Hip-Wrecked on the Prairie… And a Funny Tale as Well « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Hip-Wrecked on the Prairie... And a Funny Tale as Well

What’s Up?

One Palouse IPT down. One day off almost done. One more of each to go. This morning’s outing to denise’s tree wound up being a bit of a painful adventure for me. Read on. We did a bit more scouting in the afternoon and after two pretty boring hours of driving we hit the mother lode…. Image soon. Friday’s blog post will announce the 2016 A Creative Adventure/BIRDS AS ART Palouse Instructional Photo-Tours.

This blog post, the 147th in a row, took about two hours to prepare. It was published just after midnight on Wednesday.


This in-camera HDR Art Vivid image was created in the Palouse at 5:00am on our first day-off morning with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens (at 17mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +/- 2 stops around a base exposure of +2/3 stop: 1/6 sec. at f/14 in Av mode. WB: 8,000K.

Center AF point (Manual selection) Rear Focus AI Servo AF on the branches on left side of the tree and release. Rear Focus is perfect for landscape photography. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

denise’s tree at sunrise the morning of the hip-wreck. Image copyright 2015: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Hip-Wrecked in the Prairie…

It is about noon on Wednesday and I am lying in bed with a big ice bag on my left hip.

That we left the hotel at 4:05am on the first of our almost two full days off speaks volumes about our dedication, but more so about our love of and passion for photography and the creative process. After I made this image from the road and after denise was happy with her images, I climbed a small rise with the circle lens, the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L fisheye on the tripod via a Wimberley P-5 camera body plate. After I was happy with my images I made my way down the slope. Denise was waiting on the road with a helping hand.

Realizing the danger, I said, “Boy, I need to be careful not to fall.” On the next step my right foot went into about a foot deep hole that was hidden below the matted prairie grasses. I pitched forward face first toward the rock hard gravel road and twisted my body to my right to save my 5D III and the $3,000 B&H affiliate loaner lens (thanks a stack Izzy Flamm). The lens and camera body were fine but having landed full force and squarely on the point of my left hip, I knew immediately that I was not.

It hurt like the dickens and my hip muscles seized up almost immediately. Within the hour the left hip began to swell and soon it felt as if there were a basketball in my jeans, near the left hip of course. I did one round of ice treatment at 11:00am and am looking forward to the next one at 1:30pm. I got some Arnica gel from the local pharmacy and applied it liberally. All in all I am feeling pretty good pain-wise right now (just before 1pm on as I continue typing) and though I am a bit concerned about the swelling, the injury does not at all seem as if it will be a debilitating one.

I spoke at length with good friend Dr. Cliff Oliver of San Diego who stated that without any sharp pain that any type of fracture, even a hairline fracture, is is unlikely. I feel most fortunate….

Important note: in situations like this, beating yourself up does not help anything. Always remember that you were doing your best. Accidents happen and I am pretty sure that this will turn out to be a minor one.


Image #2: Tree in draw with angled fields. Image courtesy of and copyright 2014 Denise Ippolito/A Creative Adventure.

A Funny Tale…

The image immediately above was created by denise ippolito on our 2014 Palouse region scouting trip. Denise fell in love with the tree the moment that she saw it. Having not been to the tree in a year and not even knowing if it would be still standing, we made our way to it. As we approached the general area we saw a gorgeous tree right next to the road just to the east, gently backlit by a well muted sun. The group was thrilled with the new find and everyone made lots of conventional and infrared images with wide angle lenses.

We moved on but did not see denise’s tree from last year until we turned the car around. “There’s denise’s tree!” I cried out happily. We got the group out and photographed the tree in the draw with intermediate telephoto lenses. Next we visited one of our favorite locations that kept everyone busy for more than two hours. On the way home, we passed denise’s tree from 2014 and made a left turn. As we did we both realized that denise’s tree from last year and our “new” morning silhouette tree were one and the same.

At lunch we learned that everyone but us had realized immediately that it was the very same tree….

Note: the road in the long view that is just beyond the tree is hidden by the gentle slope that I had climbed up…. And fallen down 🙂


San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects. With annual visits spanning more than three decades I have lot of experience there….

