The Calm Before the Wind… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Calm Before the Wind...

The Streak Continues: 359

We had our fourth in a row Wonderful Festival of the Cranes Early Morning Workshop group and everyone learned a ton; we rocked ’em again. Learn more about our amazing weather day below and more in a coming blog post.

Coming soon: a free Bosque Site Guide update for all: The State of the Bosque…. Today’s blog post, the 359th in a row, took 1 1/2 hours to assemble and was published from my hotel room in Socorro, NM at 3:24am. Tonight, we meet our 2-DAY Creative Workshop group.

The Mac PDF Mystery Resolved–Sort Of…

Arash sent me the updated DPP Guide via e-mail to my gmail account. It opened easily with a single click in Adobe Acrobat Reader for Mac. Thanks to all who offered help and thoughts. The mystery remains as to how the file, sent as an e-mail attachment to my samandmayas att address, became corrupted….

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This image was created at 6:42am on Sunday, November 23 at Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM. I used the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod), the Mongoose M3.6 head, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (at 200mm), and the Canon EOS-1D X.
ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/125 sec. at f/10 in Av mode.

Central Sensor Expand AI Servo/Rear Focus AF on the row of cranes and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Calm Before the Wind

The Calm Before the Wind…

Despite the Armageddon-like forecast for Sunday morning, the day dawned with relatively calm shifting winds. We had a great flyout and then, seeing the color develop in front of us we moved south past the flight deck to find some birds to put in front of the color. It was the same old lesson that folks fail to get. Everyone photographing north of the Flight Deck stayed put.

By 9:00 the wind was about 20mph from the NW. By 11:00am it was a solid 25-30 from the NW with gusts to 47. Nice. Can you say wind against sun? When the gusts strengthened, you needed to turn around to avoid being blinded by the blowing sand and grit. I had as many as four rigs set up with three of them on the ground resting on an old scarf. Everything quickly became covered in dirt, dust, and grit. We had found lots of geese, far away at first. Big numbers wound up right by the tour loop road and we stayed with them despite the horrific conditions.

I saw the potential; we stayed till noon in the bright sunshine, and eventually, those who persevered, were greatly rewarded. In addition, I had a revelation that I will share with you here soon.

The Image Conversion

The RAW file was converted in DPP 4. I moved the Shadow slighter 5 to the right to open up the dark areas and the Highlight slider 2 to the left to darken the brightest YELLOWs. The only thing that I did in Photoshop was a slight Curves adjustment to further open up the darker areas and tone down the highlights, both only a bit. Otherwise the image is right out of camera with not a pixel altered.

IPT Updates

Would you like to visit some of the great bird photography locations on the planet? Would you like to learn from the best? Click here and join us.


All of the images in the bear boat card above were created in Katmai National Park during the month of September.

Bear Boat/Bears Catching Salmon IPT: September 1-8, 2015 from Kodiak, AK/6 FULL & 2 1/2 DAYS: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 8/Openings: 5. Plus the leader: Arthur Morris.

If I do not have four deposit checks in hand by 1/31/2015 I reserve the right to scrap this trip so please do not purchase your plane tickets until you hear from me. 🙂 Only one to go.

Join me in Katmai National Park, AK for seven days of photographing Coastal Brown Bears (grizzlies) catching salmon, fattening up for the long winter. Other subjects will include Mew and Glaucous-winged Gulls in flight and dip-feeding on salmon roe. Did I mention that we live on a boat and that the food is great? Most of our photography will be done in a variety of famed locations: Geographic Harbor, Kinak Bay, and Kukak Bay. We once had 39 bears fishing the creek at Kukak….

It is mandatory that you be in Kodiak no later than the late afternoon of August 31, 2015 September to avoid missing the float planes to the boat on the morning of September 1. With air travel in AK being what it is, with the chance of fog or other bad weather–being on Kodiak on August 30 is an even better plan). I be on Kodiak on August 30 to avoid any potential disaster. That said in my nearly a dozen bear boat trips I was delayed only once but since I was day early as noted above there was no harm, no foul.

