Lots of Bloody Penguins in a Snowstorm! And Three Great Snowstorm Photo Tips « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Lots of Bloody Penguins in a Snowstorm! And Three Great Snowstorm Photo Tips

What’s Up?

I spent a good part of the day working on exhibit-related tasks, the largest of which was writing the captions for the eleven image groupings: Bosque, Galapagos, Gulls and Terns, Japan in Winter, Midway, Odds and Ends, Puffins and Gannets, San Diego, Shorebirds, the Southern Ocean, and Wading Birds. I hope to be posting some firm info on the exhibit here very soon so that you can make your travel plans ๐Ÿ™‚

I continue to feel pretty good and I continue to work very hard for long hours every day par for the course ๐Ÿ™‚ I am looking forward to getting back in the pool this week….

Selling Your Used Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the yellow-orange tab on the right side of the menu bar above.

Things have been heating up on the Used Gear page lately.

  • Walt Anderson sold a used Canon 1D X for $3000 yesterday before it was even listed!
  • Larry Master sold a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV in excellent condition for $1399 in mid-December 2015.
  • Melissa Hahn sold her Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS II lens in mint condition now for $8299 in early December, 2015.
  • Monte Brown sold his 300mm 2.8 II lens in near-mint condition for $4499 two days after it was listed in mid-December, 2015.
  • Stephen Zarate sold his used Canon 100-400mm L IS zoom lens very quickly in early December for $650, the original asking price.
  • Kenton Rowe sold his Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS lens with Internal 1.4X Extender in early December for $9799.
  • Brent Bridges sold his Canon 600 II for the full asking price, $9799,in early December 2015.
  • Alan and Sara Levine sold their old 300 f/2.8L IS lens in early December for $3175.
  • Mike Ederegger sold his AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm F/4 G ED VR II in excellent condition for $ 5199 right after it was listed.

Amazing 7D Mark II/PIXMA PRO-100 Printer Kit Deal

Get a 7D II for a ridiculous $1049 and a free PIXMA PRO-100 Printer. With paper!

Y’all know how much I love my 7D II. Heck, look no further than the featured image in the blog post here and be sure to check out the amazing image quality. That plus the 7D II’s 1.6 crop factor which gives you lots of extra reach with lots of pixels. Also included within this kit is the PIXMA PRO-100 wireless inkjet printer, which prints up to 4800 x 2400 dpi and supports media up to 13 x 19″. An eight-color ink system realizes true color rendition and incorporates three monochrome inks for enhanced density and black and white printing capabilities.

South Georgia OCT/NOV 2016

If you have been thinking of joining me as part of the BIRDS AS ART group on the last-ever Cheesemans’ South Georgia expedition, please note that cabin choices are becoming quite limited. If you are seriously interested, please do not tarry. Scroll down for details or shoot me an e-mail. If you are desperate to make the trip call me at the home/office: 863-692-0906.


This image was created at Gold Harbor, South Georgia on the fabulous OCT/NOV 2015 Cheesemans’ South Georgia Expedition with the Induro GIT 304L Tripod/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm and the rugged Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 160. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6. Cloudy WB.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on the penguin just behind the head of the baby Elephant Seal near the lower right corner 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 Penguins and friends in snow storm

Lots of Bloody Penguins in a Snowstorm!

Yesterday’s blog post, “Life and Death on South Georgiaโ€ฆ Warning: Bloody, Gruesome & Gory” was hugely popular. And heck, there were lots of Brits on my last trip to South Georgia so give me a break on today’s title ๐Ÿ™‚

Three Great Snowstorm Photo Tips

#1: be sure to have the lens hood on your telephoto lens.
#2: be sure to point your lens away from the wind to avoid getting snow and moisture on the front element.
#3: be sure to have several zip lock plastic bags in your Xtrahand Magnum vest, each with an old cotton t-shirt in it so that when you screw up on #2–don’t worry, you will do it several times during each shooting session–you can turn your back to the wind, remove the lens hood, and dry the front element of your lens…. Why several dry t-shirts? Two reasons: you will invariably get the first t-shirt wet after one or two drying sessions. And, you will continue to forget on #2….

