Singing the BLUEs « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Singing the BLUEs


Condolences to Chicago Cubs fans; the Cubbies scored only a single run in back to back single elimination games and thus will not be taking part in the MLB post season.

I was glad to learn that multiple IPT veteran Mike Gotthelf signed up for the Hooptie Deux/Spoonbill IPT next February. See yesterday’s blog post here for the details. I was also glad to learn that Mark Overgaard sold his Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender, his Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens, and his EOS 5DS less than a week after listing them. All for the full asking price. So just how did he put $8,347 in his pocket? He listened to my pricing advice …

The 2019 Galapagos Photo Cruise/Limit 12/Openings: 3

Right now I have nine folks committed to the 2019 Galapagos Photo Cruise. A friend who had committed to the trip learned that he and his wife might not be able to attend. Thus, I have room for a couple or for two same-sex roommates, and for a male single. If the archipelago is on your bucket list, please get in touch via e-mail asap with questions. If you might be registering with a friend or a spouse do ask about the two at a time discount. See the complete details here.


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 many dozens of items. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the 5Ds and 5Ds R, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, the Canon 200-400 with internal extender, and the original 400mm DO lens have been dropping steadily. Most recently the price of used Canon 600mm f/L IS II lenses have been dropping like a rock with the introduction of the 600 II. 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.

September Sales

Ron Gates sold a Canon EOS 7D in near-mint condition for $350 in mid-September.
Will Craig sold a Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $674.00and a Canon EF Extender 1.4X III in near-mint condition for $329.00 about one week after they were listed in mid-September.
Will Craig sold an original Canon EOS 7D camera body in excellent condition (with fewer than 26,000 actuations) for $299.00 soon after it was listed in September, 2018.
Anthony Ardito sold a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV body in like-new condition (with extras) for $2,499.00 in early September, 2018.
Anthony Ardito also sold a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens in like-new condition (with extras including a 2X III TC) for $8,500.00 in early September, 2018.
I sold my Canon 1.4X III teleconverter for $329.00 in early September before listing it.
Amy Novotny’s Nikon TC-E-20 (teleconverter) sold the first day it was listed in early September for $249.00.
Richard Gollar sold his Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS (the original IS model, the “old five”) in near-mint condition for $3399.00 in early September.

New Listing

Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6 AF-S VR Lens

Good friend, often e-Guide co-author, and crack-Avian Forum moderator (on BPN), Arash Hazeghi, is offering a Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6 AF-S VR lens in mint condition for $1075.00 (purchased 1/26/2018/USA version with USA warranty). The sale includes the original box and everything that came in it: the lens pouch, the hood, the front and rear caps, the manual, the warranty card, and insured Ground shipping to the continental US via major courier). Your item will not ship until your check clears. Please add 3% if using Paypal.

Please contact Arash via e-mail.

This was my first Nikon lens and I love it and use it to this day. Most folks can hand hold it easily. You can save more than $300.00 by grabbing Arash’s lens now. artie


I just booked a whole house for the Hooptie/Spoonbill IPT for $79.75 a night! Join Airbnb and become part of a community that connects global travelers with local hosts across the world. Find a place to stay and discover things to do. Airbnb lists more than 4.5 million homes across 200 countries; you’ll find spacious, affordable options for every occasion. With Airbnb you will travel with confidence as reviews from past guests help you find the right fit. Once you do, our secure messaging makes it easy to coordinate with your host. And Airbnb support teams are available 24/7. Last night I made a reservation for an Airbnb apartment for my upcoming January San Diego visit: 13 nights with a full kitchen and two bedrooms.

Yikes. I almost forgot the best part: Airbnb rates average less than half of even the least expensive chain hotels and motels. If you would like to save $40 on your first booking sign up by using this link: Airbnb. Airbnb does charge clean-up and service fees that make short stays less attractive bargains than long stays.

Those who prefer to stay in a motel or hotel are invited to use the link below to save $25.00.


Several folks on the UK IPT used the Booking.Com link below for their 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.

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. Steve currently has several D850s in stock — your purchase includes a free 64gb XQD card and the XQD reader!). He also has two Nikon 180-400s in stock. And he is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body as well as for the Canon 600 III. He already has two BAA-blog orders for the new Canon six.

This image was created on July 8, 2018 on the UK Puffin and Gannets IPT. 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-17E II, and my souped up (9 fps) mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 400. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/6.7 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 10:43am on the typical and wonderful cloudy-bright morning.

Three up and one to the right of the center AF point/d-9/Shutter Button/Continuous (AI Servo in Canon) AF was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point was squarely on the orange rosette at the base of the puffin’s bill.

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +1.

