Your Call: BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition/Action & Behavior Category « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Your Call: BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition/Action & Behavior Category

The Streak Continues 188

It is 3:58am here in Pullman, WA as we get ready to head out for our first day of Palouse photography. Lots more on that soon.

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This post took 3 hours to prepare. Enjoy!


Displaying Goldeneye

Displaying Goldeneye


The BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition

The judging of the BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition has been complete for nearly five weeks now. Thanks a stack again to our skilled panel of judges: Sandesh Kadur, Scott Elowitz, Lou Coetzer, Mary Ann McDonald, Michael Frye, Peter Kes, Denise Ippolito, and yours truly. You can learn more about the guest judges here.

From 5 to 18 images in the 8 categories were selected to be sent to the judges’ panel. Each judge voted on each image on a 0-5 scale. The votes were tallied and the results are now final. This is the final category, the strongest by far.

Your Call

The 18 incredibly strong images that were presented to the panel of judges in the Action & Behavior category are presented to you today here. Please do understand that many other strong images were eliminated in the early rounds of judging because of poor image processing, technical issues including over- or under-exposure, over-Saturation, image sharpness, the failure of folks to take advantage of our lenient digital guidelines that allow for the removal of distracting elements from an image, and simply put, by the stiff competition.

After clicking on each image to view the larger size, we ask that you vote them 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 with 5 being the strongest, 4 being your second favorite, and so on down to 1. Additional comments are welcome <em>as long as they appear below your selections. The whole thing should look something like this:

Goshawk Meal II: 5
Glaucous Gull Predation: 4
Kung Fu Eagles: 3
Displaying Goldeneye: 2
Great Grey Landing: 1

There were so many great images in this category that I wanted to give 10 of them a 5!

The selections above are of course arbitrary and should not at all influence your votes. Please read the directions carefully as comments that do not follow the format above exactly will be deleted without notice. The three winning images in this category along with the 4 runner up images and the names of the photographers will be announced here soon along with a tally of the public vote.

The Grand Prize winning image, the image that secured the highest total of judge’s votes, will be revealed when the results of the final category are announced.





Backlit Egret

Backlit Egret


Goshawk Meal I

Goshawk Meal I


Mallard Head

Mallard Head


Goshawk Meal II

Goshawk Meal II


Prairie Chicken Lek Battle

Prairie Chicken Lek Battle


Kung Fu Eagles

Kung Fu Eagles


Displaying Prairie Chicken

Displaying Prairie Chicken


Red-capped Plover

Red-capped Plover


Red-necked Grebes

Red-necked Grebes


Wrong Way Gentoo

Wrong Way Gentoo


Bateleur/Jackal Standoff

Bateleur/Jackal Standoff


Peregrine Breakfast

Peregrine Breakfast


Glaucous Gull Predation

Glaucous Gull Predation





Kingfisher Feeding

Kingfisher Feeding


Great Grey Landing

Great Grey Landing



Denise and artie hope that you can join us next spring in Holland and learn to improve both the technical and creative aspects of your flower (and street) photography.

7 1/2-Day/8-Night: A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART/Tulips & A Touch of Holland Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)

Keukenhof—Delft—Amsterdam–Flower Fields—Kinderdijk
April 9 -April 16, 2015: $4995. Limit: 12 photographers

This trip needs 6 registrants to run so please do not purchase your plane tickets until you hear from us that the trip is a go.

Join Denise Ippolito, the author of “Bloomin’ Ideas,” and Arthur Morris, Canon Explorer of Light Emeritus, for a great trip to Holland in mid-April 2015. Day 1 of the IPT will be April 9, 2015. We will have a short afternoon get-together and then our first photographic session at the justly-famed Keukenhof. Our last day, Day 8, April 16 will be a full day of photography.

