Retirement Reactions & Revelations & A Relaxing Day by the Pool with Friends « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Retirement Reactions & Revelations & A Relaxing Day by the Pool with Friends

What’s Up?

Not much. I enjoyed a tremendously relaxing do-nothing day yesterday; see below for details. I did my swim before the Klein family arrived and enjoyed an ice bath at 6:30pm. This blog post took about 1 1/2 hours to prepare and was published from my home at ILE, FL on the morning of April 2. Today marks 85 straight days with a new educational blog post. I would like to wish everyone a belated happy April Fool’s Day….

Retirement Reactions & Revelations

Everyone who knows me at all realized almost instantly that yesterday’s retirement was an April Fool’s prank. I will not be retiring. Not now. Not ever. Bird photography is in my heart and in my soul. It is my passion and my reason for being. And the same goes for teaching others. As long as I have my health, my retirement will come when they nail the box shut. In addition, I would never ever think of hanging the folks signed up for future IPTs out to dry….

I have long dreamed of being a professional golfer, but I have a very big handicap in that area: a severe lack of skill. As the commercials say, “Those guys are good!”

Some folks got snagged. All were quite gracious once they learned that they had been April-fooled. Many sent clever replies via e-mail. Some of those left me laughing out loud for several minutes.

Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Dick Curtain sent this:

Art, Best wishes on your retirement!!! I just placed a $100,000 gear order with B&H but didn’t use your link as I knew that it would not be active now that you are retired… Best, Dick
ps: happy April Fool’s Day to you too!

By e-mail from Chuck Hooker

Dear Artie, I was thrilled with your announcement this morning. So much so, that I walked into my manager’s office and tendered my resignation, effective immediately. When he picked his jaw up from his desk, he looked at me in bewilderment. I showed him your email. I said, “this is the opening I have been waiting for. It’s time I claim my place as the next Arthur Morris. I’m going to Florida to take over where he’s leaving off.” I showed him an image I made this morning of bluebirds at the feeder, shot with my iPhone. He just shook his head in disbelief.

I’ve contacted Nikon about beginning the process of becoming a Nikon Ambassador, which will let me rub shoulders with some of my mentors like Ami Vitale and Moose Peterson. I’m sure they’ll jump on it, since when I post the first few Nikon made images and all the BAA devotees dump their Canon gear and switch over to Nikon, their sales will be such that it will finally put them in the black.

Unfortunately I find Florida a little too warm for my taste (and I have an aversion to sinkholes), so I’ll be relocating BAA to Seattle, where there is great birding and great coffee. I hope your daughters won’t mind the move – you can come too if you like – or they can just telecommute. I know it’s Passover and all, but I’ll try to be there this weekend to try and make the transition a smooth one. Thanks, cheers, and Happy April Fools to you! Chuck

E-mail exchange with Frank Sheets

Artie, Sorry to see you hanging it up, but I can completely understand. I keep trying to do it but my wife, ten years younger than me, a type “A” personality, and way too overworked, keeps telling me, I’m not retired, just “redirected” (by her I might add). I live on a golf course here in the high desert of Southern California and the more I am out there, the happier I am, but she keeps dragging me into the house to do a little consulting. Honestly, although I gripe, its not a bad gig and keeps me involved in my original field of work and the people and relationships. You may want to consider that option.

Anyway, for the short time I have been subscribed to your blog I have enjoyed it immensely and thanks for that. I keep looking at your bird
photos and keep asking myself what makes these wonderful as compared to the vast number of bird pics on the internet that in no way compare. As such, you have helped me set some bird photography goals. I hope to reach some of those as I continue to photograph for many more years.

