And the Highly Honored Image Was… Artie, Why Do You Enter Contests? My Thoughts on the Competitions « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

And the Highly Honored Image Was... Artie, Why Do You Enter Contests? My Thoughts on the Competitions

Bosque Never Ceases to Amaze!

Click on the Facebook link on the right to check out my first Bosque keeper. Think it was dark? ISO 1600. 1/8 sec. at f/4.5. 70-200 and 5D III as per yesterday’s blog post :). It is hard to believe that after 20 straight years of being at Bosque for the Thanksgiving season I was able to create something completely new and different. Hey, while you are there, like us and share.

Mac Question

When I am trying to add a new JPEG to either an e-mail or to Facebook with the files arranged by Date Last Opened, Finder often opens showing yesterday’s JPEGs, not the ones I just created. In this instance is there a way to refresh Finder? If I open Finder on its own, it shows the JPEG that I just created at the top of the Web BB folder. But even after I do that the Finder window for an e-mail attachment or a Facebook upload only shows the JPEGs created on the previous day…. The only way to get around it is to reboot…. Help!

The Streak Continues: 350

On Friday I flew to Albuquerque, NM. A 3:30am wake-up call and a cab to the airport was followed by an uneventful day of flying Southwest: Reagan to Dallas Love Field to ABQ. National Rent a Car, down I-25, lunch at K-Bob’s, check into the hotel. No nap! Grab a few things, and head down to Bosque. Let just say for now that there are lots of geese. I was sound asleep by 7:30pm and wide awake by 2:00am. This blog post, the 350th in a row, took about 2 hours to prepare. It was published from hotel room in Socorro, NM at 2:31am.

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This image was created at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History at the Nature’s Best Awards Ceremony with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens (hand held at 63mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/100 sec. at f/4 in Av mode. Color temperature: Tungsten cooled to 3000K during the RAW conversion in DPP 4.

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.

King Penguin neck abstract print

King Penguin Close-up

My highly honored image in the 2014 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards competition was the King Penguin neck abstract. In the Art in Nature category. It’s nice when they named the category after you. In the blog post here, I asked the boys and girls which one they would have voted for. Opinions were split pretty much right down the middle. I like them both. But I am glad that my successful image was a bird. As art :).

It is a pretty cool feeling of pride and accomplishment when you walk up to one of your images hanging on the wall in a prestigious setting.


Stephen B. Freligh, Nature’s Best Photography Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, and Chuck Veatch, chairman of the Nature’s Best Photography Board, present the 2014 Grand Prize to Tin Man Lee. Note that both Steve’s and Chuck’s eyes were closed for this image. Either they were both sleeping or a flash fired just before my shutter opened….

Grand Prize Winner

I do not think that I have ever seen anyone as happy as Tin Man Lee was on Thursday night….

You can see large, hi-res versions of the ten category winning images here. Learn more about Nature’s Best Photography by clicking here.

Congrats to Jenaya

Congratulations to NB Youth Photographer of the Year, Jenaya Launstein, age 15. Her winning image was an intimate portrait of a porcupine. It was created in Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory, Canada. It was a pleasure meeting her and her very supportive Dad. Jenaya has dominated the Youth Division of the BIRDS AS ART International Bird Photography Competitions two years running.


For me, this image was my favorite entry in the exhibit.

My Grand Prize Winner

As spectacular as many of the winning and highly honored images were, had I been the lone judge this image of an Arctic Fox stealing off with a goose egg on Wrangel Island, Russia would have won in a landslide. This image was created by by Sergey Gorshkov of Moscow, Russia. Congrats to Sergey.

Artie, Why Do You Enter Contests?

In a word. To win. In a few more words, the recognition and prestige are nice. As I think about it, entering contests has pretty much zero to do with my career, at least as far as being a motivating factor. Surely the more honored images you have in major competitions the more likely folks are to sign up for an IPT. I guess…. If I were not a professional, I am sure that I would enter at least as many contests as I do now. I guess….

Though–over the years, as far back as 1998 I believe, I have had about 8 images or commended honored in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competitions–no category winners in that one, a like number in the Nature’s Best Contest including at least one category winner and the grand prize in their first ever contest if I remember it correctly, and several in the National Wildlife Federation contests, last night was only the second awards ceremony I have attended. The first was when Blizzard in Blue was runner up in Composition and Form in the 1998 BBC event. In those days, they offered a plane ticket to the category winners and runners up. So I went. I am glad that I went last night.

My Thoughts on the Competitions

Winning a category or even having an image honored in one of the prestigious contests is no mean feat. (Idiomatic: a laudable triumph of great difficulty). With thousands of folks entering and the judges or whomever is doing the initial selection rounds often looking at ten or twenty thousand or more images having one of your photographs wind up among the 30 or 40 left standing is quite an amazing feat when you come to think about it. In fact, it is absolutely astounding. To think that I have succeeded nearly 20 times is quite rewarding. And when you view the winning and honored images and with half of them your jaw drops in astonishment and you wonder why you even bother owning a camera, that is simply icing on a very wonderful cake.