Lessons on Photographing Piles of Penguins…

Photographing the huge assemblages of King Penguins on the Gold Harbor, Salisbury Plains and St. Andrews Bay landings on a Southern Oceans expedition is not as easy as it might seems. There are so many birds that you need to pay attention to lots of small but important details. Keep reading to learn a ton.

Note: this feature was adapted from the lead item in BIRDS AS ART Bulletin #478. You can view that here.

  • Get as high a vantage point as possible. This might include climbing atop a ridge or a large hill or simply getting on top of a mound of tussock grass. For today’s featured image I was able to get nicely above the birds by climbing a gentle slope and then finding a stable spot on top of a large tussock; every bit of elevation helps.
  • Unless you are doing a frame filling pure pattern shot, strive for a clean lower edge as above.
  • Zoom lenses are really helpful when it comes to framing. Take extreme care when it comes to checking the left and right frame-edges… Small crops and a bit of Photoshop edge cleanup can work wonders as they did with the image above.
  • Working on a tripod can really help with careful framing; remember to do as I say not as I do ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Try to find a close bird or animal that is distinctive either by position or pose so that it can serve as a compositional anchor, as the seal and the two birds immediately behind it did for today’s image.
  • Consider the options and choose your perspective carefully.
  • As far as the upper frame edge, at times it is possible to have a clean upper edge as in today’s featured image, but often the birds will simply disappear out of the frame especially if you are working at a wide aperture.
  • Speaking of f/stops, your best option when hand holding is to work wide open or close to it. If you are on a tripod and the birds are resting or sleeping, you have the option of going to a tiny aperture and trying to get lots of depth of field with the range of sharpness extending either well back in the frame or actually covering all of the birds; this is largely a function of your focal length and how far away from the birds you are. It is generally not my style. In today’s image a really small aperture would likely have blurred the snowflakes too much for my taste; I wanted them relatively sharp.


All images on the card were created on the 2015 Cheesemans’ South Georgia Expedition. From top left clockwise to center: King Penguin resting on Snow, Fortuna Bay; Macaroni Penguin in snow, Cooper Island; Grey-headed Albatross, Elsehul; King Penguin neck abstract, Godthul; Northern Giant Petrel, Undine Harbor; adult Wandering Albatross, Prion Island; Elephant Seal, Undine Harbor; South Georgia Pipit fledgling/thanks Joe Kaplan! Fortuna Bay; high key King Penguins in snow, Fortuna Bay.

Card design and all images copyright 2015: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Cheesemans’ 2016 OCT/NOV South Georgia/Falklands Expedition

If reading last Saturday’s blog post here put a thought in your mind about joining the BIRDS AS ART group on the Cheesemans’ 2016 OCT/NOV South Georgia/Falklands Expedition, please shoot me an e-mail with the words “Cheesemans’ Last South Georgia Expedition” cut and pasted into the Subject Line with any questions or if you wish to receive additional inspiration. This will surely be my last ship-based trip to the Southern Ocean as well.


All of the images on this card were created in the Falklands on the 2014 Cheesemans’ Southern Oceans Expedition. From top left clockwise to center: Black-browed Albatross tending chick, Steeple Jason Island; Black-browed Albatross courting pair, New Island; the Black-browed Albatross colony at Steeple Jason Island; Black-browed Albatross landing, New Island; King Cormorant head portrait, New Island; hull detail/derelict minesweeper, New Island; Rockhopper Penguin head portrait in bright sun, New Island; Striated Caracara, Steeple Jason Island; Magellanic Snipe chick, Sea Lion Island.