Atlantic Puffin with sand eels for chick

Singing the BLUEs

Blue has been my favorite color for as long as I can remember, probably about 65 years or so. With digital images we are often concerned with the REDs, CYAN color casts, and GREENs that are too YELLOW. But we often take the BLUEs for granted. In truth, the BLUEs often require tender handling during post processing. Here are some of the ways that you can fine-tune your BLUEs so that you do not wind up singing them. 🙂

During the RAW Conversion

  • Open the HSL (Hue-Saturation-Luminance) tab and select the BLUE channel. Experiment by increasing or decreasing the Luminance to taste. You can try the same thing
    with the Saturation slider. In general, it is best not to play with the Hue slider; if you do, resist moving it a point or two in either direction.
  • Experiment with either the click White Balance Tool or the Color Temperature slider. Both may or may not improve the BLUEs.

In Photoshop (you have lots of options)

  • Open a Selective color layer and try adding or subtracting various colors from the BLUEs. Often adding or subtracting YELLOW and/or CYAN can work wonders.
  • Open a Hue-Saturation layer. Experiment by increasing or decreasing the saturation of the BLUE channel. Then, once you are happy, you can further tweak the BLUEs by moving the Lightness slider.
  • Open a Vibrance layer. Vibrance adjustments work only on colors that are not already fully saturated.
  • Open a Color Balance layer and select the Midtones from the drop-down menu at the top. If you try this approach — I almost never use it — be very judicious when moving the sliders.
  • Working on a separate layer, go Filter > NIK Collection > Color EFEX Pro and apply the White Neutralizer filter. Once the image renders in Photoshop, you can reduce the opacity to taste. The technique can transform light BLUEs magically.

How Do You Deal the BLUEs?

If you successfully use a technique that it different from those listed above to fine-tune your BLUEs, please do share by leaving a comment.

All of the above techniques and lots more including my complete current digital workflow are detailed in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Topics relevant to today’s blog post include making selections, selective sharpening via a Contrast Mask, Eye Doctor techniques, and several methods for balancing color.

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All of the images on this card were created on the 2018 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The New, Expanded 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT. Thursday June 27 (from EDI) through Tuesday, July 9, 2019 (on the ground; fly home on Wednesday July 10.): $9,999. Limit 10 photographers. Co-leader: Peter Kes.

Join me in the UK in late June and early July 2019 to photograph Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Shag, and Northern Gannet, Red Kite, and more both in flight and at close range. We will also have great chances with Arctic and Sandwich Terns, both with chicks of all sizes; Black-headed, Lesser-Black-backed, and Herring Gulls, many of those chasing puffins with fish; Black-legged Kittiwake with chicks; plus Grey Seal. There will be tons of great flight photography. As on all IPTs, if you pay attention, you will learn a ton, especially about sky conditions and the relationship between light angle and wind direction and their effects on flight photography.

Why go all the way to Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine, endure a two-hour boat ride, and have to photograph Atlantic Puffins from a cramped blind usually in bright sun (and well off sun angle) when you can hop a red-eye flight from Newark, NJ and be in Edinburgh, Scotland early the next morning. First we drive down to Bridlington for easy access to Bempton Cliffs where our primary targets will be Northern Gannet in flight. We will also get to photograph Razorbill, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. While in Bridlington we will spend one afternoon visiting a Red Kite feeding station that should provide lots of flight photography action.

While in Bridlington we will staying at the Lobster Pot by Marston’s Inn, just fifteen minutes from Bempton Cliffs. After 3 1/2 days of photography at there, we drive down to Seahouses in Northumberland to the two lodges that will be our home base for a week. After a short boat ride each day we will have hundreds of puffins posing at close range all day, every day — usually in ideal cloudy-bright conditions. While we are in Seahouses we will do six puffin/seabird trips, all weather permitting of course; last year we did not miss a single landing. In five years we have averaged losing less than one half day per year to bad weather. We land at Staple Island in the mornings and then sail over to Inner Farnes for our afternoon sessions. In addition, we may enjoy a session or two photographing nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes at eye level from a rocky beach in Seahouses.

In Seahouses, we stay 7 nights in gorgeous, modern, upscale lodges with Wi-fi. They are beyond lovely with large living areas and lots of open space for the informal image sharing and Photoshop sessions. The bedrooms are decent-sized. Each lodge has one double bedroom and two twin bedrooms. (See the single supplement info below.) At the lodges we cook our own breakfasts each morning and prepare our own lunches to be brought on the six puffin boat trips. For dinners we will alternate cooking in the lodges with fine dining at several excellent local restaurants. We stay two nights at the Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. We will enjoy a fine-dining Thank You dinner at the Dunbar Hotel on the Tuesday evening before we fly home.

On the morning of Monday, July 8, 2019, the plan is to sleep late, pack, and head up to Dunbar Harbor, Scotland for lunch and an afternoon gannet boat chumming trip: flight photography until you cannot lift your camera. The next morning, Tuesday July 9, we will enjoy our second gannet boat chumming trip (both weather permitting). On both trips we will enjoy great views of the huge gannetry at Bass Rock. Included will be two nights lodging at the Pine Martin by Marston’s Inn in Dunbar. Very early on the morning of Wednesday, July 10, we will drive up to Edinburgh Airport so that everyone can make their flights home. No moaning please. You will need a flight that leaves at 8:30am or later. Not too much later is generally best.

