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July 2, 2011 12:53 pm
Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART, PO Box 7245 4041 Granada Drive, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855. Telephone: 863-692-0906. Computer fax: 877- 265-6955

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BirdPhotographers.Net: Inspirational, Educational, & Fun. Honest critiques done gently: It Ain't Just Birds!

The BIRDS AS ART Blog: Great info with a personal touch, great images, great lessons, and our legendary BAA educational captions.




This image of a Dovekie with its wings raised was created near the town of Lonyearbyen on the island of Spitzbergen which is in the Svalbard group, Norway with the the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode.

Lens/Camera Body Micro-Adjustment: +2.

This was my single favorite image from the trip. As you will see when you visit the various blog posts, getting a clean background up on the mountain was extremely difficult and required lots of maneuvering on a nasty, rock-covered mountainside. Click here to see Jasper Doest’s great image of me on a 35 degree rocky slope; sometimes you gotta wonder….


My trip to Svalbard, Norway was amazing, exhausting, fun, exhilarating, challenging, and for a single night–disappointingly frustrating. That single night was followed by two thrilling evenings filled with some danger, lots of excitement, and a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. For additional details please see “The Blog is the Bomb” feature below.


From left to right you see Robin Sparkman, husband Patrick, and our photographer guide, Jasper Doest. Robin and Patrick have been great client-friends for more than a decade, actually more friends than clients. Patrick is a very skilled photographer who turned me on to the 70-200/2X III TC combo on last year’s Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime.

Note the rifle on Japser’s back; you are not permitted out of town without a weapon that can take down a Polar Bear. We did not see any. About a decade ago, two young German women were attacked after they climbed the mountain above town without any knowledge or protection. One jumped to her death, the other survived.

The four of us had a wondrous time in Svalbard. I could not have gotten down the mountain without help from Patrick and Jasper; they got my 800 safely back to our vehicle on each occasion. Thanks to each of them for their help and to Patrick and Robin for joining me in Norway. Note: the Sparkmans are currently on an auto tour of Norway visiting places connected with Robin’s heritage.


Though still a bit jet-lagged from the Norway trip (each evening for the past three I have felt like a zombie for about 90 minutes before getting my second wind) I fly to Quito early on Sunday with my grandson Sam who is joining me as a result of a couple’s last minute cancellation due to an injury. My good friend and web-man Peter Kes is joining me as co-leader.

Several of us are traveling to Tandayapa Bird Lodge on the Fourth of July for a day of perched hummingbird photography. I meet the whole group on Monday evening and we all fly to the archipelago on Tuesday morning for two weeks in wildlife paradise on the GALAPAGOS 2012 PHOTO-CRUISE OF A LIFETIME IPT: The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience: July 1-18, 2011 (July 3-17, 2012 on the boat): 13 1/2 days of photography plus a last morning panga ride: $12,749. (Limit 12/Openings: 9.)

As this amazing trip has sold out three years running, I am totally mystified as to why there are still nine openings. If you are interested, please see the complete info below in IPT Updates and e-mail me for discount information.


This image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens (hand held at 70mm with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/8000 sec. at f/4 in Av mode.

Lens/camera body Micro-adjustment: 0.

The first time all the birds took off from the mountain and flew over the fjord I stood helpless behind my tripod looking uphill while all the action took place behind me. Soon they all returned. When they took off again in even larger numbers, I removed the teleconverter from my 70-200, made sure my tripod was steady, turned around, sat on a rock, and enjoyed some fabulous action. The lesson: engage brain while photographing.


If you ever travel with a photo vest and two additional carry-ons, it would behoove you to print of copy of this page from the TSA web site. It states, “You may carry one (1) bag of photographic equipment in addition to one (1) carry-on and one (1) personal item through the screening checkpoint. The additional bag must conform to your air carrier’s carry-on restrictions for size and weight. Please confirm your air carrier’s restrictions prior to arriving at the airport. Air carriers may or may not allow the additional carry-on item on their aircraft. Please check with your air carrier prior to arriving at the airport.”

Those of you who know that most airlines have chosen not to allow one additional carry-on for photographers might be asking, “Why is Artie sharing this worthless advice with us?” On admittedly rare occasions I have been challenged by TSA agents while entering the security line: “You cannot proceed. Your vest is a third carry-on.” But one of those was at Newark just the other day while returning from Norway. For the whole story, click here and start reading at the third paragraph.