The primary subjects will be tulips and orchids at Keukenhof and the spectacularly amazing tulip, hyacinth, and daffodil bulb fields around Lisse and points north. We will spend one full day in Amsterdam. There will be optional visits to the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House and/or the Rijk’s Museum. Street photography and sightseeing will be other options. We will spend a half day at Kinderdijk where we will be photographing the windmills and doing some creative photography. We will spend an afternoon in the lovely Dutch town of Delft where we will do some street photography and shopping. There is an optional church tower tour/climb. We will also enjoy a superb fine dining experience in a traditional restaurant.

Other than the arrival date: April 9, Day 1, and the date of our last day of photography on April 16, Day 8, there is no set itinerary. We will check the weather and play everything by ear to maximize the photographic opportunities. We will try to do Amsterdam, Delft, and especially Kinderdijik, on cloudy days.

There are several huge pluses to this trip. First off, denise is an amazingly skilled and caring instructor. Both her creativity and her willingness to share and to help beginning and intermediate photographers are unmatched. And though artie has learned a ton about flower photography from denise, their styles and techniques do vary considerably. You will have a chance to be counseled by and to learn from both of them. While denise will hunt you down to help you, artie’s teaching style is more “the closer you stay to me, the more you will learn.” Both leaders consistently inspire the participants. And each other. The sky, of course, is the limit.

You will learn to create tight abstracts, how best to use depth-of-field (or the lack thereof) to improve your flower photography, how to get the right exposure and make sharp images every time, how to see the best shot, and how to choose the best perspective for a given situation. And you will of course learn to create a variety of pleasingly blurred flower images. If you bring a long lens, you will learn to use it effectively for flower photography. Denise’s two favorite flower lenses are the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens and the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. Mine are the Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS macro , the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens ,and the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, all almost always on a tripod. Often with extension tubes and/or either the 1.4X or the 2X (with the 300 II) teleconverters. Denise hand holds a great deal of the time. For flower field blurs denise uses the same lenses mentioned above along with her new 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III lens. Artie’s favorite is that same 70-200 often with a 1.4X TC but he uses both the new Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens and the 300 II as well. Both of us use and love the Canon EOS 5D Mark IIIfor all of our flower photography. The in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposure features are a blast.

One of the great advantages of our trip is that we will be staying in a single, strategically located hotel that is quite excellent. Do note that all ground transfers to and from Schipol Airport will be via the free hotel shuttle bus.

What’s included: Eight hotel nights. All ground transportation except for airport transfers as noted above. In-the-field instruction and small group image review and Photoshop sessions. All meals from dinner on Day 1 through dinner on Day 8. There is good food at the hotel and we will be dining there on occasion; whenever you order off the menu be it at the hotel or at another restaurant only the cost of your main course is included. On these occasions the cost of soups, appetizers, salads, sodas and other beverages, alcoholic drinks and wine, bottled water, and desserts are not included. Snacks, personal items, phone calls, etc. are also not included. The cost of bus or train transportation to and from Amsterdam (about $20 US), museum entry, and tower and church entry fees (optional) are likewise not included.

Beware of seemingly longer, slightly less expensive tours that include travel days and days sitting in the hotel doing nothing as part of the tour. In addition, other similar trips have you changing hotels often and needlessly. One final note on other similar trips: the instructors on this trip actually instruct. On other similar trips the instructors, though usually imminently qualified, serve for the most part as van drivers and van door openers.

A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 per person is required to hold your spot. The second payment of $2,000 due by October 30, 2014. The balance is due on January 15, 2015. Payments in full are of course welcome at any time. All payments including the deposit must be by check made out to “Arthur Morris.” As life has a way of throwing an occasional curve ball our way, you are urged to purchase travel insurance within 15 days of our cashing your check. Artie uses and recommends Travel Insurance Services. All payments are non-refundable unless the trip fills to capacity. In that case, all payments but your deposit will be refunded. If the trip does not run every penny will of course be refunded. Again, please do not purchase your air tickets until you hear from us that the trip is a go. We are very confident that it will.

