Re-Connecting With an Old Friend « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Re-Connecting With an Old Friend

Another Gatorland Short Notice Saturday Full-Day In-the-Field Workshop

Saturday March 22, 2014. 7:15am till 10:15am & 4:00pm till dusk. Lunch, image review, and Photoshop session included. Limit 6. A very small group is again likely: $399.

The cost of your Gatorland Photographer’s Pass is not included.

Gatorland is so good right now that I am going back this Saturday to try for tiny Great Egret chicks in the nest. Head portraits of this species in full breeding plumage are pretty much guaranteed even with an intermediate zoom lens. Nest building and flight likely. Here’s the story: there about two dozen photographers at Gatorland on Saturday past. Aside from one photographer from Slovakia and another, wearing a blue and white checked shirt, nobody had a clue as to how to make a good image…. Most folks just stand in one spot and point and shoot. Without regard for light angle or background. Join me on this, the 2nd Gatorland Short Notice Saturday Full-Day In-the-Field Workshop and you will learn to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. A big part of the above is that you will learn how and why you must work in Manual mode 90% of the time at Gatorland. That is one of the things that Dana-see her e-mail below, and Chris Billman learned last Saturday.

At lunch we will review my images, take a look at five of your best images from the morning session (for those who opt to bring their laptops), and process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time. Last Saturday all 3 folks had a great time and learned a ton. And the weather for this coming Saturday is looking good.

Payment in full via credit card is due upon registering. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 to register. Ask for me if you have any questions.


This Great Egret in breeding plumage image was created at Gatorland last Saturday with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stops as framed in early morning light: 1/320 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. Color temperature: 6000K.

The three sensors that fell on the base of the bird’s bill as framed were chosen by 61-Point/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF and were of course active at the moment of exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Join me at Gatorland this Saturday morning for practically private instruction.

Gatorland In-the-Field Kudos

This via e-mail from Dana Campbell of Maryland who signed up virtually at the last second:

It was a wonderful day today! You taught me so much; I am still thinking about it all. I will now go back and read the archives, practice, and make some equipment changes/new purchases (Mongoose M3.6) soon. It was an honor and a pleasure to have met you and spent the day learning from you. You were so patient and generous sharing your knowledge and talent as well as a wonderfully nice and fun person! I hope to be able to join you again soon for an IPT. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Sincerely, Dana

Your Help is Still Needed

Please Help; Only 7 Folks Signed Yesterday: It takes less than a minute

Here is the short version: click here and sign the petition :).

Locations where fresh water abuts salt are often a mecca for birds. Many decades ago at many of the great east coast birding locations–Edwin B. Forsythe NWR (formerly Brigantine) in New Jersey, Bombay Hook in Delaware, and my beloved Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (JBWR) in New York City, salt marsh was purposely destroyed to create fresh water impoundments in close proximity to salt water. Less notable sites like Wolfe’s Pond Park on Staten Island, NY are no less extraordinary.

At JBWR two such impoundments have existed since the early 1950s: the West Pond and one of my soul places, the East Pond. The late Max Larsen showed me my first breeding plumage Curlew Sandpiper on the West Pond well before I even thought about photographing birds. And it was there that I saw a juvenile Broad-billed Sandpiper, a mega rarity from Asia. Hurricane Sandy put the hurt on the West Pond in October 2012. The West Pond was breached and the former avian fresh water haven once again became part of Jamaica Bay which is of course completely saltwater.

Douglas Futuyma posted “Birder Action Needed to Restore Jamaica Bay WR West Pond” to the ABA (American Birding Association) blog:

New York’s famed Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (JBWR) has been damaged beyond recognition. It will never again be such a wonderful resource for birds and birders unless it is repaired – and that may depend on the voice of birders (and bird photographers) everywhere.

You can read the whole thing here.

The West Pond, and The Birder’s Coalition for Gateway, needs your help. Please click here, sign the petition, and spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. The petition route successfully stopped the shooting of Snowy Owls at various NYC airports. Your help here can help to get the West Pond restored to its former glory. Please take a moment to click and sign.


This post marks 109 straight days with a new educational blog post. With so many folks getting in the habit of using our B&H and Amazon links why quit now? To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we do ask that you use our B&H and Amazon affiliate links for all of your B&H and Amazon purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store. We sell only what I use and depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

This blog post took well more than 3 1/2 hours to prepare. Enjoy. And learn.

Huge Thanks!

Huge thanks to the many readers who continue to use the BAA B&H and Amazon Affiliate links for purchases large and small. March has gotten off to a great start with folks buying several Version II Super-teles, several 1D X bodies, and a 200-400. Way to go and greatly appreciated. It is wonderful to see so many folks being appreciative of the streak. Remember, every purchase helps no matter how small and getting in the habit of using the BAA links will not cost you one penny more.


Blizzard in Blue/Snow Geese fly-out at Bosque del Apache NWR, NM. With the tripod-mounted Canon 400mm f/5.6L and the A2 body. Fuji Velvia pushed one stop to ISO 100. Evaluative metering +1/2 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/5.6.