The point is that having a copy of the letter in your vest will get you past the TSA person who challenges you freeing you to have to deal only with the gate agent from the airline. Challenges by those folks have been equally rare and I have always gotten on the plane with my vest. If you travel with a vest print a copy of the page and keep it in a safe place. I did.


This displaying Common Eider drake was photographed at the dog kennel pond with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/640 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode.

Lens/TC/Camera Body Micro-Adjustment: +10. After a month of banging around the micro-adjustment for this combo increased from +3 to +10.

When we arrived there was non-stop courtship behavior with the eiders; it tapered off rapidly but there were still a few males displaying when we left. This image was in fact created towards the end of the trip.


I have continued to put in 20+ hours each week towards making the blog informative, timely, and beautiful. Many of the educational features that formerly appeared in BAA Bulletins now grace the BAA Blog. If you have a problem subscribing, please contact us via e-mail. If you are not subscribed, you are missing a ton of great stuff almost daily. You can subscribe to the blog posts by clicking here. Below are links to recent posts of interest.

Check out What Artie Missed on Plateaufjellet/A Guest Blog Post by Patrick Sparkman to see what was going on on the mountain while I slept.

Turnabout is fair play. Hard work, determination, and perseverance on my part paid off big time. Click to learn of my Dovekie Redemption.

Are you forgetful at times? Click here; you are not alone!

The “For Your Critique” posts have proven quite popular. You can check out the second in the series here.

There is a good lesson here on how your image optimization skills can influence your creative visualization skills in the field.

Most accidents occur in the home. For a good laugh, click on this link to read how I almost killed myself walking into the bathroom here at Indian Lake Estates after surviving three trips up and down the rocky slopes of Plateaufjellet (PLAT-toe-FEE-el-ut).


This female Red Phalarope was photographed at the 4:11 am on a still clear morning in Svalbard pond with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/500 sec. at f/9 in Manual mode.

Lens/TC/Camera Body Micro-Adjustment: +10. After a month of banging around the micro-adjustment for this combo increased from +3 to +10.

Though this bird was silly tame, photographing it was a bit frustrating. It was feeding in grass littered water but would occasionally venture farther from shore into the perfect blue water. Whenever it did it would jump up and fly away to another section of the pond.

Phalaropes exhibit sexual role reversal with the more attractive females pursuing and defending the duller males. To learn more about phalaropes and North American shorebirds get yourself a copy of my Shorebirds/Beautiful Beachcombers. The book is out of print and when our last few copies are gone they will be hard to get.



Though the image quality is poor due to a large crop from an extracted JPEG and I look more than a bit grizzled there is an important point to the image. Check out the strap on my right shoulder, the Black Rapid RS-7. The image is from the Lake Kerkini group portrait. For more info on the Lake Kerkini trip click here and here. See Robert’s return trip below in Posse News/Robert O’Toole.


Too many times in my career I have been too stubborn too long, refusing to listen to perfectly good advice. “The Wimberley Head is way better than a ballhead.” Didn’t listen for years. “Try the Venice Rookery, it’s fabulous.” Didn’t listen for years. BreezeBrowswer Pro and DownLoader Pro are amazing. Didn’t listen for years. “The Black Rapid Straps are the greatest.” Didn’t listen for years in spite of the fact that the intermediate telephoto lens that I carry via a camera body strap on my right shoulder had been slipping off the same shoulder for decades….

Well, about six months ago I finally listened. I got in touch with the folks at Black Rapid who kindly sent me several straps and accessories for testing. Man, I fell in love with the RS-& in about five seconds. Your 70-200 f/2.8L IS II will never slip off your shoulder again. It will be there when you need it, instantly accessible, as accessible as John Wayne’s six-shooter.

I do have a few suggestions and tips for you on using the Black Rapid RS-7. I tried mounting the strap by screwing the FastenR-3 (the small connecting bolt) into the tripod collar. I hated it instantly. The lens is not balanced, it rides horizontally, and it is difficult to grab when you need it. Instead I recommend screwing the FastenR-3 into the base of your camera body. Even with pro-sumer bodies, the construction is more than strong enough to support the weight of any intermediate telephoto lens. Your lens will hang pointing towards the ground as you see in the image above further reducing any strain on the system. Next you snap the ConnectR-2 to the FastenR-3. The ConnectR-2 is a BlackRapid original design that is constructed to work perfectly with the R-Strap system. It is strong, swivels smoothly, and locks to ensure the safety of your camera and your peace of mind. Your camera will slide smoothly up and down the strap to ensure the legendary BlackRapid speed.

