Do You Agree With This Premise? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Do You Agree With This Premise?

Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM (Grand Master) Lens

Price reduced $200.00 on 7 March 2023

Anthony Ardito is offering a Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM lens (USA warranty) in like-new condition for a ridiculously low $1498.00 (was $1,698.00). The sale includes the original product box and everything that came in it including the ALC-F82S 82mm front lens cap, the ALC-R1EM rear lens cap, the ALC-SH156 lens hood, the lens case, all factory accessories and manuals, and insured ground shipping via major courier to lower 48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Anthony via e-mail at e-mail.

Prized for its ability to isolate focus, the FE 135mm f/1.8 GM from Sony is a medium telephoto prime characterized by a bright and sophisticated design. It is perfect for portraiture and also excels at close-range sports shooting and as a unique focal length for landscapes. Its Grand Master design prioritizes both sharpness and bokeh quality and the lens also offers fast autofocus AF capabilities and durable build quality. It is designed to achieve notably high resolution and sharpness through the correction of a wide variety of spherical and chromatic aberrations and its bright f/1.8 maximum aperture benefits working in difficult lighting conditions. Th rounded 11-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality when employing selective focus techniques. Sony & B&H

This superb, high-end medium telephoto lens sells new for $2,098.00. It is the dream lens for all serious portrait photographers. If you have been hoping to find a reasonably-priced copy this lens, grab Anthony’s pretty much new one right now and put $400.00 in savings into your pocket. artie

Homer 2024

I have my dates for the two February 2024 Homer/Kachemak Bay Bald Eagle IPTs. If you would be interested in doing both 5-day trips and driving from Anchorage and Homer and back with me (with a big discount), or are interested in the $500 early-registration discount, please get in touch via e-mail.

What’s Up?

A friend sent me a version of yesterday’s featured image in which he replaced with the eagle’s back with grasses. Though it was a fairly good job, there were telltale mismatches of some of the grass stems. That’ is why I want with the rock idea.

Both sessions on Day Four of the third and final 2023 Homer IPT were excellent. Just after sunrise, we enjoyed spectacular views of Iliana Volcano. Then, we had great flight photography opportunities at the spectacular Elephant Rock. Everyone tried to make images of an eagle in the arch. Note that the lower quarter of the arch is below water on high tides. After the bone chilling cold of the first two days of the last IPT, summer returned to Homer, AK. During our afternoon session on Monday, most in the group had removed their parkas and gloves. The third IPT is the first ever to experience five sunny days (despite the forecasts of partly to mostly cloudy skies). Thus, Captain Gabe and I had to come up with some new ideas both for the morning and evening sessions. I am proud to say that we did that in spades.

Today is Tuesday 7 March 2023. The forecast is for sunny all with with light breezes from the east/northeast. As we are already on overtime, and two folks are flying back to Anchorage today, we will be skipping the afternoon session so that everyone can begin packing for their trips home. Bob Eastman, Monte Brown, and I will be driving up on Wednesday to catch our red-eye flights home. This blog post took more than an hour to prepare and makes three hundred forty-two days in a row with a new educational post written just for you. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day.

Please, please, pretty please remember to use my B&H or Bedford’s affiliate programs for all your new gear purchases. If you use B&H, please be sure to click on any B&H link in the blog to start your search. Or simply start with this link. There is always the option of e-mailing me for gear advice and for the correct links.

The plan is to continue to post every day until the streak reaches one year and one day and then begin posting every other day.

As above, 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 β€” a Delkin flash card, or a tripod head β€” 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.

Induro GIT 304L Tripod

Price reduced $50.00 on 16 FEB 2023

Out of production for more than two years, BAA sold its last one in December. The good news? We have two more new-in-the-box tripods. They are now available for only $649.00 (were $699.00). The 304L was my go-to tripod for more than a decade. Best to grab order yours right now by clicking here to avoid being disappointed.