2015 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) JAN 8 thru the morning of JAN 12, 2016: $1899 (Limit: 10)

Meet and Greet at 7:00pm on the day before the IPT begins
Two great leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito

Join us in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s and Double-crested Cormorants in breeding plumage with their amazing crests; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Duck; other species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lions likely; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice landscape opportunities as well.

Did I mention that there are wealth of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter?

This IPT will include five 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, four 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, five lunches, after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions, and a thank you dinner. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility.

A $499 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot for this IPT. You can send a check (made out to “Arthur Morris) to us at BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855. Or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, will be due on 11/1//2015. 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. Please print, complete, and sign the form that is linked to here and shoot it to us along with your deposit check. If you register by phone, please print, complete and sign the form as noted above and either mail it to us or e-mail the scan. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.


Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings.


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27 comments to Hip-Wrecked on the Prairie… And a Funny Tale as Well

  • Glad to here only minor problems with the fall. I have plenty of experience with falling if you want some suggestions. 🙂

    Palouse is one of my favorite areas and your photos are beautiful and bringing back memories.

  • avatar Bernie Howe

    Sorry to hear of the fall, you did better than I did. I feel a couple years ago and twisted to save my 400 5.6 and 7D and ended up getting a radial break of my left arm. Ended up getting a rod inserted in bone and screws to hold it together. Who said photography is not dangerous?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. Hope that you are all healed up now with no permanent effects. a

  • avatar Catherine Costolo

    So sorry you fell but so glad you got a beautiful photo! The trip was awesome, thanks to you and Denise

  • avatar Muriel McClellan

    Hope you are healing and back on the photo trial. If you were to fall, better by Denise’s tree than where you stood at the Palouse Falls.

  • avatar Marina Scarr

    Hope you heal quickly!

  • avatar Ron May

    Wishing you a very speedy recovery. Love both tree shots.


  • Wishing you a speedy recovery Artie, sounds like a nasty fall. :-/

  • avatar Loren Charif

    Hope it is truly just a minor injury and that you’re ok. I tripped and fell in water a few years ago and my first thought, as was yours, was to keep the rig as high as possible and out of the water. Fortunately, no damage done, except for my dignity.

  • avatar Jeff Sielski

    Feel better Art!! Both images look great!

  • avatar Stu

    I am very sorry you were injured, and I hope you fully recover very soon.

    My photography injury story from some time ago differs. Walking toward my target (tall ships), I did not look down and immediately ahead. I missed a step and was hurt. Morale of my story, not your story: Pay close attention to where you are, not merely to your goal.

    Best wishes, and thanks for your blog’s instruction and inspiration.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. I was aware of the potential danger but the hole was completely covered by thick grasses. Another time in AK I mentioned that folks needed to be careful on a downhill slope. Everyone listened but me. I fell and was pretty sure that I had totally wrecked my left knee but it was OK In a few weeks….. a

  • avatar Kim Sherwood

    Love both images and greatly appreciate yours and Denise’s dedication to creating them (scouting and imaging). Sorry to hear of your mis-step Artie; hope it will not be a long-lasting disruption.

    I used to live out near the Palouse. It is absolutely gorgeous and in my opinion, early morning sunrises in sagebrush / wildflower country is hard to beat (gotta love the Western meadowlark and the Canyon wren too!).

    Enjoy the rest of your time there. Thanks for sharing both these beauties!

  • avatar Jim Brown

    Feel better, Artie. Your images are fabulous and I look forward to them daily.
    Heal FAST.

  • avatar Sarah Skerker

    As always, beautiful images Artie! You inspire me everyday. But, please do be careful with that hip. Hope it heals quickly.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      🙂 and thanks. The swelling is going down along with the pain. Just a bit of a limp when walking. artie

  • avatar David Peake

    Both images get the big tick. Lovely form in the landscape Denise and I love the color and image design of yours Artie.
    Sorry to hear of your injury. You put your foot in it. But the lens is saved. Add the 4 am start on your day off.
    Now that’s commitment or is it love of the image?
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    Kind regards

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Both are correct. It is 1:33pm on SAT and neither of us has created a single image yet today…. later and love, artie

  • Hope your hip heals. Your early morning tree shot is fantastic!!!