One Reason I ‘m Always in a Hurry « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

One Reason I 'm Always in a Hurry

What’s Up?

On Wednesday morning, photography was again on the slow side. I’ve been working on wide, backlit silhouetted images of the vulture trees created from across the canal. The 400 f/2.8 is a perfect focal length for the shot. So far, I have some good but not great stuff.

Today is Thursday 8 December 2022. I will be spending my morning at Lake Wales Hospital having an endoscopy done. This blog post took about 90 minutes to prepare and makes two hundred fifty-six 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.

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Why I ‘m Always in a Hurry

Folks often ask me why I am in such a hurry. In part, I do not quite understand why. Perhaps part of the answer is that I do not want to miss anything.

On the evening that today’s featured image was created, I could not find the two flash cards that I had used that morning. The search took me more than five minutes. I finally found them on the dining room table, the first spot I had looked. Anyhoo, the sun was close to setting. I got into my SUV and drove quickly down to the lake to check out a new spot, a spot where a few wading birds had been roosting right before sunset. The Anhinga was there in a decent spot. I hurried to get my rig on the tripod and put the bird right in front of the sun. Hurrying, I set the ISO, the shutter speed, and the aperture so that there were considerable Zebras on the lower half of the sun, just what I wanted. As I framed the image, the bird began leaning forward so I fired and kept the shutter button pressed as it took off to the north/northwest. I wound up with five frames of the bird perched in the bush, and five of it taking flight. Only one, today’s featured image, was decent. You will see it below.

Had I been delayed just five more seconds, I would have missed the whole thing and gone home empty-handed.

The Adobe Camera Raw default settings screen capture for the Anhinga taking flight at sunset

On Exposure With the Sun in the Frame

Getting the right exposure for images like the one above is challenging. If you expose for the partially muted sun, the entire image will be black or many, many stops too dark. If you expose properly for the sky, the sun will be many, many stops over-exposed and pretty much impossible to work. With this image, RawDigger showed a significant 9444,000 Ov-Exp pixels, all on the sun, of course. None-the-less, for me, this was an excellent exposure, perhaps a perfect exposure.

The trick is to split the difference: by under-exposing the sky without making it too, too dark, you reduce the brightness of a partially muted sun.

The Adobe Camera Raw adjusted slider setting screen capture for the Anhinga taking flight at sunset

Saving the Over-exposed Sun

Check out the significant slider settings that created a fairly successful image:

Exposure: -0.05
Highlights: -83
Shadows: +17
Whites: -74
Blacks: -19

In addition, I did some Color Mixer work on the Reds, Oranges, and Yellows.

This image was created on 5 December 2022 down by the lake near my home. Standing at full height I used the I used the no-longer available (except from BAA) Induro GIT 304L tripod/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted 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 500. The exposure was determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear wheel: 1/1600 second at f/5.6 (wide open) in Manual mode. AWB at 5:25:04pm with some broken clouds on the horizon just a minute or two before sunset.

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

Image #1: Anhinga taking flight at sunset

The Optimized Image

If you are looking for any image clean-up here, you will be disappointed. There isn’t any. I did consider getting rid of the red specks of light coming through the bird’s far wing and eliminating the branch that stuck into that same wing, but I figured what the heck.

Would you have made those two changes? Why or why not?

All images on this card were created by Arthur Morris on the Hooptie Deux at Alafia Banks

2023 Spoonbill Boat 1-1/2 DAY MINI-IPT: $1199.00.00. Limit: 5 photographers.

A full day on WED 15 FEB and the morning of Thursday 16 FEB 2023: 1 1/2 days.

Two morning and one afternoon photo session (weather permitting) via customized pontoon boat.

For early-arriving folks, artie is throwing in a free afternoon In-the-Field session at a little-known but very active rookery in North Tampa on Tuesday 14 February.

