Win $20! Should I ? Is it Worth It? Bucket List Decision Time. And Here’s the Rub … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Win $20! Should I ? Is it Worth It? Bucket List Decision Time. And Here's the Rub ...

What’s Up

Yesterday morning the lakefront at ILE was crawling with more than one hundred vultures spread out over several of their favorite areas. So I went down to the lake early, today, Friday November 8,2019. For 45 minutes, I stood on the edge of a canal, eye level with a pile of fish heads, a half-eaten snake, and a small Florida Gar. All long-dead of course. Not a single vulture even flew by for a sniff …

I set up in the car, drove around slowly, and wound up at the small boat ramp adjacent to the North Field. The Black Vultures were ĂĽber-tame. I worked them and a tame Anhinga for about 45 minutes until a fisherman with a trailered boat drove up to launch his bass boat. For the most part I was doing head-portaits of the vultures at 1200mm with the SONY 600 f/4GM, the 2X TC, and the a7R IV, learning more every minute. While I will readily admit that Black Vultures are ugly, I am fascinated by the many differences that can be discerned when photographing them at point-blank range; they look rather like handsome, helmeted soldiers … Photos soon; lord knows, I have enough!

The BAA Photofolio Galleries

The BAA Photofolio Galleries have finally come to fruition. All are invited to visit the Galapagos Gallery by clicking here. If you have a decent internet connection, viewing should be easy. If like us here at ILE, you have a slow connection, give the page a few minutes to load before clicking on the first image to enlarge it. To continue, click on the right-facing cursor arrow. The title that includes the name of the subject and the location appears below each full-sized image.

Win a $20 Off Discount

Leave a comment letting us know which are your three favorite images in the Galapagos Gallery and we will enter you into a drawing. The winner will receive a $20 discount good on any item in the BAA Online Store (phone orders only).

Fine Art Prints

To purchase a print of any image in the BAA Photofolio Galleries, click here.

Need System or Upgrade Advice?

These are certainly exciting and volatile times in bird and nature photography: Canon, Nikon, SONY? Upgrade or switch systems? Yikes! If you are thinking about switching or upgrading and have questions, feel free to call me on my cell at 863-221-2372 for a free ten-minute consultation. Thew last thing that you want to do is sscrew up and waste several thousand dollars by purchasing the wrong camera or lens. The only thing that I ask in return, is that you make a firm commitment to use my B&H affiliate links or to buy from Bedford using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout if you decide to go forward. Remember that Steve Elkins at Bedford can save you a few additional bucks on lens/camera/accessories packages. See the blog for his contact details. Either way, it will not cost you one penny more.

Be sure to leave a message if I do not pick up and I will get back to you. And please follow that up with an e-mail or a text stating your name and a good time for me to call you back. I spend lots of time each day walking, swimming, and watching football and baseball 🙂 And napping.

IPT Updates

  • The Return to Bosque Reduced Rate Scouting IPT. NOV 26-28, 2019 — 3 FULL DAYS: $1199.00. Limit: 8/Openings: 4. Extra Day Options: Join me for one to three extra In-the-Field Days at the end of the IPT as follows: FRI 29 NOV, SAT 30 NOV, and SUN 1 DEC for only $300.00/day.
  • The 2020 San Diego 4 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) WED JAN 8, 2020 thru and including the morning session on SUN JAN 12: 4 1/2 days: $2099.(Limit: 8/Openings: 5)


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 over $1000.00, 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 has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H. Those include the SONY a7r IV, the SONY 200-600, the SONY 600mm f/4 GM, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is eager to please.

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.

Galapagos 2019 Highlights

Should I ?

I get several e-mails each week asking should I buy this? Should I buy that? Would it be worth it to me? I don’t have that much money.

My answer is always the same. We only get one ride on the merry-go-round. Life is short. When you die, do you think that you will have $x,000 in the bank? I am not encouranging folks to neglect their families or to be financially irrepsonsible, but if it’s a close call, go for it and enrich your life. Furthermore, I can never tell what’s worth it for you or for anyone else.

Above are some of the reasons that I am selling my a9 and looking forward to unboxing my brand-new a9 II this weekend …

Bucket List Decision Time …

In the same vein, I am betting that most folks reading this have either dreamed about photographing in the Galapagos or have been there already. I had such an amazing time on the last Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT last July/August, that I decided to see if I could round up some folks for a trip as follows: September 29-October 13, 2020 on the boat. The travel dates would be September 27 to Guayaquil and fly home on 14 October 14. Do note that late SEPT/early OCT is part of the cloudy season in the archipelago, just what you want for great photography. And as always, only my trips visit the three best landings twice each.

Depsite an increase in the cost of the charter, the price of this trip will remain the same: $14,449.00 all inclusive to and from Guayaquil. You will need to bring $700 in US cash for the crew and guide tip, and you will be responsible for your meals in Guayaquil. Everything else — including two hotel nights in Guayaquil — is included. If you would like to commit at this time plesqe contact me via immediately e-mail or call my cell at 863-221-2372 (Eastern time Zone).

Here’s the Rub!

I will need at least eight commitments/deposits by December 8, 2019 in order to confirm the charter while not risking losing my home. I have two folks already committed. If you are considering this trip, please remember, you only live once …

The 2020 GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience

September 29-October 13, 2020. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $14,499. Limit: 12 or 13 photographers plus the leader. I need ten committments by December 8, 2019. This trip needs ten clients to run. No deposit checks will be cashed until early Decemeber. All deposits and payments will be returned if the trip does not run.

