BAA IPTs « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART
February 8th, 2017

BAA IPTs

BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo Tours (IPTs)

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) General Information.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Deposit and Cancellation Policies.

Click here for BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT) Registration and Release Forms.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

    Jacksonville/Huguenot Memorial Park IPT; 2024 Jacksonville IPT: 4 1/2 DAY option Monday 15 July 2024 through the morning session on FRI 19 JULY — $2299.00 (Limit 4 photographers)

    Nickerson Beach IPT #1: July 29 – August 1, 2024. 3 1/2 days: Afternoon session on MON 29 July through the full day on THURS 1 August, 2024: $2099.00. Limit: 6. Openings: 5

    Nickerson Beach IPT #2: August 5-8 2024. 3 1/2 days: Afternoon session on MON 5 August through the full day on THURS 8 August, 2024: $2099.00. Limit: 6.

    The Combo IPT — East Pond, JBWR/Nickerson Beach: August 17 – 20, 2024. SAT August 17 through the morning session on TUES 20 August 2024. 3 1/2 days: $2199.00. Limit: 6.

    2025 Homer/Kachemak Bay Bald Eagle IPT #1: FRI 14 FEB 2025 through the full day on TUES 18 FEB 2025. Five days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings 2.

    2025 Homer/Kachemak Bay Bald Eagle IPT #2: WED 19 FEB 2025 through the full day on SUN 23 FEB 2025. Five days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings 2.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for both big international trips and US-based IPTs is generally recommended only if the losing your investment in a given trip is would seriously impact your overall financial position. In the long run, you will make most or all of your trips and you will wind up far ahead by not purchasing trip insurance. However, as we never know what life has in store for us; it might be a good idea for you. If you do purchase travel insurance, note that many plans require that you purchase your insurance within 14 days of our cashing your deposit check or running your credit card. If you do a search for “Complaints about XYZ Travel Insurance Company,” I can guarantee that you will find many complaints no matter the company — it is the nature of the beast. Therefore, and most importantly, whenever purchasing travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print carefully.

What They are Saying …

Unsolicited via e-mail from Pete Myers

I just spent 4 days in the field in a graduate course in bird photography taught by Artie Morris at Fort DeSoto. After almost 50 years of experience pointing cameras at birds from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego, New Zealand and beyond, I thought I was good enough. But what I learned from Artie in just four days has taken me to a whole new level. As he aptly puts it, “birds as art,” not simply bird photography. One of those 4 days was the most satisfying I’d ever experienced, anywhere. The IPT left me euphoric about what I’d learned, and frighteningly committed to recreating my portfolio with the techniques and insights he taught me.

Via e-mail from multiple IPT participant David Hollander

Primarily, what distinguished the San Diego IPT other photographic classes that I have attended was the “granularity” and specificity of the information you shared. By that I mean the level of specific, technical information that was covered. This was helped by the fact that you often gave an explanation as to why you made your choices. For example, when we first arrived at the location, you told people to shoot at 1600, F 5.6, and various shutter speeds. As the light got better, you progressively moved to lower ISOs, and gave us rules of thumb on what ISO to use in different lighting conditions.

You further explained in one of the review sessions that with modern cameras and good software, the noise isn’t really a problem and that you could get rid of the noise from a 1600 ISO a lot easier than fixing a blurred image. Similarly, you gave precise instruction on what aperture to use in various circumstances. In general, before your class, my “default” mode was to shoot in aperture priority, usually at about F 9 or 8.1. The reason wasn’t that I was trying to capture background, but instead to increase my chances of getting the bird’s head in focus if I got the focus point in the wrong place. I will revisit that approach now.

During and image review session, you showed a picture that had the bird’s eye in focus, but the tip of the beak was slightly off. When I asked you whether you would have used a higher f/stop in that case, you went to a website showing the impact on the depth of field at the given distance of moving up a stop, which was less than an inch. That demonstrated why increasing the f/stop would not have worked in that case. From a teaching perspective, hearing the same information in multiple channels makes it more likely for people to absorb it and remember it, so the technical explanations help the main message sink in. The instruction on use of the back button focus was also very helpful. I had read about that on your blog before, but I had not taken the time to actually try it, and now I have a new tool in my kit. Overall, I found the advice and instruction to be “actionable”. It was all there for those who were listening.

The comparison of slightly different images of the same bird was also very helpful. It showed what you were looking for head angles and placements. However, I should note that differences in many of the pictures that were acute to you were pretty subtle to me, and all of the pictures were ones that most photographers would have been proud to have taken, even the ones that you were rejecting.

