Branching Out « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Branching Out

The Streak Continues: 198

It is 5:58am here in Indian Lake Estates, FL as I finish up today’s blog post. Including the time that I spent optimizing the 2 images here this blog post took a paltry 2 hours to prepare. I hope that you enjoy it. If you do, please keep on remembering to use our B&H affiliate links for your major gear purchases and the Amazon links to the right and below for your underwear and other purchases ๐Ÿ™‚

This post marks 198 consecutive 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? April, May and June have been fantastic as lots of folks are getting the message; using my affiliate links does not cost you a penny and helps support my efforts here. To show your appreciation, I 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 have used and tested, and know that you 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.

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This image was created on Lake Blue Cypress with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 1250. Evaluative metering +2 stops off the early morning blue sky: 1/1250 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB.

Central Sensor/AI Servo-Surround/Rear Focus AF on the bend of the bird’s left wing 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.

Osprey with branch for nest

Branching Out

Yes. I still love photographing birds. Have for more than 30 years. Will till they nail the box shut.

For the past few years, actually probably closer to 5 years, I have spent more and more time branching out, photographing other-than-avian subjects: Coastal Brown Bear, flowers–especially dahlias and tulips, African and the large North American wildlife, buildings, Urbex, Japanese Snow Monkey, Galapagos Tortoise, both Marine and Land Iguanas, Sally Lightfoot Crab, fish both dead and caught, grand landscapes, mini-scenics, sky-scapes and clouds, the occasional snake, squirrel, scallop, and sea turtle, American Alligator, a variety of marine mammals, tropical frogs, ships, boats, trains, and aircraft, people–mostly family especially grandchildren, and nature photographers at work. And most recently, agricultural fields and old barns. Can you say Palouse?

In reality I have been photographing many of those subjects for close to three decades but recently, influenced and inspired by Denise Ippoltio, I have surely broadened my photographic horizons. Why? It’s all fun.


This in-camera HDR Art Vivid image was also created on the early morning of May 31, 2014. For this one I used the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens (hand held at 24mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops +/- 2 stops around the base exposure of 1/1000 sec. at f/7.1 in Av mode. Color temperature: AWB.

Central sensor/AI Servo/Surround Rear Focus AF on the horizon line and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Lake Blue Cypress Cloudscape

I’ve been creating images like this for three decades, just not a nice as this one.

The Lesson

It is important to realize that whatever the subject, the principles that help folks create great images are the same. You need to learn to see the best situations, to make sharp images when you want sharp, to create pleasing blurs, to understand the direction and quality of light, to get the right exposure (by exposing to the right), and to hone your compositional and image design skills.

The EOS-5D Mark III & In-camera HDR

Most folks who have been following our Palouse creative adventure have realized that more than 90% of the images that I created in Washington were in-camera HDRs, and about 90% of those were Art Vivids. To learn everything that I know about this great camera, get yourself a copy of my EOS-5D Mark III User’s Guide. You can learn everything that I know about the following important topics: the top LCD and all camera control buttons, the 5D Mark III drive modes, how to manually select an AF sensor, choosing an AF Area Selection Mode (how and why with extensive detail), Menu Item Access, coverage of almost all Menu Items and Custom Functions including the following: Image Quality, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Highlight Tone Priority, AF Configuration Tool (includes details on the custom setting that I use), Acceleration/deceleration tracking, Tracking sensitivity, Lens drive when AF impossible, Orientation linked AF point (I love this feature on the 5D III!), Highlight alert, Histogram display, Auto rotate, Custom Shooting Mode set-up, Safety shift, using the Q button, and setting up rear focus. And of course my Custom Case for photographing birds in flight. The guide isโ€“of courseโ€“written in my informal, easy-to-follow style.

The Best News: Get a Free Copy of the 5D III User’s Guide

If you purchase an EOS-5D Mark III using one of our product specific B&H affiliate links for the camera like the one in the image above, or the logo link below and shoot me your B&H receipt via e-mail, I will send you a 100% free copy of the EOS-5D Mark III User’s Guide.


