Old Gnarly … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Old Gnarly ...

What’s Up?

I’ve been swimming every day. And doing my bursts. It was very foggy here this morning but I went down to the lake when it brightened up, but with the west wind, I did not try the low Osprey nest. I did have an Osprey from another nest flying circles right over me for a bit. I addition I did some Black Vulture head portraits and a few of some cranes as well.

My plan again is to get back to work on finishing up the SONY e-Guide this afternoon …

Thanks to the many who commented on yesterday’s Martin Flight Photography blog post. Your comments are always appreciated. I will explain how I lightened the image in tomorrow’s blog post.

Today’s Entertainment

Billy Joel: Too Cool!

Billy Joel sings “New York State Of Mind” with Vanderbilt University student Michael Pollack, filmed during “An Evening of Questions and Answers and a Little Bit of Music” at the university in January 2013. The young man — totally nonplussed — does quite well. See the video here. “Nice going Michael. The guys got chops.”

Billy Joel and Guests

Billy Joel performs “Piano Man” with Kevin Spacey, Boyz II Men, Natalie Maines, Josh Groban, Gavin DeGraw, Tony Bennett, LeAnn Rimes, and Michael Feinstein during the ceremony where he was honored with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on November 19, 2014, at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Enjoy the video here.. Kevin Spacey is quite multi-talented!

On CBS Sunday Morning in 2018

Learn more about Billy Joel the man and his Madison Square Garden residency here.

Your Favorites?

My three favorite Billy Joel songs — I have seen him live four times, three at MSG — include two huge hits, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant and Piano Man, and the much lesser-known All for Leyna (from the Glass Houses album). Here a very young Billy Joel does Scenes from an Italian Restaurant on Long Island; Mark Rivera on sax whom I believe is still touring with Billy today. Last is Piano Man, Billy Joel, live at Madison Square Garden, New York, May 9th, 2019; MSG Residency; Billy’s 70th Birthday Bash Show here. The video and the sound are not too good, but man, they love him in New York.

Yikes, how could I have forgotten Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway). He often opens his shows with this number — released in 1976; it eerily prophecized the events of 911. See and listen here from Live at Yankeee Stadium.


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

The Nikon 500mm PF Lens

Steve Elkins at Bedfords asked me to let folks know that he has two of these hard-to-get-your-hands-on lenses in stock. The 500 PF was my very favorite Nikon lens. Save $50 by getting in touch with Steve as noted below.

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.

This image was also created 26 MAR 2020. I used the hand held Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (at 400mm) and the beyond remarkable Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Digital Camera. ISO 320: 1/1000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:30am on a sunny morning.

Image 1: Sandhill Crane with deformed bill/head portrait

Old Gnarly

This crane with its deformed bill has been at ILE for at least the past five years. It has been doing just fine. For the past four nesting seasons, it has nested successfully and raised one or two chicks. It hangs out in the marsh at the north end of the North Field. In most years, three to five pairs of Sandhill Cranes nest successfully at Indian Lake Estates. This year I have only seen one pair with two chicks, that family in the marsh at the south end of the South Peninsula. I am not sure if there are any other nests, but in a typical year, most nests will have hatched by late March. Some days recently I have seen old gnarly in its usual haunts and yesterday I saw it mate. Perhaps I am seeing one bird while the other is on eggs. Did they simply nest late? Time will tell.

I wish the happy couple the best.

This image was created on 23 MAR 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. I used the handheld Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (at 600mm) with the blazingly fast AF King, the Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless Digital camera body. ISO 640. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel — I went with faint Zebras on the bird’s white chin: 1/2000 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:18am on sunny morning.

Center Zone AF-C performed perfectly.

Image #2: Sandhill Crane with deformed bill/vertical head and neck portrait

Old Gnarly, a wider view

There are lots of ways to skin a cat. Here I went vertical to create a head and neck portrait of an old friend. Me-thinks that I cooled the image down too much.

Your Favorite?

Do you like the tight horizontal or the looser vertical? Please let us know why.

The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide

You can purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

The BAA Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide

126 pages, 87 photographs by Joe Przybyla and Arthur Morris.
The PDF for this e-Guide is an electronic download sent via e-mail.

