Sea Otter Pups in the Harbor at Homer, AK « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Sea Otter Pups in the Harbor at Homer, AK

ILE Baby Crane and Eagle In-the-Field Sessions

Right now, I have five tame baby cranes and two baby eagles here at ILE and nobody to share them with. The timing for a great learning and photo session here has never been better. $300 for two solid hours of detailed photographic instruction till Sunday. We can fine-tune your date for the best weather. If you are interested in joining me, please get in touch via e-mail.


My decades-long dream of spending time on Grimsey Island, Iceland, with the puffins — 13 days in this case!, will be realized this coming July. I am doing back-to-back trips as a participant. If anyone would like information on the world’s greatest Iceland/Atlantic Puffin trip this coming July, please contact me via e-mail.

What’s Up?

I was not feeling it down by the lake yesterday morning. It was cold and sunny. For the most part, the birds were uncooperative and I was being lazy so I made a very few images from my SUV working off the BLUBB at 1200mm. Both two-chick Sandhill Crane families were on the edge of the marsh. Remarkably, the Killdeer that nested in the North Field last spring is on eggs in the exact same spot.

While I loved Clemens’ airborne, worm pulling Piping Plover my very favorite image was #3, the Reddish Egret dark morph dancing. Why? For its absolute perfection.

As surmised by IPT veteran Lance Kreuger, I did screw up on Clemens’ lens yesterday. Clemens does not owner use the Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS lens. He does own and use the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens.

Today is Wednesday 22 March 2023. I will surely head down to the lake for a bit once I am done here. This blog post took about 90 minutes to prepare and makes three hundred fifty-six 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. My plan is to continue to post every day until the streak reaches one year and one day and then begin posting every other day. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

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.

The Stick Marsh Site Guide Subscription Service

The Site Guide Subscription Service was a new concept last year. I e-mailed the first issue in late-March 2022. The Basics e-mail includes specific directions to the site, and a map of the rookery area with specific instructions and wind, weather, and where-to-be advice. Sign up now to receive last year’s five e-mails and the latest info in the Stick Marsh Site Guide e-Mail #6: March 20, 2023 Update. To sign up for the Stick Marsh Site Guide Subscription Service, call Jim in the office weekday afternoons at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand or send a PayPal for the $100.00 to us at Please be sure to include the words Stick Marsh with your PayPal.

I fully understand that you can go to Google Maps, find Stick Marsh, visit, and likely make some good images. You might think, I can do fine just without artie’s advice. But you will do a whole lot better with it. Especially considering the new conditions and the big change coming very soon.

This image was created on 21 February 2023 in the harbor at Homer, AK on Day Two of the first 2023 Kachemak Bay/Homer, AK Bald Eagle IPT. I used the hand held Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter (at 280mm) and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera.. The exposure was determined via Zebras. ISO 5000: 1/640 sec. at f/4 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be dead-solid perfect. AWB at 8:31:04am on a cloudy morning.

Tracking: Expand Spot/AF-C with Animal Face/Eye detection nailed the eye of the adult otter. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #1: Sea Otter with pup

Cloudy Skies for Sea Otters

With their dark, usually wet fur, I greatly prefer cloudy skies to full sun when photographing Sea Otters. Contrast is greatly reduced in the soft light and all shadows are eliminated. IPTs #1 and #2 had many good chances in the aisle where Captain Gabe docks his boat. With five sunny days, I abstained from Sea Otter photography on the last IPT. Not that with next-to-no depth of field that I sharpened the face of the pup with Topaz AI Sharpen. I do not remember the details.

This image was also created on 21 February 2023 in the harbor at Homer, AK on Day Two of the first 2023 Kachemak Bay/Homer, AK Bald Eagle IPT. I used the Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens with the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebra technology with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 1600. 1/1000 sec. at f/4 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the raw file exposure was determined to be perfect. AWB at 2:38:31pam on a cloudy afternoon.

Tracking: Expand Spot/AF-C with Animal Face/Eye detection enabled performed OK — it grabbed the otter’s nose. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Image #2: Sea Otter — head portrait of newborn pup; the goo on the top of the pup’s head and nose is from the birthing process

Your Call?