All checks should be made out to “Arthur Morris” and sent to: Arthur Morris, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Call Jim or Jen in the BAA office with any additional registration questions: 863-692-0906.

For couples or friends signing up at the same time for the tulip trip, a $200/duo discount will be applied to the final payment.

When you send your deposit check, please print, sign, and include the paperwork here.

If you have any questions on the trip please contact artie by e-mail

or denise by e-mail.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20% plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advise, usually sells in no time flat as did Dennis Cassidy’s 500 II recently on the blog. Larry Master’s 400 DO and his 800 f/5.6 sold within a week. From Larry via e-mail: Thanks for helping me sell the lenses so quickly!

A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART friend Kitto Kono sold her Nikon 500 to a Blog subscriber in less than a week. Janet Horton’s 7D sold this week after a $100 price reduction. Denise Ippolito’s 100-400 and her 100 macro sold in one day. Peter Kes sold his 70-200 f/2.8L IS II and his 400 DO through BAA in ten days. In the past two months we have sold a Canon 800, a Canon 500 II, 3 400 DO lenses, a Nikon 500mm, and lots more. If you are interested in using our services, please e-mail.

Used Photography Gear Page

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that there is a link to the Used Photography Gear page on the yellow tool bar at the top of each blog page. Folks looking to buy (or to sell) can click on that tab or here. I will on occasion continue to list new gear and great buys in blog posts and in Bulletins and may on rare occasion share all the listings with you on the blog. I will strive to keep the listings current. Great news for Kitty Kono and her Nikon 400mm f/2.8: it sold recently! That made her 2 for 2 on selling her older Nikon super-telephotos with BAA.

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Many kind folks from north of the border, ay, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here. Many thanks to those who have written.


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44 comments to Your Call: BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition/Action & Behavior Category

  • Gulp: 5
    Red-Necked Grebes: 4
    Kingfisher Feeding: 3
    Kung Fu Eagles: 2
    Bataleur/Jackal Standoff: 1

    I agree, strongest category so far for me as well. Any one of these, as well as those that did not make my top 5 (tonight, right this minute) could easily have secured a 5 for me. Wonderful collection. My thinking in this moment:
    I love everything about Gulp–the unusual perspective, the fact the viewer still sees the GBH eyes, and the timing which froze the peak of the action at this moment, not when the actual meal commenced.
    I included the Bateleur/Jackal Standoff among my five picks for the behavior depicted, and the backstory implied.
    I love the position of the two Kingfishers relative to one another, and how clearly I can see what the male is presenting. The fact that these birds are such fast flyers upped the ante for me on this one too; I like the slight wing blur suggesting that motion while everything else is sharp.
    The Kung Fu Eagles–I like the position of each bird in this image, how the photographer managed the exposure, and the added bonus of photographing in falling snow.
    I reacted emotionally to the Red-necked Grebes. I assume I am seeing the fog of their breaths as they call and the lack of a clear horizon serves to isolate these two birds in a world of the their own, thanks to the photographer’s choices of framing and exposure. I love everything about the image.

  • 5. Gulp
    4. Glaucous Gull Predation
    3. Wrong Way Gentoo
    2. Red Necked Grebes
    1. King Fisher Feeding

    all Great Pictures! Congrats to all!

  • What an AMAZING array of Images … and ” Action Portriature .” If most are IPT ” Vet’s ” it says a lot about their Teacher’s.
    5 … Red Necked Grebes
    4 … Osprey
    3 … Glaucous Gull Predation
    2 … Kingfisher Feeding
    1 … Red Capped Plover
    BEST Category of Competition
    C …

  • avatar Estelle Chartrand

    5= Red necked Grebes
    4= Kingfisher feeding
    3= Prairie chicken lek battle
    2= Displaying goldeneye
    1= Kung Fu Eagles

    Difficult to vote on such high quality pictures. They are all great!

