Amazingly Courageous & Loving Life and Each Other « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Amazingly Courageous & Loving Life and Each Other


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This image was created with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, Canon 2x EF Extender III (teleconverter), and the EOS-1D Mark IV (now replaced by the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 2500. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/250 sec. at f/6.3 in Tv Mode.

Central sensor/Rear Focus AI Servo AF active at the moment of exposure (and then cropped to a square). Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

We Meet

I first met Srdjan Mitrovic and his wife, Zorica Kovacevik, on a pre-voyage bus trip to Tierra del Feugo National Park, Argentina, the day before we boarded the ship for my first Cheesemans’s Extended Southern Ocean Expedition (The Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica). It was my 2nd such trip.

We were with a large group of birders hot to find a Magellanic Woodpecker. Then bingo, there was a group of 3 right in front of us pecking away at a rotted log on the ground. With so many folks in close proximity it was impossible to make an image and getting close was not an option unless we wanted to risk getting lynched. The birders all checked the species off their lists and when the birds flew off the birders dispersed.

As the only serious photographers Srdj and Zorica and I were the only ones left. I think that it was Zorica who said, Too bad, I would have loved to have gotten a good photograph. After introducing myself Zorica exclaimed, “Oh my God, are you really the Arthur Morris? I can’t believe it!” “Yup, that’s me,” I said, ” but listen up. The birds came down once to feed it is highly likely that they will repeat the same behavior. Let’s follow them.”

We did. And for the next three hours we photographed the group at close range.

Image Question

In the image above, how did I wind up at ISO 2500?


This image was created with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (hand held at 280mm), and the and the EOS-5D Mark II (now replaced by the Canon EOS 5D Mark III . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops as framed: 1/400 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode.

Central sensor/Rear Focus AI Servo AF on the photographer on the left and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Voyage

Though I spent a lot of money to make the first Cheesemans’ trip and had no clients, I found myself–as expected–doing lots of teaching both in the field and on the ship during image reviews and Photoshop sessions. Srdj and Zorica often stuck close by. We has a ton of fun. After I met Zorica at Keukenhof in 2013, we reconnected and she and Srdjan wound up joining me on the recently concluded Japan in Winter IPT.

I created the image above of them at Fortuna Bay, South Georgia in late December 2012 as they photographed from atop a small rocky knoll.


Image copyright 2014 and courtesy of Zorica Kovacevic.

The Geisha Connection

When the Japan in Winter IPT concluded, seven of us continued on the Kyoto to soak up some Japanese culture. From the get-go Zorica talked of going to the geisha districts, or possibly seeing a geisha. We did lots of walking tours. One night, as we were looking for a restaurant, a geisha accompanied by two Japanese gentlemen, was walking down the narrow street coming right at us.

I was amazed when a very excited Zorica took out her cell phone, touched the woman’s arm to get her attention, and asked if she could take her picture. I was more amazed when the geisha said yes. The two men stood off to the side and took a few snaps. Zorica kindly sent me three images; my favorite is above.

Though many folks routinely trash Wikipedia I often find the entries helpful. There is lots of confusion as to exactly what a Geisha is. I found the Wikipedia Geisha entry here quite helpful.


Image courtesy of Srdjan Mitrovic and Zorica Kovacevik. Copyright 2014: Maiko Transformation Studio Shiki.

Maiko Transformation Studio Shiki

Everyone is familiar with the brochure racks in most tourist hotels. Zorica found a brochure advertising the Maiko Transformation Studio Shiki, a place that would transform any woman into a Geisha and any man into a Samurai with full make-up and costumes. They made an appointment online and off they went. I thank them profusely for giving me permission to use the images here. And you gotta admit, they look pretty darned good.

Me thinks that most folks (including me) would be too self-conscious to do something like this. Heck, I am scared to get on a dance floor unless I am drunk and I have not been drunk in several decades…


Image courtesy of Srdjan Mitrovic and Zorica Kovacevik. Copyright 2014: Maiko Transformation Studio Shiki.

