Juxtapositions in Black… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Juxtapositions in Black...

black-vulture-turkey-vulture-juxtaposition-_a1c5848-indian-lake-estates-fl

Black Vulture and Turkey Vulture, Indian Lake Estates, FL. With the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III supported by a BLUBB on the door frame with the window lowered. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/8 in Av mode: 8:04 am.

Lens micro-adjustment: +4. Read the Lens Align Mark II Micro-adjusting tutorial. Coming soon: non-tethered micro-adjustments.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click here to learn to set up Rear Focus on your 5D Mark II. Click on the image for a larger version.

Juxtapositions in Black…

jux·ta·po·si·tion   [juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uhn] noun
1. an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.

When I first began photographing birds I strove to make images with only a single bird in the frame. It was years before I realized the power of including a second out of focus bird or animal in a pleasing position in the frame. Today I look for potential juxtapositions any time there are two subjects anywhere near each other. You need to think and act fast as juxtapositions often last only a second or two.

There are four nice juxtaposition images in The Art of Bird Photography II on pages 216, 228, 249, and 913. And here is a relevant excerpt from ABP II:

In many instances, an out-of-focus bird in the background is distracting. If the photographer, however, takes great care in the placement of the second bird in the frame and considers its posture as well as its position, then the second bird may serve as somewhat of a mirrored (though pleasingly out-of-focus) repetition of the subject. When attempting this, strive for compositional balance as well. The results can be most pleasing. Imagine two Caspian Terns on a sandy beach. It is a cloudy day, so light angle is not of paramount importance. Working in vertical format, you notice that the bird to the rear appears above and slightly to your right of the closer bird. You need to put some separation between the two birds so you take a large, slow step to your right. You
re-frame the image and notice that the closer bird is in the lower left part of the frame, while the bird in the back now appears in the upper right. The juxtaposition of the two birds is perfect: you have achieved compositional balance. You have created a pleasing image by changing your position, and thus your perspective.

The above is just one of hundreds of lessons that can help you improve your bird and nature photography. ABP II on CD only: 916 pages with more than 900 color photographs; everything that I learned about bird photography from 1998 through 2006 :).

black-vulture-turkey-vulture-juxtaposition-ii-_a1c5855-indian-lake-estates-fl

Black Vulture and Turkey Vulture, Indian Lake Estates, FL. With the Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III supported by a BLUBB on the door frame with the window lowered. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/8 in Av mode: 8:04 am.

Lens micro-adjustment: +4. Read the Lens Align Mark II Micro-adjusting tutorial. Coming soon: non-tethered micro-adjustments.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click here to learn to set up Rear Focus on your 5D Mark II. Click on the image for a larger version.

Questions and More

Why -1/3 stop exposure compensation?
Would f/22 have sharpened up the Turkey Vulture?
What do you like or dislike in each image?
What would you have done differently?
Which of the two images do you like best? And why?

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Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the image 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 Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
1.4X III TC. The new Series III 1.4X was designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon EOS-5D Mark III. Man, I am in love with this camera body. Both the files and the AF system are superb.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

BLUBB. I personally designed the Big Lens Ultimate BeanBag and have it made in the good old US of A. This large beanbag is ideal when working with super-telephoto lenses from your vehicle. Beware of cheaper and much inferior copycat rip-offs; you get what you pay for just like your Daddy said.
LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
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.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

20 comments to Juxtapositions in Black…

  • avatar Juan Carlos Vindas

    I wanted to give it a try with the right answers but they were already there! Lesson learned.

  • avatar Juan Carlos Vindas

    Hi Arthur.
    Very good exercise.
    I will stay with image number 1.
    Here’s my take: in your #1 image, the TV small on the left and BV big to the right makes lots of sense in my mind, secondly, the head angles on both birds seems to be almost perfect. Where as on image #2, the BV is looking down and TV facing to the right. I don’t know, both images are nice buy my eye and brain tells me that #1 is the winner.

    BTW. I love the light, pose, and yellow out-of-focus flowers.

  • Although in the minority, I still prefer the first one. It is like they are correographed. (Had they been mirror images, I’d really like it whether one was blurred or not. Art, I’ll try to send to your email some pix of 4-legged wildlife I’ve captured and of which I’m particularly fond.) Back to the above, the blurred one in the second one is distracting and reminds me of an “oops” photo perhaps made to be used in a comparison lesson…sorry.