Next you simply loop the strap around your head and over your shoulder and you are nearly good to go. You can adjust the length of the strap so that the lens rides where you want it to ride. I like it to ride on my hip so that I can grab the lens instantly when I need it. Lastly you adjust the bumper. There is a great how-to tutorial video on the Black Rapid web site here.

For years Denise Ippolito opted not to go into the field with two rigs: a big lens on the tripod and an intermediate lens on her shoulder. “It’s just too difficult and winds up hurting me more than helping me,” she used to say. “My 100-400 is always in the way and I wind up missing great images.” I cautioned her that not having an auxiliary lens handy when she needed it in the field would hurt her more in the long run. Well, you guessed it, she tried one of the Black Rapid straps and found that carrying her intermediate telephoto zoom was a complete pleasure and that her 1-4 was there when she needed it without ever getting in the way. (Note; she did not like the woman’s model.)

Here are two tips that you will not find on the Black Rapid web site. Whenever you grab your rig be sure to give the FastenR-3 a twist. Despite the fact that it is nicely designed with a locking rubber compression ring it does occasionally work loose. If you are headed for a long walk down the beach, pull the strap over your left shoulder; it will be much more comfortable than having it rest against the left side of your neck. When you are ready to start photographing actively, just pull the strap off your shoulder. If you find that your lens bumps up and down on long walks you might wish pull the strap around so that the lens rests in the middle of your lower back rather than on your hip while walking.

Well, it took a while but we finally have the Black Rapid RS-7 Straps in stock. Now don’t get me wrong, they make lots of different versions and offer lots of accessories. Most other on-line stores will try to sell you lots of extra stuff that you don’t need or sell you the model that they happen to have in stock. I can assure you that the RS-7 is the very best that they offer. At BIRDS AS ART we sell what we use and we don’t try to sell you junk. If you do visit the Black Rapid web site and see a model or an accessory that you just cannot live without, less us know; we would be glad to order it for you.

You can order your Black Rapid RS-7 today through the BAA On-line store by clicking here, by calling Jim at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand, or by sending us a check or a Paypal for $58.95 plus $8.00 shipping via UPS Ground–signature required or plus $12.00 for international shipping. (Note: shipping charges in the store may vary slightly.) If either of the latter be sure to indicate Black Rapid RS-7 with your order.

I never go anywhere without my RS-7. It will prove to be invaluable in the Galapagos. I even grabbed one from stock for my grandson Sam; he will be using a great lightweight rig: the Canon 70-200 f/4L IS lens with a Canon EOS-7D.



Like to photograph ducks? I do!


E.J. Peiker’s “Ducks of North America – The Photographer’s Guide” is the most comprehensive book ever written on duck photography. E.J. is an excellent photographer who has loved ducks for decades and traveled all over the globe to photograph them. I have been envious of many of his duck images for years; can you say Green-winged Teal or drake Canvasback?

His eBook is the essential guide for photographers of all levels to finding and photographing every species of duck in North America. Photographers outside of North America will also find it a great reference since the techniques for photographing ducks are the same all over the world; most of the 83 included species are not exclusive to North America.

You will be sent a download link via e-mail, and instructions will be included in the e-mail.

You can order your copy today through the BAA On-line store by clicking here, by calling Jim at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand, or by sending us a check or a Paypal for $30.00. If either of the latter be sure to note “EJ’s Duck Book” with your order.



Diadem Sifaka Lemur, Mantadia, Madagascar, Image Copyright 2012: Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari

Madagascar/In Country: April 30, 2012. Returning: May 13. $7,995.00 double occupancy

Join Gustafson Photo Safari as they travel to Madagascar for our third adventure to "The Eighth Continent." Its unique habitats support plants, insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals that are found nowhere else. I love photographing lemurs and we hope to see at least 20 species! Each one has its own unique, riveting eye color. We will also photograph a wide variety of endemic chameleons of all sizes and colors. (Try to capture the moment when the chameleon's tongue shoots out to snare its dinner!)

