Always in a Hurry … Dark-siders: Please Do Not Take This Personally. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Always in a Hurry ... Dark-siders: Please Do Not Take This Personally.


I had some nasty pain from my hernia while we were photographing at St. Pete Beach on the last afternoon of the DeSoto IPT. I was able to arrange to see Dr. Howard at 10am on Wednesday. The IPT group enjoyed a great thank you dinner at Good Times Continental Restaurant on Tierra Verde on Tuesday evening. Anita North got us home safely after a two-hour drive in the dark. After three glasses of riesling with dinner I would not have done too well behind the wheel. Noel Heustis took the rest of the group out on Wednesday morning and they killed on dancing dark morph Reddish Egret, Clapper Rail, and Black-necked Stilt. All of us really enjoyed meeting and chatting with newbie Norm Steffen of Estero, FL. He was a Navy pilot for ten years right between Vietnam and Desert Storm. He flew the A6 Intruder attach bombers on and off of the carrier Midway. He thrilled us with tales of tail hooks and night landings and lots more. And he is a heck of a nice man to boot.

Here is the text message that I got from Norm midday on Wednesday:

Made it home with a big smile on my face. Hope that you have one too. I had a great run this morning with the stilt and with “Big Red” dancing while Noel and Lorne were off with the Clapper Rail. Much more to follow but I wanted to say THANK YOU for a fantastic time. I learned much more than I expected I would or could. Good luck and I hope that you are feeling better soon. Norm

Norm showed up really wanting to learn. His big revelations had to do with getting the right exposure every time in Manual mode using the histogram while checking for blinkies, working on sun angle, the importance of getting low when working with relatively short focal lengths, and moving the AF points on his 7D 2. In parting he mentioned that the best photos he had ever made were on the DeSoto IPT. That put a big smile on my face. Many thanks to Anita and Loren who went out of the way to help Norm and of course to my relatively new assistant, Noel Heustis, who did the same.

Dr. Howard and I had a grand time on Wednesday morning re-visiting my 2016 gall badder surgery. For tomorrow there will be no food after midnight. I need to be at Outpatient Surgery at Lake Wales Hospital at noon on Thursday. Surgery at 2pm, out by five. I am 100% positive that Dr. Howard will do a great job.

The Streak

Today makes two hundred sixty-three days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took less than an hour to prepare including the time spent on the image optimization. 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.

Dark-siders: Please Do Not Take This Personally

I have been saying this for a while: after many years in the business of brokering used gear sales, one pattern that I have seen is that most Nikon folks think that there stuff is worth a lot more than it actually is. That especially with regard to the sale of the older 600mm lenses, some of which weigh in the 12-14 pound range. If you can shed any light as to why this might be the case, I’d love to hear from you.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charged a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. They went out of business. And e-Bay fees are now up to 13%. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please scroll down here or shoot us an e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly — I offer pricing advice to those who agree to the terms — usually sells in no time flat. Over the past year, we have sold many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 100-400, the old 500mm, the EOS-7D and 7D Mark II and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. You can always see the current listings by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the orange-yellow menu bar near the top of each blog post page.


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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 DeSoto IPT used the Booking.Com link below, 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 the morning of April 17, 2018. I used the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, and the Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering +2/3 stop as framed: 1/1250 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. K7690 WB at 7:07am just right at sunrise.

Center Group (grp) AF point/Shutter button AF was active at the moment of exposure. The upper point of the array was right on the base of the bird’s neck. ]Click on the image to see a larger version

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +4.

Reddish Egret, running start, sunrise silhouette

Always in a Hurry …

I have always been in a hurry. And though I have slowed down to some degree and embraced The Work of Byron Katie, I will probably always be in a hurry. One morning in Phoenix I dallied a bit on the way to the Gilbert Water Ranch. I followed my nose to a new spot and got into position. As I had already injured the shoulder I had been carrying the tripod in my left hand and the lens with the camera body and the 1.4X TC mounted in my right hand. As I was mounting the lens, I glanced at the pond and saw two Black-necked Stilts copulating. The male was standing atop his mate with his wing’s raised for about twenty seconds. All that with a perfect mirror image reflection and a dark green background. So much for dallying.

When we arrived at DeSoto on Tuesday we headed out to my favorite lagoon. There was some still, salmon-peach water to the west. There was a small flock of Short-billed Dowitchers feeding in the distance but they never quite lined up (though we tried). The most gorgeous still colorful water was beyond the second sandbar. But there were no birds there. I decided to gamble and headed west over the soft, mucky bottom. My bad left wing and hernia did not stop me. When I had made my way halfway across the shallow bay a bird fly in from my right, right into the still, luscious water. I still had a hundred yards to go and as I set me tripod down the bird starting running. I was just in the nick of time. The bird began to dance while moving from north to south. I moved right along with it striving to photograph the bird just a bit to the left or the right of the too-bright swatch of the sun on the water. Once the bird moved too far left or right the dramatic silhouette situation disappeared. I moved a lot 🙂

Looking back it was quite a way to start the morning; I was very glad that I had envisioned the best case scenario and then hustled to get to where I needed to be even before the bird showed up!

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7 comments to Always in a Hurry … Dark-siders: Please Do Not Take This Personally.

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    Great image Artie! Way to hustle brother!

  • avatar Erick Houli

    As for the Nikon users asking too much for old lenses, my experience with a guy I met was that they assume that since Nikon allows the use of old lenses in actual cameras (they managed to keep the mount) they seem to think of it as if they perform as the new ones, they forget that R&D has improved the newer lenses in terms of optical performance along with weight savings.

  • avatar Noel Heustis

    Artie – I’m writing this a day late as by computer crashed yesterday. Got it fixed. The image of the Reddish is amazing as per your usual. It pays to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right creativity, and the right company :). Norm – it was great meeting and shooting with you.

  • avatar Kevin Hice

    Artie,hope all goes well with the surgery today. Beautiful photo,my question is how did you come up with the kelvin setting? Trial and error, and auto WB would have been too far off.I know you set a preset in HDR around 4000 to cool things down a bit.You could have changed in post. Would it matter if done in the field or post . Thanks

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Kevin, All went perfectly well. Thanks. I like it too.

      With Canon I used to work with K7500. Nikon has pre-sets so the nearest one is K7690.

      Image quality is supposed to be bit better if you use the WB you want in the field but I am sure that the differences would be minimal at best. I like to photograph a somewhat bland sunrise or sunset at high K, show the image on the back of the camera to the photographer standing next to me (or to the whole group), and have them say, “When and where did you take that???”

      with love, artie

  • avatar Norm Steffen

    Art, Anita, Noel, Lorne
    Just needed to say thank you to all of you again.