Nature Photography IS like a Box of Chocolates … « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Nature Photography IS like a Box of Chocolates ...

What Word?

What word or phrase would you use to describe today’s featured image?

Great News from Bedfords

Steve Elkins of Bedfords texted me on Thursday with great news. He has a Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM lens and a Sony 600mm f/4 GM lens in stock. Remember to use the BIRDS AS ART code at check-out to get 3% back on your credit card and enjoy free second day air shipping. It has been nearly impossible to get your hands on either of these lenses for the past two years.

For those looking for a Sony 400 f/2.8 there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that I just bought the one in stock. The good news is that Steve is getting another one next week. Have at it. If you are seriously interested in either lens, it would best to e-mail Steve at or text him at 1-479-381-2592.

What’s Up?

The great morning photo sessions continued at ILE on Thursday. Sunrise was foggy. I tried some Osprey foggy-sun ball silhouettes without much success. Then I did the small crane colt and the large crane colt family. Once again, I was ready to head home early, but decided to check by the pier one last time. There were ten Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in still blue water. I worked them from the car at 1200mm with the BLUBB for a while and did OK. I decided to try to get out of the car slowly and set up a tripod. Only one bird flew off. I had a ton of fun for the next hour both at 1200 and 840mm.

Today is Friday 20 May 2022. The forecast for this morning is for cloudy with a SW breeze. I will be heading down to the lake early. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took about an hour to prepare and makes seventy days in a row with a new one.

Please remember to use the B&H and Amazon links that are found on most blog pages and to use the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout when purchasing your new gear from Bedfords. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!

Nikon D5 Professional dSLR

Price Reduced $200.00 on 20 May 2022
BIRDS AS ART Record Low Price

Sigmon Whitener is offering a Nikon D5 (Dual XQD/CF Express Type B) in like-new condition with 55,000 actuations for a BAA record-low $2596.95 (was $2796.95). The sale includes the original box and everything that came in it including the strap, one battery, the dual battery charger, the manual (Sp and En), the USB connecting cord, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only. Although the D5 has a 20MP sensor, the frame rate and AF tracking are the best (IMO) you can get in a DSLR. Some of my best BIF shots were made with this camera. It’s also great for any type of sports photography. And the low light performance is best of any camera I have owned. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Sigmon via e-mail or by phone at 1-818-239-2403 (Pacific time).

The D5 was buy first Nikon camera body. After using it for ten minutes on flying pelicans in San Diego I sold all of my Canon gear. The AF system is indeed superb. artie

BIRDS AS ART Image Optimization Service (BAA IOS)

Send a PayPal for $62.00 to or call Jim at 863-692-0906 and put $62.00 on your credit card. Pick one of your best images and upload the raw file using a large file sending service like Hightail or DropBox and then send me the link via e-mail. I will download and save your raw file, evaluate the exposure and sharpness, and optimize the image as if it were my own after converting the raw file in Adobe Camera Raw. Best of all, I will make a screen recording of the entire process and send you a link to the video to download, save and study.

This image was created on 18 May 2022 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. I used the hand held Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter (at 280mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. The exposure was determined via Zebras. ISO 1250: 1/800 sec. at f/4.5 (stopped down 1/3 stop) in Manual mode. AWB at 8:25:36am in the shade of mat torso on a sunny morning.

Tracking: Zone S AF/C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox)

Nature Photography IS like a Box of Chocolates

You never know what you are gonna get …

Please take a moment to enlarge the image above. For the past 24 hours, I have returned to study it many times. I can barely quit looking at it. What amazes me is that some of the turtle’s features seem almost human. I guess it’s those lips!

When I decided to check out the North Field on Wednesday morning, I would never have expected to find a totally tame female Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox). I’ve driven that mowed field many hundreds of times and had never seen a turtle of any kind on the grassy expanse. When I first saw a brown form in the grass at a distance, I was puzzled. I thought that it might have been a dead vulture. As I approached and saw the shape and that pug nose, I knew exactly what it was. The turtle’s size — the shell was at least 20″ long, indicated that it was a female. Males never grow larger than a foot. There was no sign that she had dug a nest nearby. I parked a ways away and grabbed the 70-200 II with the 1.4X in place.

The turtle was totally placid as I approached. As the sun was not doing me any favors, I shaded the head and the front of the carapace by squeezing my legs together. I made some images while pointing the lens down, standing almost directly above the turtle. As expected, those images were not very intimate. Still, the turtle showed no sign of being upset so as slowly as I could, I got down on the ground. She pulled her head into her shell for about ten seconds and then stuck it back out and began looking around. I forgot to switch the Subject from Bird to Animal, but Eye Tracking performed perfectly. In ten minutes, I took lots of images. I kept only two of those that were made when I was standing, the rest of the keepers were made while I was seated. Today’s featured image was one of the last that I made. It was chosen from four wonderful images that were virtually identical.

Do you like the narrow depth of field? Why or why not? Would you have tried to shoot this at f/16? Why or why not?


With all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

11 comments to Nature Photography IS like a Box of Chocolates …

  • The frontal view and lips I like, as I’ve always shot these turtles in profile. Would prefer the nostrils sharper though. With the 100-400, I often go to f22, f32, and even f45 for DOF (less optically sharp, perhaps, but fine with Topaz), and the background here is simple enough that more depth wouldn’t be a negative. Even at f22, though, it might be necessary to focus somewhere between the nostrils and eyes, or even (with a still subject) combine separate frames, one for the nostrils, one for the eyes (a case where you would need to turn off eye detection).

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Cliff. I always love the slim-to-none depth of field look. For a very small aperture I would have need to be on a tripod; I am not sure that she would have like that …

      with love, a

      ps; The background was her carapace.

  • avatar Margaret

    For today’s image. “I wonder what I look like in your eyes.”

  • A face that could appear for a character in a “Star War” movie!
    Good as is. I would have also liked to see one with a sharp nose.
    Nicely done!

    • avatar Yves Guillot

      I would also have erased that piece of grass on the left.

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        For me, the grass is a big plus as it frames the shot. I did lots of face clean-up and did not want to make the image too sterile.

        with love, a

        • avatar Yves Guillot

          I see your point but put your finger over the grass and you’ll see that your eyes stick on the the eye of the subject instead of going back and forth between the grass and the eye of the Turtles, IMO.

          • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

            I want the viewer’s eye to move around the frame … The light tan triangle in the ULC does the same thing, in part by picking up the tones on the lower part of the turtle’s face … That is why I left that.


  • avatar Frank Sheets

    Congratulations on pulling the trigger on the 400. Another amazing piece of Sony equipment. You will love it!

  • avatar Maggi Fuller

    Haha…. Strange looking Western Gull!

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