Life & Bird Photography Intertwined I « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Life & Bird Photography Intertwined I

This white geese blast off image was created at Klamath NWR with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 200. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/20 sec. at f/29 in Tv Mode. Central sensor/Rear Focus AI Servo tracking AF.

Lens/Camera Body Micro-Adjustment: -4.

For a greater appreciation of the image above, click on the photo to view a 1400 pixel wide version. Click on the enlarged version to close it.

Life & Bird Photography Intertwined I

Below are several e-mail correspondences with William L. Griffiths

Monday, July 4th:

WLG: Art, It is with great pain that I must give up my spot on the Bosque Del Apache trip in November. With all my heart I have been looking forward to being there. I heard you speak at the Winter Wings in Klamath Falls, OR and immediately signed up. Since registering my 6 year old grandson has been diagnosed with brain cancer, so our energy and resources will flow in that direction for the immediate future. Bill Griffiths

AM: Bill, I am sending love, strength, and energy your way. I will be in touch after 19 July when I get home. Later and love, artie

September 7:

Hi Bill, I hope that things are going well. I finally made it home after months of wonderful but exhausting travel. I wanted to check and make sure that you will be cancelling for the Bosque IPT. Right now we have one opening. With you cancelling that would be two. As one who has lost a beloved wife to cancer I do have a clue as to what you are going through. later and love, artie

September 8:

AM: Howdy Bill, re:

WLG: Thanks so much for your concern.


WLG: As I mentioned, I was present at the festival in Klamath Falls (February, 2011) when you presented your program, “A Bird Photographer’s Story” and talked about losing your wife to cancer. It was very touching and how nice it is that you have been able to move forward.

AM: Thanks for getting back in touch and for sharing that. I learned recently that one of my Klamath images was honored in a prestigious contest but cannot speak of the details for another month or so.

WLG: You have impacted my life so much already I loved the hour I listened to you in Klamath Falls and have really enjoyed reading your blogs. The amount that I have learned about photography, and specifically about bird photography is staggering. What a teacher you are.

AM: Thank you muchly.

WLG: One of the things that captivated me so much when I heard you speak the way you spoke about Bosque del Apache. The images you showed were so beautiful. I immediately signed on for the upcoming IPT. I was probably one of the first to sign up. I do however need to cancel as our grandson’s battle with brain cancer continues. He will be seven on Friday. He has had three brain surgeries and 33 radiation treatments. So far, so good. He has now had 3 consecutive “clear” MRI’s. He will continue to be monitored every three months for 2 years. His type cancer, if it recurs, does so 2-5 years later. One of his scheduled MRI’s will be during the IPT; not knowing what we have ahead of us, I am electing to stay home, particularly during the MRI appointments.

AM: I continue to send love, strength, and energy. Having lost Elaine, and being the grandfather of two autisitic boys, I can understand in part where you are. When I was a young adult, I used to think that some folks, the really lucky ones like me, could get through life without have to deal with any really serious stuff. Nice try…. I have come to realize that we all get to experience some really bad stuff in our lives; it’s how we deal with it that is most important. Byron Katie (http://www.the has helped me a great deal in learning to love life no matter what it brings. You might wish to get a copy of one or both of her books or CDs: “I Need Your Love; Is That True?” and “Loving What Is; Four Questions That Can Change Your Life.”

WLG: Again, thanks for you honest and wonderful approach to photography and birds, two of my favorites. Thanks again for your concern

AM: You are most welcome on all counts. Later and love, artie

ps: ps: May I run our conversations in a blog? As they have been extremely personal I would fully understand if you opted to say no.

September 9:

WLG: Art, Congratulations on your honored image. I took photos in the same spots you did, but mine didn’t look like yours! You are welcome to use anything. I have enjoyed reading everything you write. You do it with love and compassion. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart for your concern, one human being to another. Our lives have only brushed together for a very short moment, but I feel that I know your heart from your presentation in Klamath, and you know my heart, even though we have never actually spoken. You are an inspiration for caring about what is really important. Thanks again for caring and I will be watching for post from Bosque. Bill

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the image in today’s Bulletin. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

Remember: you can earn free contest entries with your B & H purchases. Eleven great categories, 34 winning and honored images, and prize pools valued in excess of $20,000. Click here for details.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Be sure to check out our camera body User’s Guides here.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV User’s Guide. Learn to use your Mark IV the way that I use mine.

