Photographer Experience Quiz « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Photographer Experience Quiz

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Great Egret, Fort DeSoto Park, south of St. Petersburg, FL. Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS lens handheld with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/1600 sec. at f/5.6 set manually. Fill flash at -2 stops with Better Beamer.

Photographer Experience Quiz

The six superb images presented here were all created by the same photographer. They might be my images. They might belong to a relative beginner. They might have been made by an experienced nature photographer with a dozen years under their belt. I love each of the images both for their technical excellence and their artistic design.

Important note: the images are protected by copyright law. I will add a copyright notice here once I reveal the name of the photographer. I will do that in a few days at most.

The quiz is multiple choice. Here is the question:

How many years of bird photography experience does the photographer who created these images have?

a) Less than one month
b) Less than six months
c) Less than one year
d) Less than two years
e) Less than four years
f) Less than eight years
g) more than eight years
h) about 27 years, 4 months ๐Ÿ™‚

In your comment please use the actual words rather than the letter code. Or both. And please give a brief reason for your choice. If by chance you know for sure whose images these are, or think that you know, please refrain from playing. Thanks.

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Roseate Spoonbill, Alafia Banks, Tampa Bay, FL aboard James Shadle’s Hoptie Deux. Tripod-mounted Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/2000 sec. at f/8 set manually.

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Sanderling preening, Sanibel, FL. Panning Ground-Pod mounted Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens with the 1.4X II TC and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6 set manually.

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American Oystercatcher dining on skate egg case, Nickerson Beach, Long Island, NY. Tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 640. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 set manually.

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Sandhill Crane among the grasses, Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM. Tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the 1.4X II teleconverter and EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop. 1/800 sec. at f/10 set manually.

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American Wigeon hen walking on ice, Socorro, NM. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II with the 1.4X II teleconverter (handheld at 280mm) with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/9 set manually. Fill flash at -1 2/3 stops.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Note: All of the images in this post are copyright Clemens van der Werf who began photographing birds in February 2010. Learn more about Clemens here.

Shopper’s Guide

Here is a list of the gear that somebody used to create the images above. 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.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens
Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS lens
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens
Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens
Canon 1.4X II teleconverter
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body
Canon 580 EX II Speedlite

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo 3530 LS Tripod
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head
Mongoose Integrated Flash Arm
Better Beamer flash extender
Promaster Flash Extension Cord
Panning Ground Pod

If you are considering the purchase of a major piece of photographic gear be it a new camera, a long lens, a tripod or a head, or some accessories be sure to check out our complete Shopper’s Guide.

26 comments to Photographer Experience Quiz

  • Artie, I am afraid I am going to put this in ‘difficult to say’ category. But one thing is clear…even if the person has 2-yr-or-less experience, he/she is clearly as good( or better) than someone with many years of experience.

    In the digital age, one can learn fast if the passion, talent, perseverance, guidance, desire-to-learn and gear is there. Very inspiring set. Thx for sharing.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Nobody said that Lou was right ๐Ÿ™‚ And even if he was right, he did not answer the experience question. And he might have been standing next to me ๐Ÿ™‚

    Answer tomorrow!

  • I have seen relatively inexperienced photographers with a good ‘eye’ for composition, but not any that switched from evaluative to manual metering, and that dialed in exposure and flash compensation. On the other hand, there is just one camera body mentioned and the lenses could be borrowed from a mentor or elder. I thought of Denise Ippolito with the crane photograph, but Lou Newman mentioned a ‘he’, didn’t he?

  • Amazing! A master at his craft.

  • avatar Prem Balson

    I am guessing that it was Denise Ippolito who created these. I am also guessing that the image of the American Wigeon hen was made during this November.

  • avatar Bill Stubbs

    The images, locations, and equipment all suggest “27 years, 4 months”. The only thing that might suggest otherwise, is that you posed the question in the first place. It’s not impossible that someone with far less experience, with a lot of good training, a good feel for the subject, a willingness to keep working on technique, and doing a LOT of shooting, could have produced those results; that’s not likely, but it isn’t impossible.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Harvey Tabin wrote, “27 years, unless you allowed someone to use all the expensive equipment you own.”

    Harvey, with all due respect: good photographers make good images. I have run across dozens of folks with the very best gear that money can buy who have trouble making a single decent image.
    As John Shaw says, “Not once have my cameras and lenses gone out and made a great image on their own…”

  • avatar Bill Clausen

    They are all yours an great photos!!

  • avatar Keith Reeder

    I cannot believe anyone with fewer years experience can come up with the composition, exposure and flash settings exhibited here, not this consistently“.

    As an aside, I certainly don’t agree with this premise – these are great images to be sure, but nothing which any reasonably hard-working, capable photographer of far fewer than 27 years’ standing shouldn’t easily be able to achieve.

    Less than four years, I suspect.

  • avatar Michael Eckstein

    I’ve been taking bird images for at least 27 years and 4 months, but I know I’m not the photographer. I don’t own any of the equipment mention, so I definitely can rule myself out. The obvious answer is 27 years 4 months, so I’m going to rule that out too. My guess would be less than one year and with your equipment.

  • avatar harvey tabin

    27 years, unless you allowed someone to use all the expensive equipment you own.

  • avatar Joerg Rockenberger

    I’d say less than 1 year. And the reasons the images are so superb are that the photographer is not only very talented and can afford top shelf equipment but most importantly devoured Birds as Art I & II, studied the Digital Basics file multiple times over, attended at least a Bosque and Florida IPT and is a regular at BPN. ๐Ÿ™‚ JR

  • avatar John Snodgrass

    Is it Clemens van der Werf?

  • Arthur – I’ve enjoyed your images for 11 or 12 years. Looks like all these are your work. 27 years 4 months.

  • avatar Elizabeth Lodwick

    27 years 4 months
    I cannot believe anyone with fewer years experience can come up with the composition, exposure and flash settings exhibited here, not this consistently

  • avatar Bob Malbon

    Artie, I would say about one year with the MKIV! Bob

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Excellent reasoning skills Johan!

  • I even remember the guy saying, “Oh, baby! The picture of a lifetime. I’ve been dreaming about this one.” (Or something similar). I only wish mine were as good. This is the image I like best because I know how difficult it is to capture.

  • a) Less than 1 month.

    I think that they were taken by one of Arthur’s grandchildren, using Arthur’s camera and lenses.

  • avatar Bob Abela

    If I must choose one answer, I’d agree…
    h) about 27 years, 4 months

    It might take less time, of course, but I think it is reasonable to error in favor of the most experienced of photographers here; one who knows their subject, their behavior and how to interact with them.

  • I believe I was standing right beside the guy who took the photograph of the roseate spoonbill and I bet if he looks at his metadata he will find he took the image with a Mark III (not a Mark IV). :>)

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Lou, You are giving too many clues away! The spoonbill image was made with a MIV; I have the metadata here. You just might be wrong on all counts….

  • I like all of the images and I would not be surprised if they were all made by Artie perhaps at different experience levels.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Excellent stuff by Brian and Paul. I am not saying if they are right or wrong but I like most of their reasoning.

  • avatar Paul Smith

    h) about 27 years, 4 months

    I chose this answer because of the excellence of the imagery as well as the photographic “arsenal” used!

  • avatar Brian Young

    h)About 27 yrs and 4 months
    The locations, equipment and subject not to mention the quality tell me it is Arthur himself.