Kill Me Why Don’t You! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Kill Me Why Don't You!


On Sunday morning I had two alarms set for 3:15am. The both went off right on time. I finished packing for my DeSoto busman’s holiday and planned to leave at 4:15am. I woke Anita North and we were both coffied up and just about finished packing at 4:10am when I happened to look down and noted that my left rear tire was flat, but only 100% flat 🙂

I called the AAA at 4:15 and after a few fits and starts we were good to go just after 6am. Not wanting to miss the first 90 minutes of great light at DeSoto, we headed down to the lake to photograph the setting full moon and the usual suspects once the sun came up. We met friends Noel Heustis and Lee Sommie for lunch at the Neptune Grill in Gulfport before heading out to North Beach.

North Beach was dead. My afternoon back-up spot was not bad, and we enjoyed a killer sunset at my secret sunset spot but alas, there were no birds.

Featured Item

Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO Lens

The Lowest-ever BAA Price!

Pradip Thachile is offering a Used Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO lens in excellent condition for the BAA record low price of $2097.00. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the original tough front lens cover, the lens strap, an Arca-Swiss compatible lens plate, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Please contact Pradip via e-mail

I used this lens for several years with great success, especially for birds in flight and while working from various type of water craft. In addition, it would make a great prime super-telephoto lens for folks with a 7D II. The multiple-honored Gannets in Love was created with the old 400 DO. You can see that one and 13 other killer images that I made with my old 400 DO here. The title of that blog post is “The Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO Lens: Fourteen Images that Prove that the Internet Experts are Idiots.” Pradip’s lens is priced to sell. artie

Amazing 5D Mark IV Sale!

5D Mark IV Still on Sale!

Right now you can purchase a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with the BG-E20 Battery Grip for the crazy low price of $3199. I am not sure how long this Black Friday sale will last …

Blog regular Bill Hill was so excited when he read of this sale that he forgot to use my affiliate link. 🙂 He wrote, “I still think the 5D Mark IV sale is is too good to be true. I will believe it when it arrives. Thanks for the heads up.

Note: Bill went for the one with the free battery grip and the free Canon PIXMA PRO-100 Wireless Professional Inkjet Photo Printer.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred twenty-nine days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about an hour to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections willing.


Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

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. Those might include system, camera body, accessory, and lens choices and decisions.

This image was created down by the lake near my home at Indian Lake Estates, FL on the evening of Tuesday, November 28, 2017. I used the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 278mm) and my favorite dancing crane photography camera body, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB. 7:15am on a clear morning.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: extrapolated to -3.

As you can see in the DPP 4 screen capture above, Center Large Zone/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF performed to perfection.

Image DPP 4 Screen Capture

Kill Me Why Don’t You!

When I saw this image on the back of the camera moments after I made it, I said, “Kill me why don’t you! I felt that I should have zoomed out. But after a few minutes of studying the image on my Macbook Pro I realized that there might be a pretty good image there. See below.

Image #1: Sandhill Crane grass-throwing display/square crop

My First Square Crop

Above is my first square crop. I included the bird’s ankles. Yes, what you think are the bird’s knees are actually the ankles. The bones below the ankle correspond to the bones in our feet.

Image #2: Sandhill Crane grass-throwing display/tighter square crop

My Second Square Crop

Above here is my second square crop. With this one I cropped above the ankles and cropped more tightly from the left.

Multiple Choice Image Question

A- The original image as seen in the screen capture that opens this blog post is unsalvageable; you should have deleted it and then put a bullet in your head!

B- Image #1, the slightly wider image, is by far the stronger image.

C- Image #2, the slightly tighter image, is by far the stronger image.

D- There is a better crop available.

Whichever you choose, please give your reasons.

2017 in San Diego was a very good year ….

2018 San Diego 3 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT #2: Sunday, JAN 28 thru and including the morning session on Wednesday, JAN 31, 2018 and a free morning session the day before the IPT starts: 3 1/2 days (+1/2!): $1699. Limit: 8: Openings: 7.

Meet and Greet at 6:30pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Saturday, Jan 27, 2018.

San Diego IPT #2: Shorter and Less Expensive!

Please remember: I go with one.

