You Be the Judge: Did the Green Heron Hold On? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

You Be the Judge: Did the Green Heron Hold On?

What’s Up?

I woke at 2:30am on Friday, read until 3:30, got out of bed and finished packing for JAX, created today’s YouTube video, and had time for a short session on the pier to satisfy my addiction. I headed into town at 8:15am.

TJ did his usual bang-up job on my right shoulder, my left knee, and my lower back. I headed toward my AirBnb right off I-95 in Jacksonville but when it clouded over and began to drizzle, I headed for the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. I was stunned when I walked in. There were probably more than 300 Snowy Egret chicks, many of them fledged, more than 200 fledged Tricolored Herons, probably 100 young Great Egrets, and maybe a dozen fledged or near-fledged Roseate Spoonbills. There were also a few Cattle Egret and Little Blue Heron families. Last but not least, there were several dozen Wood Stork nests, some with small chicks, others with fledged and flying young. But for a pair or two, the storks moved out of the big tree at the end of the boardwalk took up residence in the taller trees on either side of the boardwalk. And amazingly, there were several nests in the tall trees in the tourist section of the park.

By the time I got my gear, the sun had come out and the rain had disappeared. It was boiling broiling hot. From about 1:30 till 3pm, I nearly suffocated. And photography was nearly impossible because of the harsh shadows. At one point I almost quit. Just after three, the clouds returned and I enjoyed a nice 90 minutes until the lighting strikes were getting too, too close. Even with the clouds and the hundreds of birds making a good image was difficult. That’s how it rolls at rookeries. The strange thing about the day was that I never stopped for a nap.

Jeez, I almost forgot: a gator grabbed a big Great Egret chick right in front of me and I did make a few images.

Today is Saturday 2 July. The forecast for Jacksonville is for cloudy with a breeze from the WSW. With that wind in the morning clouds are way better than sun if you want to do flight photography. I am meeting Jn Hoiles at 5:30am just in case we get some mega sunrise color. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post (AKA, the video) took too long to prepare and makes one hundred five 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!


Follow me on Instagram here. I am trying to feature both new and old images, especially images that have not appeared recently on the blog. Or search for birds_as_art.

Creating the World’s Best JPEGs (Video)

Creating the World’s Best JPEGs Video: $23.00

In this 16-minute video, you will learn to create relatively small, high quality JPEGs to varying size specifications. However you wish to size your JPEGs, you will learn to create and sharpen highly detailed JPEGs that can be saved while limiting the file size. The method that I use to generically sharpen all my JPEGs is unique. Sharpening the whole image saves a ton of time and with the values that I use, nobody has ever commented on over-sharpening and the final results are spectacular. In the video, I show you exactly how I create and sharpen JPEGs for the blog and how I create and sharpen JPEGs for BirdPhotographer’s.Net. With my recipe, you will learn to create JPEGs to your specific size requirements while at the same time, maximizing image quality and limiting the file size.

Thanks to Anke Frohlich for pointing me in the right direction as to creating fabulous JPEGs.

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

Did the Green Heron Hold On To the Perch?

A few days ago, I posted the thumbnail image above in the blog post here and asked if folks thought that the heron held onto the post. It was unanimous that the bird held fast to the piling. Watch this short video and see if the bird held on, or if it wound up in the water. In addition, you will learn a bit about getting the right exposure and a bit about light angle.

Questions and comments are welcome.

The Galapagos 2023 Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime IPT

As a child, you dreamed of getting to the Galapagos. As a nature photographer, you’ve dreamed of getting to the Galapagos. If you’ve been, you’ve dreamed of getting back — with your mirrorless gear. International travel is now a reality. And you’ve come to realize that life is short. And that a dream deferred is a dream denied.

Dreams by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow

If you want to make your dream to come true, read everything below carefully, and then get in touch.

Clockwise from upper left corner and back to center: Nazca Booby staring, Sally Lightfoot Crab legs, Blue-footed Booby braking to land, dried mud patterns/Floreana, face of Galapagos Sea-Lion, Sally Lightfoot Crab, Great Frigatebird — large chick, Land Iguana, Magnificent Frigatebird, male in flight with pouch distended.

The Galapagos 2023 Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Archipelago Photographic Experience

August 29 – September 12, 2023, on the boat. 13 FULL and two half-days of photography: $15,999.00 double occupancy. Single cabin: $28,999.00. Strict Limit: 13 photographers (plus the leader)

For this trip to run, I need ten deposit checks in hand by August 30, 2022. If this trip does not run, your deposit will, of course, be refunded in full — no questions asked. Five folks plus the leader are already committed.

If you are considering this trip, be sure to check out the Galapagos Gallery here. Please shoot me an e-mail if you are interested or if you have any questions.

Clockwise from upper left corner and back to center: Galapagos Sea-Lions squabbling; Blue-footed Booby foot; Blue-footed Booby in flight; seabird chick; Sally Lightfoot Crab; Swallow-tailed Gull in flight; Great Frigatebird head portrait; Galápagos penguin — juvenile; Nazca Booby resting.

The Best

This trip is THE best Galapagos Photo-Cruise in the world. By far. No one offers a trip that visits the top three world-class landings twice each (pending National Park Service approval as below). 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 thirteen 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”! 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? Additionally, there are two-week trips for less money where the itineraries include several waste-of-time “tourist landings” that offer little in the way of wildlife and nature photography.

Important notes: approval of the itinerary that allows for our extra visits is customarily approved right by the Galápagos National Park Service just before departure. We have never been turned down before. If by some chance the itinerary change is not approved, each participant will receive a $200 rebate.

