JBWR/Nickerson Beach August 2024 IPT « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

JBWR/Nickerson Beach August 2024 IPT

This Just In — 9:54am Thursday

If you would like to join me early at Stick Marsh tomorrow for an -in-the-Field Session, Friday 15 March, try me on my cell at 863-221-2372 ASAP. Please leave a message and shoot me a text if I do not pick up. Then shoot me an e-mail as well. Time and life are short and the weather is looking perfect. A 70-200mm f/2.8 lens with a TC is fine.

From David Policansky via e-mail:

Hi, Artie. I finally got my images downloaded to my computer. I have a few nice ones from the day I wandered around the docks before the IPT started, but, and forgive the hubris, I’m blown away by how many really nice images I made on the first, dark, snowy day. Many were almost perfectly exposed (thanks again for your coaching) and I needed only to open up the shadowy parts of the wings a bit in editing. A surprising number were pretty darned sharp. And at least on my monitor most of them, even those created at ISO 5000, don’t have much noise. And then there were some whose compositions I really like.

As you know, many people have helped to make me a better photographer. But even though I’ve been photographing for many decades, and even though I’ve gone on several IPTs with you before this latest one, you helped me raise my photography to another level. And even though my post-processing skills and my editing program are rudimentary, attending your Photoshop workshops really helped me and I was able to apply what you taught us even though I shoot JPEGs and don’t use Photoshop.

So thanks again, again.

with love, Dr. Fish

You Do Not Need a $20K rig to learn bird photography or to make great images on an IPT!

David was using the Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM Lens with a Canon EOS R7 Mirrorless Camera. New, his incredibly small and light rig cost him just a shade over $2000.00, $2,049 to be exact. He did quite well and I hope to be sharing some of his work with you here soon.

What’s Up?

Stick Marsh was amazing on Tuesday past, one of the best mornings ever. I am falling deeply in love with the a9 iii. Photos and more soon.

Indian Lake Estates has been decent at times despite the fact that there are currently zero crane babies so far this season. And I have not been able to locate a bird on eggs. I do, however, have hope, as I have seen several single cranes hanging out in the marsh down by the lake. With the higher than usual water levels and the vegetation sky high, there is a good chance that there are a few cranes on eggs. Time will tell. The eagle pair down by the lake have two large young in the new (obstructed) nest but they have not fledged yet. Yesterday there were thousands of migrant Tree Swallows flying around everywhere.


If you would like to learn the secrets of photographing shorebirds at the East Pond, check out the amazing opportunities available in mid- to late August in and around New York City by scrolling down. And yes, NYC! The first to register may opt to share my Lido Beach Air BnB with me (and enjoy a discount on the IPT as well). If you are interested, please get in touch via e-mail ASAP.

Today is Thursday 14 March 2024. I will be heading down to the lake early for a bit with the a9 iii, the 300mm f/2.8, the 600mm f/4, and both TCs. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope that you will be having fun too. I do, of course, have a long to-do list.

Speaking of the Sony 300mm f/2.8 lens, five folks have kindly used one of my (two) affiliate links to purchase theirs. They will be receiving the first-ever BAA lens guide before the end of the month as a thank you.

This from multiple IPT veteran Monte Brown via e-mail this morning:

I tried the Sony 300mm f/2.8 lens for a few minutes this evening and so far it is amazing, lightweight, fast, and sharp. Unbelievable that it can be a 600 with the 2X and still be so light. My shoulders will love it.

In the same vein, if you plan on purchasing a Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera (or anything else for that matter), please remember to use or write for either my Bedfords discount code or my B&H affiliate link. As above, folks who use one of my two affiliate links to purchase the a9 III will receive my .DAT settings (the complete camera set-up) along with a Buttons and Dials Guide and lots more.

If you would like to enjoy some incredible world class photography and photographic instruction, do yourself a favor and grab one of the very few remaining spots on each of the 2025 Homer Bald Eagle IPTs. Better yet, save $1000.00 by signing up for both! It will likely be my last ever Homer trip … Both trips will surely fill soon.

Please remember to use the B&H 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!

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.

ddc 728w

Save 15%!