Images and card design copyright: Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART. All images were created on the 2017 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT

The Details

This IPT is all-inclusive except for your airfare and alcoholic beverages. All ground transportation, lodging costs, meals, your National Trust membership, and all boat, entry, and landing fees are included. Weather permitting, we will enjoy three and one-half days (at least six sessions in all) at Bempton Cliffs, an afternoon with the Red Kites, six full days on the puffin boats, one amazing afternoon gannet chumming trip, and one spectacular morning gannet chumming trip. The trip cannot be finalized until I have at least six deposits as we will be renting a lovely 15-passenger bus with our private professional driver who happens to be my web-master, Peter Kes, who is also a skilled photographer and my co-leader 🙂

IPT Details

If you are good to go sharing a room–couples of course are more than welcome, heck, we actually need two couples — please send your non-refundable $2,000/person deposit check now to save a spot. Please be sure to check your schedule carefully before committing to the trip and see the travel insurance info below. Your balance will be due on February 28, 2019. Please make your check out to “Arthur Morris” and send it to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 33855.

Please shoot me an e-mail if you are good to go or if you have any questions.

Single Supplement Info

Single supplement rooms in Bridlington and Dunbar are available for those who register early. The cost of the single supplement for those six nights is $600.00. Single supplement rooms at the lodge may be available on a limited basis but only if the trip does not fill with ten photographers. The single supplement fee for those seven nights is $700. If you would like your own room in Bridlington and Dunbar, please request it when making your deposit and include payment in full for the single supplement with your deposit: $2,600.00. The single supplement deposits are non-refundable as I will need to make the reservations well in advance.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for big international trips is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality insurance. Travel Insurance Services offers a variety of plans and options. Included with the Elite Option or available as an upgrade to the Basic & Plus Options you can also purchase Cancel for Any Reason Coverage that expands the list of reasons for your canceling to include things such as sudden work or family obligation and even a simple change of mind. My family and I use and depend on the great policies offered by TIS whenever we travel. You can learn more here: Travel Insurance Services. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your travel insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully even when dealing with reputable firms like TSI.

Help Support the Blog

Please help support my 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

If In Doubt …

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.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

13 comments to Singing the BLUEs

  • Good post, Artie.

    The HSL sliders work so well it’s almost an unfair trick to modify blue colors. The same techniques work for landscapes as well as birds and other wildlife. The result is similar to using a circular polarizer without the impact on shutter speed – but is more targeted.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Eric. I saw some of your images recently — killer B&W of the gorilla and another of Tiger, a smiling Tiger Woods at the PGA championship. I did not know that you did sports too.

      with love, artie

  • Arty, Whats up? If you get a chance, have a question, have you tried the new Nikon 500mm f5.6 lens yet? I have an old 500mm AFS type II thats over 12 years and getting hard to carry.

    I’d like to know how effective the AF is as I’ve read its average and I don’t really know what that means.

    I use the old 500mm with a D500 camera my thinking is to use it with the new
    with the new 500mm because of the crop factor, 750mm f5.6. I don’t think it will be that useful with a TC14III on moving subjects.

    Anyway, Hope All is well-Best-JH

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey John, I have been trying very hard to get one. Right your best bet would be to pre-order. Are you an NPS member? You can pre-order from B&H using this link but the list will be a long one: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR Lens

      You would have a much better chance pre-ordering from Bedfords and getting in touch with Steve Elkins as mentioned near the top of each blog post. Be sure to use my BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout. I will be doing a blog post on this lens soon.

      According to Arash Hazeghi who actually has one, the AF is great and I would not rule out shooting flight with the TC-E14 …

      with love, a

  • Mike Gotthelf

    Hi Ruth,

    Not Swiss. My grandparents on my father’s side were from Austria Hungary.

  • The blues . . .
    Your Atlantic puffin with eels to me, my monitor, has a tinge of cyan in the blue sky. (sky?). I like a tinge of magenta in blue sky.
    Regards – Tom G

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Tom,

      You may very well be correct. I am usually taking MAGENTA out of my BLUEs. Most folks including me like the BLUEs as presented. Also to consider are differences in monitors and lighting (in the room where one is working). And most importantly, all of this stuff is 100% subjective.

      with love, artie

  • Hi Arthur
    That’s really interesting info about ‘Singing the Blues’. I’m going to give that a go. I notice the Puffin is the same image as in the grid of nine images; but flipped left to right. I prefer this version. Love the blue hue and the light. You couldn’t have got a better shot in a studio.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thank you Scott. I never care which way the bird is facing 🙂 I flopped it on the card for better balance.

      with love, a

  • Kathy Kunce

    Go Rockies!

  • Ruth Schueler

    I would like to know if Mike Gotthelf is Swiss……

  • John

    Yea about the Cubs, but the DODGERS advanced 🙂