Adjusting on the Fly, White Neutralizer, On Getting to Know a Location Intimately, and Announcing the 2018 Early Winter DeSoto IPT « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Adjusting on the Fly, White Neutralizer, On Getting to Know a Location Intimately, and Announcing the 2018 Early Winter DeSoto IPT


Been blowing lots of balloons. Ordered a ton of cold weather stuff and dry bags on Amazon getting ready for the upcoming bucket list trip; I leave on Monday to try for Emperor Penguins with chicks … Success is not at all guaranteed. Thanks to all who shared some of their favorite music yesterday; I have been on Youtube ever since!

It is looking like four participants for San Diego right now. The 2019 UK Puffins and Gannets IPT is however wide open at this point.

News on the Galapagos Front/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 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.

September Sales

IPT veteran Mark Overgaard sold his Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender in excellent condition for $6,499.00, an EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens in excellent condition for $449.00, and a 5DS body in excellent condition for $1399.00. He put more than $8,000 in his pocket because he listened to my pricing advice.
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.

Huge Price Drop

Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (with extras!)

Price dropped $1,000 on 8 OCT, 2018!

Mike Diersing is offering a Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender in very good-plus condition (the glass is immaculate) for the crazy insane, BAA record-low-by-far price of $6,199.00. The sale includes a Really Right Stuff LCF-53 lens foot, a Realtree Max-5 LensCoat, the front and rear lens caps, the original tripod and monopod mounts, the lens trunk with keys, the lens strap, the lens manual, and insured ground shipping via FedEx to US addresses only.

Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mike via e-mail.

This is the world’s best lens for a trip to Africa. If you use Canon gear and head to the Dark Continent without this lens in your Think Tank Rolling bag you are making a huge mistake. It kills also in the Galapagos and in South Georgia, the Falklands, and Antarctica. And I used mine a lot at Bosque and other dusty places where the built-in TC helps to keep your sensor clean. And I loved it in the Palouse for its versatility. On my last bear boat trip, I often found myself wishing that I had taken the 200-400 rather than my 500 II on the IPT … Many nature photographers use it as their workhorse telephoto lens as it offers 784mm at f/8 with an external 1.4X TC added. The lens sells new at B&H right now for $10,999.00. You can save an amazing $4,800 by grabbing Mike’s lens right now. artie


For the past few months, I have been hearing folks use the word Airbnb, most notably, Amy Novotny. Out of curiosity I asked a few questions. What I learned amazed me. 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 along with a Nikon 600mm f/4 VR. He is taking pre-orders for the new Nikon 500 P and the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera body.

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 on the 2018 Fall DeSoto IPT on the afternoon of September 24, 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-17E II, and my souped up (9 fps) mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 400. Matrix metering +2/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.7 in Manual mode. AUTO1 WB at 5:54pm on mostly clear afternoon.

Three up from 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 on the back of the bird’s neck where it meets the upper back, right on the same plane as the eye. Click on the image to see a spectacular larger version.

Phase detection AF Fine-tune value: +1. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Black-bellied Plover, adult winter

Adjusting on the Fly …

We had been photographing at the St. Pete Beach pilings and decided to head for my #2 afternoon location inside the park. While we were parking, I spotted this bird sitting on a sandbar with another sandbar right behind it. I thought, “If I get low with a long lens this might look really sweet.” So I re-mounted my D850 onto the 600; the 1.7TC was already in place, lowered my tripod, approached the bird slowly, and sat down as low as I could get. Remembering the exposure that I had been using earlier at the previous spot, I instinctively rolled the shutter button wheel two clicks to the left for a slower shutter speed. Three clicks would have been perfect. As soon as I was in place I acquired focus and fired off two quick shots. A Laughing Gull landed nearby and flushed the plover. For some reason I had realized that speed was of the essence; had I not worked so quickly the image would have been gone …

White Neutralizer

I applied a 50% opacity layer of NIK Color Efex Pro White Neutralizer; doing so — as mentioned in the Singing the Blues blog post here — really made the BLUEs special.

On Getting to Know a Location Intimately

I moved to Florida in 1994 and learned of Fort DeSoto Park soon afterwards. Over the past two decades I have spent a good deal of time there. The more you visit a location the more you come to know the place intimately, to know the birds, their favored locations, the tides, the winds, and the beaches. Well more than a year ago I ran into now-friend Noel Heustis who shared some fishing information on the tides at DeSoto with me along with his theory. Once I cam to understand that, my visits became that much more productive. When I am at DeSoto now, I always feel that I know where I need to be when, and to follow my instincts and get on some really great bird photography. As I begin traveling less and less, I will surely be visiting Fort DeSoto more and more …


Fort DeSoto in early winter is rife with tame birds. 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 Early Winter IPT/Thursday December 7 through the morning session on Monday December 10, 2018: 3 1/2 DAYS: $1549. Limit 8/Openings: 7.