If you’d like to try out a new lens or if you need a lens for a specific trip or project (or for an IPT), LensRentals.com is the only way to go. To save 15%, simply click on the logo link above, arrange for your rental, and type in BIRDSASART15. If you type the gear you are looking for in the search box, it will pop right up. LensRentals.com offers affordable insurance. You can decline it, opt for LensCap: Damage Only, or select LensCap: Damage & Theft. Then hit PROCEED TO CHECKOUT. After you enter all of your info but before completing your order, be sure to scroll down to Promo Code box and enter the BIRDSASART15 code to save 15%.

I checked on renting a Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II lens for a week. The cost is only $122.00. LensCap: Damage Only coverage can be added for a very low $18.00. Going with LensCap: Damage & Theft would be $27.00. The shipping charge varies. They offer an interesting program called Lensrentals HD. By signing up for this shipping discount program ($99.00/year), you’ll get free Standard Shipping on all the orders you place.

Renting a Sony 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens for a week will cost you $536.00. The two coverage options come in at $76.00 or $114.00. Less your 15% discount when you enter the BIRDSASART15 code into the Promo Code box at checkout and enter the BIRDSASART15 codeine the Promo Code box at checkout to save 15%.

Remember, to save the 15% on your rental you must start your search by clicking on the logo above, or on this link: LensRentals.com


To ensure that I get credit for your B&H purchases, you can always click here. The tracking is invisible but greatly appreciated. And, you can use your PayBoo card. You must use the website to order. B&H will reopen on Fri April 14. Thanking me for the past 4000 educational blog posts could not be any easier and will not cost you one penny. Please shoot me your B&H receipt for major purchases.

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 Simplified

Click here to start your search. Choose standard shipping, and when you get to the payment page, enter BIRDSASART in the discount code box and hit apply. You will be upgraded to free second day air Fed-Ex and receive 3% cash back on your credit card once your stuff ships. Either is greatly appreciated by yours truly.

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.

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 stave 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.

Join me on the COMBO IPT this coming August to photograph adult and juvenile shorebirds at the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens, NY.

Clockwise starting from the upper left back to center: juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs; adult Semipalmated Plover; fresh juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper; fresh juvenile Least Sandpiper; fresh juvenile Stilt Sandpiper; fresh juvenile Short-billed Dowitcher; worn, molting adult Semipalmated Sandpiper; worn, molting adult White-rumped Sandpiper; and juvenile (left) and worn, molting adult Greater Yellowlegs.

The August 2024 JBWR-East Pond/Nickerson Beach 3 1/2 day Shorebirds, Skimmers and more COMBO IPTs

July 29 – SAT August 17 through the morning session on TUES 20 August 2024. 3 1/2 days: $2199.00. Limit: 6.

Join me for four mornings at the famed East Pond, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens, NY (conditions permitting) to photograph southbound migrant shorebirds and for three afternoons to photograph beach nesting birds. The window for photographing juvenile shorebirds in fresh plumage is very narrow and this trip will of course get you to the right spot at the exact right time. You will learn to identify and age the shorebirds and to photograph them (at ground level). I will gladly share everything that I have learned during the 46 years I have been visiting the pond. Heck, I started late. After too many years of mismanagement, the gate valve at the north end of the East Pond has finally been repaired properly; water levels should be perfect this summer. If it is not, we will spend our mornings at Nickerson.

Afternoons (and mornings as well) at Nickerson Beach Park are superb in mid-August for photographing Black Skimmers, Common Terns, and American Oystercatchers with young of all ages. There will be lots of fledged chicks by mid-August, lots of flight including adults flying with baitfish and mole crabs, and excellent chances to photograph both chick feeding and predation by gulls. The Great Black-backed Gulls see the young skimmers as potato chips. We should get to photograph the evening skimmer blastoffs. On hot sunny days, there is still great afternoon skimmer flight photography that includes frequent midair battles.

There will be lots of terns (mostly commons) and gulls to photograph; most years I am able to find a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls of varying ages in addition to the Herring, Ring-billed, and Great Black-backed Gulls. You will learn to identify and age the various gull species. There will likely be some Willets feeding along the surf and with luck we might get to photograph a handsome juvenile or two. In addition to the locally breeding shorebirds, we will likely get to see some southbound migrant arctic-and sub-arctic breeding shorebird species such as Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover, Semipalmated Sandpiper, and maybe even Red Knot. And we might encounter large, swirling flocks of Sanderling in flight over the ocean.

Join me this August to photograph at the East Pond at JBWR in the mornings (conditions permitting) and at Nickerson Beach in the afternoons.

