Please Read the Whole Thing « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Please Read the Whole Thing

OKC PhotoCon 2022

I will be doing a Master Class at PhotoCon 2022 in Oklahoma City, OK on Saturday 22 OCT. I will share registration (and discount) details this weekend. I am considering coming early or staying on a few extra days to do some bird photography. If you know of any great birding spots that would be good for bird photography in late October no more than an hour from OKC, I would love to here from you via e-mail. As I live in Florida, even the common birds would be of interest to me.

What’s Up?

Wednesday morning was going so-so until I got very close to an young Osprey on the pier railing, this time on the tripod at 1200mm. I decided to check The Perch one last time before heading home early and was pleased to see a juvenile Osprey sitting on it. I made some images (also at 1200mm) working off the BLUBB and then created a few videos (at 840mm). All in all it was a fun and productive morning.

I am thrilled to say that I am now hard-wired to fiber optics cable — Download: 106.41 mbps/Upload: 105.60 mbps. We had suffered with expensive DSL for more than two decades: Download: .99 mbps/Upload: .33 mbps. I feel as if I am in heaven.

Today is Thursday 23 June 2022. 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 ninety-seven 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 to get 3% back on your credit card and enjoy free second-day air FedEx. Please, also, consider joining a BAA IPT. You will be amazed at how much you will learn!

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.

Induro GIT 304L Price Drop

Amazingly, we have two, brand-new-in-the-box Induro GIT 304L tripods in stock. They are $699.00 each (were $799.00) and the price now includes the insured ground shipping to the lower 48 states. Weekday phone orders only: 863-692-0906.

Canon Flash/Battery/Macro 30-item Package

IPT veteran Sandra Calderbank is offering the Canon gear listed below for a ridiculously low $1050.00.

Canon 540 EZ Speedlight in excellent condition
Canon 580EX Speedlight in very good condition
Canon 580EX II Speedlight in very good condition
Two (2) Canon 580 EX II Speedlights (flashes) in like-new condition
Canon 600EX-RT Speedlight in very good condition
Five (5) Canon Off-camera Shoe Cords OC-E3 in like-new condition
Three (3) Canon Remote Switches RS-80N3 in like-new condition
Seven (7) Canon LP-E6 batteries in excellent condition
Three (3) Canon LP-E6NH batteries in like-new condition
Canon RC-6 remote in like-new condition
MR 14 EX ring flash in like-new condition
Canon ST-E2 transmitter in like-new condition

But for the batteries, the sale of most of the other listed items includes the soft cases and the original product boxes. The cost of insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only is also included. Your package will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

But for the batteries, the sale of most of the other listed items includes the soft cases and the original product boxes. The cost of insured ground shipping via major courier to lower-48 US addresses only is also included. Your package will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Sandra via e-mail or by phone at 1-828-412-1047 Eastern time zone.

Anyone looking to create a Canon multi-flash set-up for hummingbirds will want to grab this amazing package ASAP. The Canon 600EX-RT Speedlight alone sells new for $499.00! That said, whenever I upgraded to a newer Canon flash I never noticed any real difference in performance; the older flashes are great! artie

Reasons for Not Joining an IPT

1- I’ve already photographed ________ (fill in the species).

2- I’ve already been there.

3- Why should I pay you when I could go there myself?

Comments and questions welcome.

Reasons for Joining an IPT

1- I want to improve my skills both in the field and at the computer.

2- I’d love to make some great images.

Comments and questions welcome.

Please Read the Whole Thing

Unsolicited via e-mail from Pete Myers

I just spent 4 days in the field in a graduate course in bird photography taught by Artie Morris at Fort DeSoto. After almost 50 years of experience pointing cameras at birds from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego, New Zealand and beyond, I thought I was good enough. But what I learned from Artie in just four days has taken me to a whole new level. As he aptly puts it, “birds as art,” not simply bird photography. One of those 4 days was the most satisfying I’d ever experienced, anywhere. The IPT left me euphoric about what I’d learned, and frighteningly committed to recreating my portfolio with the techniques and insights he taught me.

