Way to Go CES! (Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris) « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Way to Go CES! (Cheeseman's Ecology Safaris)

This image of the Cheesemans’ Ecology Safari staff working hard to safely control a zodiac was created at Bailey Head, Antarctica with the tripod-mounted Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the Canon 1.4X III TC (at 140mm) and the EOS-5D Mark II. ISO 200: 1/8 sec. at f/22 in Manual mode. A 3-stop ND filter had been placed on the front of the lens in order to get down to 1/8 second.

Central Sensor Rear Focus AI Servo AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

I had been creating intentional blurs of large groups of Chinstrap Penguins marching towards the sea–see the image below–when I heard the scream “Big wave!” above the roar of the surf. I turned immediately but had missed the big wave hitting the zodiac; I made this image as a second smaller wave struck the boat. With great force. I figured that a slow shutter speed blur might best convey the sense of struggle so I did not attempt to change anything; when faced with unexpected action the very best tack is to shoot first and ask questions later. If you hesitate or think, you almost always wind up with nothing…. The strategy worked well here.

Way to Go CES! (Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris)

Many of you have been enjoying the images from my recently concluded Southern Oceans trip. Do understand that none of the images would have been possible without the planning, help, expertise, and execution of the plan by CES: Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris. The itinerary was a fabulous one. We had more than ample time to photograph at all the great spots; at St. Andrews Bay I was ashore for almost ten hours. When it came to landings and zodiac safety, the Cheesemans’ staff was beyond incredible. The opportunity for catastrophic developments exists with every zodiac landing. That is true in the Galapagos as well but with bigger seas on average in the Southern Oceans the dangers are far greater. Every landing and every exit went smoothly. I had tons of help with my gear. With 96 folks getting into and out of zodiacs as often as three times a day a perfect safety record is what you strive for and that is what occurred: zero injuries, zero gear lost or damaged.

Expedition leader Ted Cheeseman, son of founders Doug and Gail, made all the right calls. When plans needed to be changed out of concern for weather and safety, he made the right call every time; everyone on the trip benefited. The programs were excellent–there was lots of free time on the two long crossings. The two primary photographic leaders were both old friends of mine: Tom Murphy, and Rod Planck. I had not see either of them for more than two decades until I laid eyes on them on the Ortelius. It was great seeing them again and working with them. By attending their programs I learned a ton and changed a few things. Rod’s work was as inspirational as it was when I attended two of his programs in the 1990s; seeing images from the various landing planted many seeds in my head. Tom got me working at ISO 200 in sunny conditions and stopping down a bit more than I usually do. And both of them, having been on many Southern Oceans trips, were chock full of advice as to the best locations on each landing. Nobody is ever too old to learn.

The landing at Bailey Head, Antarctica, was especially rewarding to me as I had been sitting in a zodiac 100 yards off shore on my 2007 trip when the zodiac in front of mine swamped and the captain of the ship called off the landing…. Early that day it looked as if my weather Karma might not be working. Ted’s “Good morning shipmates” was followed by the news that we would not be able to land at Bailey Head that morning as the swell was too big. The beach there is sloped tremendously and the sea strives to pull the zodiacs back into the ocean before folks have gotten off with their gear. Tom Murphy had said to me several days before, “We will get you on the beach at Bailey Head.” Ted concluded his morning greetings by saying, “We are sending out a scout team to see if landing is possible.”

After breakfast I was thrilled to hear Ted’s voice again on the PA, “We will be landing at 8am.” Afterwards folks noted that it was the calmest landing ever at this amazingly beautiful spot. My good weather Karma (courtesy of late-wife Elaine) had come through one last time. Along with St. Andrews Bay, it was one of my two favorite super-great once-in-a-lifetime days of the trip. And we even got to enjoy three additional hours at Hannah Point, Antarctica before calling it a wrap and heading for the feared Drake Passage. All thanks to Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris.

This image was created at Bailey Head, Antarctica with the tripod-mounted Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the Canon 1.4X III TC (at 270mm) and the EOS-5D Mark II. ISO 200. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops off the white water: 1/8 sec. at f/13 in Manual mode. A 3-stop ND filter was placed on the front of the lens in order to get down to 1/8 second.

Central Sensor Rear Focus AI Servo AF on the closest penguin and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

CES/BAA Partnership

I am proud to announce that on the afternoon of January 31, 2012 Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris became a BIRDS AS ART sponsor. I am looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Doug, Gail, and Ted and the rest of the Cheesemans’ staff.

This image was created at Bailey Head, Antarctica with the tripod-mounted Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens and the Canon 1.4X III TC (at 280mm) and the EOS-5D Mark II. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/125 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor Rear Focus AI Servo AF on the closest penguin and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

There are something like 100,000 pairs of chinstraps on Bailey Head, Deception. Most of them are pretty much un-photographable. Old friend Tom Murphy led the serious photographers right to he very best nest on the side of a gentle slope with the colony in the background. Thanks Tom!