Clockwise starting from the upper left back to center: Marbled Godwit (likely in juvenal plumage); Wilson’s Phalarope in first winter plumage; Black Skimmer adult in flight over the Atlantic; juvenile American Oystercatcher foraging surf; adult Lesser Black-backed Gull; Black Skimmer attacking tiny chick; Killdeer in fresh juvenal plumage; Least Sandpiper in fresh juvenal plumage ruffling; and juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs and mixed shorebird flock.

Morning sessions at the East Pond will run from just before dawn till about 9:00 or 9:30am. If the afternoon weather forecast is looking ominous, we may decide to photograph until after 11:00am and cancel the afternoon session. Afternoon sessions at Nick will run from 5:30 till sunset (assuming that entry policies are as they were in 2023).

Many folks head home feeling that while our time in the field was fabulous and productive, that the working brunch sessions were even more valuable. During image review you will learn to select the best images from several thousand made with your 20- and 30 fps (or 120 fps!) camera bodies. In addition, we will process some participant images and distribute the screen-capture videos for you to learn from after the trip. All IPTs offer follow-up image critiques.

Change your life: sign up for this IPT today. Please shoot me an e-mail if you would like to explore the possibility of renting some Sony gear (including an a1) from me.

Clockwise from upper left around and back to center: Adult American Oystercatcher foraging at sunrise; Adult American Oystercatcher posing on clean sand; predawn skimmer flock blur; Black Skimmer large chick; Black Skimmer landing at nest on cloudy day; Black Skimmer large chick; Black Skimmer sunrise group blur; Black Skimmer adult with Atlantic Silversides; juvenile Semipalmated Plover, and photographer with oystercatcher family.

Some of What You Will Learn on the COMBO IPT

  • 1- The basics and fine points of digital exposure; how to get the right exposure every time after making a single test exposure (or before you make even a single image if you are using SONY gear).
  • 2-How to get low and super low
  • 3- How and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).
  • 4- How to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them.
  • 5- Lots about bird behavior and how to use that knowledge to help you create better images.
  • 6- To spot the good and great situations and to choose the best perspective.
  • 7- To see, evaluate, and understand the light.
  • 8- To design pleasing images by mastering your camera’s AF system.
  • 9- And perhaps most importantly, to evaluate wind and sky conditions and understand how they affect bird photography. You will learn where and when to be (and why).
  • 10- To identify and age a variety of shorebird, tern, and gull species.
  • 11- More than you could ever imagine.

Clockwise from upper left around and back to center: Black Skimmer pair with chick; Common Tern landing at nest with small baitfish; large Common Tern chick on pristine beach; American Oystercatchers courtship flight; Common Tern with pipefish; Common Tern fledgling; American Oystercatcher on eggs in high wind; American Oystercatcher nest with three eggs; and Black Skimmer midair battle.

The Details

There will be a Photoshop/Image Review session during and after brunch (included) each full day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time. This IPT will run with only a single registrant as I do not like disappointing anyone. The best airports are JFK or Islip (if you have lots of Southwest points). Once you register, you will receive an e-mail with lodging information. Do know that it is always best if IPT folks stay in the same general area (rather than at home or at a friend’s place a good distance away).

Folks attending this IPT will be out in the field ridiculously early and stay out late to take advantage of sunrise and sunset colors; this is pretty much a staple on almost all BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours. Doing so will often present unique photographic opportunities, opportunities that will be missed by those who need their beauty rest and those who need to get home for a proper dinner. I really love it when I am leaving the beach at 9:00am on a sunny morning after a great session just as a carful or two of well-rested photographers are arriving … We may be getting our feet wet on occasion, especially in the mornings, but those who wish to keep their feet 100% dry can do so.

Your $699 deposit is due now. Credit cards are OK for that. You can register by calling Jim or Jennifer during weekday business hours at 863-692-0906 with a credit card in hand. Once you leave a deposit, you will receive an e-mail with your balance statement and instructions for sending your balance check. Those who wish to pay for the trip in one fell swoop via check may do so by making the check out to BIRDS AS ART and then mailing it to BIRDS AS ART, PO BOX 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with detailed instructions, and clothing and gear advice right after you register. Please shoot me an e-mail if you plan to register or if you have any questions.

IPT veterans and couples or friends signing up together may e-mail for discount information.


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

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