We will take one or more float planes to the boat mid-morning on September 1. We will photograph bears fishing that afternoon and every day for the next six days (weather permitting of course). We should have bears catching salmon every day. In addition, we will get some nice stuff on Mew Gull and Glaucous-winged Gulls dining on roe and the remains of predated salmon. We may–depending on where the concentrations of bears are–get to photograph Harbor seals and some hauled out Steller’s Sea Lions (an endangered species). Halibut fishing (license required) is optional. On September 8, our last morning on the boat, those who would like to enjoy one last photo session will do so. The group returns to Kodiak via float plane midday. Most folks will fly to Anchorage and then continue on red-eye flights to their home cities.

The eight days will consist of six full days (Sept 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7) of photography featuring lots of Coastal Brown Bears catching salmon as above plus a variety of other natural history subjects plus some nice scenic photography that I forgot to mention above. Plus the first afternoon and the last morning.

What’s included? 8 DAYS/7 NIGHTS on the boat as above. All meals on the boat. (The food is quite excellent.) National Park fees. One night’s double occupancy lodging on Kodiak; arrive: Sept 1/depart: Sept 2. The thank-you-in-advance dinner on Sept 1. In-the-field photo tips, instruction, and guidance. An insight into the mind of a top professional; I will constantly let you know what I am thinking, what I am doing, and why I am doing it. Small group image review, image sharing, and Photoshop instruction on the boat.

What’s not included: Your round trip airfare to and from Kodiak, AK (almost surely through Anchorage). All necessary lodging other than the cost of your double occupancy room on the night of August 31 should you opt to arrive early–we can arrange that in advance for you. We will let you know the cost of a single supplement for the one night if so desired. The cost of the round-trip float plane to the boat on September 2 and back to Kodiak on September 9. The cost of a round trip this year was $500. The suggested crew tip of $210.

Is this an expensive trip? Yes, of course. But with 6 full and two half days, a wealth of great subjects, and the fact that you will be walking with the bears just yards away (or less….) it will be one of the great natural history experiences of your life. Most folks who take part in a Bear Boat IPT wind up coming back for more.

A $2,000 per person non-refundable deposit by check only made out to “Arthur Morris” is required to hold your spot. Please click here to read our cancellation policy. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us.

Your deposit is due immediately. That will leave a balance of $4699. The next payment of $2699 will be due on February 15, 2015. The final payment of $2000 is due on May 1, 2015.

I hope that you can join us for this wondrously exciting trip.

By e-mail from Bill Keown, veteran of three bear boat trips!

Hi Artie, What a great trip! With the exception of the one bright sunny day it was just great. Very different from my first trip in June where we only had the bears clamming; the fishing bears were amazing! As always I learned a lot and enjoyed the group immensely. All the Best, Bill


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5 comments to The Calm Before the Wind…

  • avatar Joel Haas


    This is a pain in the you know “where”………

    As above….”I saw the potential; we stayed till noon in the bright sunshine, and eventually, those who persevered, were greatly rewarded. In addition, I had a revelation that I WILL SHARE WITH YOU SOON.”

    We are all going to continue reading the BAA Blog, but ,…..REALLY? Come off it, please. Comment on the NOW, again, PLEASE.

    Don’t publish this if you wish.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Joel. I am afraid though, that you will have to be patient. artie

      ps: seeing something as a pain in the ass is a choice 🙂

  • avatar Warren Robb

    Artie, Another great shot of life on the Bosque! I too was blown away by the color as I took my own shots with your coaching, and then to be “blown away” literally later in the morning made for a memorable day to say the least. Thanks so much to you and Denise for the great experience yesterday. I “learned a ton” and look forward to join you again at some future IPT.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: I love the shot. Glad you got good opportunities. Your description of the wind reminds me of the weather we enjoyed at Barnegat two years ago (with no calm before the storm!). Toughing it out led to great photo opportunities, so I’m not surprised it did at Bosque as well.