This trip is THE best Galapagos Photo-Cruise in the world. By far. No one else offers a trip that visits the top three world-class landings twice each. What does this trip offer? The world’s best Galapagos guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), a great crew, and me, with ten Galapagos Photo-cruises under my belt. Pre-trip gear suggestions and advice and twice-daily, pre-landing, location-specific briefings. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. Jeez, I almost forgot: fine dining at sea! Do know that there are one-week Galapagos trips (six full and two half- days on the boat “from $9995”! (If you think I am exaggerating, click here.) Thus, this trip represents a tremendous value; why go all that way and miss half of the great photographic locations? And why not visit the three very best spots twice each?

The great spots that we will visit include Tower Island — including Darwin Bay (almost surely twice!) and Prince Phillips Steps, Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world’s only nesting site of Waved Albatross (almost surely twice!), and Gardner Bay — each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway. We will also visit Fernandina, Puerto Ayora for the tortoises and Darwin’s Finches, Puerto Egas—James Bay, and North Seymour (almost surely twice) for nesting Blue-footed Boobies and both frigatebird species in most years, South Plaza for Land Iguanas and seabirds, Floreana for Greater Flamingoes, and Urbina Bay, all spectacular in their own right. We visit every great spot on a single trip. Plus lots more.

There will be lots of opportunities to snorkel on sunny middays for those like me who wish to partake. (The park service does not approve our second visits to the same great locations until right before the trip; we have never been turned down. We will be the first boat on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island every afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast skies, we will often spend 5+ hours at the best sites. And as noted above, mid-day snorkeling is an option on most sunny days depending on location and conditions. On the 2015 trip most snorkeled with many thousands dolphins. I eased off the zodiac to find hundreds of dolphins swimming just below me.

Note that some of the walks are on the difficult side. Great images are possible on all landings with either a hand held 70-200mm lens and a 1.4X teleconverter or an 80- or 100-400mm lens. In the past, I have taken a longer lens ashore on most landings as they better fit my style. In 2017 I took the then brand-new Canon 400mm DO lens and the Canon 500mm f/4 L IS II lens (with both teleconverters). In 2019 I took my Nikon 500 PF and my SONY 100-400 GM lens. I only rarely used my Nikon rig …

The Logistics

September 27 to Guayaquil and fly home on 14 October 14.

SUN SEPT 27, 2020: Arrive in Guayaquil a day early to ensure that you do not miss the boat.

MON SEPT 28, 2020: Introductory session at the Iguana Park.

TUES SEPT 29, 2020. We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2019 trip some folks made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!

TUES OCT 14, 2020. We disembark the Samba in mid-morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; some will overnight there. Others will continue homeward on a red-eye flight.

$14,499 includes just about everything: all transfers, guide and park fees, all food on the boat, transfers and ground transportation, your flights to the archipelago, and two or three nights (double occupancy) in a top notch hotel in Guayaquil. If you are good to go, a non-refundable deposit of $5,000 per person is due immediately. Please e-mail before mailing your deposit check. The second payment of $5,000 will be due on March 1, 2020. The final payment of $4,499 per person will be due on June 1, 2020.

Again, this trip needs ten participants to run so please do not book your flights until you learn that we are good to go: I will commit to the trip once I have eight deposits. Purchasing travel insurance within two weeks of our cashing your deposit check is strongly recommended. On the last trip, two couples were forced to cancel less than ten days prior to departure. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and strongly recommend that you do the same. One couple used a discount outfit; they are still tryng to get remimbursed …

Not included: your round trip airfare from your home to and from Guayaquil, beverages on the boat, phone calls, your meals in Guayaquil, personal items, and an $700/person cash tip for the crew and the guide to be shared by our guide and the 7 folks who will be waiting on us hand and foot every day for two weeks. The service is so wonderful that many folks choose to tip extra.

The Itinerary

Sunday, September 27, 2020: Fly to Guayaquil arriving a day early to ensure that you do not miss the boat.

Monday, September 28, 2020: Introductory session at the Iguana Park.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020: We fly to the archipelago and board the Samba. Heck, on the 2019 trip some folks made great images at the dock in Baltra while our luggage was being loaded!

On the Boat

Day 1: Tuesday, September 29: PM North Seymour

Day 2: Wednesday, Septmber 30: Genovesa: AM Darwin Bay, PM Prince Phillips´ Steps

Day 3: Thursday, October 1: Marchena: AM Playa Negra, PM Navigation to Isabela

Day 4: Friday, October 2: Isabela: AM Punta Albemarle, PM Punta Vicente Roca

Day 5: Saturday, October 3: AM Fernandina: Punta Espinoza, PM Isabela: BahĂ­a Urbina

Day 6: Sunday, October 4: Isabela: AM Elizabeth Bay, PM Punta Moreno

Day 7: Monday, October 5: Floreana: AM Post Office Bay, PM Punta Cormorant

Day 8: Tuesday, October 6: Santa Cruz: AM Highlands and Lunch, PM free time in the city with internet access.

Day 9: Wednesday, October 7: Española: AM Gardner Bay, PM Punta Suárez

Day 10: Thursday, October 8: Española: AM Punta Suarez, PM Navigation to San Cristóbal

Day 11: Friday, October 9: San CristĂłbal. AM Isa Lobos (only until 9 am), PM Punta Pitt

Day 12: Saturday, October 10: AM Santa Fe, PM South Plaza

Day 13: Sunday, October 11: Genovesa: AM Darwin Bay, Navigation to Santiago

Day 14: Monday, October 12: AM James Bay, PM Rábida

Day 15: Tuesday, October 13: North Seymour from 6 to 9am. Everyone must make this landing. We disembark late morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; some wil will overnight there. Others will catch a redeye and fly home.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020: The folks who stayed in Guayaquil will fly home most likely very early in the day.

The itinerary above is subject to National Park apporoval.

I hope that you can join me on what will surely be a rich and rewarding photographic experience.

If In Doubt …

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

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