  • First one is my fave. Thanks Artie for ALL you do! The casual observer can enjoy the picture and the serious observer gets a photographic lesson! You offer something for everyone. You’ve got the knack for sure… 😉

  • avatar Deirdre Sheerr-Gross

    Other folks have spoken about exposure and DOF…

    I am curious about the BV’s shiny left wing feathers and also the well lit front & front right of the breast… for 8:04 AM where was the light coming from?

    I like them both but…
    …the 1st would have been more satisfying, to me, with some negative space to the left of the OOF TV… it seems like, it would have balanced the amount of open space to the right..
    … on the second, the too assertive red of TV’s redhead grabs my eye (what to do.. hmmm??)… Also, I’d crop a bit out of the right side of the photo… Yes.. putting the BV’s head in the dreaded center… I think, in this case it makes the BV’s fabulous head more assertive…

    Love the way you keep these lessons coming… Thanks Artie

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The light was coming from where it always comes from when I am photographing on a sunny day: over the top of my head (actually car). The whitish reflections are from the poop of other vultures; these guys roost communally.

      YAW. I will expound on the merits of the two images in a blog post soon :). See you on the SW FLA IPT (again) in 2013! Or hopefully sooner.

  • avatar Myer Bornstein

    Q 1 not to blow out the white face on the BV
    Q 2 No because of DOF of the lens
    Q 3 I like #1 best beacause in #2 my eye is drawn to the TV first
    Q 4 nothing
    Q 5 see above

  • avatar Chris Callahan

    My answers for the questions (without cheating and peeking to see if they were answered in the other comments! Hope I get htem right!)

    1. -1/3 because of the large dark areas in the frame.

    2. F22 would not really help because the turkey vulture is too distant from the front vulture. He might be a wee mite sharper, but would by no means be in focus, thereby ruining either the purpose of being in focus and the purpose of having him well out of focus (either all or none!!!)

    3. In the first image, I don’t really like the position of the OOF vulture, though I can’t fully verbalize why. It just seems out of balance; perchance this is taste? In both, I like the OOF yellow flowers! In the second, I much prefer the position of the turkey vulture! This has much better balance, to me.

    4. What to do differently? Maybe I would have tried a vertical framing in the second.

    5. I like the second image best, for the reasons mentioned above. Although, I do like the vulture’s majestic pose in the first image!

    And, now to read everyone else’s comments!

  • avatar Jim Longworth

    Any plans for an ABP III? New cameras and lenses, new lessons, new software – lots have happened since II was produced.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Not sure if I will ever get around to ABP III, but if not, it’s all here for free on the blog. All you need to do is use the search feature–the small white box upper right corner of this page :).

  • avatar Doug Schurman

    #1 Since the black vulture takes up a good portion of the frame the camera sensor will be fooled thinking it needs more light than necessary so you have to use negative compensation.
    #2 It looks like the TV is 10 feet or more behind. I’ll bet the DOF at F22 on the 800mm at that range is less than 1 foot so it wouldn’t help. Plus you would have to lower shutter speed to 1/200 which might be harder for a sharp image depending on the birds movements.
    #3 I like the BV’s head position in #1 and prefer the TV’s position to the right of the BV.
    #4 I might have tried an angle without TV in the background.
    #5 I prefer #2. My eye is drawn to the in focus object and I like to look from one side to the other. In #1 the out of focus TV is on the left and there is negative space on the right so tension seems to be created.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Doug,

      Yes on the large areas of black but you would not need to underexpose without some bright highlights–the brightest here being the bill tip of the TV. You answer combined with Doug’s would have been perfect.

      I’ll pass along my opinion on the merits of the two images in a blog post soon.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Doug, re: #4: I have lots of those. The point here was to compare two different types of juxtaposition images :). Thanks again for stopping by.

  • I’ll take a shot…hopefully I’ll get one right 🙂

    #1 – To help from blowing out the beak?
    #2 – No…going by the DOF calculator the increase of dof would’ve been minimal.

    The rest I’ll work on later.

    Doug

    • I think I should expand a little more on #1…it looks like the sun was out in full strength. But with the beak/s and yellow flowers being a bit brighter than what I would imagine be middle-tone for the rest of the image, you’d need the -1/3.

      Doug

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        You are twice correct. A perfect answer would have included that there are large areas of black influencing the meter to open up putting the yellowish white of the TV at risk of over-exposure :).

  • avatar Howard Rivers

    I enjoy juxpo #2 of course because your eye is pulled toward the Black Vulture like a powerful magnet, were as juxpo #1 your eye is pulled away from the Black Vulture and pulled towards the OOF Turkey Vulture