Purchase your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

I had thought about doing a guide to some of the great but little-known photo hotspots around central Florida for about a decade, but those plans never came to fruition. I met Joe online in the Avian Forum at BirdPhotographer’s.Net about two years ago. Joe’s photography has improved tremendously over the past few years; he credits the BAA blog, my books and PDFs, and his participation on BPN. The one thing that I learned right from the get-go about Joe is that he is a hard and tenacious worker, always striving to improve his skills and to grow his knowledge base. As he knew of more than a few good spots in central Florida, I broached the idea of us doing a photographic site guide that covered many of the little-known photographic hotspots from Brandon to Lakeland to Joe Overstreet Road to Indian Lake Estates (my Florida home for the past 20 years or so). After more than many, many dozens of hours of effort, The BIRDS AS ART Middle of Florida Photographic Site Guide is now a reality. Thanks to Joe’s wife Dottie for her review of our writing. We all learned once again that writing is a process, a back and forth process. All thanks to the white pelicans of Lakeland. Here are the locations that are detailed in this e-Guide:

  • Indian Lake Estates: Sandhills Cranes with chicks and colts, lots of vultures, and Ospreys up the kazoo!
  • Gatorland, Kissimmee: Learn to make great images of wading birds in a cluttered rookery.
  • The Brandon Rookery: Great for nesting Wood Storks, Great Egrets, and more.
  • Circle Bar B Reserve, Lakeland: Here you will find a great variety of avian subjects in a great variety of habitats.
  • Lake Morton, Lakeland: There are lots of silly tame birds here including and especially American White Pelican during the colder months.
  • Lake Mirror, Lakeland: Tame Anhingas, Limpkins, and a zillion White Ibises at times.
  • West Lake Parker, Lakeland: Here you will have a chance for two difficult birds, Snail Kite, and Purple Gallinule.
  • Joe Overstreet Road, Kenansville: Crested Caracara, meadowlarks, Loggerhead Shrike, and much more on the fenceposts and barbed wire.

Each location includes a map, a detailed description of the best spots, best season, light and time of day instructions, the expected species, and an educational and inspirational gallery that is designed to open your eyes as to the possibilities.

You can purchase a copy here in the BAA Online Store.

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 regularly visit the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


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10 comments to Old Gnarly …

  • avatar Jerrold Korn

    Artie, thanks for keeping us motivated and uplifted with the inspirational musicians and artists you continue to mention through this crisis. I am so glad you made light of one of my all-time favorite artists, Billy Joel. What an inspiration he was and is, especially during the great singer/songwriter era of the 70s and 80s.

    I was also fortunate to see him four times! The Forum in Inglewood for the Glass Houses tour (WOW what an opening with Glass Houses!), the old L.A. Sports Arena where we were graced with the fine guitar accompaniment of Slash, on campus at Arizona State for what I think was the Nylon Curtain tour, and then at the Honda Center in Anaheim. In fact it was there in Anaheim where he reminded us all of our stage in life and his age when he said after his opening song “Hi, I’m Billy’s DAD”! LOL! Just wanted to remind us all how long he had been around and then went on to do a great show. I can only dream of seeing him at MSG!

    My three favorite songs are The Stranger, Big Shot and Piano Man.

    Thanks again for bringing up these artists and the blog!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Jerold, Thanks for sharing. He is getting old … The MSG experience is mind-blowing. He has so, so many great hits and unlike Elton John — I saw them together at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando with Elaine in AUG 1994 — each of his hits has a different sound. So, so talented in so many ways. Elaine died on 20 NOV 1994.

      with love, a

      ps: we also saw Meat Loaf that same summer.

  • avatar Gordon Lindsay

    I prefer the horizontal view with the details but I like both views facinating look at a bird still overcoming it’s problems and flourishing.
    Oh boy am I waiting on your finished Sony Guide Artie the menus on the A7RM4 are so confusing.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Gordon, Gordon, Gordon 🙂

      You can purchase the pre-publication guide not s detailed in many blog posts over the past few weeks. It is more than 95% complete and you will automatically get the final version when it is done.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Lots of mole crickets …

    with love, artie

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi and thanks, Artie. My wife and I just returned from grocery shopping. We washed and dried almost everything we brought into the house and wiped down what we couldn’t wash, as well as the inside and outside door handles and the counters. It’s interesting training ourselves to be germophobes. Maybe it will even work. I’m not seeing much else that holds promise right now. (By the way, the germophobe thing started for me on my wonderful 2016 trip-of-a-lifetime to South Georgia and the Falklands with you. Long story for another time.)

    I prefer the tight horizontal. Maybe it’s a style thing. That’s the way I prefer to do bird portraits, including one of a raven that I’ve sold many copies of. I agree with Gary Axten. My first thought was “What? Natural selection has stopped working?”

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW, David. I forgot that last year the eggs in old gnarly’s nest were infertile — they never hatched. But the bird is obviously eating and surviving.

      with love, artie

  • I was a sophomore at Assumption College in Worcester, in 1972. The campus center, which held about 100 kids, was in the basement of one of the dorms. We all went down one night to hear a singer who had a new hit: “Piano Man”. Yes Billy Joel all to ourselves. After the show he announced he was staying downtown in the Holiday Inn so we all went and partied with him. Quite a night!


  • avatar Gary Axten

    I’m surprised it has managed to survive this long. I’m curious how it copes with eating, perhaps it eats more critters and less grain/berries.

    I prefer the vertical, I like the wider image with more background and body. Plus the background colour is one I tend to favour.

    Thanks for keeping us entertained with daily blog posts Artie.

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