Many folks have written recently stating that they purchased a Sony a1 from B&H and would like their free membership in the Sony 1 Info and Updates Group, a $150.00 value. When I check my affiliate account, their orders have not been there. When I let them know that they get credit for B&H purchases only if they use one of the many B&H affiliate links on the blog or begin their searches with this link, they are always disappointed. If in doubt, please contact me via e-mail and request a BH link. I am always glad to help and to guide you to the right gear.

Bedfords Amazing 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, prior purchases.

Visit the Bedfords website here, shoot Steve Elkins an e-mail, or text him on his cell phone at (479) 381-2592.

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 πŸ™‚

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.

This image was created on 6 March 2023 an Instructional Photo-Tour at Kachemak Bay, Homer with the handheld Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens (at 200mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Wheel. ISO 400: 1/4000 sec. at f/4 (stopped down one-stop) in Manual mode. AWB at 9:46:02am on a sunny morning.

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

Image #1: Adult Bald Eagle flying in front of the natural arch at Elephant Rock, Kachemak Bay, AK

Do You Agree With This Premise

When I mentioned to the first Homer group that it would not be unusual for intermediate — and even beginning bird photographers — with the latest, greatest mirrorless bodies (assuming that their cameras were set up properly and that they received just a bit of good instruction), to create an image as good or better than the best image made in the same situation by a professional photographer, everyone scoffed at the idea. One participant asked, “How can that be?’

Do you agree or disagree with the premise above? Why or why not?

This image was created on 6 March 2023 an Instructional Photo-Tour at Kachemak Bay, Homer with the handheld Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens (at 70mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Wheel. ISO 400: 1/4000 sec. at f/4 (stopped down one-stop) in Manual mode. AWB at 9::24:33am on a sunny morning.

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

Image #2: Adult Bald Eagle landing on the base of the natural arch at Elephant Rock, Kachemak Bay, AK

Your Call?

Which of today’s two featured images would you rather have in your portfolio? Which do you think is the stronger image. Please leave a comment letting us know why you made your choice. As these are subjective questions, there is no correct answer.


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

27 comments to Do You Agree With This Premise?


    I have no clue.

  • Joel Eade

    Given the same equipment and set up (even with instruction) I would say an amateur can create many technically sound images in terms of focus, exposure etc etc but a professional is probably going to get better images 90% of the time due to ability to “see” things and react differently.

    A professional should have a huge advantage for things like finding the shot within the shot, image composition and artistic creativity. How to make quick adjustments to translate his or her vision of the shot into reality and avoid mistakes.

    No contest in my opinion.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


    Thanks for commenting. You might need a new monitor or new glasses. If you click on the image to enlarge it, you can clearly see that the other bird is a young eagle.


  • Not even close on this one……….image 2 is dramatically stronger than image 1………..for all the reasons already mentioned by others.

  • Richard Curtin

    A. Agree with premise. Would also think the included β€œgood instruction β€œ is critical. Also think though that the professional photographer would most of the the time have the advantage of years of experience using the camera to maximize their well-developed creative vision. Luck also plays a part but usually to the prepared photographer. I remember a professional photographer, maybe one who took one of these photos, commenting to a lady who said she was a good cook, that she must have a wonderful set of pots and pans. πŸ™‚

    B. Would prefer #1 Believe the juvenile eagle adds a lot of interest ( to the viewer and the adult eagle).

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yes, good instruction and proper camera set-up are of paramount importance. But with the lates mirrorless gear folks new to bird photography have a much greater chance to make great images. when using DSLRs that was mice more difficult. And with film, it was downright impossible.


  • Hey Artie, I prefer Image #2. Difficult decision, both are framed by the opening and have acceptable wing positions.

    Regarding your premise… I would say it depends. In bird photography I believe the most important is probably the most difficult to teach if not impossible, that is when to push the shutter button. Some are gifted others are not. Some have the patience to hold the eye to the viewfinder waiting for the magical instance, others do not. Timing is everything. If the amateur is gifted to know when to capture the image then yes it is possible.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Joe. I agree in part. I encourage everyone to use their fastest frame-rate and to blast away in good situations!