Via e-mail from Gerold Hanck

Here’s what I learned on the San Diego IPT:

1) I learned that manual mode is no harder to use than any other camera mode, and makes learning how to use your camera both easier and faster because it gives you more usable feedback. I think manual mode teaches you a lot more about shutter speed and aperture and how they affect the image than aperture or shutter priority modes do.

2) I learned that good composition is less about what you see when you look through the camera and more about putting your camera (and yourself) in a position where there are more possibilities to take good pictures. Frequently changing your position changes not only what you see but how you see.

3) I learned that moving around when I was near the birds would not scare them off if I moved slowly and watched how the birds reacted to my movements.

4) I learned not to try not to rush a shot. You have to be ready, but you also to make yourself slow down and try to stay calm. It’s hard to resist the “itchy trigger finger.”

5) I learned that it’s easy to take pretty pictures but that it’s very hard to take memorable pictures. Snapping the shutter without thinking or visualizing what you want is a recipe for lots of boring, forgettable images.

Best, Gerold

Unsolicited via e-mail from Anar Daswani

Unsolicited via e-mail from Vince Delack

I am so happy to have made contact and arranged to meet with you! I thoroughly enjoyed your guidance, consultation, and encouragement! We were truly blessed with great light and abundant subject matter quite close at-hand.

Thanks, Vince

Unsolicited via e-mail from Ron Santini

Thanks again for your help at Stick Marsh, your patience with me, your personal touch, and your kind words.

Sincerely, Ron

Via e-mail from multiple IPT participant David Hollander

Primarily, what distinguished the San Diego IPT other photographic classes that I have attended was the “granularity” and specificity of the information you shared. By that I mean the level of specific, technical information that was covered. This was helped by the fact that you often gave an explanation as to why you made your choices. For example, when we first arrived at the location, you told people to shoot at 1600, F 5.6, and various shutter speeds. As the light got better, you progressively moved to lower ISOs, and gave us rules of thumb on what ISO to use in different lighting conditions.

You further explained in one of the review sessions that with modern cameras and good software, the noise isn’t really a problem and that you could get rid of the noise from a 1600 ISO a lot easier than fixing a blurred image. Similarly, you gave precise instruction on what aperture to use in various circumstances. In general, before your class, my “default” mode was to shoot in aperture priority, usually at about F 9 or 8.1. The reason wasn’t that I was trying to capture background, but instead to increase my chances of getting the bird’s head in focus if I got the focus point in the wrong place. I will revisit that approach now.
session, you showed a picture that had the bird’s eye in focus, but the tip of the beak was slightly off. When I asked you whether you would have used a higher F stop in that case, you went to a website showing the impact on the depth of field at the given distance of moving up a stop, which was less than an inch. That demonstrated why increasing the F stop would not have worked in that case. From a teaching perspective, hearing the same information in multiple channels makes it more likely for people to absorb
it and remember it, so the technical explanations help the main message sink in. The instruction on use of the back button focus was also very helpful. I had read about that on your blog before, but I had not taken the time to actually try it, and now I have a new tool in my kit. Overall, I found the advice and instruction to be “actionable”. It was all there for those who were listening.

The comparison of slightly different images of the same bird was also very helpful. It showed what you were looking for head angles and placements. However, I should note that differences in many of the pictures that were acute to you were pretty subtle to me, and all of the pictures were ones that most photographers would have been proud to have taken, even the ones that you were rejecting.

Unsolicited via e-mail from IPT veteran Eugen Dolan

Arthur, Thank you very much for your overwhelming infectious enthusiasm that helped get me up on some mornings. Also, your ability to express yourself- and explain in great detail why you like or may not like an image – was very helpful in allowing me to better analyze my images. Eugen

Via e-mail from Dianne Heggie

I had SUCH a great time today! It’s always inspiring to spend time learning from you. Your generosity in sharing knowledge and insights is really exceptional. I shouldn’t let another 8 years pass before joining you for another workshop!

