A Whale of a Tale. Or the Tails of Whales? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Whale of a Tale. Or the Tails of Whales?


Surprisingly, I slept for four hours right off the bat on Saturday night, but after that it was fitful rest at best as I could not find a comfortable position. When I woke on Sunday morning the damaged shoulder had tightened up considerably; I had very little range or motion with my left arm. Amy Novotny’s advice was to “ice it for 20 minutes all day long with a one hour break in between and keep it moving (without causing pain).” I did my postural exercises with the balloons and applied ice for 20 minutes as instructed. I talked with Amy and then with Cliff. Amy thinks that I may have some type of fracture somewhere. Dr. Oliver thought that the chances of at least a small fracture were greater than 50%. I decided to head into town for an x-ray.

By the time I left for the Emergency Room at Lake Wales Hospital after lunch I was able to move the arm a bit in several planes. I spent four hours on Sunday afternoon in the ER to learn that “no fracture is visible at this time.” That is not as good news as it sounds because in many cases a small fracture can be a lot better than damage to the rotator cuff. Only time will reveal what is actually going on as the body’s normal reaction is to tighten the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint to protect against further damage.

I had more pain sleeping on Sunday night than I had on Saturday night, but when I woke on Sunday morning, range of motion had increased as compared to when I woke on Saturday. If all goes well I hope to be back in the pool (and photographing again) in 10 days to 14 days. Thanks to all who left get-well-soon messages on the blog yesterday. They seem to be working.

Money Saving Reminder

If you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H, would enjoy free overnight shipping, and would like a $50 discount on your first purchase, click here to order and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If you are looking to strike a deal on Canon or Nikon gear (including the big telephotos) or on a multiple item order, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell at (479) 381-2592 (Eastern time) and be sure to mention your BIRDSASART coupon code and use it for your online order. Patrick Sparkman saved $350 on a recent purchase!

The Streak

Today makes two hundred twenty-four days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about two hours to prepare (with lots of help thank you very much from Amy Novotny and of course, from Muriel McClellan. With all of my upcoming free time (or not…), the plan right now is to try to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.

The Used Gear Page

Action on the Used Gear Page recently has been fantastic. You can see all current listings here.

This image was created by friend/client Muriel McClellan on a recent Antarctica photo cruise with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering (probably at about -1/3 stop as framed: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. The EXIF shows Custom WB; I have no idea where that came from …

Image #1: Humpback Whale tail with texture from Daily Textures’ wildlife package

A Whale of a Tale

If someone told you that they could eliminate your knee, ankle, hip, shoulder, hand and arm, and back pain by teaching you to blow up a ballon while doing a series of postural exercises, you would likely think them daffy. Try this one on for size:

When Muriel McClellan took up photography six years ago, she signed up for several Instructional Photo Tours that were co-led by Denise Ippolito and yours truly (and a great teaching team we were). With Denise’s help, Muriel became quite good with filters and effects. Muriel was scheduled for knee replacement surgery in August, 2016 to eliminate the bone-on-bone/arthritic pain in her left knee that had been plaguing her for two years and playing havoc with her photographic plans. Like me, Muriel got to bone-on-bone as a result of having arthroscopic knee surgery. I had two, both on my left knee. When Muriel attended an Arizona Highways weekend photo event dinner in March of 2016, she met physio-therapist Amy Novotny. Amy was co-leading the trip. After hearing Muriel’s story, Amy advised Muriel to see a physical therapist. Later that night, Muriel asked Amy what she did for a living; she said, “I am a physical therapist.” Muriel saw Amy early that summer after a trip to Venice with the aforementioned Ms. Ippolito. At her first appointment, Amy told Muriel about postural restoration therapy that involved blowing up balloons. Understandably, Muriel was quite skeptical; in fact, she thought Amy was crazy. But she decided to give it a try. Knee replacements begin with cutting off the top of your femur with a hacksaw …

After the third session Muriel asked Amy, “How soon do some folks see improvement?” Amy answered, “Sometimes in just a few days.” Muriel said to her, “My knee pain is much much better.” After two weeks of sessions Muriel canceled her knee replacement surgery. In a few weeks her pain was gone completely and a year later it is still very gone. Recently, Muriel did an Antarctica photo cruise and had no pain at all despite some long, tough walks. And she was easily able to get in and out of the zodiacs without any ill effects. All that with no anti-inflammatory drugs.

Muriel continues to do her exercises about three times per week while knowing that the should be doing them more often. In addition, she sees Amy once a week when she is not traveling.