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in early winter. There they join hundreds of egrets, herons, night-herons, and gulls that winter on the T-shaped peninsula. With luck, we may get to photograph two of Florida’s most desirable shorebird species: Marbled Godwit and the spectacular Long-billed Curlew. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy, American Oystercatcher almost guaranteed. Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis are easy as well and we will almost surely come up with a tame Yellow-crowned Night-Heron or two. We may very well get to see and photograph the amazing heron/egret hybrid that has been present for three year. And we should get to do some Brown Pelican flight photography. In addition, Royal, Sandwich, Forster’s, and Caspian Terns will likely provide us with some good flight opportunities as well. Though not guaranteed, Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork might well be expected. And we will be on the lookout for a migrant passerine fallout in the event of a thunderstorm or two.

On the IPT you will learn basics and fine points of digital exposure and to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them, to understand and predict bird behavior, to identify many species of shorebirds, to spot the good situations, to choose the best perspective, to see and understand the light, and to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system. Most importantly you will surely learn to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography. And you will learn how and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).

There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time.

As with the fall IPT, this one will run with only a single registrant. The best airport is Tampa (TPA). Once you register, you will receive an e-mail with the hotel information. Do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same hotel (rather than at home or at a friend’s place).

A $500 deposit is due when you sign up and is payable by credit card. Balances must be paid by check after you register. Your deposit is non-refundable unless the IPT sells out with eight folks so please check your plans carefully before committing. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand or by sending a check as follows: make the check out to: BIRDS AS ART and send it via US mail here: BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, clothing, and gear advice. Please remember that the meet and greet will take place at 7:30 on the evening of Sunday, September 23. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.


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.

Early and Late

Getting up early and staying out late is pretty much a staple on all BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours; on this particular trip we will get lots of sleep as the days are short. Being in the field well before the sun comes up and staying out until sunset will often present unique photographic opportunities, opportunities that will be missed by those who need their beauty rest. I really love it when I am leaving the beach on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers arrive.


BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT.

Clockwise from upper left to center: Breeding plumage Dunlin, breeding plumage dark morph Reddish Egret displaying, breeding plumage Laughing Gull, breeding plumage Laughing Gull with fish, Laughing Gull on pelican’s head, screaming Royal Tern, Royal Terns copulating, Laughing Gulls copulating, Laughing Gull head portrait, breeding plumage Sandwich Tern with fish, and a very rare-in-Florida, breeding plumage White-rumped Sandpiper.

Fort DeSoto Site Guide

Can’t make the IPT? Get yourself a copy of the Fort DeSoto Site Guide. Learn the best spots, where to be when in what season in what weather. Learn the best wind directions for the various locations. BAA Site Guides are the next best thing to being on an IPT. You can see all of our Site Guides here.

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 :).

4 comments to Adjusting on the Fly, White Neutralizer, On Getting to Know a Location Intimately, and Announcing the 2018 Early Winter DeSoto IPT

  • avatar dave

    Sorry, this is on the wrong post but I don’t have the time to find the one in question.

    The one in question was that someone asked you why you were putting exposure comp down as “approximately” (or something relative) and you showed a screenshot of photomechanic and it was sometimes blank I believe.

    I don’t know if you know this or not but since you’re on a mac you can open your raw files in apples preview app and hit the (I) button and the exif will come up and I believe it has the correct value that you were looking for, it’s labeled “exposure bias value”

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      No worries. I am well aware of “exposure value bias.” The problem with Nikon is several fold:

      1- If you are working in an automatic exposure mode and enter an EC you must remember to set it back to zero or it will be applied when you are working in Manual mode … This is an horrific situation.

      2-With both Canon and Nikon they could fix the firmware to show you the actual EC at the moment of exposure when you are working in Manual mode. I have been suggesting that they do that for years.

      3-Since I often forget to set the EC back to zero the = or – values that I see on the analog scale in the viewfinder are not accurate with Nikon so I do not pay much attention to them 🙂


  • avatar frank sheets

    Pretty! Love both the foreground and background, as well as the pose of the bird. What’s not to like?