That said, there are times when I–and many other excellent experienced photographers–look at some of the winning entries in every single prestigious contest and simply scratch our heads and are left to wonder, “What were the judges thinking on that one.”

One of my biggest successes was Fire in the Mist; it was Highly Honored in the Birds category (I think…) in a BBC competition. It is worth noting that it did nothing the first time I had entered it in that very same contest. Most wonderfully, it wound up as the wrap-around cover art for the book “Light on the Earth” that featured 30 years of the best of BBC images. Talk about an ego booster :).

More recently Gannets in Love placed first in Art in Nature in the Nature’s Best contest and first in Birds in the National Wildlife contest. I was really hoping for what would surely have been a unique triple-header with the same image in the same year honored in all three contests but alas, it did not even make the finals in that year’s BBC competition. Yeah, what were the judges thinking? And with the BBC contest, you are not allowed to enter an image that has already been honored in a major contest….

In the BBC competition I had far more success when we were limited to film, but only limited success in well more than a decade of digital entries. While I think–on one hand–that I have continued to improve, digital has flattened the learning curve and brought many more folks onto the playing field. On the other hand I have continued to have great success in the Nature’s Best contest. What’s up? I have no clue. Ask the judges :).

IAC, I try not to take the results personally. Judging a contest is a difficult task and is 100% subjective. As for me, I shall keep on trying.


Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The 2015 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

Just One Slot Left

June 29 through July 5, 2015: $5499: Limit 10 photographers/Openings 1. Two great leaders: Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris.

Here are the plans for next year: take a red eye from the east coast of the US on 28 June arriving in Edinburgh, Scotland on the morning of Monday 29 June (or simply meet us then either at the Edinburgh Airport (EDI) or later in the day at our cottages if you are driving your own vehicle either from the UK or from somewhere in Europe. Stay 7 nights in two gorgeous modern country cottages.

There are 5 days of planned puffin/seabird trips—weather permitting, and 1 full day of gannet photography with 2 sessions on the boat.


Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version.

The Details

We will be staying in upscale country-side cottages that are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for image sharing and Photoshop lessons. The shared rooms are decent-sized, each with two roomy single beds and a private bathroom. See the single supplement info below.

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included. All 5 puffins boat lunches will need to be prepared in advance, taken with, and consumed at your leisure. I usually eat mine on the short boat trip from one island to the other. Also included is a restaurant lunch on the gannet boat day and a farewell fine dining thank you dinner. The cost of your National Heritage Trust is also included; that covers the twice a day landing fees.

Plan to fly home on the early morning of Monday 6 July or to continue your stay or travels.


Images and card design copyright 2014: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. Click on the card to enjoy a spectacular larger version. Scroll down to join us in the UK in 2015.

Single Supplement Info

The single supplement is $1475. As we will be renting a third cottage the $1475 is due with your deposit and is also non-refundable.

If you are good to go please send your $2,000 deposit check now to save a spot. The balance will be due on March 29, 2015. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. If you cancel and the trip fills, we will be glad to apply a credit applicable to a future IPT for the full amount less a $100 processing fee. If we do not receive your check for the balance on or before the due date we will try to fill your spot from the waiting list. Whether or not your spot is filled, you will lose your deposit. If not, you can secure your spot by paying your balance.

We do hope that you can join us.

IPT Updates

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34 comments to And the Highly Honored Image Was… Artie, Why Do You Enter Contests? My Thoughts on the Competitions

  • avatar Mike Bass

    I doubt there’s a problem with your new Mac. Your problem is likely that you created files, but you didn’t open them, so they don’t show up in ‘last opened’.

    Regarding accessing new jpegs, open the folder that contains your image. (If the image is on your desktop, open any window and hit shift-command-D (all 3 keys at once) – this will display your desktop folder as a window.) Once the folder that contains the image is open, display the contents in list form (command-2). Sort by date created by tapping that heading. If date created doesn’t appear, access the view options (command- j) and check it on the list. If oldest appears at the top, tap the date created heading, and it will sort in reverse order (newest first).

    There are probably icons at the top of your finder windows which allow you to choose the display modes from there, instead of using command-1/2/3. If you prefer icon view, open in icon view (command-1) and choose sort by date created from View Options (command-j).

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: When I click on the FB link, the latest image I find is of two fulmars on basalt rocks, dated March 26. It’s a lovely image, but I don’t see anything from Bosque.

  • avatar Beverly Kune

    Hi Artie,

    You’ve probably already figured out the finder issue, but thought I’d also make a suggestion. If you have the Finder set to the icon/list view with cover flow (the last option shown on the top of the Finder window), the choices under the Coverflow window at the top show are Name, Date Modified, Size and Kind. If you click on Date Modified, that will be your sort criteria. There is a triangle next to the words Date Modified: if you click on that it will either show oldest first, or newest first. To show newest first click the triangle to get it to face pointing down.

