me how some kids could be dragged under by the conditions in Bushwick while others were able to rise above it.  Please feel free to share this with any of the youngsters in your life and ask them which Nelson they would like to be….

I hope to be back soon with some M IV images to post; right now Canon has requested that I do not post any of the images that I created with my pre-production Mark IV bodies just yet. 

7 comments to The Mark IV, Recent BAA Bulletins, and a Tale of Two Nelsons…

  • avatar Andrew

    Great stories. Thanks for sharing.

  • avatar Kent Wilson

    Hi Artie —

    As a former teacher, I can relate to your stories about the two Nelsons. I taught at Univ. of Illinois Chicago. Teaching at a university, I did not have the same opportunity as you did to influence young students, but I did managed to make a difference in the lives of some students. That is the true reward of teaching. It certainly wasn’t the money!

    Thanks for sharing these stories. I was genuinely touched by them.

  • avatar Nellie Larsen

    Dear Artie,

    Thanks for publishing the touching message from your former student Nelson Gonzalez. It brought tears to my eyes also. I remember seeing you on trips with your students to Central Park and Jamaica Bay and noticing how much they were enjoying the occasions. You treated them with great consideration and care and although you may not have heard from them all, I am sure that you were a positive influence on the lives of many others.

    Best wishes,

    Nellie and Max Larsen

    • Hi Nellie, How wonderful to see you visiting. Max and Nellie went out of their way in the mid-1970s to help me when I was a beginning birder; they amazed me back then with their identification skills and I shall always be indebted to them. Thanks Nellie for your kind words and please give yourself and Max a big hug from me.

  • Hey Jim, Thanks for stopping by. I ordered two in about 5 seconds… Hope to get to post the pics soon. I had a few up on BPN for about 10 minutes yesterday and they had about 950 views in ten minutes before it was requested that I take them down.

    I am looking forward to seeing you soon at Bosque! Just one opening left and we will have you, Robert, and Scott Bourne.

  • Order a Mark IV yesterday from Gary, before I had seen your comments. Glad to have them back up my thinking … and hopes! 🙂