The View From the Top: Was it Worth It? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The View From the Top: Was it Worth It?

The Streak Continues: 148

I woke yesterday at 4:15am Holland time, 10:15pm the day before in Florida. My flight to Detroit was a breeze–I read and dozed, dozed and read, Customs and my connection went smoothly and daughter Jennifer and grandson Sam picked me up at about 3:30pm at the Orlando Airport. It was good to get home.

This post marks 148 straight days with a new educational blog post. With so many folks getting in the habit of using our B&H links and our Amazon logo-links why quit now? To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we do ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially Gitzo tripods, Wimberley tripod heads, and the like. We sell only what I used, tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know the tools that you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

You can find the following items in the store: Gitzo tripods, Mongoose M3.6 and Wimberley heads, plates, low feet, and accessories, flash brackets, , Delkin e-film Pro Compact Flash Cards, LensCoat products, and our unique line-up of educational materials including ABP I & II, Digital Basics, Site and Set-up e-Guides, Canon and Nikon Camera Users and AF e-Guides, and MP-4 Photoshop video tutorials among others.

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This blog post took about 2 hours to create. Enjoy!


This +/-2 stop/3-frame in-camera HDR Natural image of City Hall in Delft, The Netherlands, was created at 5:11pm on April 22, 2014 with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens (sort of hand held at 70mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop yielded a base exposure of 1/25 sec. at f/22 in Av mode. Color temperature: AWB.

Five sensors down from the central sensor/AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the white statue below the red & yellow lion emblem was framed active at the moment of each exposure. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The View From the Top

On Tuesday afternoon past we visited the city of Delft as part of the Touch of Holland portion of the Tulip IPT. There was lots to see and lots of interesting street photography. Mike Gotthelf and I decided to climb the tower of Nieuwe Kerk, the New Church with our photo gear. The tower is the second highest church tower in the Netherlands. The spiral stairway was extremely narrow. And very steep. At 108.75 meters (357 feet) high–356 steps in all, making the climb up the spire was a challenge for both of us. But we made it. The views from the top were–as expected–spectacular.

We had been hoping for clouds to cut down on the contrast, but the skies cleared and it turned out to be a sunny afternoon. Going HDR Natural was the obvious choice. Without thinking too hard I set the aperture at f/22. This left the base shutter speed at 1/25 sec. and the shutter speed for the lightest image in the series at 1/6 sec. Even with an image stabilized lens, creating a sharp image hand held at 1/6 sec. would have been a challenge so I rested the butt-end of the 5D Mark III on the angled top of the 6-inch thick restraining wall. I fine-tuned the up and down framing by moving the camera slightly forward or back. I shared my jury-rigged solution with Mike and we were both able to create sharp series of images in a challenging situation.

In retrospect, f/11(with 2 stops more shutter speed) would have been fine at 70mm…

5D Mark III User’s Guide

You can learn the fine points of creating creating in-camera HDRs and in-camera Multiple Exposures along with everything that I know about this great camera in my 5D Mark III User’s Guide here.

Get a Free Copy of Our 5D Mark III User’s Guide

Purchase a Canon EOS-5D Mark III using one of our product-specific B&H affiliate links above or by clicking on the logo link below and shoot me your B&H receipt via e-mail. Once and if the purchase appears in my account–it should unless you screwed up somehow and did not use the link :), I will be glad to have Jim send you a free copy of our 5D Mark III User’s Guide.

Am I Indestructible?

Even approaching age 68, with my five trigger fingers and my aching right shoulder, I usually think of myself as indestructible. About three months ago my left knee flared up. Within a few days of intense alternative medicine therapy it was a good as new. The week before we left for Holland it flared up again. The surgeon told me in 2006 that I would be back within a year for a new knee. I begged to differ. The day before I got on the plane Rock-taped it.

By the time we hit Delft a week later, the knee was feeling pretty good.

I did not think twice about climbing the tower. Cardio-wise I was fine barely stopping to rest. And I easily beat the younger Mike Gotthelf to the top. On the way down the knee acted up a bit but on Wednesday it felt fine. By Thursday I was hurting and last night the pain (and the jet lag) woke me at 1:00am. I was out of bed and working by 2:00am.

I need to learn to take things a bit easier….

Was it Worth It?

In a word, no. But I am sure that it will be feeling a lot better in a week. (PMA= positive mental attitude.)

Very Small Group Instruction 🙂

Nobody has signed up for the next Gatorland In-the-field Saturday Workshop :). Both the St. Augustine and the Fort DeSoto IPTs have a single registrant. Both will run. See additional details for all three below.


Join me at Gatorland next Saturday for a ton of learning. If you want to learn to use your flash and to make great photos in cluttered rookeries, you will not want to miss this one. Click on the composite image to enjoy a larger version. Click on the composite to enjoy the larger size.

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

Saturday May 3, 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.

Late Registration Discount

Right Now It’s Just Me

Call me this weekend at 863-692-0906 or call Jim or Jennifer during the week for info on the late registration discount for the May 3 I-T-F Workshop.

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

Small and large chicks in the nest. Breeding plumage Cattle and Snowy Egrets. And tons more. 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.

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. The long-range weather forecast for next Saturday is looking good with just a chance for afternoon thunderstorms.

Payment in full via credit card is due upon registering. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 to register.


