Indigo-black Storm Cloud Background! And Free Webinar « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Indigo-black Storm Cloud Background! And Free Webinar

The One Big Secret to Making Great Bird Photographs
With Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART — Free NANPA Webinar

Yes, boys and girls. There really is just one big secret. It will be revealed at the very end of the webinar. Join me on July 13 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm EDT to learn a ton. Click here to register. This program is free and open to all. Covered topics will include seeing the shot, finding the best perspective, getting close to free and wild birds, the importance of wind direction in bird photography, understanding the direction and qualities of natural light, flight photography tips, getting the right exposure, image composition and design, and lots more.

What’s Up?

Jon Hoiles and I had a great morning at Huguenot Memorial Park despite largely unfavorable conditions (wind against sun), and a spectacular afternoon with many weather changes.

Today is Sunday 3 July 2022. The forecast for this morning in Jacksonville is for more of the same — sunny to partly to mostly cloudy with a breeze from the west. Again, this is generally a kiss of death forecast for bird photography, but we will be out there again teaching and learning and having a ton of fun. When Jon got out of my vehicle in the morning, he said, “I can’t believe a place like this exists!”

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you too have a great day. This blog post took less than an hour to prepare and makes one hundred six days in a row with a new one.

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!


Follow me on Instagram here. I am trying to feature both new and old images, especially images that have not appeared recently on the blog. Or search for birds_as_art.

It’s Not Too Late

It’s not too late to join me for Monday (morning or all day) and/or Tuesday morning for an In-the-Field session or three at Jacksonville. The Royal Tern chicks have hit the beach and there is non-stop flight photography. Please contact me for rates an details via e-mail ASAP. And it is not too late to sign up for the Jacksonville IPT. Details on that below.

Creating the World’s Best JPEGs (Video)

Creating the World’s Best JPEGs Video: $23.00

In this 16-minute video, you will learn to create relatively small, high quality JPEGs to varying size specifications. However you wish to size your JPEGs, you will learn to create and sharpen highly detailed JPEGs that can be saved while limiting the file size. The method that I use to generically sharpen all my JPEGs is unique. Sharpening the whole image saves a ton of time and with the values that I use, nobody has ever commented on over-sharpening and the final results are spectacular. In the video, I show you exactly how I create and sharpen JPEGs for the blog and how I create and sharpen JPEGs for BirdPhotographer’s.Net. With my recipe, you will learn to create JPEGs to your specific size requirements while at the same time, maximizing image quality and limiting the file size.

Thanks to Anke Frohlich for pointing me in the right direction as to creating fabulous JPEGs.

You can order your copy here in the BAA Online Store.

This image was created on 2 July 2022 at Huguenot Memorial Park, Jacksonville, FL. I used the handheld Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens
the Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter, and The One, the Sony Alpha 1 Mirrorless Digital Camera). The exposure was determined via Zebras with ISO on the Thumb Dial. ISO 400. 1/8000 sec. at f/4 (wide open) in Manual mode. When evaluated in RawDigger, the exposure was determined to be a bit dead-solid perfect. AWB at 4:43:26pm on stormy and then-sunny cloudy afternoon.

Tracking: Zone AF-C with Bird Face/Eye detection enabled performed just about perfectly. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a high-res version.

Royal Tern backlit flight

Indigo-black Storm Cloud Background!

In the morning, we were doing backlit flight as it was the only flight photography available with clear skies after 7:30am and a stiff SW wind. The afternoon began cloudy with a southwest wind and we did well. Then the sun came out and with huge storm clouds to the west we were presented with some spectacular flight photography. Backlit images are almost always better with dark or nearly black backgrounds. How often does that happen with flight photography? Not very. We had about 20 good minutes before the wind shifted to the west and the birds began landing away from us. When the lightning strikes got close we hightailed it to the car and headed for the barn. I used only one lens all day, the 400 f/2.8. With and without TCs. All handheld. Never took the tripod out of my SUV. What fun! All in all, it was a great day.

The Big Lesson

The big takeaway here is that when facing poor conditions — wind against sun, in this case, you can sometimes come away with something great. How do you do that? By keeping your eyes open to the possibilities, by truly understanding the relationship between light angle and sun angle and by visualizing the image.