An Expedition Overview

Experience the vibrant spring of South Georgia, a true Antarctic wildlife paradise. Observe and photograph wildlife behaviors seldom seen beneath the towering, snow-blanketed mountains that dominate the island’s landscape. Southern Elephant Seal bulls fight for breeding rights while females nurse young, overlook vast colonies of loafing King Penguins, watch Macaroni Penguins cavort in the snow, photograph handsome Gray-headed Albatrosses in flight or attending to their cliffside nests and awkward Wandering Albatrosses attempting first flight. The itinerary includes six landing days on South Georgia and three landing days in the Falklands to observe too cute Rockhopper Penguins, Magellanic Penguins standing watch at their nesting burrows, and more Black-browed Albatrosses than you could ever imagine. To commemorate Shackletonโ€™s famous self-rescue crossing South Georgia, CES also offers an optional trek retracing his steps. With Cheesemans’ twenty years of experience in the Antarctic region, they commit to an in-depth exploration of one of the densest wildlife spectacles found anywhere in the world, and with only 100 passengers, they routinely give you the opportunity to completely immerse yourself on each landing.

Two of the scheduled Falklands’ landings, New Island and especially Steeple Jason Island, rival the best locations on South Georgia. Those will likely include Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Elsehul, Fortuna Bay, and either Cooper Island or Hercules Bay (for Macaroni Penguins).

Why Sign Up Through BIRDS AS ART?

If you have been thinking and dreaming of finally visiting South Georgia, this is the trip for you. There will likely never be another trip like this as the best outfit in the Southern Oceans business will not be returning after 2016…. Quit dreaming and act now. Though I will not be an expedition staff member on this trip, those who have traveled with me know that I cannot help but teach. And I will be doing a introductory photography program for the entire ship on our crossing to South Georgia. All who sign up via BAA will receive a free copy the new Southern Ocean Photography Guide (a $100 value) that I am currently working on. It will include pre-trip gear and clothing recommendations and a ton of info that you will find to be invaluable.

I will hold informal pre-landing briefings aboard ship so that when you land you know exactly what to expect and where to go. I will be available on the ship to review your images, answer your questions, and conduct informal over-the shoulder Photoshop sessions. And best of all, everyone who signs up under the auspices of BAA are invited to tag along with me on the landings where I will be glad to offer invaluable in-the-field advice. And the same goes for the shipboard birds in flight and marine mammal photographic sessions.

Again, if you would like to join me on what will truly be a once in a lifetime opportunity to a wondrous place, please shoot me an e-mail with the words “Cheesemans’ Last South Georgia Expedition” cut and pasted into the Subject Line.

You can learn more about the trip here. If you sign up on your own be sure to mention that you would like to be part of the BAA Group. I’d be glad to answer any and all question via e-mail or by phone at 863-692-0906.

Important Notes

#1: If you fail to e-mail me as noted directly above, and register directly with CES you MUST let them know that you would like to be part of the BIRDS AS ART group.

#2: Joining the BIRDS AS ART group as above will not cost you one penny.

For additional details on the trip and the ship, see Saturday’s blog post here.

Please Remember to use our Affiliate Links ๐Ÿ™‚

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. B&H is recommended for you major photography gear purchases, Amazon for your household, entertainment, and general purpose stuff. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod heads, Gitzo tripods, Wimberley heads and plates, LensCoats and accessories, and the like. We sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. I just learned that my account was suspended during my absence; it should be up and running by Monday at the latest.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and visiting the BAA Online store as well.


You can check these great holiday offers plus free next day shipping by clicking here.

B&H Free Next Day Holiday Shipping (on Selected Items)
Just two more days!

Click here and then either click on a category or a brand of by clicking on the red See All Qualified Items box. This deal is just what the holidays ordered. From now till December 23rd.


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

6 comments to Lots of Bloody Penguins in a Snowstorm! And Three Great Snowstorm Photo Tips

  • avatar Rick

    Artie, after all your persuasive comments, I understand Santa is winging his way south with a 7D mk II in his bag! All the best for the festive season, and a happy and prosperous 2016 to you and yours.

  • avatar kathy woveris

    when is your la jolla trip for the pelicans?

  • avatar Gary Axten

    Bloody things. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I really like the speckally effect, but the picture feels a little lopsided like it could do with a tiny clockwise rotation, what do you think?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Possibly. All the penguins on our right seem to be standing up pretty straight, but the ones on our left, not so much… The far shoreline was angled and I did some CW rotation, but perhaps not enough.