  • Anthony Ardito

    Am I right or wrong that the sky was replaced with a blue one. Looks like color fringing on the right side of the rock opening and the sky itself looks funky and of different shades between the two.

    I like #1 best. head turned pointing towards a target. I don’t mind the immature eagle. That can always be removed.

    #2 is good, but I don’t like the tail feathers. They look dirty and worn.

    I think a novice can certainly make a better picture than a pro, with the prerequisites that you lined out of course.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Anthony. You are wrong. Both skies are right out of camera. I am not seeing any color fringing in the master tif files. Bear Bob would not photograph an eagle with a dirty tail πŸ™‚


  • Much prefer Image 2–no distracting second bird, fewer shadows on the face, and the shape of the bird within the arch is more appealing (shape and direction of travel fit with the strata in the rock to the left, and the opening echoes the triangular shape of the bird). So, while I’d say #2 looks more professional, doesn’t mean a relative beginner didn’t make it. I met a photographer (never got more than the first name, Pete) in Sarasota a few months ago who claimed to have been shooting for only a year but who had an incredible portfolio of local birds on his phone shot handheld with a small sensor camera, a 300 f4 with 1.4 and 2x TCs, and great eye-hand coordination.

  • John Zimmerman

    I prefer image #1. I would prefer it with the Red-tailed Hawk out of the picture. The eye contact with the Eagle makes the image. My 2 cents.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, John. A red-tail would not survive for one minute among all the eagles. The bird on the rock is a young Bald Eagle.


  • Todd Godwin

    I like them both quite a lot, but prefer 1 a bit more. As to a beginner or intermediate photographer making these images, to me the issue is their readiness in having the camera to their eye and pressing the trigger at the right time as the current, high performance cameras should be able to take care of the technical aspects closely enough as long as the shutter speed is sufficient. In this situation I’d expect an A1 (or R3, R5, Z9, etc.) to easily track the bird at this size in the frame, possibly with wide coverage selected, for auto-exposure to get close enough in good light (of course with zebra’s it’d be easy to do better than auto-exposure) and with 20-30fps, have plenty of frames to choose from.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Todd. I agree for the most part but I strongly recommend against using any of the auto exposure modes. While they are better when the sun is shining the exposures they suggest will be less than ideal more than 75% of the time. On cloudy days and in low light, the will be wrong 99% of the time.

      Relatively new bird photographers have the most to gain using the a1 and Zebras.


  • Nancy R Fischer

    I am in agreement that image No. 1 is the stronger of the two. Besides the main eagle’s position and the bonus young bird, the light illuminates the rock formation on the left and the lichen and/or other growth on the bottom of the frame. Excellent shot!

  • Sue Jarrett

    Image #1 and #2 are interesting and well made! Image #1 also has me laughing with that other bird on the lower right that Adult Bald Eagle is looking at!

  • Ted Willcox

    Image #1 for me.
    It give the appearance that the eagle in flight will be flying through the opening where the immature eagle is situated. And of course having the immature in the photo is a bonus!

  • Bill Eaton

    I agree with your premise above especially if the ” novice ” has an artistic eye. We can all get a really good shot here and there.The difference is getting a high precentage of quality images
    on a more consistant basis.
    That comes from reading , practice , patience and a willingness to learn from those that are more advanced such as in an IPT.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey, Bill. I agree 100%. I should have mentioned that the pros and advanced amateurs will consistently create a higher percentage of good images than the novices. But they will also keep far fewer images!

  • Image #1 is the stronger if made large enough to see that the critter on the right is a young eagle. Stronger because it tells a story–the adult will be flying in to the nest area to the young one. if the image is kept small, the young eagle looks more like a gopher or some other rodent standing up. Getting the adult framed in the rock opening is quite a feat.

  • Saul

    The extended talons make No. 2 a more dramatic, and therefore desirable, image.

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