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 locations are world-class wildlife photography destinations that rank right up there with the best of Antarctica, South Georgia, the Falklands, Africa, and Midway. We will also visit Fernandina, Puerto Ayora for the tortoises and Darwin’s Finches, Puerto Egas—James Bay, and North Seymour (twice!) for nesting Blue-footed Boobies and both frigatebird species in most years, South Plaza for Land Iguanas and seabirds (including Red-billed Tropicbird), Floreana for Greater Flamingoes, and Urbina Bay (for Land Iguanas. Each is spectacular in its own right. We visit every great spot on a single trip. Plus lots more.

There will be opportunities to snorkel on sunny middays for those who (like me) who wish to partake. 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 we snorkeled with thousands of dolphins.

Note that some of the walks are on the difficult side. Great images are possible on all landings with a hand-held 70-200mm lens and a 1.4X teleconverter or an 80-or 100-400mm lens, a 100-500, or a 200-600 lens. In the past, I have taken a longer lens ashore on most landings as they better fit my style. In 2019 I did the whole trip with my Nikon 500PF and my SONY 100-400. In 2023, it is likely that I will do the whole trip with The Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 II (with both TCs) and the 200-600. I just might bring the 400mmm f/2.8 along …

Clockwise from upper left corner and back to center: Green Iguana – Guayaquil; Waved Albatross clicking display; Galapagos Tortoise eating passionfruit: Red-billed Tropicbird: male frigatebird with pouch distended; cave wall blur; face of Galapagos Sea-Lion with red sand background — Rabida: White-cheeked Pintail; Nazca Boobies calling.

The Logistics & Tentative Itinerary

Please note: All itineraries, routings, and visitor sites on the Galápagos Islands are subject to change by the Galápagos National Park Service to minimize traffic and impact.

SUN August 27, 2023: Arrive in Guayaquil a day early to ensure that we do not miss the boat.

MON August 28, 2023: Introductory sessions.

TUES August 29, 2023: We fly to the archipelago (Baltra) and board the Samba. Heck, on some trips, folks make great images from the dock in Baltra while our luggage is being loaded!

TUES September 12, 2023: We disembark the Samba in mid-morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; most will overnight there.

Most will fly home on the early morning of Wednesday, September 13, 2023, unless they are staying on or going elsewhere (or catching a red-eye flight on the evening of the TUES September 12.).

$15,999 includes just about everything: all transfers, guide and park fees, all food on the boat, transfers and ground transportation, your flights to and from the archipelago, and three nights (double occupancy) in a top-notch hotel in Guayaquil. If you are good to go, your non-refundable (except as previously noted) deposit of $7,000 per person is due immediately. The second payment of $5,000 is not due until 1/15/2023. The final payment of $3,999 per person will be due on 5/15/2023. All payments must be made by checks made out to BIRDS AS ART and mailed to Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Deposits are double for single supplements.

Again, this trip needs ten participants registered by August 30, 2022, to run, so please do not book your flights until you learn that we are good to go.

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.

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 $800/person cash tip to be shared by the crew and the guide. These folks will be waiting on us hand and foot every day for two weeks. The service on the boat is so wonderful that many folks opt to tip extra.

Please note: the current fuel surcharge of $300/person is included in the cost of the trip. If there is a significant increase in the price of diesel fuel in the next 14 months, the cost will be shared on a per/person basis (payable by check after you get home).

Clockwise from upper left corner and back to center: barrel cactus — infrared; Galapagos Storm Petrel — dorsal view; juvenile frigatebird banking; Short-eared Owl withe Wedge-rumped (Galapagos) Petrel; Nazca Booby displaying; immature frigate bird landing; booby sunset silhouette; Marine Iguana; White-cheeked Pintail displaying drake.

The Itinerary

The Logistics

SUN August 27, 2023: Arrive in Guayaquil a day early to ensure that we do not miss the boat.

MON August 28, 2023: Introductory sessions.

TUES August 29, 2023: We fly to the archipelago (Baltra) and board the Samba.

On the Boat

Day 1: Tuesday, August 29 — PM North Seymour

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

Day 3: Thursday, August 31 — Marchena: AM Playa Negra, PM Navigation to Isabela

Day 4: Friday, September 1 — Isabela: AM Punta Albemarle, PM Punta Vicente Roca

Day 5: Saturday, September 2 — AM Fernandina: Punta Espinoza, PM Isabela: Bahía Urbina

Day 6: Sunday, September 3 — Isabela: AM Elizabeth Bay, PM Punta Moreno

Day 7: Monday, September 4 — Floreana: AM Post Office Bay, PM Punta Cormorant

Day 8: Tuesday, September 5 — Santa Cruz: AM Highlands and Lunch, PM free time in the city with some usually poor internet access.

Day 9: Wednesday, September 6 — Española: AM Gardner Bay, PM Punta Suárez

Day 10: Thursday, September 7 — Española: AM Punta Suarez, PM Navigation to San Cristóbal

Day 11: Friday, September 8 — San Cristóbal. AM Isa Lobos (until 9 am), PM Punta Pitt

Day 12: Saturday, September 9 — AM Santa Fe, PM South Plaza

Day 13: Sunday, September 10 — Genovesa: AM Darwin Bay, Navigation to Santiago

Day 14: Monday, September 11 — AM: James Bay, PM Rábida

Day 15: Tuesday, September 12 — North Seymour from 6 to 9am. We disembark late morning and fly back to Guayaquil midday; most will overnight there.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023: Fly home.

I do hope that you can join us on what will surely be a rich and rewarding photographic voyage.


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

5 comments to You Be the Judge: Did the Green Heron Hold On?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>