Hiking the trails through national parks is the best way to see and photograph the natural beauty of Madagascar. We will encounter a wide variety of amazing subjects on our custom itinerary that includes some of our favorite locations as well as 2 new spots that will offer even more species. Each site has been chosen for dramatic indigenous species and easy accessibility. Madagascar is truly a destination at the ends of the Earth!


Ostiletti Chameleon, Madagascar, Image Copyright 2012: Todd Gustafson/Gustafson Photo Safari

Namibia 2012. Dates: In Country: May 14, 2012. Returning: May 30 2012. $14,995.00 double occupancy.

Classic highlights of Namibia include; Sand dunes of the Namib desert, The Skeleton Coast, Desert Lions, Ghost Elephants, Quiver Trees, Balloon ride over the giant dunes of Sossusvlei, Rock paintings, and Big Game Safari in Etosha. We will have chances to see all of this and more including cultural interactions with Namibia's indigenous people, and unique wildlife.

Request the full color PDF for both trips by e-mail. Learn more about Todd and Madagascar here. And be sure to get a copy of Todd’s great safari photo guide: The Photographer's Guide to the Safari Experience.



All images copyright 2010/Denise Ippolito Photography

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens NY, August 13,2011. 6am-9:30am: $195.00.

Join Denise Ippolito and Lloyd Spitalnik for a half-day workshop at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens NY. We will visit the East pond in the early morning where we will be photographing a variety of shorebirds in a birder's paradise. Jamaica Bay is a birdwatchers heaven, a stopover on the Atlantic Flyway that provides a resting and feeding place for thousands of migrating shorebirds. In addition to the migrating shorebirds Yellow Warbler and American Redstart warblers, Willow Flycatcher and sometimes cuckoos are all breeding at the refuge. Lloyd Spitalnik has been photographing at Jamaica Bay for 15 years. Last year Lloyd gave a slide show presentation at the Jamaica Bay Shorebird Festival. He knows the best places to be and is very familiar with the species that frequent JB. Denise co-led Arthur Morris's Jamaica Bay IPT (Instructional Photo Tour) last year. She and Lloyd will lead a great hands on workshop. Bring your longest lens, your teleconverters, and a sturdy tripod. You can e-mail denise for more info.



Dalmatian Pelican in full breeding colors in flight, northern Greece.
Image copyright 2011: Robert OToole Photography.com

Nikon D700 with Sigma 50-500mm F4-6.3 APO OS HSM. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/1600 sec. at f/8.0 in Manual mode.

Dalmatian Pelican Workshop, Northern Greece, Feb 6-11, 2012. Six full days. $2799. Three photographers/boat, leader: Robert O'Toole (You need to be at the hotel on the late afternoon or early evening of Feb 5, 2012).

My first trip to Greece with Artie to photograph these amazing birds was one of my best trips ever. Our biggest problem was trying to keep from filling our cards. Artie was close to filling a 32GB CF card for the first time in his life! This workshop will offer morning and evening in-the-field instructional photography sessions from shore and on the water from boats. Afternoons we will be spending time on image optimization, workflow and friendly helpful critique sessions as a group and one on one.

For more information, click here.

You can get Robert on his cell at 310.619.8017 or reach him via e-mail.

To see lots of my Lake Kerkini images click here and here.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of my favorite gear and some of the other equipment mentioned in this 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.

Canon 100-400mm IS L Zoom lens. Though this extremely versatile lens is much-maligned by internet “experts” I used it for more than a decade and created lots of sharp images that sold over and over again.
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM zoom lens. Though I used this lens only once I was quite impressed with the sharpness and quick initial focus acquisition. It would make a great starter lens for folks living near tame birds. (Note: it does not accept a 1.4X teleconverter.)
Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot with the 1.4X III TC which is designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses. I used the 70-200 alone to create all of the images at Scott’s place.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.
Canon 70-200 f/4L IS lens. I used this sharp, versatile, lightweight zoom for years before moving up to the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II.
Canon EOS-7D. I have felt from the get-go that this lightweight beauty may be the very best ever value in a digital camera body.
Nikon D700. This is Robert’s favorite camera body.
The Nikon 500 VR is pretty much unavailable to the general public.
Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x Teleconverter for D-AF-S & AF-I Lenses ONLY. TCs are vitally important to all telephoto photographers.
Sigma 50-500mm F4-6.3 APO OS HSM Nikon mount. I have seen with my own eyes the amazing images that Robert has produced with this versatile lens. )(Note: Robert is a Sigma Professional.)
Sigma 50-500mm F4-6.3 APO OS HSM Canon mount. This one is also offered with a Canon mount.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

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.

Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable. Clicking on the link below will bring you to the Delkin web site. There is lots of great stuff there. If you see a product that we do not carry let us know via e-mail; we will be glad to have it drop-shipped to you and save you a few bucks in the process.

I pack my 800 and tons of other gear in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag for all of my air travel and recommend the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 for most folks. These high capacity bags are well constructed and protect my gear when I have to gate check it on short-hops and puddle jumpers. Each will protect your gear just as well. By clicking on either link or the logo below, you will receive a free gear bag with each order over $50.



A 70-200mm lens will be your most-used lens on our Bald Eagle IPTs. By the end of the week I was calling these “DAD” shots. Dime a dozen.

THE OCT/NOV 2011 HOMER-BASED BALD EAGLE IPTs with Arthur Morris and Robert O’Toole

OCT 25-29, 2011.

Limit 10 (six photographers per boat)/Openings: 3). 5-FULL DAYS: $3399. You will need to be in Homer no later than the evening of October 24.

OCT 30, 2011. Add-on day.

Free if you sign up for both IPTs. Otherwise $550. (Limit 10/Openings: 2). If you are on the second trip and are doing the add-on day, you will need to be in Homer no later than the evening of October 29.

OCT 31-NOV 4, 2011

Limit 10 (six photographers per boat)/Openings: 2). 5-FULL DAYS: $3399. You will need to be in Homer no later than the evening of October 30.

These trips will be based in Homer, AK. We will enjoy virtually unlimited photographic action. This year, most folks opted to miss at least one boat trip due to photographic exhaustion. Two great leaders provide both in-the-field and in-classroom instruction that will include at least two Photoshop sessions. Canon or Nikon we’ve got you covered. (In-the field instruction only on the Add-on day.) A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 is required to hold your spot. Happy campers only. If we do not know you, you will be required to pass our Happy Camper test. Once you pass the Happy Camper test, please fill out and sign the forms here and send them along with your deposit check. Your registration will not be complete until we have your signed forms in hand.

Things you should know: At the last moment each morning we schedule–depending on tides and weather–either two 2-hour boat trips or one 4 hour boat trip each day of the tour (weather permitting). We do however often exceed those time limits when conditions warrant it. We gladly pick up the additional costs. You will not be charged extra for overtime no matter how extensive. On several days this year our two hour cruises went on for more than four hours; it is hard to sail away from great photography. We work a lot from from the boats and do ,again depending on conditions, spend some time on land to do both perched and flying birds. Even with “only” four hours per day of photography you will head home exhausted with the best Bald Eagle images of your life (unless we encounter unexpectedly bad weather). We have chosen out dates carefully with regards to weather. Temps should be moderate to cold with a mix of sun, clouds, and possibly some drizzle. Snow is not likely on either trip. That said we are going to Alaska and there is always a chance, a very small chance, that it might pour every day that you are there. There will be as many or more eagles on these trips as there were on the March trips. We will be collecting a $20 per day tip for our captain guides at the end of each trip. Most folks opted to kick in additional and we were fine with that.

What’s included: lots of eagles and lots of instruction. Ground transportation from the motel to the dock. As above we cover all boat fees and boat-related expenses but for the tips. Breakfast at the motel. We may be able to pick you up at the airport to save you the cost of a cab. Note: some folks may wish to rent a vehicle so that they can photograph on their own during free and nap time.

What’s not included: your round trip airfare from home to Homer. (Driving from Anchorage is recommended only for the adventurous….) The cost of your room. Meals other than breakfast.

To learn more about the Homer eagle experience, click on each link below:

Universal Advice for Better Flight Photography with a Zoom Lens
Finally, Finally, and Finally in Homer!
Enhancing Silhouettes
What Makes a Great Bird Portrait?
Insanity, Exhilaration, Exhaustion, and Home

And click here to read the Homer IPT Report.

BOSQUE del APACHE 2011 IPT: "The Complete Bosque Experience." NOV 19-25, 2011.