    Hope that helps.

  • avatar Andrew Grandys

    Have you tried arrange by date modified ?
    Most likely your Spotlight database is not working correctly.
    Here’s the link to article with instruction on how to rebuild it:

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Andrew. I will try to get a look at that next Wednesday when I have some free time. I have had lots of surprises with my Mac. I just had to Force Quit Mail in order to get an e-mail to send. And this is a huge problem: when I left click in a spot where I want the cursor to be a pain in the ass drop-down menu appears instead. It often takes two or three of five or six clicks to get rid of the drop-down menu….

      I am finding out that computers will always be computers and that my Mac is a lot more like my PC than the legion of Mac-advocates would lead you to believe. I do love the light weight however :).

      thanks again, artie

      ps: any clues on the drop-down menu bit would be greatly appreciated.

      • avatar Alan Lillich

        Artie: I trust you meant “right click” instead of “left click”. How exactly are you doing it? My VAST preference is for a real two button mouse. If you’re using the trackpad, double check the Trackpad settings in the System Preferences. I keep tap to click off because it is too sensitive for me. Secondary click is right click, I set it to two fingers – something I can control, too easy for me to accidentally be in a corner and try to do a regular click. I would turn it off in the trackpad if I could, using only control-click on the trackpad.

        At any rate, the context menu should go away if you just click (regular, left) someplace off of it.


        • avatar Alan Lillich

          Forgot to add: If you keep right clicking off of the context menu it just keeps reappearing in a new location.

        • avatar Alan Lillich

          Dumbass me, you can turn off secondary click on the trackpad, just clear the checkbox on the left in the Teackpad preference panel.

      • avatar Andrew Grandys

        Go to System Preferences->Trackpad and change/disable settings for multi gestures.
        Since you’re new to Mac I’d probably disable all of them and slowly,after a while enable only those which you’ll remember and need.

        In your situation you’re most likely accessing so called right click menu (contextual menu) which was adapted from Windows some time ago.

        As far as force quitting applications goes,you’ll have to do that from time to time.Applications do crash sometimes.
        If that happens too often with the same application then you have a problem.Otherwise it could be anything unfortunately.

  • Gerard nails it Artie. Scroll to the bottom of the Finder window and you’ll see the images you’ve just created.

  • avatar Sarah Mayhew

    Congrats! Love the abstract King Penguin Image! The Fox is wonderful too!

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie, and thanks for your detailed answer to my question. I feel better knowing that even you can sometimes look at someone else’s image, your jaw drops, and you think why do I even bother owning a camera. And also that feeling sometimes of what were the judges thinking. I entered one contest and five of my images were chosen as “staff favorites” and put on display. I don’t think any other photographer had as many as five staff favorites. That did feel good, but the judges didn’t choose any of them, not even honorable mention.

    I agree that digital and modern AF and sensors and so on flatten the learning curve. Congratulations on your images, and I also love the fox with the egg.

  • avatar Roger Williams

    Congratulations on your award!
    I agree with your preference for the Arctic Fox, Stunning!

  • avatar Alan Lillich

    I’ll try to reproduce your problem. But I never click on the paperclip icon to add email attachments. I drag files to the email message from an adjacent (real) Finder window. You might try that as a workaround. Do you work at home with an external monitor attached to make things like that easier?

    P.S. Bit of Apple trivia: Clicking on the email paperclip, using File/Open, etc., don’t open a Finder window, just something that these days looks like a Finder Window. You’re having a problem with the File Chooser, that code is part of the file system. At least it was when I worked for Apple 1991 to 2001 …

  • avatar Carl

    Hey Artie,

    Not every one is on Facebook. Any chance to see the image on this blog?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I don’t think you need to be on Facebook. Just click on the Facebook logo top right of the blog post and I think that you will see it. Please report back :). artie

  • avatar Colm Costelloe

    Hi Artie,
    Another excellent post.
    On the Finder I’d guess something similar .. Sort by last opened means time/date images have been opened and these are brand new.
    Maybe sort by Date created or Date Modified instead.

    — Colm.

    Thanks. I will scope those out. artie

  • Happy for all of you… What a great honor…Congratulations

  • avatar Loren Charif

    Mazel Tov on the King Penguin image! Enjoy Bosque!

  • Brilliant image, the King Penguin neck abstract! Sorry i didn’t comment on the choice, work got in the way – my view was this image was amazing, the other one was good and technically excellently handled with the backlighting, but the Penguin one really stood out! Looks great on the wall as well!

  • avatar Gerald Kelberg

    If you scroll down to the bottom of the list in Finder, you will find the files as “Undated”. Well, at least that works for me!
    Have a great time in Bosque – have to join you there some day!

  • avatar Art Buesing

    Congratulations on your King Penguin Image. As to refreshing the Finder; you could go to the Apple Menu – Force Quit and force quit the Finder and relaunch the Finder. I’ve been an Apple user since 1990, but I’m always learning.