All of the images created at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and copyright Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

From top left clockwise to center: Snowy Egret pair in breeding plumage, breeding plumage Cattle Egret with fill flash, large Great Egret chicks in the nest, killer breeding plumage Snowy Egret displaying, flash-as-main light Great Egret chick happy to see mom, Little Blue Heron chicks, Cattle Egret breeding plumage head portrait, flash flight Wood Stork with nesting material, Great Egret landing at the nest, large Snowy Egret chicks.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Short-Notice IPT. 3-FULL DAYS. Early entry/Late stay. May 5-7, 2014. Meet and greet at 8pm on Sunday May 4: $1299. Two Great Leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito

This trip needs four to run.

Breeding herons, egrets, and Wood Storks. Eggs and chicks in the nest. Some fledged young possible. Breeding behaviors including displaying and copulations. Flight and flash flight. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Tricolored Heron, Wood Stork. Early May rocks at the Farm as the weather is usually gorgeous and there should be lots of both small and large chicks in the nest. And you avoid the possibly oppressive heat of June and July.

Includes in-the-field instruction, early entry, late stay, $5/person late-stay gratuity, informal, small group Photoshop and image review sessions. Three lunches.

Not included: your lodging, your St. Augustine Alligator Farm photographer’s pass ($79.95 for the year); we will be more than glad to pre-order your pass for you. Please let us know when you register.

What you will learn:

How to see the good situations.
How to best avoid the clutter of a rookery by choosing the very best perspective.
How to properly evaluate the histogram and come up with the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure
How to see and understand the light.
How to to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system.
Why you must work in Manual mode 95% of the time when photographing at a rookery and how to do it.
How to evaluate and process your images.
Via intensive instruction how to use fill flash flash as main light, and Manual flash.
Flash flight techniques including the necessary use of high speed sync.
And tons more.

Please call Jim or Jen at 863-692-0906 to hold your spot with your non-refundable $299 credit card deposit and then put your check in the mail along with your signed registration form; you can find the form here.

Suitable airports: Jacksonville (JAX), Daytona Beach (DAB), Orlando MCO).

We look forward to seeing you in the nation’s oldest city for three days of fun and learning.


Fort DeSoto in spring is rich with tame birds. With many in breeding plumage it is a photographer’s paradise. I hope that you can join me there in mid-May.

Short Notice Fort DeSoto IPT/In-the-Field Workshops: May 9, 10, & 11, 2014

IPT–3 FULL DAYs: $1099
In-the-Field Workshops: $399/day

Fort DeSoto in spring is so good that I needed to create two cards in order to give folks an idea of what is possible. Even then I have barely scratched the surface. If you are coming from out of town you will surely want to do all 3 days, the entire IPT. Local folks may wish to join me for one or more full days.

There will Lots of tame birds including breeding plumage Laughing Gull and Royal and Sandwich Terns courting and copulating. American Oystercatcher plus lots of sandpipers and plovers, some in breeding plumage. Red Knot in breeding plumage likely. Lots of wading birds including Great and Snowy Egrets, both color morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue, Tricolored and Little Blue Heron, and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Roseate Spoonbill and WOod Stork between possible and likely…. Lots of flight photography with the gulls and terns and with Brown Pelican.

You will learn how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, 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. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you are scared of it).

At lunch we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me edit–why keep this one and delete that one. If you opt to bring your laptop, we will take a look at five of your best images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

This is the IPT hotel: Comfort Inn St. Petersburg, FL. 2260 54th Ave N., St. Petersburg, FL 33714. tel: 1-727-362-0075. The best airport is Tampa (TPA).

Payment in full via credit card is due upon registering. Please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 to register.


Fort DeSoto in spring is rich with tame birds. With many in breeding plumage it is a photographer’s paradise. I hope that you can join me there in mid-May.

Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make it in mid-May? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

Shorebirds/Beautiful Beachcombers

If the shorebirds in the ID quiz gave you pause, get yourself a copy of my Shorebirds/Beautiful Beachcombers. Includes ID tips, shorebird biology, migration, and tons more. All in my simple-to-read easy-to-read style.

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4 comments to The View From the Top: Was it Worth It?

  • Artie, Thanks for the tip on Rocktape. With a little skepticism, I bought a roll and tried it on my elbow and my wife’s shoulder. To our delight and a little amazement, the stuff really worked for both of us. Thanks doc!

    YAW. Lots of pro athletes use the stuff every day… artie

  • Artie, for all of us your age and suffering similar knee problems, could you elaborate on RockTape and your alternative medicine therapy?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Martin, I’d be glad too. I just gone done with more than an hour of work as described in Pete Egoscue’s Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain I did the stuff for knee pain/external rotation. They are positions rather then exercises. You just lie there as your body gets re-aligned.

      The Rock Tape stuff comes with directions. Taping the knee is easy. One split strip around the sides of the knee and one stretched band below the knee. I also work the muscles above and around the knee with a Rapid Release Technology device. And I do 30 minutes twice a day of on a machine called Tate Avacen that pumps warm healing blood throughout the body. I am trying to keep the wolf from the door….

      ps: the last two help a lot with my shoulder.

      . I do an earth nap–30 minutes in shorts on the grass on a thin cotton sheet.

  • Kay Petterson

    Beautiful picture Artie, that would make quite the puzzle.