  • avatar Luke Heider

    Mallard Head:5
    Glaucous Gull Predation:3
    Displaying Prairie Chicken:2
    Wrong Way Genoo:1

  • avatar C G Gustavsson

    5 points Goshawk Meal I
    4 points Gulp
    3 points Red-necked Grebes
    2 points Goldeneye
    1 point Mallard Head

  • 1. Red necked Grebes
    2. Kung Fu Eagles
    3. Gulp
    4. Osprey
    5. Kingfisher Feeding

    All are spectacular. Well done everyone!! 🙂

  • avatar David Policansky

    5. Rednecked grebes. The backlit steamy breath just makes this image stand out above all the others.

    4. Goldeneye displaying. Great action and composition.

    3. All of the others. So tough to choose. Artie, you HAD to vote.

  • Gulp: 5
    Mallard Head: 4
    Goshawk Meal: 3
    Red-necked Grebes: 2
    Osprey: 1

  • avatar Eddy Vaes

    5-Glaucous gull predation
    3-Bateleur/jackall standoff
    2-Mallard head
    1-Red capped plover

  • Kung Fu Eagles 5
    Goshawk meal II 4
    Red-necked Grebes 3
    Wrong way Gentoo 2
    Mallard head 1

    Yikes! That was extremely tough. All the images are so inspiring and absolutely amazing moments of capture!

  • avatar Jay


    Displaying Goldeneye: 5
    Red Capped Plover: 4
    Mallard Head: 3
    Gulp: 2
    Praire Chicken Lek Battle: 1

  • avatar Marina Scarr

    5 Gulp
    4 Wrong Way Gentoo
    3 Gaucous Gull Predation
    2. Goshhawk Meal
    1. Mallard Head

  • Gulp: 5
    Osprey: 4
    Great Grey Landing: 3
    King Fisher Feeding: 2
    Kung Fu Eagles: 1

  • avatar Mark A Jordan

    Gulp: 5
    Mallard Head: 4
    Osprey: 3
    Kingfisher Feeding: 2
    Red-necked Grebes: 1

    All amazing!

  • avatar Cheri

    Prairie Chicken Lek Battle: 5
    Kingfisher Feeding: 4
    Displaying Prairie Chicken: 3
    Displaying Goldeneye: 2
    Red-necked grebes: 1

  • avatar Fain Zimmerman

    5. Displaying Prairie Chicken
    4. Red-necked Grebes
    3. Displaying Goldeneye
    2. Kingfishers feeding
    1. Bataleur/Jackal Standoff

    These were all wonderful and very hard to make a decision about. Congratulations to all these awesome photographers!

  • avatar Kylie Jones

    Mallard Head: 5
    Goshawk Meal II: 4
    Gulp: 3
    Displaying Goldeneye: 2
    Backlit Egret: 1

    Very very impressive. Mallard Head is just perfect. I love the expression and directly facing the camera in Goshawk Meal II, one of my favourite positions of birds with attitude, so it gets 2nd for me. Gulp is wonderful. Displaying Goldeneye was my favourite when I started on the page, just found the others to be a bit stronger, but my 2nd to 4th are interchangeable. And Backlit Egret is just pretty. The others were amazing shots too, and I would have happily picked most if there weren’t such stronger competition. Well done everyone!

  • avatar Bob Smith

    Glaucus Gull Predation:5
    Backlit Egret:3
    Kung Fu Eagles:2
    Red Neck Grebes:1

  • avatar Kathleen Hanika

    Kingfisher Feeding: 5
    Prairie Chicken Lek Battle: 4
    Backlit Egret: 3
    Peregrine Breakfast: 2
    Gulp: 1

    Very hard to choose.

  • Wow! Some incredible moments captured here…
    kingfishers feeding-5
    red-necked grebes-4
    prairie chicken lek battle-3
    goshawk meal II-1 I love the expression on the hawk’s face.

