Nickerson’s Black Skimmers Refuse to Obey the Regulations & Fits Me to a Tee… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Nickerson's Black Skimmers Refuse to Obey the Regulations & Fits Me to a Tee...

What’s Up?

Here’s a good one. After watching a group of perfectly behaved photographers–heck, many were set up in beach chairs–photographing Black Skimmers and chicks on Wednesday afternoon, someone on beach patrol remarked that it was too bad that the birds did not stay where they belong, behind the colony ropes. The birds had been resting peacefully and undisturbed with their chicks and almost fledged young in the same spot for about ten days.

When I arrived on Thursday morning I saw that the authorities–whoever they are–roped off about two more acres, right where the birds and photographers were having a photo party yesterday. One of the signs says, “Danger; Keep Back!” I guess that skimmers are now considered dangerous.

In any case, it is obvious that the birds cannot read or if the can, that they could care less. They were roosting with all of their chicks to the south of the newly roped off area. I suspect that they did not care for Wednesday afternoon’s construction project… It is very possible that they felt threatened by the changes.

The above is a first. I suggest that wherever they see a skimmer that they put up ropes and barrier around each bird to protect them from photographers.

I got so many great images on Wednesday morning that I skipped the chicks on Thursday and went off in search of skimmers skimming. Some days are diamonds, some days are stone…

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 267 days in a row with a new educational blog post. And I still have dozens of new topics to cover; there should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. AND Please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.


This image was created on Wednesday past by good friend Tom Pfeifer with the hand held Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 104mm) and the mega mega-pixel Canon EOS 5DS R. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops off the wall 1/500 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB.

Center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF on my eyes and re-compose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Yours truly in his favorite tee-shirt. Photo courtesy of and copyright 2016: Tom Pfeifer

Fits Me to a Tee…

My Mom and my sister Arna got me three shirts for my birthday. I love all of them but the one above is my favorite. One of the others says, “I am not arguing; I am just explaining why I am right.” The third ones says “I may be wrong but it is highly unlikely.” All three are pretty much perfect for me.

I joked to my Mom that as far as the sarcasm, it is not my fault, it’s genetic. If my Dad had a similar shirt it would read “Zero Minutes Without Sarcasm.” I am surely my father’s son.

This Just In!

Lots of folks want to buy the Zero Days Without Sarcasm t-shirt for a loved one. My Mom got mine from a catalogue–she gets dozens each month, but you can get the shirt here.


Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or early October. I hope that you can join me there this fall one way or another. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

BIRDS AS ART Fort DeSoto In-the-Field Meet-up Workshop (ITFW): $99

Join me on the morning of October 2, 2016 for 3-hours of photographic instruction at Fort DeSoto Park. Beginners are welcome. Lenses of 300mm or longer are recommended but even those with 70-200s should get to make some nice images. Teleconverters are always a plus.

You will learn the basics of digital exposure and image design, autofocus basics, and how to get close to free and wild birds. We should get to photograph a variety of wading birds, shorebirds, terns, and gulls. This inexpensive morning workshop is designed to give folks a taste of the level and the quality of instruction that is provided on BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-tours. I hope to meet you there.

To register please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours with a credit card in hand to pay the nominal registration fee. Your registration fee is non-refundable. You will receive a short e-mail with instructions, gear advice, and meeting place one week before the event.


Folks attending the IPT will be in the field early and stay out late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in early fall. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Fort DeSoto Short Notice Fall IPT/September 28 (meet & greet and afternoon session) through the full day on October 1, 2016. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1549. Limit 10. Sunday morning ITFW free to IPT registrants.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds in fall. There they join dozens of egrets, herons, night-herons, gulls, and terns who winter on the T-shaped peninsula that serves as their wintering grounds. With any luck, we should get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher likely. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Tricolored Heron are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. And Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork would not be unexpected.

Folks who sign up for the IPT are welcome to join me as my guest on the ITFW on the Sunday morning following the workshop. See above for details on that.

On this and all other IPTs you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify and age many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

At brunch (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 a few of your images from the morning session. We will process a few of my images in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. That followed by Instructor Nap Time.

As I already have one signed up for this workshop, it is a go. Hotel info will be e-mailed when you register. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). It is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel so if you are interested it would be a good idea to register now and make your hotel reservations as soon as you hear from us. We can, however, coordinate with local folks who opt to stay at home.

Because of the relatively late date, payment is full is due upon registration either by check or credit card. If the former, please e-mail us immediately so that we can save you a spot. If the latter, please call Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand to register. Your registration fee is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight so please check your plans carefully before committing. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions and gear & clothing advice a fairly soon.


BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT.

The Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make the IPT or the ITFW? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of them here.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, 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 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, and for everything else in the new store, 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 those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!


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

21 comments to Nickerson’s Black Skimmers Refuse to Obey the Regulations & Fits Me to a Tee…

  • avatar Henry

    Happy Birthday!
    Would like a link to the T-shirt seller.

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Will we be seeing a link to the T-shirt site on BAA ?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Only if you read the comments below 🙂 Ot the whole blog. Or my comment here:

      You can get the shirt here.



  • avatar David Peake

    totally love the humour in this.
    The image lacks only a little, Subject is not posing correctly.
    I would have liked to see a little of those bulging biceps, built over the years of hefting heavy camera gear.
    And where is the camera. It thought that it is permanently attached to your arm.
    Ah well, Ive been wrong before.
    Happy birthday again.
    Looking forward to meeting you in person for the Faulklands and southern ocean trip.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      See you soon. You will learn whether the t-shirt is true or not 🙂 Hint: true!


  • avatar Larry Brown

    Think that your mom and sister know you to a tee.

  • avatar Ar

    They could contact Donald Trump about building a wall.

  • We obviously need a new government program to teach the birds how to read the signs. 😛
    Happy Birthday!

  • avatar Rick Eaton

    Your T-shirt modeling with description of the trio of T-shirt gifts from your mother and sister made my day brighter as does your always delightful Birds as Art blog. You work is a national natural treasure. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    Hi Artie,

    Love the T-shirt. FITS you perfectly! Laurie wants to know where you found it. She wants one.

    Missed that it was recently your B-Day, so, a belated Happy Birthday!

    Frank and Laurie

  • avatar Bill Dix

    The beach patrol guy didn’t share my sense of humor when I suggested that he get a couple of sheep dogs to herd the skimmers back into their designated zone.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Sarcasm? From you?? No… 🙂

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    Dear Art:

    Happy belated birthday! We are all settled in at Shell Point, the CCRC (continuing care retirement community) in Ft. Myers (just before the causeway to Sanibel). Come see us!

    Pat and Stokes

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Mazel tov and good luck in the new place. Come see me 🙂 I am doing a program in Naples on SAT 10 SEPT.

      later and love, artie

      ps: have you and Stokes considered the Puffins and Gannets IPT?

  • If you could, provide a link to where those shirts were bought…
    or were they bought from a store?