About CES

Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris has been focused on wildlife for over thirty years.

A great safari is more than remote destinations and remarkable wildlife – it is a journey woven through foreign lands and seas leading to experiences made possible through inspiration, organization, and leadership. For over thirty years, Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris has provided these unforgettable experiences during in-depth tours to the world’s richest ecosystems. Their itineraries are unique and preparation is thorough, but most importantly, the leadership is exceptional. With broad backgrounds in nature and wildlife, their leaders desire to deepen your understanding of each destination so you can take-away the photographs and memories that allow you to become nature’s ambassador.

Gail and Doug Cheeseman have been leading wildlife safaris to their favorite destinations since 1978. Inspired by his parent’s passion, Ted joined them in leading safaris over 15 years ago. Now the three work together with their staff to offer you superlative nature tours to destinations such as Antarctica, Tanzania, Kenya, Bhutan, Brazil, India, Galapagos, and many more. Doug is a professor emeritus of Ecology and Zoology, Ted holds a Masters in Tropical Conservation Biology, and Gail is a naturalist of the best kind – self-taught through a lifetime in the field. Together, they are a family of truly remarkable ecologists who seek to inspire travelers to enjoy and conserve the Earth’s wild landscapes.

Find out more about Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris, including a complete tour listing, by clicking here. If you have any questions you can shoot them an e-mail or call 800.527.5330.

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B&H Specials

Act now; these Instant Rebates expire February 4, 2012.

If you are interested in an amazing deal on a 7D, a 5D MII (both packaged with various lenses) or a $400 rebate on a Canon PIXMA Pro 9000 Mark II printer (with the purchase of a Canon EOS SLR), click here.

To learn about even more amazing Instant Rebates on Canon lenses and Speedlites click here or on the image below.

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Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the image 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 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder (or on a tripod as above) with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot with the 1.4X III TC.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital Camera. Canon’s lightweight full frame body is perfect for serious landscape photography and as I learned on this trip, is great for wildlife too. See my review here.

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.
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.

13 comments to Way to Go CES! (Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris)

  • Artie, does you new relationship with CES mean that you are going to do this trip annually, or other trips with CES? I certainly hope so for them and for all your fans and students.

  • Hi Artie, Ted, Doug, Jay and others. Great blog post Artie. It was indeed a great trip and I have to echo your comments that every “change of plans” call that Ted made worked out for the best (which I think was just about every day we were in the peninsula). St. Andrews Bay was indeed one of the most fantastic day’s I’ve ever experienced, made even more so by our inability to do that landing in 2010 (sorry Jay). It was great traveling with you Artie, and any time you need to “lean on me” for support as you “walk on by,” you’re welcome to do so. 🙂

    I’m now going to have to go back and review your other blog posts about the trip. 🙂

  • cheapo

    Water is a force to be reckoned with and no mistake. It can take the unwary seriously by surprise! But Penguins know it intimately and are supremely at home in it. All your penguin shots are winning awards in this house!! 🙂

  • Doug Cheeseman – I knew of him more than I knew him from my sister and mother – both names Nancy Hertert. I was more in the Van Fossen (or Van Fossil as we knicknamed him)camp. It tickles me to see Doug leading tours to Antartica and beyond. What memories this family carries.

  • Andrea Boyle

    Ah, I remember, now.. I had to TAKE chemistry as a pre-requisite to get into his classes! Ha ha! Doug Cheeseman has an energy that won’t quit. Many of my 18 yr old friends in the 70’s had a hard time keeping up with him. Thanks for the great memory! 🙂

  • Artie, Sounds like a great company to hook up with!

  • Andrea Boyle

    Interesting post… I’m wondering if Doug Cheeseman is the same guy who was a chemistry instructor at De Anza College (Cupertino, Calif) in the 1970’s? I never got into his classes, but he lead a number of trips, including the Grand Canyon and Africa.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      That sounds like a perfect fit. I will check it out and let you know.

    • Hello Andrea —- Art told me of your post here… yes indeed that Doug Cheeseman, my father, is the same who was a professor at DeAnza in the 70s, and onward from there well into the 90s. He taught zoology and ecology, actually, and he and my mother started Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris in 1980 after a few years of leading summer African safaris for another company. Back then, as now, they felt they could greatly improve on the norm of safaris with their passion for getting out in the field more and sharing the best wildlife the planet has to offer. They’re still at it, and I had the good fortune of growing up amid these safaris, quite a wild ride 🙂 Cheers ~ Ted Cheeseman

  • Jay Gould

    Artie, a very big CONGRATULATIONS regarding your relationship with CES. Brother Steve and I did the same trip with them in 2010. It was and is the most amazing continuous month of incredible days I have EVER experienced; we are still considering doing it again!