Join me in San Diego near the end of January to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (usually nesting and displaying) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Ring-necked Duck; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Wood Duck and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heerman’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seal (depending on the current regulations) and California Sea Lion; and Bird of Paradise flowers. And as you can see by studying the two IPT cards there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Please note: formerly dependable, both Wood Duck and Marbled Godwit have been declining at their usual locations for the past two years …


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….

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography. And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You can do most of your photography with an 80- or 100-400 lens …

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


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.

The San Diego Details

This IPT will include four 3 1/2 hour morning photo sessions, three 2 1/2 hour afternoon photo sessions, three lunches, and after-lunch image review and Photoshop sessions. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. Dinners are on your own so that we can get some sleep.

A $599 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 11/1/2016. 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.

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.

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 :).

14 comments to Kill Me Why Don’t You!

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    B- Image #1. Because the viewer can see where the grass came from..along with more debris floating in the air

  • Hey Arthur, I would go with B. Would this be better as a vertical?

  • avatar Bill Eaton

    No reason for a bullet to the head as this is a wonderful action/behavior image.I like crop number one as the wings don’t seem quite as dominate in the image and my eye goes to the action of the ” grass toss” .

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    Great catch, love it. I like image #2 best, but with adding a little more space in front of the bird. I like the crop above the ankle. Since feet are not there anyway, I think this crop emphasizes the action the most. So my choice is D

    • avatar Elinor Osborn

      After reading Warren’s comment, I’ve changed to liking the strip of grass on the bottom, as now I see it adds to the story showing the cranes footing and relating the vegetation the crane has to the ground vegetation.

  • avatar byron prinzmetal

    My problem with the crops are as follows: One’s eyes are drawn to the big white wings and not to the head and grass which to me should be the subject of the image (where ones eyes are drawn to.) I would crop further in, get rid of the big white wings and accent the bird’s head and grass. Or, reduce the strong white of the birds wings, but still crop further in. I see no point in having more of the bird in the image other than the head, maybe the neck and grass since the bird’s feet are cut off and even then I would crop clower in. With your trusty camera and great exposure you can crop to your heart’s desire…bp

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Byron, I disagree. The near-underwing detail is amazingly beautiful to me.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Warren H

    I like the Image 1 crop. I think the strip of grass “lands” the image. (pun intended.) You instantly know the crane is dancing and can imagine the whole story. I do not think the image needs the feet with the grass shown on the bottom. The second crop leaves you wondering if the bird is on the ground or in the air.

  • avatar john farnsworth

    Image #2, the tighter crop, is spectacular. This photo is about behavior, not landscape, and the square crop directs the eye to what is most interesting about the behavior. I find the overall image reminiscent of an Audubon painting in terms of how the subject almost contorts to remain inside the frame. Of course, Audubon would have managed to get the feet in there, but it doesn’t really bother my viewing of this image because my eye is drawn upwards toward the grass.

    I’ve only been following this blog for about six months, but this is the most exciting image I’ve seen yet. I’ve got a couple framed Audubon quartos up in my living room, full-size originals, and this could add nicely to that gallery.

  • avatar Mike Cristina

    Hi Artie,

    I would crop it just below the tail, as the leg skin is a little distracting to me, and it will look a little more like you “meant” to shoot it that way. Also, I wouldn’t “ice” myself over the original image. It’s not that bad.


  • avatar Don M.

    Hi Artie,

    I prefer this image to yesterday’s image because it conveys a more interesting story. I don’t mind any of the crops and I am comfortable with cropping the bird below the ankle.

    With images of people it’s best to avoid the knees as a cropping point, so above or below the ankle would be the equivalent for this bird.

    Out of the three images, I would prefer a slightly cropped version of the original keeping the horizontal format and keeping the crop below the bird’s ankles. I would also move the bird slightly to the left. I recognize this might not be possible when one actually works with the image, much like my wave suggestion from a few days ago that was not practical.

    Best wishes,


  • First, watch out for the feet police…I bet there will be at least
    one negative comment on that 🙂

    As far as the multiple choice question…I have ‘D’ on my mind.
    I’m thinking of a crop that focuses on the head and toss, which
    might include the left wing. There’s something I like how
    that left wing ‘closes’ to make that oval opening of the background.
    Could probably crop it vertical or horizontal.

    Wish I was home to try it out to see if it could work.