Slide program on the evening of Friday, NOV 18. 7-FULL DAYS: $3299. (Non-refundable deposit: $500; see details below.) Limit: 10/Sold Out/Wait List only. Co-leaders: Robert O’Toole & Jim Heupel. Geese, cranes, ducks, sunrises, sunsets, and blast-offs. Live, eat, and breathe photography with one of (if not the) world’s premier photographic educators at one of his very favorite locations on the planet. Plus great co-leaders and top-notch Photoshop instruction. Please see terms and deposit info below.

With my ever-shrinking teaching schedule and all the specialty trips sold out, this trip may well represent a rare opportunity to learn from the best, so do not wait too long before sending your deposit. Clemens van der Werf who was on this year’s Bosque trip is already registered for next year. If you missed the Photographer Experience Quiz and the Mystery Photographer & Experience Level Revealed! posts on the blog, you will surely want to check them out to see what Clemens has accomplished in less than a single year of bird photography. And how!


The birds and wildlife of the Galapagos are very accepting of humans; only two of the nine images above were created with a lens longer than 400mm. From left to right, top to bottom: Marine Iguana, Galapagos Sea Lion, Blue Footed Booby eggs, Waved Albatross courtship display, calling juvenile Galapagos Hawk, Nazca Booby, Galapagos Tortoise, Red-footed Booby chick, Hood Mockingbird ready to fight, and Galapagos Sea Lion pup/fish eye lens.

GALAPAGOS 2012 PHOTO-CRUISE OF A LIFETIME IPT: The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience: July 1-18, 2011 (July 3-17, 2012 on the boat): 13 1/2 days of photography plus a last morning panga ride: $12,749. (Limit 12/Openings: 9.)

Briefly, my two-week trip is without equal. The best guide, the best itinerary, a great boat (the Beagle), and the best leader, one with seven Galapagos trips under his belt, six with Juan Salcedo. If you are good to go, a non-refundable deposit of $5,000 per person is required. The second payment of $4,000 is not due until 11/1/11. The final payment of $3749 per person will be due on 2/1/12. Couples or friends registering together will have a $300 per person discount applied to their final payment.

Important note: if I do not have 8 or 9 deposit checks in hand when I need to commit to leasing the boat (for more than 1/10 of a million dollars) I will seriously need to consider scrapping this amazing trip…

Please e-mail for discount information.

Fly to Quito: July 1, 2012
Travel insurance and rest day: July 2, 2012 (perched hummingbird day-trip optional)
Fly to Galapagos, board boat: July 3, 2012
Fly back to Quito: July 17, 2012
Fly home: July 18.

Cost: $12,749.00 Includes three nights in the luxury hotel–the Hilton Quito Colon, round trip airfare to and from Baltra, all meals on the boat–the food is great, a killer buffet lunch with the tortoises!, all park fees and related costs, all ground transfers, and a five star thank you dinner on the evening of July 17th.

13 full and one half day of photography, plus a 90 minute early am panga ride on the last morning. In-the-field photo instruction and guidance. The greatest-ever itinerary. By far. We visit every great spot on a single trip. The great spots include: Tower Island (including Prince Phillips Steps and Darwin Bay), Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world's only nesting site of Waved Albatross, and Gardner Bay)—each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway), Fernandina, Peurto Ayora for the tortoises, Puerto Egas—James Bay, North Seymour, South Plaza, Black Turtle Cove, Floreana, Urbina Bay, and China Hat. Plus tons more. And lots of snorkeling for those who wish to partake.

And the world's greatest Galapagos guide. By far. We will be the first boat on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island every afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast weather, we often spend 5-6 hours at the best sites. And as noted above, midday snorkeling on most sunny days depending on location. Note: some of the walks are strenuous. Great images are possible on all landings with a hand held 70-200mm lens. I always bring a big lens also as that fits my style.

Not included. Your round trip airfare from your home to and from Quito, beverages, phone calls, and the $500 (US cash) per/person tip for the guide and crew; that breaks down to roughly $35/day shared by the 8 folks who will be waiting on us hand and foot every day for two weeks. The service is so wonderful that many folks choose to tip extra.

Limited to 12 photographers plus the leader.

If you are good to go, please e-mail first and then send your $5,000 non-refundable deposit made out to "Arthur Morris" to the address at the top of this e-mail along with the necessary paperwork here.

Travel insurance is highly recommended. I learned during the past week that three folks who were scheduled for the Midway trip needed to cancel for various reasons…. None of them had travel insurance. My family and I use Travel Insurance Services and I recommend it strongly. Important note: we will notify when the trip is a go and will not cash your deposit check until then. (Most travel insurance policies mandate that you purchase your protection within two weeks of your check being cashed.)

