Do You Seriously Expect Me to Believe That This is a Real Bird? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Do You Seriously Expect Me to Believe That This is a Real Bird?


I wasted three hours looking for the plate for my pan tilt head. And Jim wasted about two hours doing the same. Why can’t they use Arca-Swiss compatible plates ? IAC, I finally got started micro-adjusting my 400 DO II at about 1:30pm. I m/a-ed the lens alone with both bodies and then did each body with each of my two 1.4X TCs. I will finish up in the morning by micro-adjusting each of my two 2X TCs on each of the two two bodies.

I skipped my walk but got in a late swim even though the pool was at 71 degrees in the morning. But it was a gorgeous warm day and by 3:30 the water temperature had risen to 75 degrees so I went for it. Then a rush of stretching and core exercises. Did I mention that I awoke this morning at 2:45am? I did take a 15 minute nap after lunch.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak: 447

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 447 days in a row with a new educational blog post. As always–and folks have been doing a really great for a long time now–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 BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would of course appreciate your business.

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. Even the prices on the new 600 II and the 200-400 with Internal Extender have been plummeting. You can see all current listings by clicking here or by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right side of the yellow-orange menu bar above.

Recent Successful Used Gear Sales

Activity in the last week has been hot!

Note: I missed adding several items below while I was in South America for ten weeks with limited internet access. If your item has sold but is still listed on the Used gear page please let me know via e-mail.

  • Gene Scarborough sold a Canon accessory package for $250 in late January.
  • Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in like-new condition with only 4258 shutter actuations for $1449.00 in late-January before it was even listed!.
  • Wayne Roth sold his Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/2.8G EDII VR lens in like-new condition for $3,500.00 in Late January, 2017, two weeks after it was listed.
  • Teresa Mabry Reed sold both her Canon EOS-1D X in excellent plus condition for $2399 and her EOS Canon 5D Mark III also in excellent plus condition for $1429 within two days of listing them with BAA.
  • Gene Scarborough sold a Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS USM super telephoto lens in excellent condition for $4049 one day after it was listed.
  • Multiple IPT-veteran Mike Goldhamer sold his Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO lens in excellent condition for the record low price of $2100 a while back.
  • Dear friend and multiple IPT veteran Patrick Sparkman sold his Canon EOS 5DS R with the Canon battery grip in like-new condition for $2899 back in early November.
  • IPT veteran Gerold Hanck sold his Canon 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom lens, the “old 1-4,” in excellent condition for $549.
  • Henry Raymundo sold both his Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM lens (the “old five”) in excellent condition for $3999 and a Canon EOS 7D camera body in excellent condition for $399 back in November, 2016.
  • New Listings

    Canon EOS-1D X Professional Digital Camera Body with the Canon GPS Receiver

    This item sold within hours of being listed.

    Robert Blanke is offering a Canon EOS-1D X body with the Canon GPS receiver in like-new condition for $2499.00. The camera has only 2418 shutter actuations. The sale item includes the original packaging, manuals, strap, software, cables, the front cap, an extra LP-E4N battery, and the GP-E1 GPS receiver (also in like-new condition). Also included is insured ground shipping via UPS. Your items will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Robert via e-mail or by phone at (813) 417-8967 (Eastern time).

    Two 1D X bodies served as my workhorse camera bodies for more than three years. It produces beautiful image files and has a super AF system and a high frame rate, all in a rugged pro body. artie

    Canon EOS 5Ds Digital Camera Body

    Robert Blanke is also offering a Canon EOS 5Ds body in like-new condition for $2549.00. The sale includes the original packaging, manuals, software, and cables, the SLR body, the body cap, the charger, and the LP-E6N battery that came in the box. Also included is insured ground shipping via UPS. Your items will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Robert via e-mail or by phone at (813) 417-8967 (Eastern time).

    The huge, amazingly detailed image files from the 5D s are ideal for serious landscape and Urbex photographers. artie

    Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital Camera Body

    Robert Blanke is also is offering a Canon EOS 7D Mark II body in like-new condition for $949.00. The body has only 575 shutter actuations. The sale includes the original packaging, manuals, software, cables, the front cap, the charger, and the LP-E6N battery that came in the box. Also included is insured ground shipping via UPS. Your items will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made. Please contact Robert via e-mail or by phone at (813) 417-8967 (Eastern time).