This is the image that opened my eyes to creating pleasing blurs. Learn more in A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Denise Ippolito and your truly. Click here to purchase either a traditional or canvas print of this iconic image for your home or office.

Meeting David Tipling

The image above was runner-up in Composition and Form in the 1998 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. It was my first of something like 8 or 9 honored images over the years in the prestigious WPOTY competitions. In those days, category winners and runners-up were invited to the awards ceremony and offered a ticket to London. As that was my first honored image, I gladly accepted.

At the time, David Tipling ran Windrush Photos, a stock agency that he had founded in the UK. He had a few thousand of my images in the collection. I am not sure how it came about but after the awards ceremony David took me on a photo tour of England, Scotland, and Wales. It was so cold in David’s flat that I slept in all of my cold weather stuff including all my clothes, a woolen watch cap, a hooded sweatshirt, and my heaviest parka. We drove for ten days in David’s Volvo and had a great time. The weather was great except when we went to Gingrin Farms to photograph Red Kite. It was so foggy both days that you could barely see your hand in front of your face….


Here is David Tipling in Chilean Patagonia on the day we photographed the Chilean Swallows in the rain. You gotta love what you are doing. See my swallow images in the “With and Without: Teleconverter Versatility” blog post here.

Re-Connecting With an Old Friend

When Denise and I spoke at Avistar Patagonia last fall, I was thrilled to re-connect with David. Until I read the program notice, I had not realized that David’s bird photography career had really taken off. The three of us spent lots of time both during the event and during our extended stay. You can be as impressed as I was by clicking here to learn more about David.


Emperor Penguin and chick. Image courtesy of and copyright David Tipling Photography.

About David

It was a classroom encounter with a nuthatch at the age of 8 that sparked David’s interest in birds and wildlife generally. By fourteen he had picked up a camera for the first time and soon had the photography bug. But this vied for attention with a passion for fishing then latter with bird ringing (banding) that he eventually gave up to concentrate on photography. His earliest published picture was in the mid 1980s in the Kent Bird Report followed soon after by publication in British Birds Magazine, both in black and white. Today David is one of the most widely published wildlife photographers in the world. His pictures have been used on hundreds of book and magazine covers, regularly on TV, and in just about every other conceivable way from wine labels to being projected in New York’s Times Square.

David has enjoyed a long and close association with book publishing having been the author or commissioned photographer for more than 40 titles, working with Harper Collins, New Holland Publishers, Random House, Duncan Baird, Penguin, Dorling Kindersley and Mitchell Beazley to name a few. He has collaborated with some of the UK’s leading nature writers including Jonathan Elphick and Mark Cocker. It is with Mark that Birds & People the world’s largest survey of cultural attitudes to birds worldwide was published in the summer of 2013. This six year project has met with critical acclaim being voted the critic Craig Brown’s book of the Year in the Mail on Sunday. While John Burnside in the New Statesman described Birds & People as the book of the decade with “exquisite photography.”

To check out many of David’s renowned titles, you can click here


Emperor Penguin is blizzard. Image courtesy of and copyright David Tipling Photography.

David and the Emperors

Shortly after an epic expedition camping on sea ice next to an Emperor Penguin colony in Antarctica, Marie Claire Magazine named David one of the ten most adventurous outdoor photographers in the world. This same work on Emperor Penguins resulted in the European Nature Photographer of the Year Documentary Award. Other awards have included multiple wins in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature’s Best where in 2009 David was awarded the Indigenous Cultures Award for his work on Mongolian Eagle Hunters.

David is a regular judge for photography competitions, notably British Birds Bird Photographer of the Year. He is photographic consultant for British Birds Magazine and writes a regular monthly column for East Anglia’s biggest selling paper the Eastern Daily Press in which he showcases local wildlife in pictures. He also writes a monthly column, Birds In Focus for WildPlanet Photography magazine.

When not traveling, taking pictures or writing books David relaxes by managing his 4 acre wood in the Norfolk Broads, spending time with his family and playing the didgeridoo.


King Penguins in blowing snow. Image courtesy of and copyright David Tipling Photography.

My Comments

Even though you are seeing only a few of David’s images here, his skill as a photographer and his wonderful sense of composition and design are quite evident. If you spend some time surfing David’s stock galleries you will see that his world travels are likely more extensive than mine. And like me, he loves the Southern Ocean voyages.


Atlantic Puffin with sand eels. Image courtesy of and copyright David Tipling Photography.

David and Our UK Puffins/Gannet Trip

David has been instrumental in helping Denise and me plan the soon-to-be announced UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. I am waiting to here back from the gannet boatmen and the van rental company…. Those who are interested in having their names placed on the interested list are invited to shoot me an e-mail.

The DPP RAW Conversion Guide

After seeing the accurate colors that I get from my DPP RAW conversions, Japan in Winter co-leader Paul McKenzie has switched to DPP conversions and Denise Ippolito is considering doing the same. Now that is amazing…. To learn why I use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) to convert every image that I work on, click here.


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.

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