Amazingly Courageous & Loving Life and Each Other

To me, getting transformed was a courageous act. I am curious, how many of you out there would try something like this without trepidation? Please leave a comment and let us know.

Srdjan, a software engineer for Google, is one of the nicest men you could ever hope to meet. He is funny–not sure if I mentioned the Saturday Night Hans and Franz connection, but we spent a good deal of time laughing. He routinely treats Zorica like his queen, granting her every request with a loving smile. And they always treat each other with uncommon respect, always smiling and laughing. And holding hands.


Image courtesy of Srdjan Mitrovic and Zorica Kovacevik. Copyright 2014: Maiko Transformation Studio Shiki.



Breathe deeply, bite the bullet, and live life to its fullest; we all get only one ride on the merry-go-round… Join me on this great trip.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The Southern Ocean…

If you would like to explore the possibility of joining me on the Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris Antarctica/The Extended Expedition Voyage: Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falkland Islands: December 13, 2014 to January 10, 2015, click here for additional information and then shoot me an e-mail.


If you’d like to learn from the two folks who created the images in the composite above do consider one of the trips below. Denise Ippolito’s images: Japanese leaf painting, skimmer in flight, curved Keukenhof paths with tulips, copulating terns, & pink dahlia. Artie’s images: Snow Geese snowstorm blur, crane landing silhouettes, Leopard with prey in tree, King Penguin, & vertical tulip. Note: Denise alone will be leading the Torres del Paine workshop.

A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours (IPTs)/Two great leaders: Arthur Morris & Denise Ippolito.

Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART for the latest images, info, & education
Denise Ippolito/A Creative Adventure get yourself out of the box!

Denise’s e-books: Bloomin’ Ideas, A Guide to Filters & Effects, The Softer Side of Macro, & more. Free Monthly Creative MiniMag:

Nickerson Baby Beach-nesting Birds IPT, Long Island, NY: 3-Full Days/July 22-24, 2014: $1199.

Black Skimmers, Common Terns with chicks, American Oystercatcher & Piping Plover families; breeding behaviors including courtship feeding, display flight and combat, and copulations. Gulls and shorebirds.

UK Puffins IPT. Early July, 2014.

Details TBA. Please e-mail to be placed on the interested list.

Tanzania Serengeti Summer Safari: Leave US: August 9—return: August 24, 2014: $12,999.

Co-leaders: Arthur Morris & Todd Gustafson. Wildebeest/The Great Migration, cats, elephant, giraffe, zebra, birds & more. Please e-mail for brochure.

Swan Island Dahlia Farm IPT, Canby, OR, September 8-12, 2014: 5 FULL DAYS: $1699.

Leader: Denise Ippolito. 40 acres with 350+dazzling varieties of dahlias in a plethora of colors, shapes and sizes. Sharpen your technical skills and boost your creative juices. Daily assignments, image sharing, and Photoshop sessions.

Bosque del Apache 2014 A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART “Creative Photography Instructional Photo-Tour.” (IPT). NOV 24-25, 2014. 2-FULL DAYS: $729.

Leaders: Denise Ippolito & Arthur Morris. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Sunday 11/23. This IPT is perfect for folks who want to learn to think outside the box, to create new and different images. Learn to unleash your creative juices at the wondrous Bosque del Apache, NWR in San Antonio, NM.

Bosque del Apache 2014 BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT). NOV 29-DEC 3, 2014. Totaling 4 FULL-DAYS: $1449

Leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito. Introductory Slide program: 7:00pm on Sunday 11/29. Tens of thousand of Snow Geese, 10,000 Sandhill Cranes, ducks, amazing sunrises, sunsets, and blast-offs. Live, eat, and breathe photography with two of the world’s premier photographic educators at one of their very favorite photography locations on the planet.

Antarctica/The Extended Expedition Voyage: Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falkland Islands: December 13, 2014 to January 10, 2015.

Please e-mail for details.