Unsolicited via e-mail from IPT veteran Eugen Dolan

Arthur, Thank you very much for your overwhelming infectious enthusiasm that helped get me up on some mornings. Also, your ability to express yourself- and explain in great detail why you like or may not like an image – was very helpful in allowing me to better analyze my images. Eugen

Via e-mail from Dianne Heggie

I had SUCH a great time today! It’s always inspiring to spend time learning from you. Your generosity in sharing knowledge and insights is really exceptional. I shouldn’t let another 8 years pass before joining you for another workshop!

Via e-mail from Jim Miller

I can’t stop thinking about how much fun the DeSoto Fall IPT was, and how much I learned. There were so many things that suddenly made perfect sense after I had been confused for so long. Thank you very much for the wonderful trip, and for being a great teacher. As I worked through the raw files last week, I realized what a fantastic lens the 600 IS is. Thanks for the rental! Maybe someday I will be able to afford one. Some images for critique are attached.

By the way, the plant we were looking at along the sidewalk in Gulfport is Blue Porterweed. It is worth a few minutes on the internet to read about it: native of Florida and the Caribbean, used for medicine in The Bahamas, etc. We have it in a large pot in the front yard and it takes a lot of water, but it blooms Spring through Fall. Thank you again, Artie. It was really wonderful to be with you and learn from you.

Via e-mail from Lee Sommie

I want to thank you for making the Fall 2017 Ft. DeSoto IPT such a fun and educational experience for me. I truly did not want the adventure to end. I now look through the viewfinder with an artist’s mindset. And the real bonus was making new friends with fellow students. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife photography. I had a great time with you and look forward to more adventures on future IPTs.

Followed by this one

BTW. I downloaded Photo Mechanic and started using it in my workflow. Since I like using Lightroom for my adjustments, I found a way to incorporate Photo Mechanic and Lightroom together. Lightroom was driving me crazy with how slow it is to import and preview photos. I was impressed with how fast you could preview photos and start editing your photos on the DeSoto Fall IPT. Life is too short to wait for applications to import and preview photos and Photo Mechanic solves that problem.

Thanks again for everything Artie. Your knowledge keeps on giving well after the IPT!

Via e-mail from Muhammad Arif

I had a great time at Fort De Soto. Thank you for all the instruction, for your help and pointers; my photography has already improved tremendously and I’ve never made such good bird photos before. I wish I could’ve joined you on Monday and Tuesday morning as well but work got in the way. It was also nice meeting the folks on the IPT. Thanks again for everything and I hope to join you at a future IPT sometime again.

Via e-mail from Morris Herstein

I never thought that I could make in-flight photos of birds successfully. That goal was accomplished during the recent workshop at Stick Marsh only because I listened to your advice and instructions. For the first time I realized how important sun angle was, teachings that you had been communicated for a long time. The result of two days shooting produced the most satisfying images of Roseate Spoonbills I ever could have imagined.

Stay well and safe. Thank you. Morris

Via e-mail from Joe Usewicz

Wow. So many photos to go through. Stick Marsh was a great learning experience. Positioning. Wind impact. Landing zones. Working on backgrounds. I clipped too many incredible reflections. Great fun. Just amazing opportunities.

Warmest Regards, Joe

From BPN-friend Kevin Hice via unsolicited e-mail

Again artie, that was a great trip. I was more than pleased. For me, I could see right away that you knew how to get us and the boat in great position for the best eagle photography. You took into consideration all the factors including the sky conditions, and wind and sun angles. It was a real pleasure to meet the captain. His knowledge of the wind and the currents helped to put us in great position all the time and he did his very best to help on all fronts.

One of the most important factors for me is timeliness. We never had to wait on the captain or on you, artie, and that made the trip a huge success. We got after it every day and had countless great photography opportunities. The other eagle photography tours never got out as early as we did, nor did they pursue the birds as relentlessly as we did.

One can never say that Arthur Morris doesn’t have the passion to get after the Bald Eagles. I have never shot as many photos as I did on this trip even with my poor hand eye coordination. I got plenty of keepers and enjoyed meeting the others in the group and learned a few things from them as well.

Thanks again, Kevin

Be sure to click on the composite to view a larger, high-res version. All images from 2023 Fort DeSoto Spring IPTs.

Clockwise from upper left around to center: Snowy Egret in breeding plumage with crest blowing; Osprey striking; Brown Pelican sunrise silhouette; Royal Terns copulating; Marbled Godwit striding; Royal Tern courtship feeding; Snowy Egret hunting; Laughing Gull in breeding plumage along flight; Reddish Egret in flight with killifish.