Experience the 2011 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime Vicariously

Click here. Then scroll down to the July 4, 2010 post, “Quito, Hummers, & the Galapagos” and click on it. When you are done reading, hit the back button and continue on up the list clicking on all Galapagos-related posts until you get to the “The End: Galapagos Day 15/July 20, Morning, Black Turtle Cove” which was posted on October 9, 2010. Warning: there are 26 Galapagos posts in all. If you close your eyes while reading you might imagine that you were actually on the trip! I hope that you can join us in 2012.

Best and great picture-making,


Note: Arthur Morris has been a paid Canon contract photographer, part of the Explorers of Light program, since 1996 and continues in that role today. B&H Photo of New York, NY is a BAA sponsor as is Delkin Devices. Back issues of older BAA Bulletins can be accessed here. The most recent Bulletins can be found here.

Dr. Jungle's Animal Speak

Dr. Jungle's Animal Speak

How and When to Buy Pet Insurance

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 10:18 AM PDT

Pet insurance is becoming almost as popular as medical insurance for humans. We love our pets and want the best for them, but is pet insurance the way to go for you?

With better medical care for pets, they are living longer. Some of the conditions that used to require them going to sleep, have been reversed with surgical procedures or medicines. What does all this mean? Your pet can visit the veterinarian to the tune of several thousand dollars over their lifetime.

In an effort to finance this, people have begun using pet insurance policies. But, before you go out and get one of these policies, evaluate other ways that you can fund your pet's medical bills.

1. Talk to your vet – Some vets have payment plans that you can use to cover emergency care costs.

2. Do some research – Different pet breeds are predisposed to different conditions. Find out about the possible medical reasons you'd need to visit the vet and what they might cost.

3. Utilize a savings account – Just like you'd set aside money for anything else, also set aside money for pet medical expenses. Have a certain amount of money deducted from your check each month to your savings account. Start now before you need it.

When you may need more

With the advent of new medical treatments, diagnostic visits are much the same for pets as for their human owners. Using scans to detect problems early can run in the thousands of dollars. Many people don't have that much money just sitting on hand.

Each year the cost of pet care increases. In the past three years people have begun to spend upwards of over $10 billion on pet veterinary care. Much of that is out of pocket.

But, there is a choice for you. If you have more than one pet or are facing potential pet costs, you can opt for pet health insurance.

Talk to your employer. More than 1,500 companies now offer pet insurance as an optional benefit. Your company may be one of them.

Talk to your veterinarian. Veterinary Pet Insurance is one of the leading and oldest insurers of pets. Check to see what plans they offer. Just like with human health insurance, there are premiums, deductibles and co-pays at the vet office.

Be very diligent in reading the fine print. Some pre-existing conditions for your pet breed or species are not covered by certain companies. Those that do cover it may have higher premiums for doing so. They also look at age, so older pets may also have more costly premiums.

Weigh your options. If you need pet insurance, it is there for you and your four-legged family members (or possibly two-legged!).




Hey peeps,

Alright, it's time to get up close and personal! We at Birds HQ are more than enthused to announce our last Australian tour for 2011: Closer throughout September/October.

Just as the warmer weather starts to roll around, this special run will be seeing us play in more intimate, sweaty venues and a lot of places that we haven't touched on for quite some time... so we can all feel nice and close!

As we're about to bunker down and spend some good quality time in the studio (excitement!) with our heads down and tail feathers up, this will be the last chance to see us play for the year.

We plan to preview some of the new material we've been working on at the upcoming shows so be sure to keep an ear out. We can't wait for y'all to hear the start of the next phase but more on that later!

And as a treasured fanclub member, be on the lookout for an exclusive special pre-sale ticket offer sent to you on Wednesday 13th July which will be available only to people who have joined the club before this date.

It's been a continual hell of a ride with the 'Birds of Tokyo' album and we're looking forward to giving a shout out to you all to bookend this chapter of sorts very soon.

Adios por ahora



It's been a monster year for Birds of Tokyo ... an album that's nearly certified double platinum, multiple APRA Award nominations, a huge showing in Triple J's Hottest 100 and an ARIA Award for Australia's Best Rock Album.

Now the Birds are bringing it all to a close with the announcement of their last run of local gigs before heading into the studio for the summer.