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21 comments to Amazingly Courageous & Loving Life and Each Other

  • avatar Bobby Perkins

    I’m going to guess ISO 2500 because you where in TV mode, iso shift enabled, or auto iso.
    Great woody portrait and worth sticking around for.
    The Geisha shots are way cool, cheers to the loving couple.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Bingo. Tv Mode can be used to ensure a minimum shutter speed. That’s what I did here choosing 1/250 sec. artie

      • avatar Doug

        Do you have some insights into how the camera adjusts the aperture and ISO? I was a little thrown that you ended up with 6.3, not 5.6. I guess I expected ISO adjustments only after the aperture options were exhausted. Is the process smart enough to balance lens characteristics against ISO characteristics to get the cleanest image?

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Not really. When I work in TV mode the aperture is always either wide open or stopped down 1/3 stop–it has something to do with the way the numbers come out in the wash…. If you want control of the aperture and the light and framing is constant, work in Av mode. Manual mode always works for that too but you will need to choose the ISO…. artie

  • avatar Tom Taylor

    The ISO 2500 question? I see your +2/3 for the background brighter then the Woodpecker, -2 stops for the 2x teleconverter and the wide open lens at 1/250. ISO 2500 and the histogram shows you hit the target right on the mark. Oh sure I am just a knuckle head that likes his feathered friends and is learning. I have been known to be wrong. Thanks for sharing you trip photos. They are special.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Tom. The TC comes out in the wash so there is no need to think about that…. Yes, the histogram came out perfect at +2/3 but as Bobby Perkins figured out, I was using ISO Safety Shift; once I chose the shutter speed (1/250 sec.) the camera considered the other parameters (in this case the +2/3 EC) and it, the camera, set the needed ISO. Using Auto ISO would have done the same thing. artie

  • avatar Carol Fuegi

    Love the Geisha images.

    I would be willing to be transformed into a Geisha (temporarily!)

  • Great head-shot of a Magellanic Woodpecker. It might be a juv or female. Guru, do you have similar shot of a male that sports a crimson head?

    We don’t have it at this part of the world.


    Dhaka, Bangladesh

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yes, but it is not in the same class as the one here. You can surely find it in an old post or Bulletin by doing a search for Magellanic Woodpecker in the little white box on the top right… artie

  • So sorry that I missed seeing the transformation (I left the morning they did it). Really great couple and enjoyed their company immensely.

  • avatar Dave Kerr

    Art, am I correct in inferring that the real advantage of the CR-X5 plate is reduced weight and lower center of gravity? Is it suitable with the Wimberly head?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Dave, The CR-X5 is light and when you are using a side-mounting gimbal head the lower center of gravity prevents the lens from torquing as it is being handled.

      That said there is no advantage to using a CRX-5 plate when you are using a Wimberly head. How’s that for marketing?

      Note, however, that it is almost a 100% certainty, as much as I love the folks at Wimberly, that you should be saving weight and losing nothing by going to the Mongoose M3.6… artie

      • avatar Dave Kerr

        Thanks, Art. Next upgrade will be to the M3.6 then.

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Good plan. You save a ton of weight and efficiecny is equal; I’ve made a few sharp images at 1/6 sec. at 800mm…. artie

  • avatar Jim Amato

    How did that beautiful bird trip the shutter button with one claw and remain in the frame?

  • I was amazed at how attentive Srdjan was to Zorica. It reminds me of true love and devotion ♥

  • avatar Ar

    Love love love the woodpecker. He looks just like Woody Woodpecker! You may want to remove the roundish thing on the bottom of the image. 🙂

  • Very lovely and interesting images of being made up! I probably would dress up. When in Bhutan Chuck & I (along with several others in our group), were dressed up in the elaborate, formal Bhutanese dress and attended a party. I even danced along with the local dance troupe performing! All in good fun!

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. That cell phone image of a geisha by Zorica is quite amazing. Makes it clear why compacts aren’t selling much anymore, but also beautiful composition. I certainly wouldn’t undergo the transformation without trepidation, but if my wife really wanted to do it I likely would go along.