My Comments on: For Your Critique/Image #6 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

My Comments on: For Your Critique/Image #6

brown-pelican-in-pink-heaven-_y9c8780-la-jolla-ca

Brown Pelican in Peach Heaven, La Jolla, CA. This image was created was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 2X III teleconverter (hand held at 400mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops: 1/60 sec. at f/6.3 in Tv Mode (to maintain a minimum shutter speed). I used the Canon 580 EX II Speedlight mounted on the camera and set at zero.

Central Sensor/Rear Focus/AI Servo AF and re-compose with my elbows braced on a rock. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

My Comments on: For Your Critique/Image #6

On September 6, 2011 I posted For Your Critique: Image #6. It was entered in the 2011 WPOTY competition in the Animal Portraits category. I really love this image especially because of its fresh, new look. I used lots of flash to light up the rock in the foreground giving the bird the appearance of being somewhere ethereal. It takes some work to create new types of images especially when you return to the same location year after year. The BBC requested the RAW file for this image (and for six others that I submitted) as they were selected for the final round of judging. Alas…

Some folks loved the image. Some suggested that they would have liked seeing the end of the bill. I agree. And I did create a variety of compositions. But as I worked from a higher perspective so as to include the bill I lost some of the “in heaven” look. (See more below.) Others suggested a crop from the bottom. I was totally against that as it destroyed the compositional balance (2/3 top, 1/3 bottom with a nice diagonal thrown in). My favorite comment was from Lorraine who wrote, “I would have mistaken this for a painting in any other venue. It is amazing what a camera in the right hands can do! I love this.”

brown-pelican-in-peach-heaven-no-flash-_y9c8777-la-jolla-ca

Brown Pelican in Peach Heaven, La Jolla, CA. This image was created was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 2X III teleconverter (hand held at 400mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops: 1/60 sec. at f/6.3 in Tv Mode (to maintain a minimum shutter speed). No flash.

Central Sensor/Rear Focus/AI Servo AF and re-compose with my elbows braced on a rock. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Here I turned off the flash. I wish that I had not. đŸ™‚ I did not have any images with the flash turned on that included the whole bill. (Note: the blue in the sky is the pre-dawn shadow of the earth.)

Which Image Do You Like Best?

Please take a moment to leave a comment and let us know which of the two images above you liked best, flash (above) or no flash (below). And do let us know why you made your choice.

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Earn Free Contest Entries and Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

More and more folks are earning multiple contest entries with their B & H purchases. See here for details on that. Eleven great categories, 34 winning and honored images, and prize pools valued in excess of $20,000. Click here to visit the competition home page.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the image in today’s blog post. 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.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear that I 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. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our recently revised Shopper’s Guide.

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.
2X III teleconverter. This new TC is noticeably sharper than the 2X II TC.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My workhorse professional digital camera body. I own two.
Canon 580 EX II Speedlight. This is Canon’s most powerful, top of the line flash.
Canon CP-E4 Compact Battery Pack. Powers the flash. Allows more consecutive flashes and faster recharging times.

22 comments to My Comments on: For Your Critique/Image #6

  • avatar Vincent Scarnecchia

    Artie- first of all , thank you for instructional information and sharing you experiences with us. I like the second picture , it is more balanced and depicts more bird . The first image has to much empty space below the bird.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Hi again, Artie. Thanks for this discussion. I’m really interested that you say you like the second image more each time you look at it. Do you think the comments influenced you at all in that?

    David

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks to all who commented. I do like the first image best, but am liking the second one more each time that I look at it.

  • Art, The second one looks incredible. The first has a very dramatic fog effect that doesn’t fall off enough in my opinion. The second still has the ethereal and dreamy mood, but anchors the subject more soundly on the page, and since it’s about the bird… I like the beak in. For what it’s worth. I hope you have a great New Year!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for the good wishes. And ditto. 2012 has been great so far. Your words describe accurately how I feel about the first image :).

  • Lovely concept, Artie–many variations doubtless possible.

    I assume that in the 2nd version here you realize that in the background that the purple area below is the earth’s shadow (which moves up as the sun sets further), and the rose area is where the sun is still cutting though the atmosphere.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yes John. There is actually earth shadow in both images. I like to call it the blue/pink/purple.

  • Love the first one.

    The first one gives me the impression that I’m ‘up in the clouds’…in a dream state
    if you will. Heavenly.

    If I had to pick an image to represent my mother somehow who passed away in 2002, this
    would be it.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Finally someone sees it my way :). My Dad died in 2001. My Mom, who is 89, is still around and doing fairly well. Thanks for your kind words.

  • avatar Bob McColley

    Art, what happened to the Better Beamer? You used to talk about using it but no longer. Is is because when are using the 800mm the reach would be too far?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Bob, As I was frequently zooming wider than effective 300mm I wanted to avoid getting any spotlit images. It is actually more important to use a Better Beamer with longer lenses than with shorter. The beamer gives you plenty of flash coverage at greater distances.

  • I like the second image the best because it shows more of the bird and the end of the bill. There is just something about the second picture that catches my eye more than the first.

  • I really, really like the second one. I love the blue to lavender to pink to sherbet orange to yellow in the background. The feather detail is wonderful and the plumage colors are magnificent. The eye is great too. Question–What is the warm yellow spot at the end of the beak? A yellow feather perhaps??

  • avatar Arla

    The second image is a work of art. It shows enough of what I want to see of the subject but is still creative, ethereal and conveys a sense of wonder.

  • I much prefer the second image, and agree entirely with the comments just above. I’m glad you turned the flash off, even though the catch light is no more.

  • avatar Charlie Young

    What happened to the foreground? It can’t be your hand across the bottom of the lens……
    To me, it looks too much like a mistake. The focus and exposure are spot on. I just don’t care for the foreground.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      It’s flash on the rock that the bird is standing on. I love the “in heaven” look.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Sigh, I always feel like these are exams. đŸ™‚ But I enjoy them; they make me think about what you’re doing. I prefer the second image. The first one gives me a claustrophobic feeling, as though the poor bird is getting enveloped in some rising, noxious gas and soon won’t be able to breathe. That’s a totally emotional, not intellectual response, but there it is. The second image has the same beautiful colors (even more of them) and fine sharpness, and whatever is obscuring things at the bottom looks like mist, and adds mystery but not in the threatening way of the first one. I also prefer the composition of the second one; my eye doesn’t know what to make of all the blank, white space in the first one.

    They really are marvelous birds.