Do You Like Yours With or Without? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Do You Like Yours With or Without?


The shoulder is about the same. Master Class client Jim White had two great sessions despite solid clouds all day. The most ironic part was the former Mr. Canon, yours truly, teaching a Nikon photographer all about his camera, the D810. Jim was amazed that there was so much about the AF system that he did not know. In the morning it was small crane colts with lots of flying Osprey and in the afternoon we photographed the two tiny chicks and the largest colt that I had not seen in a week. And of course some neat stuff on the adult cranes both am and pm. The student created the best Osprey flight shot by miles 🙁 Photo soon.

It is 8:27pm as I put the finishing touches on this blog post and I will be asleep soon.

The Streak

Today makes two hundred forty-five days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about an hour to prepare including the time spent on the image optimizations. 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.


BIRDS AS ART is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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!


Several folks on the Gatorland IPT used the Booking.Com link below and got great rates and saved a handsome $25.00 in the process. If you too would like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and to earn a $25 reward on your first booking. 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 questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This image was created on Cayman Brac on the late afternoon of February 15, 2018 with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 500mm) and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 400. Matrix metering probably +2 stops: 1/10 sec. at f/7.1 in S mode (Shutter Priority, Tv with Canon). AUTO0 at 6:40pm on a partly cloudy afternoon.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button AF as framed. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Image #1: Wave blur

Making Soup From a Stone …

With strong east winds all day long afternoons were a challenge at the beach on Cayman Brac. Near the end of the trip I had tired of photographing the several nests with big chicks so I got my rig off the tripod and stood at the edge of the ocean. When a cloud covered the sun I quickly realized that blurs were the way to go. I struck while the iron was hot; today’s featured images were created less than two minutes apart.

While it is important to make lots of images when trying to create pleasing blurs, it pays to give some thought to the image design rather than to fire off hundreds of images haphazardly. Above, I wanted to have a small strip of sky at the top of the frame and looked for neat patterns in the breaking waves before pulling the trigger. Here I love the peak of the breaking wave left of center and the darker triangle to our right.

This image was created on Cayman Brac on the late afternoon of February 15, 2018 with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 500mm) and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 400. Matrix metering probably +2 stops: 1/10 sec. at f/7.1 in S mode (Shutter Priority, Tv with Canon). AUTO0 at 6:42pm on a partly cloudy afternoon.

Center Group (grp)/Shutter Button AF as originally framed. I panned a bit ahead of the bird and the system held focus. This trick often worked well with my Canon gear. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Brown Booby wave blur


When I first started working on the blurs that afternoon, the image that I visualized was of a Brown Booby flying low over the ocean with a breaking wave somewhere. This image required some serious leveling, eliminating a badly blurred bird on the left side of the frame, a crop from below and behind the bird, and lots of serious color work. As I did not have many chances I felt that getting this one was somewhat of a miracle.

Do You Like Yours With or Without?

Which of today’s featured images do you like best, Image #1 without a bird, or Image #2 with the bird. Be sure to let us know why you made your choice.


Learn the secrets of creating contest winning images in our “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs.”

A Guide to Pleasing Blurs

In our A Guide to Pleasing Blurs by Denise Ippolito and yours truly, we discuss just about every technique ever used mankind to create pleasingly blurred image. Ninety-nine point nine percent of pleasing blurs are not happy accidents. You can learn pretty much everything that there is to know about creating them in this instructive, well written, easy to follow guide.

The Nikon D850/D5/D500/D7500 Focus Fine-tune Guide

There is lots of mis-information out there on Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune. Working with Patrick Sparkman, we developed a way of using that feature effectively. Patrick was on a roll and perfected a method for using the Focus Peaking feature available only on the D850 to quickly and accurately micro-adjust all lenses and TC-Es with your D-850. Both Nikon Automatic AF Fine-tune and D850 Focus Peaking AF Fine-tune require a LensAlign Mark II kit so that you can obtain accurate results. I learned recently that the Nikon D500 DSLR and the older D7500 both offer Automatic AF Fine-tune.

Folks who use one of my links to purchase a Nikon D850, a Nikon D5 DSLR Camera (Body Only, Dual XQD Slots), a Nikon D500 DSLR , or any Nikon gear totaling more than $2,000 will receive the new guide free.

IPT Stuff

All IPTs include an introductory briefing before the IPT begins so you know what to expect, frequent in-the-field instruction and guidance (priceless), image editing and small group Photoshop instruction during and after lunch. Breakfasts are on your own so that we can get in the field early. Lunches are on me. Dinners are on your own as well so that we can get to bed as the days in spring will be long.