We will be leaving the dock in Gibsonton, FL very early for the morning sessions in hopes of photographing a pre-dawn White Ibis blast-off and creating some dramatic silhouettes or pleasing blurs. The morning sessions are planned for the Alafia Banks Roseate Spoonbill Rookery. We have several options for the afternoons including returning to Alafia. We may spend one afternoon on foot at the North Tampa rookery mentioned above. There will be lots of opportunities for flight photography of several species including and especially Roseate Spoonbill. Also likely for flight photography are nesting Brown Pelican, Great Blue Heron, and Double Crested Cormorant, many carrying nesting material. This IPT includes all boat and guide fees, in-the-field instruction from two great leaders, chest waders (feel free to bring your own of course to assure a perfect fit), and three working lunches (Monday thru Wednesday). For the most part we will be standing in mid-calf to knee-deep water behind our tripods. We help you get in and out of the boat safely with your gear. This is likely not the best trip for folks with mobility or balance problems. Note however that some folks opt to stay on the boat to photograph. They usually have lots of chances for flight photography of spoonbills and other species but are almost always pretty far away from the spoonbills that land.

Mid-February is prime time for photographing spoonbills at the absolute peak of breeding plumage. For unknown reasons, the spoonbills at Alafia are much more colorful than the birds that breed at Stick Marsh later in the season. The Hooptie IPT represents an incredible opportunity and I do hope that you can join us. All of the images on the cards were made on the Hooptie Duex during the last two weeks of February, prime time for the spoonies in mega-breeding plumage.

You may hold your spot with an e-mail request. Then, you may either secure your spot by calling Jim or Jennifer at the office at 863-692-0906 and leaving the $599 deposit on credit card or sending your check for payment in full to us as follows with the check made out to:


Please send it via US mail here:

PO BOX 7245
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855

If you call to leave your deposit, you will be asked to mail your check for the balance ASAP. Be sure to give us your e-mail address.


Images courtesy of our guide; copyright 2017 Captain James Shadle (aka Froggie). All of the images here were created at Alafia Banks. Card creation and design by Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART.

Everybody Wants Spoonbills!

Roseate Spoonbill is one of if not the most sought after avian photographic subjects in Florida. They are generally hard to find and somewhat difficult to approach. They are relatively easy to find at Alafia Banks—heck, you can’t miss seeing them, but even there they can on some days be somewhat difficult to approach. On some days we may be able to get ridiculously close to them. The huge incentive to get out to Alafia Banks in mid-February is the chance to photograph this species at the height of its spectacular breeding plumage…. with long telephoto lenses. A 500 or 600 with a 1.4X TC is perfect for flight.

As above, there will — weather permitting — three boat trips — 2 mornings and 1 afternoon — on this MINI IPT. All to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and Brown Pelicans (with lots of flight photography often with the birds likely carrying nesting material), Double-crested Cormorants, ibises (both Glossy and White) in breeding plumage. Many of the White Ibises will be sporting their spectacular, distended, red, naked (un-feathered) throat pouches—typically larger in the females. In addition, we may get to photograph egrets including Great and Reddish, both in full breeding plumage, shorebirds, and more. There will be lots of flight photography opportunities. Afternoon trips either to Alafia Banks for spoonbills and more or to a more sheltered inland rookery location for a variety of nesting birds. In the event of horrific weather artie will either take the group to Fort DeSoto or will conduct an image review/Photoshop session. This IPT includes lunches on the full day with small group image sharing and review and some over-the-shoulder Photoshop instruction.

The 2023 Expanded Winter/Spoonbill Boat/DeSoto 4-DAY IPT: $2199.00.00. Limit: 5 photographers.

The 2023 Expanded Winter/Spoonbill Boat/DeSoto 4-DAY IPT

Bird photographers, especially those wishing to escape the snow, ice, and freezing winter temperatures to the north of sunny Florida, can add two mornings at Fort DeSoto an afternoon at the little-known but fabulous rookery north of Tampa, a second (free) afternoon at that same rookery, to the 1 1/2 days on the Spoonbill Boat. Shared lodging is a possibility that includes watching the Super Bowl at my home on Sunday 12 February and driving over early to DeSoto. DeSoto is one of the very few bird photography hotspots that has the possibility of being great on any day of the year. It is generally superb in winter with lots of wading birds, terns, both species of pelicans, many species of shorebirds including Marbled Godwit, and lots of flight photography.

You can hold your spot with an e-mail request. Then, you may either secure your spot by calling Jim or Jennifer at the office at 863-692-0906 and leaving the $599 deposit on your credit card or sending your check for payment in full to us as follows with the check made out to:


Please send it via US mail here:

PO BOX 7245
Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855

If you call to leave your deposit, you will be asked to mail your check for the balance ASAP. Be sure to give us your e-mail address.


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

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