Why I Go With One … The Most Beautiful Creature Ever? Bins. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Why I Go With One ... The Most Beautiful Creature Ever? Bins.

Why I Go With One …

My long-time policy has always been to go with one photographer on US IPTs. Why? If you are interested enough in learning and are willing to take time off from work and travel (often by air) to the location, I never want to disappoint you. That is true even if I break-even or lose a few bucks. The 3 1/2 day DeSOto IPT just might be the first IPT where I have actually gone with one.

Note: international trips that require substantial deposits from the operator, that being me, are often posted with a minimum number of participants. For good reason. Two currently scheduled trips that fit that bill are the just announced 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT and the Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime.


Obviously folks attending the IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors. The good news is that the days are relatively short in late September. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, juvenile Tricolored Heron, Marbled Godwits, Great Blue Heron, juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, Wood Stork, smiling Sea Scallop, Ruddy Turnstone scavenging needlefish, Great Blue Heron sunset silhouette at my secret spot, and southbound migrant tern flock blur.

It’s Never Too Late

First-timer Ed Dow took advantage of the largest-ever offered late registration discount and signed up yesterday for the complete DeSoto package. He is traveling from California to learn to use his new used Canon 500 II. Multiple IPT veteran and good friend Indranil Sircar is joining us for the weekend. If you would like to join us on the weekend or the full IPT or both, or would like to join us for a single day, scroll down for the details and shoot me an e-mail. Don’t forget to ask me about the huge late-registration discounts or try me on my cell at 863-221-2372.


Fort DeSoto in fall is rife with tame birds. All of the images in this card were created at Fort DeSoto in either late September or very early October. I hope that you can join me there this September. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Clockwise from upper left to center: Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Caspian Tern, Great Egret, Sandwich Tern with fish, Willet, Black-bellied Plover threat display, Snowy Egret, 2-year old Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron.

  • The 2018 Fort DeSoto Fall Weekend IPT/September 22-23, 2018: 2 FULL DAYS: $949. Limit 8/Openings 6.
  • 2018 Fort DeSoto Fall IPT/September 24 (MON) through the morning of September 27 (THURS), 2018: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1749. Limit 8/Openings 7. Meet and Greet at 7:30pm on the evening of September 23 (SUN)

Please e-mail for late-registration discount info and/or for single-day rates.

Zebra Swallowtail
i-Phone Image courtesy of and copyright 2019: Amy Novotny

The Most Beautiful Creature Ever?

Yesterday afternoon Jim called Amy and me to his butterfly garden in the backyard just outside the pool cage to see my first-ever Zebra Swallowtail. Even with the naked eye, I could see that it was one very beautiful creature. It was flitting around drinking from some small white wildflowers. Wanting a better look, I hustled to the car to grab my Leica 8×32 Trinovid binoculars. The butterfly was still there but rarely sitting still for more than a fraction of a second. Still, I enjoyed amazing views of what was likely — aside from a very few women — the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen. It had just emerged from its chrysalis as every scale was perfect and both tails were intact. The reds and the blues were incredible as were both the upper and under sides.

Amy grabbed her cell phone — she is never without it — and amazed Jim and me by easily getting within two feet of the butterfly, sometimes even closer. In a pretty much impossible situation she made the very decent image that you see above. After watching this exquisitely beautiful insect for more than ten minutes, I finally decided to try to photograph it. I got my Nikon 80-400 VR with a 20mm Kenko extension tube and was all excited. But when I got back to Jim’s butterfly garden the immaculate Zebra Swallowtail was gone.


While I almost never head afield with bins, I do keep my Leica 8x32s in the car and often do my health walks with them. They are lightweight, super-bright, and super sharp. And they focus inside of 6 feet which makes them a great butterfly and dragonfly glass.

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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 :).

5 comments to Why I Go With One … The Most Beautiful Creature Ever? Bins.

  • Swallowtails are Beautiful Creatures.

    I have an question based on the Information Posted in the Blog. You mentioned that you took “Nikon 80-400 VR with a 20mm Kenko Extension Tube”.
    My Question:-
    Why did you take 20 mm Extension Tube, why not 12 mm Extension Tube ? How did you decide that you need 20 mm Extension Tube and not the whole set etc.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Krishna,

      The longer the tube, the closer you can focus. The longer the tube or combination of tubes, the more vignetting you will encounter even when stopping down considerably. So the smaller the subject the more extension you need. We both are talking about the same set, the Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set DG (12, 20 & 36mm Tubes) for Nikon Digital and Film Cameras. I chose the 20mm tube as a compromise — I could get a bit closer than with the 12mm and would not have to be too concerned about vignetting as would have happened with 36 mm (or more) of extension. In part my choice was based on experience.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    Was the swallowtail pic PP, or straight from the phone?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Anthony,

      This is about 90% of the original i-phone capture. I executed a small crop from our left and above. Then I selected the butterfly and ran my NIK 50-50 filter on it in an attempt to open up the near hind wing. That’s it.

      with love, artie