I will miss your posts. Hopefully you (or your daughter) will keep your website up so we can continue to look at your inspirational bird photography. RE your golf game, remember, “What do you see when you look up? A bad shot.” Hey, I know that, from experience. Best of luck and thanks again.

ps: I knew your cap was on your head. I am getting more and more experienced along those lines as well. #$%^@$#

am: Thanks for you kind words. BTW, happy April Fool’s Day 🙂 No retirement here 🙂 Gotcha! later and love, artie
ps: thanks for the personal sharing and best of luck.

FS: You, you, you, you…….SOB. You really got me. I can’t wipe the grin off my face. YOU……YOU……YOU SOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t stop laughing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Frank T. Sheets

Patrick Sparkman

You should have mentioned that you we moving to San Diego to take up the Triathlon with me! Thanks for the laugh! I needed it! My Mom is quite ill. Patrick

Henry Posada

LOL. I really fell for that one big time!!!

Ron May

The subject line of Ron May’s e-mail said it all best and succinctly: Retirement–Yeah, right!!!


From left to right, Dave Klein, yours truly, younger son Ian (15), Dave’s lovely and charming wife Ingrid, and older son Brendan (17, on the deck of the Digital Basics pool. Photo courtesy of and copyright 2015: Dave Klein.

Because I ruined the best 20-second timer image by squinting, I used two small Quick Masks refined by warping the selection via the Transform Command. The basics of this technique are described in Digital Basics and APTATS I.

A Relaxing Day by the Pool with Friends

Yesterday I had the pleasure of having multiple IPT veteran and friend Dave Klein and his family over for lunch and a swim. We were joined by my older daughter Jennifer, husband Eric, and their two kids, Sam and Maya. As always my right hand man Jim Litzenberg joined in the fun by helping out tremendously. One of the prime topics of the day was the NHL. Granddaughter Maya is a huge Chicago Blackhawks fan while Dave’s two boys are equally fanatic about the Minnesota Wild who are doing quite nicely of late.

After lunch I took the Klein family down to the lake where Dave got some nice images of both adult and colt Sandhill Cranes.

An E-mail from Dave Klein

Dear Artie,

Thank you for offering us the opportunity to visit with you, Jim, Jennifer, Eric, Sam and Maya at your home today. Going for a swim in your pool was fantastic as well. Thanks for bumping the temperature up from your usual 76 degrees! The lunch was great and we enjoyed meeting everyone and sharing stories around the table. We truly appreciate your hospitality and friendship. Enjoy your time at home until your photographic adventures take you on the road again. Our visit was a definite highlight of our week spent in Florida and you all made us feel very welcome. Thanks so much for such a great day!

With appreciation and love from your Minnesota friends,

Dave, Ingrid, Brendan and Ian Klein

ps: Having followed you for years and having tried to do my best to learn from you as well the visit for me personally was a real thrill. You have my sincere thanks 🙂


Clockwise from upper left to center: Snowy Egrets/breeding plumage pair, American Alligator with egret feather on head, Cattle Egret in breeding plumage (with fill flash), large Snowy Egret chicks, displaying gator, Wood Stork in flight carrying nesting material (fill flash), begging Snowy Egret chick, another Cattle Egret in breeding plumage (with fill flash), and Great Egret chick.

Date Change: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Short-Notice Spoonbill and Wading Bird Chicks IPT: May 4-6, 2015.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm Short-Notice Spoonbill and Wading Bird Chicks IPT: May 4-6, 2015. TWO FULL and TWO 1/2 DAYS: $1099. Limit 8/Openings 5.

St. Augustine in early May is a bird photographer’s paradise. With any luck we should have chicks of all sizes in the nests ranging from newly hatched Snowy Egrets and Tricolored Herons to nearly fledged Great Egrets. More than a few pairs of Roseate Spoonbills have nested at the Alligator Farm for the past several years. Photographing the spoonbill chicks in the nest is a huge challenge…. With any luck we will encounter a few Snowy and Cattle Egrets in stunning breeding plumage. We should have lots of flight photography ops especially late in the day. We will enjoy extra early entry on our three mornigs. Folks who will need a photographer’s pass ($89.95 includes full season early entry and late stay and submission fees for up to 5 photos in their annual contest; this works out to cheaper than four separate entry tickets). We will have those ready for pick-up on the first afternoon.