Unsolicited via e-mail from Pete Myers

I just spent 4 days in the field in a graduate course in bird photography taught by Artie Morris at Fort DeSoto. After almost 50 years of experience pointing cameras at birds from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego, New Zealand and beyond, I thought I was good enough. But what I learned from Artie in just four days has taken me to a whole new level. As he aptly puts it, “birds as art,” not simply bird photography. One of those 4 days was the most satisfying I’d ever experienced, anywhere. The IPT left me euphoric about what I’d learned, and frighteningly committed to recreating my portfolio with the techniques and insights he taught me.

Unsolicited via e-mail from IPT veteran Eugen Dolan

Arthur, Thank you very much for your overwhelming infectious enthusiasm that helped get me up on some mornings. Also, your ability to express yourself- and explain in great detail why you like or may not like an image – was very helpful in allowing me to better analyze my images. Eugen

Via e-mail from Jim Miller

I can’t stop thinking about how much fun the DeSoto IPT was, and how much I learned. There were so many things that suddenly made perfect sense after I had been confused for so long. Thank you very much for the wonderful trip, and for being a great teacher. As I worked through the raw files last week, I realized what a fantastic lens the 600 IS is. Thanks for the rental! Maybe someday I will be able to afford one. Some images for critique are attached. Thank you again, Artie. It was really wonderful to be with you and learn from you.

Via e-mail from Lee Sommie

I want to thank you for making the Fort DeSoto IPT; it was a fun and educational experience for me. I truly did not want the adventure to end. I now look through the viewfinder with an artist’s mindset. And the real bonus was making new friends with fellow students. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife photography. I had a great time with you and look forward to more adventures on future IPTs.

Via e-mail from Muhammad Arif

I had a great time at Fort De Soto. Thank you for all the instruction, for your help and pointers; my photography has already improved tremendously, and I’ve never made such good bird photos before. I wish I could’ve joined you on Monday and Tuesday morning as well, but work got in the way. It was also nice meeting the folks on the IPT. Thanks again for everything and I hope to join you at a future IPT sometime again.

Clockwise from upper left corner around to center: ink-stained Royal Tern with squid for chicks; fluffy white Royal Tern Chick about two weeks old; Royal Tern with shrimp for chicks; 3-4 week old Royal Tern chick; incoming adult Royal Tern with greenback; Royal Tern in flight with juvenile mahi-mahi; large Brown Pelican chick preening; field guide portrait of fresh juvenile Laughing Gull; Royal Tern chick begging for fish from incoming adult.

Join me at Huguenot Memorial Park this July

Join Me

I have an AirBnB checking in on the late afternoon of Saturday 13 July and checking out on Thursday 19 July 2024. If you are looking to improve your bird photography by leaps and bounds while sharing the place with me, please shoot me an e-mail. ASAP.

Clockwise from upper left corner around to center: Royal Tern chick feeding frenzy; Royal Tern nearly fledged chick; ink-stained Royal Tern with squid for chicks; Royal Tern chick begging; Brown Pelican immature tight flight; Royal Tern adult screaming — tight flight; Laughing Gulls mobbing Royal Tern to steal fish; Royal Tern with fish for chicks.

Join me at Huguenot Memorial Park this July

Huguenot Memorial Park in Early Summer

Driving on the beach at Huguenot Memorial Park in early summer is a bird photographer’s delight. You park this side of the last rope on the beach and you are within 100 yards of the Royal Tern colony atop the dunes. There are also many thousand Laughing Gulls and a few Sandwich Terns breeding as well. In some years, there are some Brown Pelican nests on the ground! .

In early July, the tern chicks begin to make their way down to the flats to bathe and drink and get fed by the parents. On the way, they spend a lot of time on the face of the dune where they are easy to photograph at eye level. They may also gather in fairly large groups at the base of the dunes.

Flight photography both in the mornings and the afternoons can be quite excellent as the terns are carrying all manner of marine life to sustain the rapidly growing chicks: the adults are often seen flying around in search of their chicks with all sorts of small baitfish as well as immature fish, large shrimps, baby crabs, and even squid in their bills. The squid will squirt ink on the terns in protest. So if you see an adult Royal Tern flying around with a black necklace you can understand why.

2024 Jacksonville IPT: 4 1/2 DAY option Monday 15 July 2024 through the morning session on FRI 19 JULY — $2299.00 (Limit 4 photographers)

2024 Jacksonville IPT 3 1/2 DAY option: Monday 15 July 2024 through the morning session on THUR 18 July: $1799.00. (Limit 4 photographers)

I do not like to disappoint: each trip will run with only a single participant. If necessary.

I first visited the beach nesting 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 one of the many nw Z lenses. 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 three hours, afternoon sessions at least 1 1/2. On cloudy mornings with favorable winds, we may opt to stay out for one long session and skip the afternoon, especially when the afternoon weather forecast is poor. Lunch is included on all but the last day of each IPT and will be served at my AirBnB. After lunch, we will do image review and Photoshop sessions. My AirBnB is the closest lodging to the park.

