Extra DeSoto Morning Added. Catching Up: What bugged me about the turnstone blur. And Unanimity … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Extra DeSoto Morning Added. Catching Up: What bugged me about the turnstone blur. And Unanimity ...

Extra DeSoto Morning Added

Free Morning Session: Tuesday October 1

With just one participant signed up for the 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets DeSoto IPT — I always go with one unless otherwise noted — I have opted to add a free morning session to the workshop at no charge. See immediately below for the complete details. IPT veterans and couples or friends signing up together are asked to e-mail for discount information. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.

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.

The 2019 Fall Sandbar Secrets Fort DeSoto IPT/September 27-30, 2019: One-half and three FULL DAYS: $1499.00. Limit 6/Openings 5.

Afternoon session on Friday September 25 at 4pm. That followed by three full days. We photograph till sunset on Monday, September 30

Added: a Free Morning Session on Tuesday October 1

Fort DeSoto, located just south of St. Petersburg, FL, is a mecca for migrant shorebirds and terns in fall. 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 Roseate Spoonbill. Black-bellied Plover and Willet are easy. 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 along with some American Oystercatchers. We may very well get to see and photograph the amazing heron/egret hybrid that has been present for four years. 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, 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:

  • 1- The basics and fine points of digital exposure; how to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure.
  • 2- How and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).
  • 3- How to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them.
  • 4- Lots about bird behavior and how to use that knowledge to help you create better images.
  • 5- To age and identify many species of shorebirds including sandpipers, plovers, dowitchers, and possibly yellowlegs.
  • 6- To spot good situations and to choose the best perspective.
  • 7- To see, evaluate, and understand the light.
  • 8- To design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system.
  • 9- And perhaps most importantly, to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography.
  • 10- How and when to access the magical sandbar safely.
  • 11- More than you could ever imagine.

Morning sessions will run at least three to 3 1/2 hours, afternoon sessions 2 1/2 to 3 hours. There is never a set schedule on an IPT — we adapt to the conditions. There will be a Photoshop/image review session after lunch (included) each day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time. This IPT will run with only a single registrant (though that is not likely to happen). 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 general area (rather than at home or at a friend’s place a good distance away).

Folks attending this IPT will be out in the field early and stay late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors; this is pretty much a staple on almost all BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours. Doing so will often present unique photographic opportunities, opportunities that will be missed by those who need their beauty rest and those who need to get home for a proper dinner. I really love it when I am leaving the beach at 9:30am on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers are arriving …

Payment in full is due now. Credit cards are OK for your $500 deposit. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand. If you leave a deposit you will receive an e-mail with your balance statement and instructions for sending your balance check. If you wish to pay in full right off the bat, you can make your 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, and clothing and gear advice in mid-August. Please remember that we will meet early on Saturday morning. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.

FlexShooter Pro Update

We currently have FlexShooter Pro heads in stock here. We have all but one of the BigFeet in stock (phone orders only for now: 863-692-0906) but are sold out of the new FLN-60 BigFoot that was recently re-designed for the Nikon 600 VR. Click here to access the pretty much complete FlexShooter Pro story with videos.


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

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 getting folks the hot new SONY stuff: the 200-600, the 600 f/4 GM, and the 7R iv. And the wait-list is short for the Nikon 500 P.

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 Fort DeSoto Park on September 26, 2016. I used the handheld Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens with the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (at 560mm) and my all-time favorite Canon body, the EOS 5D Mark IV.). ISO: 5000! Evaluative metering plus about 1 2/3rd stops: 1/25 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode was more than perfect. AWB at 7:09am on a very dark, cloudy morning.

Ruddy Turnstone running along the surf

Version II with the seaweed lightened in response to popular demand

Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

What Bugged Me About the Turnstone Blur?

In The Final Word on Exposing to the Right. Or not? Filling Added Canvas with the Rectangular Marquee Tool. Anything Bug You? And Just How Dark Was It? blog post here, I asked what bugged me about the image above. Lots of folks commented but nobody hit the nail on the head so posted the image on BirdPhotographer’s.Net. Super-moderator Daniel Cadieux knew exactly what bothered me about the image. You can read what he had to say in Pane #4 here.

How dark was it?

BPN regular John Mack left this comment:

I would say this was before sunrise — at ISO 5000 and 1/25 sec. there is not much light yet.

He pretty much hit the nail on the head. I think that this was a bit after sunrise on a very cloudy day.

This image was created at Fort DeSoto Park in the fall of 2018 with the handheld Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 700mm) and Nikon’s top pro body, the Nikon D5 DSLR with Dual XQD Slots. ISO: 800. Matrix metering plus about 2/3rd stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/9 in Manual was perfect. AWB at 4:20pm on a cloudy bright afternoon.

Center Group (grp) Continous AF was active at the moment of exposure. With this one, the array was centered on the gull’s shoulder but because the bird was angled slightly toward us, the image is razor-sharp on the eye. With birds on the ground, I have — for the most part — gone to d-9 rather than Group. This one is a small crop from below and behind the bird.

Nikon Focus Peaking fine-tune value: +6. See the Nikon AF Fine-tune e-Guide here.

Image #2: Laughing Gull screaming in breaking wave


In the Watch the Breaking Waves blog post here, everyone agreed that they far preferred Image #2 above to the more static Image #1. I agree, but I did like the smaller size of the subject in the frame in Image #1. The main lesson in that post was that by simply being aware of the breaking and cresting waves you can attempt to release the shutter at just the right time.

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 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.


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6 comments to Extra DeSoto Morning Added. Catching Up: What bugged me about the turnstone blur. And Unanimity …

  • I like the lightened seaweed sooo much better–and the addition to it balances the bird even better.
    As for the head turn, I’m wondering why that bugs you? I know your rule on head turn, but here the bill is as sharp as the eye (especially in the photo on BPN) and this bird is moving fast so it seems natural that it’s head would be straight on to the destination unless it was being distracted, which, I think, would take away from its focused movement. I still like this photo very much!

  • avatar Maggi Fuller

    Your link to Daniel’s comment is blocked by ‘Malwarebytes’ “due to Trojan”!! This is a worry…….?

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