After clicking on each image to enlarge it, please leave a comment letting us know which of today’s two featured images you like best? And please let us know why you made your choice.

All images from Homer or Kachemak Bay, AK

2024 Homer/Kachemak Bay Bald Eagle IPTs

IPT #1: WED 21 FEB 2024 through the full day on SUN 25 FEB 2024. Five full days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings 4.

IPT #2: MON 26 FEB 2024 through the full day on FRI 1 MAR 2024. Five full days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings 3.

Register for both trips to maximize your travel dollars and enjoy a $1000 discount while you are at it.

This trip features non-stop flight photography as well as many opportunities to create both environmental and point-blank portraits of one of North America’s most sought-after avian subjects: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Other reliable subjects will include Sea Otter, Glaucous-winged and Short-billed (formerly Mew) Gulls.

In addition, we should see Common Murre, Black Guillemot, Pelagic Cormorant, two or three species of loons, and a smattering of ducks including two species of merganser, all three scoters, Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Bufflehead, Harlequin, and Long-tailed Ducks. Close-range photographic chances for these species will require some good luck. Some of these species, especially when in flocks, can, however, often be used effectively when pleasing creating bird-scapes.

If we need to be out early, we will be the first boat out. If the conditions are great, we will stay out. And when there is a chance for sunset silhouettes, we will be in the right spot.

We will be traveling through gorgeous wilderness country; landscape and scenic opportunities abound.

Also featured is a professional leader, often referred to as the world’s most knowledgeable bird photography trip leader and instructor. He is conversant in Canon, Nikon, and Sony. You will learn practical and creative solutions to everyday photographic problems. You will learn to see the shot, to create dynamic images by fine-tuning your compositions, to best utilize your camera’s AF system, and how to analyze the wind, the sky conditions, and the direction and quality of the light. This is one of the very few trips Homer trips available where you will not be simply put on the birds and told to have fun. You will learn to be a better photographer. But only if that is what you want.

You will learn to get the right exposure when it is sunny, when it cloudy-bright, when it is cloudy, when it is cloudy-dark, or when it is foggy. Not to mention getting the right exposure when creating silhouettes.

You will learn to make pleasing blurs working in manual mode and to create silhouettes working in Shutter Priority mode.

Most importantly you will learn to pick your best flight photographs from tens of thousands of images.
You will enjoy working with the best and most creative boat captain on his sturdy, photography-spacious, seaworthy, open-deck watercraft.

Only five photographers (not the usual six), plus the leader.

Small group Photoshop, Image Review, and Image Critiquing sessions.

All images from Homer or Kachemak Bay, AK

What’s Included

One four hour or two two-hour boat trips every day (weather permitting), all boat fees and boat-related expenses (excluding tips), ground transportation to and from the dock and back to the hotel each day, in-the-field instruction and guidance, pre-trip gear advice, small group post-processing and image review sessions, and a thank you dinner for all well-behaved participants.

What’s Not Included

Your airfare to and from Homer, AK (via Anchorage), the cost of your room at Land’s End Resort, all personal items, all meals and beverages, and tips for the boat captain and/or the first mate.

Please Note

On great days, the group may wish to photograph for more than four hours. If the total time on the boat exceeds 20 hours for the five-day trips the group will share the additional expense at a rate of $225/hour. The leader will pay for the bait.

Some folks may wish to rent their own vehicle to take advantage of local photographic opportunities around Homer. In 2023 those included Moose, Great Grey, and Short-eared Owls.

Deposit Information

A $3000 non-refundable deposit/trip is required. You may pay your deposit with credit card or by personal check (the latter made out to BIRDS AS ART) and sent via US mail only to Arthur Morris. PO Box 7245. Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Your balance, due 90 days before the date of departure, is payable only by check (as above).

In Closing

I have been going to Homer off and on for close to two decades. Every trip has been nothing short of fantastic. Many folks go in mid-March. The earlier you go, the better the chances for snow. The only way to assure that you are on the best of these two trips is to sign up for all of them. Can you keep up with me? If you have any questions, or are good to go for one, or two of these great trips, please let me know via e-mail or give me a call on my cell phone at 863-221-2372.


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

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