Off to a Good Start with Puffins « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Off to a Good Start with Puffins


The unprecedented run of sunny days and blue skies in Europe continues. Despite that and a less than ideal northwest wind we did fairly well on Tuesday on our first visits to the island off Seahouses. It was supposed to be cloudy on Wednesday but alas, it was another sunny day. The wind however, swung to the southeast in the morning and to the south in the afternoon so conditions for flight photography and perched puffins were as good as they can be on a clear day. Everyone no matter what lens they used, folks got lots of images of puffins with their beaks full of sand eels. And everyone was thrilled, even Anita North and George Golumbeski who were back for their second UK Puffins and Gannets IPT.

If you are interested in joining the 2019 Bempton Cliffs/Seahouses UK Puffins and Gannets IPT please shoot me an e-mail.

I did manage 6.8 miles of walking on Wednesday. I am feeling great.


If you missed the PHOTOEXPO 2018 announcement and live anywhere within driving or flying distance of Memphis, TN, click here for the info. I am still looking for a ride to Beale Street!


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

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.

Recent Sales

Ray Maynard sold his Canon 1.4X III teleconverter in near-mint condition for the low price of $299.00 in late June, 2018.
Randall Ennis sold his Canon EOS-1D Mark IV in excellent condition for $849.00 in late June.
Joel Williams sold his Sony Vario-Tessar T FE 16-35 f/4 ZA OSS lens in like-new condition for $629 (was $749) in late June, 2018.
Joel Williams also sold his Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR lens in like-new condition for $749 (was $949) in April 2018.
Pierre Williot sold his Canon EOS 7D Mark II in like-new condition for a very fair $848.00 in late June, 2018.
Top BAA used gear seller Jim Keener sold his Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens in like-new condition for the BAA record low price of $1349.00 the first day it was listed in late June.
Jim Keener sold a Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in excellent condition for the BAA record-low price of $999.00 (was $1149.00) in mid-June.
Jim Keener sold a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens in like-new condition for the BAA record low price of $1099.00 in Early June.
Steve Traudt sold an Xtrahand Vest, the Khumbu model, size XL, in very good condition for the BAA record-low price of $179.
Jim Brennan sold a used Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens in good condition for $249.00 in late May.
Larry Padgett sold his Canon EOS 5D Mark III body in excellent condition for $1160 soon after it was listed in late May.
Charlie Curry sold his Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens in mint condition for a BAA record-low price of $750.00 on the first day of listing in late May, 2018

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Pierre Williot is offering a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM lens (the original 600 IS) in very good to excellent condition in perfect working order with just a few blemishes for the BAA record-low-by-$800 price of $4199.00. The sale includes a LensCoat, the lens trunk, a low foot, the Canon 52mm Drop-In Circular Polarizer Filter (PL-C 52), the leather front lens cover, the rear cap, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses.

Please get in touch with Pierre via e-mail.

The 600 f/4 lenses are ideal for those who do birds and wildlife. This lens is the original (heavier) version of the Canon 600 IS. The lighter 600mm f/4L IS sells new at B&H for $11,499.00. Pierre’s lens is a great buy for a young, eager, relatively strong nature photographer who would like to save $7,300.00. The original 600 IS served as my workhorse super-telephoto lens for more than a decade. artie

Six Nikon D850s and a Nikkor AF-S 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR Lens! Available Right Now!

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 UK IPT used the Booking.Com link below for there Edinburgh hotels, 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 photographers 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 at Staple Island off of Seahouses, UK on the sunny morning of Tuesday, July 3, 2018. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 500mm) and the Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering at zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. Natural Auto WB at 10:26am.

Two to the right of center d-9 AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was just to our right of the orange rosette.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: +4. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #1: Atlantic Puffin with blue water background

Follow the Simple Directions …

Everyone was instructed to stay low and move slowly if there were puffins at the top of the landing site. On our first landing, There were, and everyone listened. As a result everyone got some very nice images of Atlantic Puffin with nice, blue water backgrounds.

This image was also created at Staple Island off of Seahouses, UK on the sunny morning of Tuesday, July 3, 2018. I used the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens,the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, (at 700mm) and the Nikon D850. ISO 400. Matrix metering at zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. Natural Auto WB at 11:15am.

One up and two to the left of the center AF point/d-9/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was on the cetner of the neck just above the white of the upper breast.

Focus peaking AF Fine-tune: -6. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: Atlantic Puffin with green and mottled background

A New Loafing Location

We found a nice group of puffins perched on the rocks along a ravine in a location where I had never seen a puffin before. Most of the group partook. It was a great opportunity to practice working on sun angle while being aware of the background. My suggestion was to work within ten degrees of sun angle while being acutely aware of how the far wall of the ravine would affect the background. For Image #2, I was able to set the bird mostly against some green vegetation.

Your Favorite?

Which image do you prefer? Please state your reasons.

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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 :).

9 comments to Off to a Good Start with Puffins

  • HI bro
    Beautiful pictures love those puffins

  • avatar Christopher Loffredo

    Awesome way to start. Cant wait to see more.
    While the blue background in #1 says ocean, seabird, etc. its almost overpowering in the bright conditions. I also like the head position and eye contact a bit better on #2. Im guessing if you are using the 200-500mm and a TC that you might not be lugging the big gun around the rocks. Which seems more versatile, safer and less painful. Best wishes.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks! I have not used the 2-5 since day one. I have taken the 600 on the boat every day and used it only on occasion … You will learn lots more about the gear I have been using in future blog posts.

      with love, artie

  • Terrific!!!

  • avatar Roger S Williams

    Definitely Number One, due to the eye detail and the rich background which provides such amazing contrast with the bird and perch

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi, Artie. I prefer image two because I am right-handed. Pretty stupid reason, isn’t it? But sometimes it’s hard to be analytic and figure out a real reason for a preference. I think, though, that I prefer the softer BG and indeed overall softer (in terms of contrast, not focus!) feel to image two. The harsh light on the rock across the bottom of image 1 isn’t as pleasing to me as the perch in image two. But I’d be delighted with either of them and I like the sheepish, almost apologetic, look of the bird in image 1.

    A question about your for sale info: you have two headings, one says eight Nikon D850s available right now and one says six Nikon D850s available now. Did two sell between those two headings? If so, people better jump on the remaining six!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks David. My error was of the cut and paste variety.

      with love,


  • avatar Gary Spicer

    You have done a great job considering the light is so harsh at the moment in the daytime with no clouds.. Shame the boats don’t run in the evening!! 😉

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for your spot on comments Gary; the very best way to succeed in bright sunlight is to work clean and tight while getting as close to sun angle as possible.

      with love, artie