Via e-mail from Jim Miller

I can’t stop thinking about how much fun the DeSoto Fall IPT was, and how much I learned. There were so many things that suddenly made perfect sense after I had been confused for so long. Thank you very much for the wonderful trip, and for being a great teacher. As I worked through the raw files last week, I realized what a fantastic lens the 600 IS is. Thanks for the rental! Maybe someday I will be able to afford one. Some images for critique are attached.

By the way, the plant we were looking at along the sidewalk in Gulfport is Blue Porterweed. It is worth a few minutes on the internet to read about it: native of Florida and the Caribbean, used for medicine in The Bahamas, etc. We have it in a large pot in the front yard and it takes a lot of water, but it blooms Spring through Fall. Thank you again, Artie. It was really wonderful to be with you and learn from you.

Via e-mail from Lee Sommie

I want to thank you for making the Fall 2017 Ft. DeSoto IPT such a fun and educational experience for me. I truly did not want the adventure to end. I now look through the viewfinder with an artist’s mindset. And the real bonus was making new friends with fellow students. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife photography. I had a great time with you and look forward to more adventures on future IPTs.

Followed by this one

BTW. I downloaded Photo Mechanic and started using it in my workflow. Since I like using Lightroom for my adjustments, I found a way to incorporate Photo Mechanic and Lightroom together. Lightroom was driving me crazy with how slow it is to import and preview photos. I was impressed with how fast you could preview photos and start editing your photos on the DeSoto Fall IPT. Life is too short to wait for applications to import and preview photos and Photo Mechanic solves that problem. 😉

Thanks again for everything Artie. Your knowledge keeps on giving well after the IPT!

Via e-mail from Muhammad Arif

I had a great time at Fort De Soto. Thank you for all the instruction, for your help and pointers; my photography has already improved tremendously and I’ve never made such good bird photos before. I wish I could’ve joined you on Monday and Tuesday morning as well but work got in the way. It was also nice to meet everyone on the IPT; sorry that I missed you, Ray. Thanks again for everything and I hope to join you at a future IPT sometime again.

Via e-mail from Morris Herstein

I never thought that I could make in-flight photos of birds successfully. That goal was accomplished during the recent workshop at Stick Marsh only because I listened to your advice and instructions. For the first time I realized how important sun angle was, teachings that you had been communicated for a long time. The result of two days shooting produced the most satisfying images of Roseate Spoonbills I ever could have imagined.

Stay well and safe. Thank you. Morris

Via e-mail from Joe Usewicz

Wow. So many photos to go through. Stick Marsh was a great learning experience. Positioning. Wind impact. Landing zones. Working on backgrounds. I clipped too many incredible reflections. Great fun. Just amazing opportunities.

Warmest Regards, Joe

>From BPN-friend Kevin Hice via unsolicited e-mail

Again artie, that was a great trip. I was more than pleased. For me, I could see right away that you knew how to get us and the boat in great position for the best eagle photography. You took into consideration all the factors including the sky conditions, and wind and sun angles. It was a real pleasure to meet the captain. His knowledge of the wind and the currents helped to put us in great position all the time and he did his very best to help on all fronts.

One of the most important factors for me is timeliness. We never had to wait on the captain or on you, artie, and that made the trip a huge success. We got after it every day and had countless great photography opportunities. The other eagle photography tours never got out as early as we did, nor did they pursue the birds as relentlessly as we did.

One can never say that Arthur Morris doesn’t have the passion to get after the Bald Eagles. I have never shot as many photos as I did on this trip even with my poor hand eye coordination. I got plenty of keepers and enjoyed meeting the others in the group and learned a few things from them as well.

Thanks again, Kevin

This all-new card is comprised of images created on my JAB 2022 visit to San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The 2022/23 San Diego Brown Pelicans (and more!) IPTs

San Diego IPT #1. 3 1/2 DAYS: WED 21 DEC thru the morning session on Saturday 24 DEC 2022. $2099.00. Deposit: $699.00. Limit: 6 photographers.

San Diego IPT #2. 4 1/2 DAYS: SAT 7 JAN thru the morning session on WED 11 JAN 2023: $2699.00. Deposit: $699.00. Limit: 6 photographers.