    I owned and used a 7D Mark II almost from the beginning. I championed it for a while until I fell in love with the far more expensive 5DS R, and later, more deeply with the 5D Mark IV. Several of my images that made the final rounds of judging in last year’s BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and two of my three honored entries (one still and one video) in last year’s Nature’s Best Contest were 7D Mark II images. artie

    Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera Body

    This item sold before being listed!

    Robert Blanke sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in like-new condition with only 4258 shutter actuations for $1449.00.

    Old Listing

    Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS Lens with Internal 1.4 Extender

    Price Reduced $700 on May 18, 2016.

    KW McCulloch is offering a used Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS lens with Internal 1.4X Extender in excellent plus condition: was $8,994, now, $8294. The sale includes the lens trunk, the original leather front lens cover, the rear lens cap, and insured shipping via UPS Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears or other arrangements are made.

    Please contact KW by e-mail or by phone at 361/727-2652 (Central time).

    This is the world’s best lens for a trip to Africa. It kills also in the Galapagos and in South Georgia, the Falklands, and Antarctica. And I use mine a lot at Bosque and other dusty places where the built-in TC helps to keep your sensor clean. And I love it in the Palouse for its versatility. The lens sells new at B&H right now for $10,999. You can save a slew of dollars by grabbing KW’s lens now. artie

    This image was created at Manu National Park, Peru with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, and the rugged, blazingly fast, Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. ISO 2500. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as originally framed: 1/160 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB.

    Fill flash at -2 1/3 stops with the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT with a Better Beamer on the Mongoose Integrated Flash Arm via the Canon OC-E3 Off Camera Shoe Cord (2′).

    One AF point up and one to the right of the center AF point/AI Servo Expand/Shutter Button AF on the bird’s neck, right on the same plane as the eye. Click on the image to see a larger version.

    FocusTune/LensAlign Micro Adjustment: -1

    Cock of the Rock, displaying male

    Do You Seriously Expect Me to Believe that that is a Bird?

    In a word, yes.

    Not Easy Peasy …

    Getting to photograph this amazing species was not easy. I flew somewhere from Lima and then endured 1 1/2 days of driving over horrific, twisting mountain roads. Sat in a traffic jam in the jungle for two hours. We crossed the Andes at over 14,000 feet. At the top I got out completely underdressed and chased a few birds around till I froze. Can you say altitude sickness? To make things worse, I slept that night in a 45 degree cabin with no heat. Then just a tortuous five hour drive to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. The first afternoon was pure magic. I had lots of good chances with this surreal bird. On my 2nd attempt there were very few birds. On my third attempt, on the way back to the airport, there were lots of birds but it seemed that they were always blocked by the thick vegetation. Right before I had to leave on the last visit I did manage a nice image of a female — coming soon to the blog. Such images are quite rare. I am not complaining, I’m just saying.


    DeSoto in spring is rife with tame and attractive birds. From upper left clockwise to center: breeding plumage Dunlin, dark morph breeding plumage Reddish Egret displaying, breeding plumage Laughing Gull/front end vertical portrait, breeding plumage Laughing Gull with prey item, Laughing Gull on head of Brown Pelican, screaming Royal Tern in breeding plumage, Royal Terns/pre-copulatory stand, Laughing Gulls copulating, breeding plumage Laughing Gull/tight horizontal portrait, Sandwich Tern with fish, and a really rare one, White-rumped Sandpiper in breeding plumage, photographed at DeSoto in early May.

    Fort DeSoto Spring IPT/April 19-22, 2017. (meet & greet at 2pm on Wednesday April 19 followed by an afternoon session) through the full day on Saturday April 22. 3 1/2 DAYs: $1599. Limit 10. To save your spot, please call and put down a non-refundable deposit of $499.00.

    I will be offering small group (Limit 3) Photoshop sessions on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning if necessary. Details on that TBA.

    Fort DeSoto is one of the rare locations that might offer great bird photography 365 days a year. It shines in spring. There will Lots of tame birds including breeding plumage Laughing Gull and Royal and Sandwich Terns. With luck, we will get to photograph all of these species courting and copulating. There will be American Oystercatcher and Marbled Godwit plus sandpipers and plovers, some in full breeding plumage. Black-bellied Plover and Red Knot in stunning breeding plumage are possible. There will be lots of wading birds including Great and Snowy Egrets, both color morphs of Reddish Egret, Great Blue, Tricolored and Little Blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, and killer breeding plumage White Ibis. Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork are possible and likely. We should have lots of good flight photography with the gulls and terns and with Brown Pelican. Nesting Least Tern and nesting Wilson’s Plover are possible.