8 comments to Life & Bird Photography Intertwined I

  • Bill Griffiths

    I am very touched by such a sincere outpouring of support for my grandson, Liam. What a great community I have hooked into, thanks to Art.
    Again thanks to all for the wonderful thoughts and suggestions.
    What a journey we have been on, but the thoughts and prayers of those who have already trod this ground has been very up-lifting.

  • I was just sending Bill a note when I remembered this. When my Dad was receiving radiation treatment for throat cancer (he was a 4-packs a day man who eventually beat the smoker’s daily double: lung cancer and throat cancer), I went to San Diego so that I could take him for treatments while my Mom was on a business trip for ALDA (American Luggage Dealers Association).

    Anyway, the first time that we get to the waiting room there is this beautiful, angelic child there, she must have been ten years old at most. Her head was shaved and her scalp was crisscrossed with surgical scars and stitches. And she was smiling. I knew that I would never forget that face or that moment. And I have not.

  • John Storjohann

    That thread was a tough one to get through.

    Bill, my prayers to you and your family, particularly your grandson. If you’re a reader, you might want to see if your library has a copy of “When Things Fall Apart: Transcending the Sorrows of the Human Mind” by Pema Chodron. She is an American Buddhist monk; her writings transcend the boundaries of religion and speak to what is the best in each of us.

    Artie, thank you for sharing…and giving each of us the chance to send positive energy Bill’s way!

    Hey John, YAW. Many have told me that The Work is quite akin to Buddhism. later and love to all, artie

  • Artie, Thanks for sharing the personal story of Bill and his grandson, I too, was at your Klamath Falls seminar and learned a lot from your presentation and the field trip. To Bill I will offer my personal experience with Cancer and the difficult place it puts both the loved ones and the personal suffering from the disease. The experience will change you and your grandson forever, my outcome is now one year out with a recent clear MRI series. You and he need to life as much in this single moment and enjoy your time here together to it’s fullest! Love and sincere wishes for his complete recovery. Kati T.

    Thanks Kati. Continued best of luck with your battle. If you are not totally at peace with it, you might wish to visit Byron Katie :). artie

  • Charles Scheffold

    Seemingly filled with chaos, this image has a surprising balance to it. Nicely done.

  • Ted Willcox

    Beautiful. I believe this to be your best blur to date! This image should be printed big and hung on your wall.

  • Hey Tommy,


    Artie, no one doubts your skill as a photographer.

    If but that were true!

    Many have admired and been moved my the images that you have created. But I will bet a buck that your are the most proud of the postive impact you have had and are having on the lives of the many people who have experienced your giving nature and kind heart.

    Very. I often say I am just trying to fool folks into thinking I am a nice guy. 🙂

    It is so important, and perhaps more so on this date, that we enjoy each and every moment of our lives.

    Another guy I follow (during daily meditation) is John Kabat Zinn; he says often: “All that we have is this breath.”

    What often seems of supreme importance pales in comparison to a relative, young child, or a friend batlling cancer in a life or death struggle.

    I learned that lesson well when I lost Elaine.

    In the morning, my niece, a wonderful young woman who three weeks ago gave birth to her first child is having brain surgery to have a tumor removed. She bravely delayed the surgery until the baby was born, and she could make sure he would be well cared for. I have not the words to describe such bravery. All I can do is appreciate the postive influence she has had on my life and hope the outcome allows her the future she deserves.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post and for bringing tears to my eyes. I join the rest of the gang in sending her and all involved tons of love, strength, and energy. later and much love, artie

    ps: I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to meeting and working with you in Homer.

  • Bill, I am wishing all good things for your grandson. Reading this brings tears to my eyes. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. Denise

    Thanks Lady D. a