Flight Photography at Jacksonville Till You Can’t Lift Your Lens! with Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Join me on the beach at Huguenot Memorial Park to learn about photographing terns in flight. 8,000 pairs of Royal Terns nest there and there are birds in the air all the time, often carrying all kinds of fish and crabs for their young. Learn about how the relationship between the wind and the sun impacts flight photography and about the best gear for shooting birds in flight. Join me on a workshop at Jacksonville this summer.

Cute & Beautiful: Photographing Chicks in Jacksonville, FL with Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

There is an amazing beach near Jacksonville, FL where 8,000 pairs of Royal Terns and 12,000 pairs of Laughing Gulls (along with a few other species) breed each summer. As this video shows, photographing the chicks is easy in the summer. And there is tons of great flight photography as well. If you want to improve your bird photography skills, consider joining me on an Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT).

Click on the composite image to enjoy the incredible quality of the hi-res JPEG.

Clockwise from upper left clockwise and back around to the center: Royal Tern in flight with squid for chick; Royal Tern chick on beach; Royal Tern in flight with shrimp for young; Royal Tern chick — double overhead wing stretch; Royal Tern landing with greenback for chick; Royal Tern in flight with juvenile mahi mahi for chick; Brown Pelican — large chick preening; Laughing Gull in fresh juvenal plumage; Royal Tern chick begging; Many Royal Terns with many chicks on face of dune.

Jacksonville IPT: 4 FULL DAYS — the afternoon of FRI 15 JULY thru the morning of TUES 19 July 2022: $2099.00 (Limit 6 photographers/Openings: 5)

I first visited the breeding bird colony at Jacksonville in late June 2021. I was astounded. There were many thousands of pairs of Royal Terns nesting along with about 10,000 pairs of Laughing Gulls. In addition to the royals, there were some Sandwich Terns nesting. And there are several dozen pairs of Brown Pelicans nesting on the ground. Flight photography was non-stop astounding. And photographing the tern chicks was relatively easy. Folks could do the whole trip with the Sony 200-600, the Canon 100-500 RF, or the Nikon 500 PF or 200-500 VR. With a TC in your pocket for use on sunny days. Most of the action is within 100 yards of where we park (on the beach). As with all bird photography, there are times when a super-telephoto lens with either TC is the best tool for the job.

Morning sessions will average about 3 1/2 hours, afternoon sessions about 1 1/2 hours. On cloudy mornings with favorable winds, we may opt to stay out for one long session and skip the afternoon, especially when the afternoon forecast is poor. Lunch is included on the first three days of the IPT and will be served at my AirBnB. We will do image review and Photoshop after lunch.

We will be based somewhere west and a bit north of Jacksonville where there are many AirBnB possibilities. The deposit is $599.00. Call Jim at the office any weekday at 863-692-0906 to pay by credit card. Balances must be paid by check.

Click on the composite image to enjoy the incredible quality of the hi-res JPEG.

Clockwise from upper left clockwise and back around to the center: Royal Tern feeding chick; Royal Tern/4-week-old chick; ink-stained Royal Tern in flight with squid for chick; Royal Tern/3-week-old chick begging; Brown Pelican in flight on white sky day; fresh juvenile Laughing Gull on clean beach; Laughing Gulls stealing fish from Royal Tern; tight shot of Royal Tern in flight with fish for young.

What You Will Learn on a Jacksonville IPT

  • 1- First and foremast you will learn to become a better flight photographer. Much better.
  • 2-You will learn the basics and fine points of digital exposure. Nikon and Canon folks will learn to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure, and SONY folks will learn to use Zebras so that they can be sure of making excellent exposures before pressing the shutter button.
  • 3- You will learn to work in Manual exposure mode even if you fear it.
  • 4- You will learn to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography, especially the photography of birds in flight.
  • 5- You will learn several pro secrets (for each system) that will help you to become a better flight photographer.
  • 6- You will learn to zoom out in advance (because the birds are so close!) 🙂
  • 7- You will learn how to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them.
  • 8- You will learn to spot the good and the great situations.
  • 9- You will learn to understand and predict bird behavior.
  • 10- You will learn to design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system.
  • 11- You will learn to choose the best perspective.
  • 12- You will learn to see and control your backgrounds.
  • 13- You will learn to see and understand the light.
  • 14- You will learn to see and create pleasing blurs in pre-dawn situations.
  • 15- You will learn to be ready for the most likely event.

The best news is that you will be able to take everything you learn home with you so that you will be a better photographer wherever you are and whenever you photograph.


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

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