Rides with the leader are available on a limited basis for $50/day.

Registering for an IPT

To register for an IPT call Jim or Jen in the office at 863-692-0906 from Monday morning through Friday lunch with your credit card in hand to leave your $500 non-refundable deposit. Balances may not be paid by credit card so you will be asked to send a check for your balance along with the signed paperwork that you will find here.

Spring at DeSoto is often magical

DeSoto IPT #1 Sunrise: 7:07 am. Sunset: 6:22pm.

3 1/2 DAYS: SUN 15 APR thru the morning session on WED 18 APR: $1599. Limit 5 photographers.

You must purchase a season Parking Pass in advance for early entry. Click here and scroll down for info. If you are not a local, the six month pass if fine. Best to order by mail. Join me to photograph a wide variety of birds of the shore including pelicans, gulls, terns, sandpipers, oystercatchers, heron, egrets, and night-herons. Many in full breeding plumage. Most are ridiculously tame. Osprey likely. Learn to get the right exposure, flight photography techniques, my secret DeSoto locations, how to see the best situations (nobody is better at that than me), and how to make great images in extremely cluttered situations. Enjoy some great sunrises and sunsets.

Which will offer better opportunities, Desoto #1 or DeSoto #2? I have no idea. Both have the potential to be great.

Tame birds in breeding plumage and heron and egret chicks are great fun.

Gatorland IPT #2. Sunrise: 6:48am. Sunset: 7:58pm.

3 1/2 DAYs: THURS 26 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1599. Limit 5 photographers.

(2 1/2 DAY option) FRI 27 APR through and including the morning of SUN 29 APR. $1199.

Must purchase Gatorland Photographers Pass. Click here for details. All early entry. Late stays Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Gatorland IPT #2 should have lots of chicks, and lots of birds in breeding plumage. We will get to photograph Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, and Wood Stork. The Cattle Egrets in full breeding plumage will be present in good numbers. Learn my Gatorland strategy, to get the right exposure, flight photography techniques, my secret Gatorland spots, how to see the best situations (nobody is better at that than me), and how to make great images in extremely cluttered situations.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my (stupendous) efforts here on the blog by remembering to click on the logo link above each time that you shop Amazon. That would be greatly appreciated. There is no problem using your Prime account; just click on the link and log into your Prime account. With love, artie

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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.

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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 :).

12 comments to Do You Like Yours With or Without?

  • avatar David Policansky

    Tough call, Artie. I like the composition and feeling of motion in the first image better but I do like the bird in the second image. Hmmmm…..dunno.

    I expected an April Fool’;s message from you today, maybe telling us that you’d sold all your Nikon gear and bought back into Canon. 🙂

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks David, I am so immersed in re-habbing my shoulder that I totally whiffed on the date … with love, artie

  • Both are wonderful, however I prefer the first image with the curling dynamics of the wave. Again very nice work!

  • avatar Peter Noyes

    I like both pictures very much. To me, both are very good. I would pick the second one if I had to pick one because it has both the bird and the wave in it. But, then there is something about the wave in the first picture. Difficult choice!
    Chag Kashroth Pesach! – I hope I got that right. I meant no offense if I didn’t.

  • avatar James Saxon

    The second image with the bird is my favorite but not by much. To me the blurred effect in the second image is smoother than the first which gives the image a different texture and feel. The first image has additional color but I would have preferred it without the small strip of sky at the top. I think that is what moved me to like the second image. Both images could be framed and hung side by side to create a nice mood in a room. Good work. Thanks for sharing and letting us voice our opinion.

  • avatar Steve Rentmeesters

    The question for me is “Do I like an image of a wave or an image of a bird?”
    The answer is I like both a image of a wave and an image of a bird. Great images!

  • avatar Ted

    The first image. The lines of the wave draws in my eye and gives a depth to the photo almost asw if I could feel the moment. The second to me is flat and uninteresting.

  • I prefer the second one. For me, the bird adds life to the image. Image #1 is about a blurred wave, image #2 is about the bird and the background, while important, is secondary.

  • avatar Adam

    Along with Tony’s observations, I find the first one more engaging. The second image while pleasing lacks depth and the small strip of blue sky keeps pulling my eye away.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Adam. But confused. It seems that you are mentioning that the small strip of sky in the second image keeps pulling your eye away … But the small strip of sky in in the first image; there is no strip of sky in the second image …

      with love, artie

  • avatar Tony Z

    For me, there is more emotion in the first (without). I really like that one best.