Clockwise from upper left: flash-as-main light Great Egret chick begging, breeding plumage Cattle Egret w/fill flash, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret chick in nest begging, Cattle Egrets copulating, Wood Stork with nesting material, another Wood Stork with nesting material, and breeding plumage Snowy Egret displaying.

What You Will Learn

On this IPT you will the learn the basics and fine points of digital exposure and how to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure. You will learn to understand and predict bird behavior and to see and understand the light. You will learn to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system and how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it). Most importantly, you will learn to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective. Rookeries are crowded, cluttered, white-washed places. Most folks who visit have no clue as to the difference of an image with tons of distractions and one with a clean line of sight and the best possible distant background. Join me and I will teach you to see like a pro.

I will be bringing my flash to the Alligator Farm (gasp!) I have not used flash for at least a year. I will be teaching you how to use flash as fill and how to use flash as main light. In addition, I will be reviewing the flash flight techniques that I developed at St. Augustine more than a few years ago.


Clockwise from upper left: gator back, Great Egret returning to mate (with fill flash), Roseate Spoonbill with bill open, Roseate Spoonbill chick begging, Roseate Spoonbill 11am silhouette, large Great Egret chicks in nest, and bill of Roseate Spoonbill.

Whats the Rest of the Deal?

Afternoon session on Monday, May 4. Then two full days with a morning and afternoon session each day, May 5 & 6. Then our last morning on May 7. At lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday (included) 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 can take a look at five of your best images from the morning or another session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot. Your balance–$600, payable only by check, is due immediately. Please include a separate check for $89.95 so that we can purchase your pass in advance. Please click here to read our cancellation policy before committing. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork linked to here and get it to us. You can register by calling Jim or Jen at the office at 863-692-0906 and arranging for your deposit of $499. Balances are payable only by check. I hope to see you there.


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10 comments to Retirement Reactions & Revelations & A Relaxing Day by the Pool with Friends

  • Art, now we expect you to show us a perfectly sharp image of a golf ball in flight with the Canon 100-400mm! :o) :o) :o)

  • avatar Larry & Carmen Stunkel

    Hi Art, while we are very new followers we just knew your retirement post was an April Fool joke. We both agreed that you seem too passionate about teaching and sharing your photography to so abruptly retire … and even guessed someone would prank you back as Chuck Hooker did. We look forward to joining some of your workshops once we return from our world travels. Wishing you the best of health! GO BADGERS!!!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Guys Be safe and have fun. And thanks for your good wishes. Where are you and when will you be back? And yes, go Badgers. later an love, artie

  • avatar Gary Murray

    Coolest game on ice…

  • avatar Gary Murray

    Yeah, hockey is the coolest game on earth. Would love to spend a spring training in Glorida, watching baseball too- huge fan of it as well.


  • avatar Gary Murray

    Ha! Really enjoyed the April fools post. Am hoping the hockey teams mentioned are part of the gag. 😉

    GO HABS GO!! (Montreal, the New York Yankees of hockey)


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      No NHL April Fool’s. Did see a great show on the Canadians last night on the hockey channel. I like a lot of teams including Rangers, Islanders, Lightning, Rangers, Penguins, and Islanders among others. Heck, I just like watching a good hockey game. Those guys are good too! a

  • avatar Patrick Sparkman

    Great looking family! Man, gotta love those camo shorts, hiking socks, and sandals!

  • Sounds and looks like everyone had a great time! Why were Maya and the gang not in the pic? I would have loved to have seen how big they got.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You are right and thanks. We did not make the photo until after we headed down to the lake and the Egensteiner family was gone by then 🙁


      ps: will try to get a new image of them soon as they have grown by leaps and bounds.