  • avatar Pascal Herms

    Backlit Egret: 5
    Kingfisher Feeding: 4
    Gulp: 3
    Mallard Head: 2
    Displaying Prairie Chicken: 1

  • avatar Sharon Hallowell

    Every single one of these images are awesome! Tough to pick, but here’s mine:
    5 Gulp
    4 Red-necked Grebes
    3 Mallard Head
    2 Wrong Way Gentoo
    1 Backlit Egret

    Congrats to ALL of you!

  • avatar Alice Meronek

    Glaucous gull predation – 5
    Backlit egret – 4
    Gulp – 3
    Kung fu eagles – 2
    Red necked grebes – 1

    I really liked the lighting and colors of these shots.
    5- that delicate pink edging really catches my eye.
    4- beautiful color relaxing setting.
    3- unusual viewpoint.
    2- great action shot!
    1- love that quacking fog.

  • Ospray : 5
    King fisher feeding: 4
    Kung Fu Eagles: 3
    Peregrine: 2
    Great Grey Landing: 1

  • avatar Luis Patacão

    Amazing images, IMHO the strongest category so far. Although not easy to decide the Mallard Head is way to strong for me to resist.

    Mallard Head: 5
    Backlit Egret: 4
    Red-necked Grebes: 3
    Goshawk Meal II: 2
    Great Grey Landing: 1

  • prairie chicken lek battle 5
    Kung foo eagles 4
    gulp 3
    wrong way gentoo 2
    king fisher feeding 1

  • Kingfisher Feeding (5)
    Red-necked Grebes (4)
    Kung Fu Eagles (3)
    Osprey (2)
    Backlit Egret (1)

    Congrats to all of them, Wonderlful captures!

  • Peregrine Breakfast 5
    Mallard Head 4
    Kingfisher Feeding 3
    Goshawk Meal I 2
    Goshawk Meal II 1

  • Amazing Images!

    5 – Wrong way Gentoo
    4 – Gulp
    3 – Goshawk Meal II
    2 – Displaying Goldeneye
    1 – Red-capped Plover

  • avatar George Cottay

    Prairie Chicken Lek Battle: 5
    Kingfisher Feeding: 4
    Displaying Goldeneye: 3
    Goshawk Meal I: 2
    Red-necked Grebes: 1

    The Mallard Head stayed off my list for about same emotional response that put it on top for Doug West. That probably suggests a winning picture.

  • Prairie Chicken Lek Battle: 5
    Osprey: 4
    Kingfisher Feeding: 3
    Displaying Prairie Chicken: 2
    Red-necked Grebes: 1

    Of the 17 action & behavior images the Prairie Chicken Lek Battle is the fastest and most decisive shot. It required precise, preset, custom Menu settings, and a preselected blazing fast shutter speed all built on the foundation of multiple IPT’s. Combined with skillful hand eye coordination and patience, the stage is set for the decisive moment to be recorded.

  • Displaying Goldeneye: 5
    Red-necked Grebes: 4
    Osprey: 3
    Kung Fu Eagles: 2
    Glaucous Gull Predation: 1

  • Gulp: 1
    Mallard Head: 2
    Peregrin Breakfast: 3
    Kingfisher Feeding: 4
    Prairie Chicken Lek Battle: 5

    Oh so good – each one!!

  • Mallard Head: 5
    Kingfisher Feeding: 4
    Goshawk Meal II: 3
    Red-capped Plover: 2
    Great Grey Landing: 1

    I just love, love, love the Mallard Head! I would love
    to put that on a big screen and watch the audience reaction.


  • avatar Herman Hiel

    I second Doug’s comment; this is unfair. Is it the intention that I sell my gear and take up darts or should I come for an IPT 🙂

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Herman. But you need to put your boots on. Darts is good, but photography is better. Actually 7 of the 18 images here were created by folks who have been on multiple IPTs.

  • Artie; you may want to check the capitalization of “Osprey”.

  • I really don’t think I can vote…all of these are freaking awesome! I’d say this is the best category
    of them all so far. Doug