Remembering « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


You can visit my late wife Elaine Belsky Morris as you walk into the Visitor’s Center at Bosque. Her brick is located about three or four up and in from the lower left corner of the memorial wall on your left.


Many years the anniversary of Elaine’s death goes by with me even realizing it. But not this year. It is hard to believe that it has been 17 years since her passing on November 20, 1994. She was my best friend and my biggest supported. Sometimes it seems that her smile was here just last week. But most often it seems several lifetimes ago. My second ever visit to Bosque and the very first Bosque IPT began only tens days after Elaine’s funeral. Within the week I created both “Blizzard in Blue,” my first BBC-honored image, and Fire in the Mist which wound up on the cover of “Life in the Earth.” This beautiful book is a compilation of twenty years of the best winning and commended images in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. I have always felt that Elaine had a lot to do with the creation of both of those images.

And this morning she helped out with the image below as well.

Snow Geese cottonwood blast-off, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NW. This image was created on the morning of 11/20/2011 with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 100. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/2 sec. at f/22 set manually. I panned with the birds. Histogram check via Live View.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Lens/camera body Micro-adjustment: +2.

For a greater appreciation of the image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

After converting the RAW file in ACR I ran Details Extractor and Tonal Contrast from NIK’s Color Efex Pro 4.1 each on it’s own layer. I added a Hide-all Mask and painted in the effects only on the birds. Please remember that you can save 15% on all NIK products by clicking here and entering BAA in the Promo Code box at check-out. Then hit Apply to see your savings.

Whaddya think?

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think of this image.

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Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s blog post. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Be sure to check out our camera body User’s Guides here.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV User’s Guide. Learn to use your Mark IV the way that I use mine. Also available for the 7D and the Mark III here.

29 comments to Remembering

  • avatar Justine

    This is a stunning image and a fitting tribute to your late wife. I’m just now catching up on several weeks of your posts and images and they are inspirational — this one especially. Just gorgeous.

    Thanks Justine. It was great meeting and working with you in Homer and then seeing you again so soon at Bosque. artie

  • avatar cheapo

    I really like this blur Art. And I could not criticize it anyway, as it contains your love. ;¬)

  • avatar Don Poulton

    Hi again. The workshop my wife and I took with Robert was at Gatorland the first weekend of April 2010, photographing all the great birds of Florida! Got quite a few winning images, especially of great egrets displaying or feeding their newborn young.

    Thanks for the info Don! artie

  • avatar Don Poulton

    Thanks, Art, for your reply. My second wife and I were at a bird photography workshop at Gatorland with Robert. We both got some tremendous images, some of which we’ve printed and now decorate our living room, as well as being displayed at the camera club that we belong to.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks all for your more than kind words. later and love, artie

  • avatar Mary Stamper

    A very touching post, and a beautiful photo. Isn’t it fascinating how sometimes a special emotion inspires us like this?

  • avatar Don Poulton

    What a wonderful memory, it brought tears to my eyes! You and I have a lot in common — my first wife was also a teacher, she died of cancer, and her name was Elaine! Even though I’m happily remarried, I think of her often, and always on the anniversary of her death (3/21/1988). I was left a single father of two teenagers at that time, but now both are married and my daughter has given me two wonderful grandsons — which I know Elaine would have adored. BTW, I took a weekend workshop last year from a friend of yours, Robert Amorouso — a great photographer and teacher. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Those Elaine’s are hard to find! All of the Posse members are quite skilled. What type of workshop? artie

  • avatar Robert Burton

    Wonderful as a memory of Elaine !!

  • avatar MElissa Groo

    What a stunning blur and a lovely tribute, Artie. Thanks for sharing.

  • Dear Artie
    First I read the words and than I look at the image and didn’t understand what i am seeing here
    but after few seconds I realize that my eyes laid on the best ever panning long ex image that i have ever seen !!!
    love it very much 🙂

  • avatar Kenny Walters

    I love that you talk about your life and weave your images throughout it. The beauty and the sad parts, all includwed. Many photographers just won’t bring those things together. It is beautiful, really.

  • Sensational blur Artie, a wave of snow geese at sunrise, you captured intense emotions in this unique image, best wishes, Jan

  • Hi Artie. Those amazing images you had published in BBC are a wonderful tribute to the memory of your wife. That body of work is clearly inspired.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    One of your very best blurs. Very inspirational. You gotta love it!!

  • It’s lovely, the colors and the amount of blur as well as the composition all come together nicely.

  • avatar Indranil Sircar

    I love this one, Artie. The shape of the blastoff and the colors are awesome. Certainly one of your best!

  • Beautiful picture and words. Colors are stunning!! White is awesome!!

  • avatar Dennis Pritchett

    I think it’s a wonderful image, full of inspiration.


  • Beautiful. They don’t get any better than this.

  • avatar Carol Fuegi

    This extremely unusual image is spectacular – I love it. Elaine was definitely with you.

  • avatar Gayle Clement

    This one is truly special, Artie. I love the color and movement.

  • My new favorite of your blurs! Killer capture!

  • Artie
    I’ve never been a big fan of blurs but this one is breath taking!!

  • I absolutely love this image. I think you must have had an angel on your shoulder.

    I did. And I know her name :). artie

  • avatar Hilary Hann

    Sensational, almost spiritual image. Absolutely love it. It has form and composition whilst also having great emotional content.

  • avatar lowell dickson

    It’s so poignant that what would be an ordinary image (albeit a very good one) would evoke such a response and memory from you. Often we take photos of things that have such a personal meaning that only ( I–you in this case ) can appreciate that much more. This one did it for you and thanks for sharing. BTW-met Robert O’toole at my camera club meeting in Anaheim this week. Great presentation and wonder if your ears were burning. Zai Gazunt

    Thanks, and yes, Robert is quite talented. I am here with him at White Sands as I type. From where I sit, this is not an ordinary image by any means…. artie

  • avatar Jay Gould

    Mate, it is a winner!

  • This is one of the most beautiful blurs I’ve seen—colors of blue, orange, white are great together, so are diagonal line against horizontal lines. Love it!
    I’ve used LiveView to calibrate the focus point on my lenses but not to photograph. In what situations are you using it? How did you have time to check the histogram? I’m guessing the mass of white lasted a very short time.

    Actually, I used Live View to check the histogram before the blast off; I should have gone to manual mode as the mass of white resulted in a bit of underexposure…. artie

  • avatar Paul Smith

    I absolutely LOVE it!!!!!