When You Have a Tree Full of Vultures, Think Vulture Soup « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

When You Have a Tree Full of Vultures, Think Vulture Soup

NANPA Tidbit of the Day

Yesterday, I sent this e-mail to the President and the Executive Director of NANPA:

Dear Madams,

I hope that you both enjoyed Thanksgiving Day with your families.

Please, at your earliest convenience, send the following documents:

1- A copy of the minutes for all 2022 Board Meetings.

2- A copy of the Letter of Intent.

3- A copy of the agreement between NANPA and ASMP signed by both parties.

Without all of the above documents, it is not possible for anyone to know what is really going on.

Thanks with love, artie

They did not answer yesterday, and the fact is that I do not expect to hear back from them.

What Can You Do?

NANPA members, prospective NANPA members — I have heard from many such folks, and anyone who simply cares about what’s right and wrong in the world can comment by clicking on this link. Again, you do not need to be a NANPA member to comment. Thanks to the many who have helped already.

What’s Up?

I got back down to the lake on Saturday morning. Though it was foggy early on, it was a lot brighter than it had been on the previous two days. I worked with the usual suspects, the Turkey and Black Vultures that roost in the trees on the right at the end of Banyan Drive.

Today is Saturday 26 November 2022. It is solidly foggy so I will be headed down to the lake at about 7:45am. This blog post took about 90 minutes to prepare and makes two hundred forty-four days in a row with a new, educational post just for you. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

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!

You can find some great photo accessories (and necessities, like surf booties!) on Amazon by clicking on the Stuff tab on the orange/yellow menu bar above. On a related note, it would be extremely helpful if blog-folks who, like me, spend too much money on Amazon, would get in the habit of clicking on the Amazon logo link on the right side of each blog post when they shop online. As you might expect, doing so will not cost you a single penny, but would be appreciated tremendously by yours truly. And doing so works seamlessly with your Amazon Prime account.

Please remember that if an item — a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head — for example, that is available from B&H and/or Bedfords, is also available in the BAA Online Store, it would be great, and greatly appreciated, if you would opt to purchase from us. We will match any price. Please remember also to use my B&H affiliate links or to earn 3% cash back at Bedfords by using the BIRDSASART discount code at checkout for your major gear purchases. Doing either often earns you free guides and/or discounts. And always earns my great appreciation.

Brand-New and As-Good-As-Ever Bedfords BAA Discount Policy

Folks who have fallen in love with Bedfords can now use the BIRDSASART coupon code at checkout to enjoy a post-purchase, 3% off-statement credit (excluding taxes and shipping charges) on orders paid with a credit card. The 3% credit will be refunded to the card you used for your purchase. Be sure, also, to check the box for free shipping to enjoy free Second Day Air Fed-Ex. This offer does not apply to purchases of Classes, Gift Cards, or to any prior purchases.

Money Saving Reminder

Many have learned that if you need a hot photo item that is out of stock at B&H and would like to enjoy getting 3% back on your credit card along with free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex Air shipping, your best bet is to click here, place an order with Bedfords, and enter the coupon code BIRDSASART at checkout. If an item is out of stock, contact Steve Elkins via e-mail or on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592 (Central time). Be sure to mention the BIRDSASART coupon code and check the box for Free Shipping. That will automatically upgrade to free 2nd Day Air Fed-Ex. Steve has been great at getting folks the hot items that are out of stock at B&H and everywhere else. The waitlists at the big stores can be a year or longer for the hard-to-get items. Steve will surely get you your gear long before that. For the past year, he has been helping BAA Blog folks get their hands on items like the SONY a 1, the SONY 200-600 G OSS lens, the Canon EOS R5, the Canon RF 100-500mm lens, and the Nikon 500mm PF. Steve is personable, helpful, and eager to please.

Important Note

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage when you purchase from Amazon after using any of the Amazon links on the blog (including the logo-link on the right side of each blog post page). My affiliate link works fine with Amazon Prime and using it will not cost you a single cent. Huge thanks, BTW 🙂

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. And the same is true in spades when ordering new camera bodies or lenses. My advice will often save you some serious money and may help you avoid making a seriously bad choice. Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. If you are desperate, you can try me on my cell at 863-221-2372. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up.