Birds of Tokyo: Closer will take the band full circle. In an unusual move, rather than playing enormo-domes they will instead return to the rock clubs in which they cut their teeth over the years prior to the release of their current hit album.

Hence the name of the tour ... Birds of Tokyo: Closer.

The band has recently been working on new songs and they are expected to roadtest a few of them for the first time at these upcoming shows. The complete dates and venues for Birds of Tokyo: Closer are as follows.

It is important to note that no extra shows will be added to this tour so fans are advised to get in quick.


Tues 6th Sep Great Western Hotel, Rockhampton
www.oztix.com.au 1300 762 545, www.greatwesternhotel.com.au 07 4922 3888
Wed 7th Sep Sugarland Tavern, Bundaberg
www.oztix.com.au 1300 762 545, www.sugarlandtavern.com.au 1300 883 411
Thurs 8th Sep Rumours International, Toowoomba
www.oztix.com.au 1300 762 545, www.ticketek.com.au 132 849, Wow Sight & Sound
Fri 9th Sep Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast
www.oztix.com.au 1300 762 545 & usual outlets
Sat 10th Sep The Hi-Fi, Brisbane
www.thehifi.com.au 1300 843 443 & usual outlets
Sun 11th Sep A & I Hall, Bangalow
www.oztix.com.au 1300 762 545, The Northern Byron Bay, Barebones Bangalow, Mullum Books, All Music and Vision Stores Ballina, Lismore & Byron
Mon 12th Sep Sawtell RSL, Sawtell
www.oztix.com.au, 1300 762 545, www.sawtellrsl.com.au 02 6653 1577, Park Beach Music Coffs
Wed 14th Sep Newcastle Panthers, Newcastle
www.moshtix.com.au 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849 & usual outlets
Thurs 15th Sep The Metro, Sydney
www.ticketek.com.au 132 849 & usual outlets
Fri 16th Sep The Roxy, Parramatta
www.moshtix.com.au 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849, www.ticketek.com.au 132 849 & usual outlets
Sat 17th Sep Wollongong University, Wollongong
www.bigtix.com.au, www.oztix.com.au 1300 762 545, Uni Shop & Redback Music, Wollongong
Sun 18th Sep Batemans Bay Soldiers Club
www.oztix.com.au 1300 762 545, www.ticketek.com.au 132 849, www.baysoldiers.com.au (02) 4472 4117, BB Newsagency Clyde Street
Tues 20th Sep The G, CSU Albury
www.moshtix.com.au 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849, www.ticketek.com.au 132 849, Albury Convention Centre, Leading Edge Wangaratta, Lovell's Newsagency Shepparton & usual Campus Outlets
Thurs 22nd Sep Pier Live, Frankston
www.ticketek.com.au 132 849, www.oztix.com.au 1300 762 545, www.pierlive.com.au 03 9783 9800, Young St Newsagency Frankston, Mornington Newsagency
Fri 23rd Sep The Forum, Melbourne
www.ticketmaster.com.au 136 100 & usual outlets
Sat 24th Sep Kay St Entertainment, Traralgon
www.moshtix.com.au 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849, www.ticketek.com.au 132 849, www.kayst.com.au 03 5176 0464, Leading Edge Traralgon, Sale Authorised Newsagency, Morwell Authorised Newsagency
Sun 25th Sep Eureka Hotel, Geelong
www.moshtix.com.au 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849, www.oztix.com.au 1300 762 545, www.ticketek.com.au 132 849, GPAC, Westfield & The National Hotel Geelong, Leading Edge & Capricorn Records, Warrnambool
Tues 27th Sep HQ, Adelaide
www.venuetix.com.au 08 8225 8888, www.moshtix.com.au 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849 & usual outlets
Thurs 29th Sep The Astor, Perth
www.bocsticketing.com.au 08 9484 1133 & usual outlets
Fri 30th Sep Studio 146, Albany
www.heatseeker.com.au, www.moshtix.com.au 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849, Wakes Music & Vibes, Albany
Sat 1st Oct Prince of Wales, Bunbury
www.moshtix.com.au 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849, www.heatseeker.com.au, Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre, Blue62 Sight + Sound, Busselton
Sun 2nd Oct Metropolis, Fremantle
www.moshtix.com.au 1300 (GET TIX) 438 849, www.heatseeker.com.au & Usual outlets