Inspired by Muriel’s success, I have made two trips to Phoenix and done 17 sessions with Amy over the past two months. I will share my story along with Amy’s comments with you here soon. On my first visit Amy stated clearly that I was in as bad shape posture- and joint-wise as any patient she had ever encountered …

This image was created by friend/client Muriel McClellan on a recent Antarctica photo cruise with the hand held Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens (at 400mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 2000. Evaluative metering (probably at about -1/3 stop as framed: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Image #2:Humpback Whale tail (with friend). With texture from Daily Textures’ wildlife package

The Tails of Whales

Despite having made six Southern Ocean photo cruises, I do not have any humpback tail images that compare at all with Muriel’s. Please leave a comment and let us know which image you like best.Please include your reasons. As is often the case, though I like them both, I have a clear favorite and will let you know which one it is an why in a future blog post.


You can visit Daily Texture by clicking here.

Click here to learn about applying textures and effects in Denise Ippolito’s e-book, A Guide to Creative Filters & Effects II.

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19 comments to A Whale of a Tale. Or the Tails of Whales?

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks all for your good wishes. Actually, I am feeling great. My shoulder hurts a bit and range of motion is restricted; that means it only hurts when I move it!

    with love, artie

  • Hope you feel better soon, Artie.

  • avatar Paul Mckenzie

    Muriel – love your whale images and so happy to hear your knee is better. Like everyone, am intrigued by the balloon blowing techniques. Looking forward to hearing more. Hope you get better soon Artie.

  • avatar James Saxon

    I like both but #1 is my favorite. I like the composition, water coming off the tail, soft pastel colors in the image and the post processing. Very very nice image.

  • avatar Juan Tolentino

    Sorry to hear that you are not feeling well Artie, I hope you feel well soon.

  • avatar Guido Bee

    Both images are very nice. I think I like #2 better. Living in WA state I get to see orcas from time to time, but until the last time I never knew that they, and apparently these, have different colors on the bottom of their tail flukes. On the orcas, the tend to be very white below while largely black above.
    Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery on your shoulder / arm. All well here, and thanks for your continuing work on the blog.

  • Muriel, these are all lovely images, congrats and I am glad your knee is better. Looking forward to seeing you in Italy again πŸ™‚ this year with Alan and Pat.

    Artie, glad you didn’t break anything πŸ™‚ be well.

  • Hi Artie

    It looks like we are both out of action, my local GP sounded my chest and said I had a crackling on my left lung, and put me on a course of Anibiotics, 3 days in I had a allergic reaction to them and I am back to square one. I had to forgo my daily swim which I hate to do. Before I have my indoor swim I use the suana it is so relaxing, this treatment might help you after getting very hot you step into the cold plunge , hot and cold could help you your damage.
    Best and love


  • avatar Noel Heustis

    Muriel – #1 for me. I really like the image design of #1. You left yourself enough room in the frame with 241mm to capture all of that action and it paid off. Another point of interest for me is the juxtaposition between what appears to be an “angry” sea and the ease with which the whale displaces that water…again great capture. As Sarah pointed out, this image seems to have an immediate impact. On my screen the upper right corner seems really bright. If it were mine, I might try to reduce the brightness just a bit in that area. One last thing is that I love your signature/ watermark…it looks great.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Noel, 241 mm was my typo. It has been corrected t 400mm.

      with love, artie

    • avatar Muriel McClellan

      Noel, I appreciate your helpful comment about the white corner. I agree it needs some attention. Thank you.

  • Artie,
    I am reading your book The Art of Bird Photography. Excellent book.
    I hope your shoulder injury is not serious. Get well soon we need to see your new photos.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Many thanks. And thanks for your purchase. Do you have ABP II?

      with love, artie

  • avatar Adam

    Hi Artie, hopefully you’re feeling a bit better and in addition to what you are doing (I don’t know if you are taking oral medications or your stance on pharmaceuticals), you may want to consider some over the counter lidocaine (either patch/creme) if amenable. It won’t take all of the pain away but will dull the acuity, reduce the inflammation, and hopefully allow you to sleep.

    I like the second image better because my eye wanders in the frame more and it conveys motion (action) more so than the first one. I find the lighting better too though the artistic rendering on the edges is a bit heavy handed for me.

    • avatar Muriel McClellan

      Adam, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the movement with the image. It is also helpful that you find the texture too strong in the corners. That is something I have to be more aware of, so I thank you for pointing out your preference.

  • avatar Muriel McClellan

    Artie, Thank you for featuring my whales. It is an honor to be included in your blog. I am pleased that you have had great success with Amy and trust that your shoulder will heal quickly. Will enjoy reading the comments on the two photos and will wait eagerly for your comment on your favorite. Warmly, Muriel

  • avatar Sarah Mayhew

    Sorry you are having so much trouble with your shoulder Artie. I hope this course of action improves it without surgery. I think the top image has more impact. It is a classic tail shot, but the water coming off the tail and the atmospheric effects have produced a very pleasing mood. Take care.