Hope that you can join us ๐Ÿ™‚ Card and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Announcing the Palouse A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)/Eastern Washington State. May 29-June 2, 2015/5 Full Days: $1699/Limit 12 photographers

As I hinted at yesterday, this trip is–pending the arrival of promised checks–pretty much sold out. If you would like your name placed on the wait list or if you are interested in a potential follow-up trip, likely June 5-9, 2014, please get in touch via e-mail.

Rolling farmlands provide a magical patchwork of textures and colors, especially when viewed from the top of Steptoe Butte where we will likely enjoy spectacular sunrises and possibly a nice sunset or two. We will photograph grand landscapes and mini-scenics of the rolling hills and farm fields. We will take you to some really neat old abandoned barns and farmhouses in idyllic settings. There is no better way to improve your compositional and image design skills and to develop your creativity than to join us for this trip. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. Photoshop and image sharing sessions when we have the time and energy…. We get up early and stay out late and the days are long.

After 6 days of back-breaking scouting work in early June 2014 we found all of the iconic locations and, in addition, lots of spectacular new old barns and breath-taking landforms and views. We will teach you what makes one situation prime and another seemingly similar one a waste of your time.
What’s included: In-the-field instruction, guidance, lessons, and inspiration, our newfound but very extensive knowledge of the area, all lunches, motel lobby breakfasts, and Photoshop and image sharing sessions when possible.

You will learn and hone both basic and advanced compositional and image design skills. You will learn to get the right exposure every time. You will learn to develop your creative eye. You will learn the basics of HDR (high dynamic range) photography. You will learn a variety of in-camera creative techniques; Canon 5D Mark III bodies are a plus. And most importantly you will learn to see the situation and to create a variety of top-notch images. Do see both of our blogs for lots more on that in the coming weeks. You will learn how the quality and direction of light combine to determine the success of your images. And–please don’t gasp–we will be working quite a bit with sidelight when creating landscapes. Lastly, we will be touching on infrared photography.

A non-refundable $699 deposit is due now. The balance will be due on January 29, 2015. With the unpredictable nature of the photography business, I have not said this often lately, but it seems quite likely that this one will fill up very quickly. Please let me know via e-mail that you will be joining us. Then you can either call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 during business hours or send us a check; the latter is preferred.

Please send your deposit check made out to “Arthur Morris” to us at Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail. You can also contact denise via e-mail here


Card and design by Denise Ippolito. Scroll down here to see lots more of Denise’s Palouse images.

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In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. ๐Ÿ™‚

10 comments to Branching Out

  • avatar Jack Goodman

    Artie, great to see you expand your venue. To be honest, I focused 90% on birds until I just sort of burned out. Expanding to “outdoor photography reinvigorated me.


  • avatar Ron May

    Artie, love the clouds. They are another of my favourite subjects. I agree that “branching out” is a great thing. It is the way that I keep challenging myself and obviously you do too. The interesting thing is that your are right “It is all fun” and provides another outlet for one’s creativity.


  • avatar Gary Axten

    Fantastic cloudscape. Nice that it opens in a separate page of it’s own when you click it.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Gary. That depends on your Browser. I like it in Chrome where it opens on the same page in black. artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Thanks, Artie and Denise. I agree, it’s all fun. If you get great images, it’s a bonus. I love the osprey image!

  • Thanks Denise.

    Another plus are the blogs and bulletins from you and Artie. For me its all about studying what’s being shown, trying to interpret the shot, then going outside, blinders off and executing. If only I studied like that in high school ๐Ÿ™‚


  • It’s funny. Before I decided to concentrate on bird photography, I first tried flowers. After awhile I lost interest cause pretty much anything written about the subject (this is back in 2005) had to deal with different flashes, macros, tripods, etc. Plus, I stunk at it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks to Denise as she totally changed my perspective on flower photography. She’s shown that if you have a body and a lens, that’s all you really need to make fantastic flower shots. I still stink, but I enjoy it a whole lot more than 9 years ago ๐Ÿ™‚