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.

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.

And 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.

The 2024 Nickerson Beach IPTs

Join me to photograph Black Skimmers, Common Terns, American Oystercatchers, and more!

The Summer 2024 Nickerson Beach 3 1/2 day Terns, Skimmers, & Oystercatchers IPTs

Nickerson Beach IPT #1: July 29 – August 1, 2024. 3 1/2 days: Afternoon session on MON 29 July through the full day on THURS 1 August, 2024: $2099.00. Limit: 6. Openings: 5

Nickerson Beach IPT #2: August 5-8 2024. 3 1/2 days: Afternoon session on MON 5 August through the full day on THURS 8 August, 2024: $2099.00. Limit: 6.

Join me at Nickerson Beach Park this summer to photograph Black Skimmers, Common Terns, and American Oystercatchers. The trip is timed so that we should get to photograph tiny chicks as well as fledglings. There will be lots of flight photography including adults flying with baitfish and mole crabs. Creating great images of the chicks being fed is a challenge but I will do my best to help you toward that end. We will get to photograph a variety of breeding behaviors including courtship, sitting on (incubating) eggs, chick feeding, and more. We may get to photograph pre-dawn and early evening blastoffs. There is generally great afternoon skimmer flight photography that includes frequent midair battles sunny days. And with luck, we might even see a few tiny chicks in addition to fledged and flying young. We will also get to photograph the life cycle of American Oystercatcher. This will likely include nests with eggs and small chicks, young being fed, and surely a few fledglings.

Nesting Piping Plover is also possibly. There will be lots of gulls to photograph; most years I am able to find a few lesser black-backeds 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, and maybe even Red Knot.

Clockwise from upper left around and back to center: Black Skimmer pair with chick; Black Skimmer fledgling skimming; Black Skimmer with large needlefish; Black Skimmer large chick; Black Skimmer fledgling taking flight; Black Skimmer adult with killifish; Black Skimmer adult landing near nest; Black Skimmer in midair chase; and Black Skimmers at dawn in the red light district.

Afternoon sessions will run from 5:30 till sunset (assuming that entry policies are as they were in 2023. Morning sessions will run from pre-dawn till about 9:00 or 9:30am, roughly 3 1/2 hours.

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. And we will process a few images and distribute the screen capture videos for you to learn from after the trip. And 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 a Nickerson Beach 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 if you are using SONY gear).
  • 2- How and why to work in Manual mode (even if you’re scared of it).
  • 3- How to approach free and wild birds without disturbing them.
  • 4- 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- 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

We will be on the beach very early to enjoy sunrise. The morning sessions will run about 3 1/2 hours. Afternoon sessions will begin at 5:30 and run till sunset. There is never a set schedule on an IPT — we adapt to the conditions. On cloudy mornings with the right wind, we may opt to photograph till 11:30am or so and skip the afternoon session. That especially when the afternoon weather is looking iffy.

There will be a Photoshop/Image Review session before and after brunch (included) each full day. That will be followed by Instructor Nap Time. Each of these IPTs 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.

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 Combo IPT — East Pond, JBWR/Nickerson Beach: August 17 – 20, 2024. 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 Common Terns) 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.

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.

No Homer IPT Price Increase!

Despite that fact that the hourly boat fee has been increased by 33%, I have decided not to raise the price of the 2025 Homer IPTs. Note that similar trips with 40% less time on the boat cost $5800!

2025 Homer/Kachemak Bay Bald Eagle IPTs

IPT #1: FRI 14 FEB 2025 through the full day on TUES 18 FEB 2025. Five days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings 2.

IPT #2: WED 19 FEB 2025 through the full day on SUN 23 FEB 2025. Five days/20 hours on the boat: $5500.00. Limit 5 photographers/Openings 1.

Register for both trips to maximize your travel dollars and enjoy a $1000 discount while you are at it. In 2024, three of the five participants did both trips!

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.

All images from Kachemak Bay in 2022!

What You Will Learn

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.

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.

There will be only five photographers (not the usual six), plus the leader.

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

Important Notes

We toss frozen herring chunks to bring the eagles into photographic range. The late Jean Keene, the Eagle Lady, fed the eagles in Homer for many decades and brought the population back from the brink of extinction.

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 $300.00/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 2024 those included Moose, Sea Otter, a variety of sea ducks in the harbor, and Great Grey and Short-eared Owl.

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.

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 both of them. If you have any questions, or are good to go for one or both of these great trips, please let me know via e-mail or give me a call on my cell phone at 863-221-2372.

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