    We will, weather permitting, enjoy 7 shooting sessions. As above, our first afternoon session will follow the meet and greet at 2pm on Wednesday April 19. For the next three days we will have two daily photo sessions. We will be on the beach early and usually be at lunch (included) by 11am. We will have three indoor sessions. At one we will review my images–folks learn a ton watching me choose my keepers and deletes–why keep this one and delete that one? The second will be a review of your images so that I can quickly learn where you need help. For those who bring their laptops to lunch I’d be glad to take a peek at an image or three. Day three will be a Photoshop session during which we will review my complete workflow and process an image or two in Photoshop after converting them in DPP. Afternoon sessions will generally run from 4:30pm till sunset. We photograph until sunset on the last day, Saturday, April 22. Please note that this is a get-your-feet and get-your-butt wet and sandy IPT. And that you can actually do the whole IPT with a 300 f/2.8L IS, a 400 f/4 ID DO lens with both TCs, or the equivalent Nikon gear. I will surely be using my 500 II as my big glass and have my 100-400 II on my shoulder.


    DeSoto in spring is rife with tame and attractive birds. From upper left clockwise to center: Laughing Gull in flight, adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, copulating Sandwich Terns, Roseate Spoonbill, Great Egret with reflection, Short-billed Dowitcher in breeding plumage, American Oystercatcher, breeding plumage Royal Tern, white morph Reddish Egret, and Snowy Egret marsh habitat shot.

    What You Will Learn

    You will learn to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to understand the effects of sky and wind conditions on bird photography, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you are scared of it).

    The group will be staying at the Red Roof Inn, St. Petersburg: 4999 34th St. North, St Petersburg, FL 33714. The place is clean and quite inexpensive. Please e-mail for room block information. And please call Jim or Jennifer at 863-692-0906 to register. All will need to purchase an Annual Pass early on Tuesday afternoon so that we can enter the park at 6am and be in position for sunrise opportunities. The cost is $75, Seniors $55. Tight carpools will be needed and will reduce the per person Annual Pass costs. The cost of three lunches is included. Breakfasts are grab what you can on the go, and dinners are also on your own due to the fact that we will usually be getting back to the hotel at about 9pm. Non-photographer spouses, friends, or companions are welcome for $100/day, $350 for the whole IPT.

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

    Fort DeSoto Spring In-the-Field Cheap Meet-up Workshop (ITFW) on the morning of April 22, 2017: $99

    Join me on the morning of April 22, 2017 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.

    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 please remember that I am 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, 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 :).

19 comments to Do You Seriously Expect Me to Believe That This is a Real Bird?

  • These birds are magical …and not at easy to photograph in a low-light forest. Here’s a shot I got earlier last year of the Guiana shield version of the COTR, with his frilly cocktail dress.

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    UNREAL! Image AND story!

  • avatar HARVEY TABIN

    Can tell me the name of the travel insurance co you use and how to get in touch with them.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Harvey, Here you go:

      Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check of running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance be sure to read the fine print careful even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

      I hope to see you on an IPT soon 🙂


  • avatar Jim Amato

    The P and P lifestyle is a winner.

    Persistance and perseverance proves valuable every time….

    Terrific capture Arthur.
    75 degree water…rather warm for you?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Actually on the cool side. After my Green Light Laser prostate surgery I gave up the ice baths as they no longer helped. All actually wound up quite well; it just took a long time. I am now only getting up about once each night as compared to five, six, or seven times before the surgery.


  • avatar Tony Z

    Hi Artie,
    gorgeous image!

    Is there a blog or page on ‘how to micro-adjust’ a lens? I’ve noticed you very often include the micro-adjustments used in a photo, but i don’t really know what that is or how to do it.

  • avatar Melvin Grey

    That superb image was certainly worth the bumpy ride, beautiful angle on the bird, great ‘perch’ and natural, but clear background – an image to die for! Were you on your own for that trip?
    Now how about your image of the Marvellous Spatuletail Hummingbird you promised, please.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I had a guide and a friend was along. The spatuletail images were published quite a while back. You can find them with a blog-search using the little white box on the top right of each page or searching for spatuletail in the post lists …


  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Ah, the glamorous life of a professional photographer!!! 🙂

    Amazing photo of an amazing bird.
    some birds truly are too beautiful to believe they’re real!