San Diego IPT #3. 3 1/2 DAYS: FRI 20 JAN thru the morning session on JAN 23 DEC 2023: $2099.00. Deposit: $699.00. Limit: 8 photographers.

Please e-mail for information on personalized pre- and post-IPT sessions.

Join me in San Diego to photograph the spectacular breeding plumage Brown Pelicans with their fire-engine red and olive green bill pouches; Brandt’s (nesting) and Double-crested Cormorants; breeding plumage Wood and Ring-necked Ducks; other duck species possible including Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Northern Shoveler and Surf Scoter; a variety of gulls including Western, California, and the gorgeous Heermann’s, all in full breeding plumage; shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, Willet, Sanderling and Black-bellied Plover; many others are possible including Least, Western, and Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, and Surfbird; Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions (both depending on the current regulations and restrictions). And as you can see by studying the IPT cards, there are some nice bird-scape and landscape opportunities as well. Not to mention a ton of excellent flight photography opportunities and instruction.

Please note: where permitted and on occasion, ducks and gulls may be attracted (or re-located) with offerings of grains or healthy bread.

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Learning Exposure, Whether You Like It Or Not

Whether you like it or not, we will be beating the subject of exposure like a dead horse. In every new situation, you will hear my thoughts on the exposure situation along with my thoughts on both Nikon and Canon histograms and SONY Zebras. Whether you like it or not, you will learn to work in manual mode and to get the right exposure every time as long as a bird gives you ten seconds with the light constant. (Or two seconds with SONY zebras…) And you will learn what to do when the light is changing constantly. What you learn about exposure is one of the great takeaways on every IPT.

Though the pelicans will be the stars of the show on this IPT, there will be many other handsome and captivating subjects in wonderful settings. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

It Ain’t Just Pelicans

With gorgeous subjects just sitting there waiting to have their pictures taken, photographing the pelicans on the cliffs is about as easy as nature photography gets. With the winds from the east almost every morning there is usually some excellent flight photography as well, often with 70-200mm lenses! And the pelicans are almost always doing something interesting: preening, scratching, bill pouch cleaning, or squabbling. And then there are those crazy head throws that are thought to be a form of intra-flock communication. You will be guided as to how to make the best of those opportunities. And depending on the weather and local conditions and tides, there are a variety of other fabulous photo chances available in and around San Diego.


Did I mention that there are lots of great birds and natural history subjects in San Diego in winter? Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

The San Diego Details

These IPTs will include four or five 3-hour morning photo sessions, three or four 1 1/2-hour afternoon photo sessions, and three or four working brunches that will include image review and Photoshop sessions. On rare cloudy days, we may — at the leader’s discretion, stay out in the morning for a long session and skip that afternoon. To ensure early starts, breakfasts will be your responsibility. And so that we can get some sleep, dinners will be on your own as well. In the extremely unlikely event that Goldfish Point is closed due to local ordinance (or whimsy) — that has never happened in the past fifty years, I will of course do my very best to maximize our photographic opportunities.

A $599 deposit is required to hold your slot for one of the 2022/23 San Diego IPTs. You can send a check (made out to “BIRDS AS ART”) to us here: BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL, 3385, or call Jim or Jennifer at the office with a credit card at 863-692-0906. Your balance, payable only by check, is due right after you sign up.

San Diego offers a wealth of very attractive natural history subjects, including and especially the Pacific race of California Brown Pelican. With annual visits spanning more than four decades, I have lots of photographic experience there … Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for both big international trips and US-based IPTs is highly recommended as we never know what life has in store for us. I strongly recommend that you purchase quality travel insurance. Do note that many plans require that you purchase your insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. Whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully.


Variety is surely the spice of life in San Diego. Click on the composite to enjoy a larger version.

Getting Up Early and Staying Out Late

On all BIRDS AS ART IPTS including and especially the San Diego IPT, we get into the field early to take advantage of unique and often spectacular lighting conditions and we stay out late to maximize the chances of killer light and glorious sunset silhouette situations. We often arrive at the cliffs a full hour before anyone else shows up to check out the landscape and seascape opportunities.


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

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