When You Have a Tree Full of Vultures, Think Vulture Soup

More than a few friends and acquaintances have wondered why I spent so much time at the Vulture Trees on my morning photography outings via SUV. Understand that the vultures are rarely my first choice of subjects. I will always check The Perch in the North Marsh and the area around the pier. The latter includes the small hill to the north that abuts the parking circle. For some reason, there are often cranes atop that hill.

When there is not much going on, I will always head to the Vulture Trees. It is a rare day when there are no vultures to photograph. But what do I get out of photographing such ugly birds day after day after day when I am home? Here are a few:

1- I get to fine-tune my understanding of exposure in all lighting and weather conditions.

2- I get to experiment with the amazing AF system of the Sony A1.

3- I get to use the AF system to improve my image designs.

4- I can often come up with new techniques that improve sharpness when working from a vehicle. I figured the bit about turning off DMF when working off the BLUBB while doing perched vultures. More recently, I discovered the advantages of using a remote release for bird photography at this location. I had railed against that idea for well more than three decades.

5- I learn a ton about bird behavior.

6- At times, I get to photograph other, more attractive bird species. Not to mention wildflowers and orchids.

7- Once in a while, I make some really good images.

8- It’s fun.

And I am sure that I left a few out.

This image was created on 25 November 2022 down by the lake near my home. Working from the driver’s seat of my SUV with the window half-lowered, I used the BLUBB-supported Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. ISO 800. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/800 second at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. RawDigger showed that the exposure was perfect. AWB at 8:56:50am on then partly sunny morning.

Tracking: Spot S/AF-C with Bird-Eye/Face Detection performed perfectly. Click on the image to enjoy the high-res version.

Image #1: Turkey Vulture folding left wing after elegant stretch<

I Could’ve Been Famous!

I was photographing this bird on my very favorite Vulture Trees perch — hint: it is the lowest one. Anyhoo, I had just added the 1.4X TC for some 2/3-frame verticals when, without warning, the bird stretched its left wing; it would have made a perfect horizontal. In addition to the fact that I was shooting verticals, I had too much focal length. I needed to rotate the rig to vertical. Though that took only one second, I missed the elegant stretch, just catching the bird as it folded its far wing. Bummer. Heck, there’s another reason to keep going back.

This image was created on 25 November 2022 down by the lake near my home. Walking on the South Field, I used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 800. 1/3200 sec. at f/2.8 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file brightness was determined to be dead-solid perfect (ho hum). AWB at 9:09:16am with a bit of fog obscuring the sun.

Tracking: (center) Spot S AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed to perfection. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #2: Turkey Vulture — white sky flight

The 400 f/2.8 for Handheld Flight

As some of the bird flew off and circled at bit, I removed the a1 from my 600mm f/4, mounted it on the 400mm f/2.8 (yes, I am blessed), exited my vehicle, and got lucky as single Turkey Vulture that had taken off to the north circles back toward me. I experimented with Tracking: (center) Spot S AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled (rather than Tracking: Zone) and was totally blown away by the AF performance. Of the 15 or so frames that I kept, the system nailed the eye or the face on every single frame except for today’s featured image. Though the AF point for that frame was on the sky above and slightly to the right of the bird’s head, the image was acceptably sharp.


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

7 comments to When You Have a Tree Full of Vultures, Think Vulture Soup

  • avatar Sue Jarrett

    Artie, both Turkey Vulture images are good and Image #1 is interesting about it!

  • avatar CHARLES BURN


  • avatar James Saxon

    The first image is my favorite. The pose of the bird with its head down and left wing not extended 100% provides some mystery to the image. This gives me the impression that the bird is eyeing a meal and getting ready to leave when you see its right leg slightly lifted from the perch. This is one of the best vulture images I have seen.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: it’s a good thing you’re not famous. You’d never have time for us peons. I actually like the image as it is (but I didn’t see the full elegant wing stretch). But this is a reminder of your oft-repeated advice: shoot first and ask questions later.

  • avatar KathyGraff

    I love that first vulture image. The detail, the color, very nice!

  • avatar John abegglen

    Artie if I buy the blubb is it ready to go or do I have to fill it. Also any coupon codes for it.

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>