Flight Category Voting Analysis and Related Comments « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Flight Category Voting Analysis and Related Comments

Flight Category Voting Analysis and Related Comments

Totals of the Judges’ Votes (each of 5 judges awarded each image 1-5 points):

1-Pallid Harrier looking back by Kiran Poonacha: 23
2-Bald Eagle in snow storm by Yves Guillot: 22
3-Arctic Tern kiting by Amir Ayalon: 20
T4-Scissor-tailed Flycatcher by James Fuller: 19
T4-Short Eared Owl by David Leroy: 19
T4-American Oystercatcher by Robert Rommel: 19
T4-Malachite Kingfisher with prey by Basie van Zyl: 19
T8-Great Grey Owl braking by Marcello Libra: 18
T8-Bald Eagle taking flight by Clemens van der Werf: 18
T8-Harrier landing by Kiran Poonacha: 18
T8-Osprey touching down by Arash Hazeghi: 18
T8-Whistling Duck quartet by Arash Hazeghi: 14
T8-Hummingbird at flower by Keith Kennedy: 13
T13-Weaver approaching nest by Bjorn Olesen: 13
T13-Forster’s Tern vertical by Arash Hazeghi: 13
T16-Burrowing Owl by Tin Man Lee: 12
T16-Long-billed Curlew by Gaurav Mittal: 12
18-Great Egret taking flight by Clemens van der Werf: 11
19-Bald Eagle vertical by Giulio Zanni: 11

Public Voting Totals (each of you was asked to vote your five favorite images 1-5 points with 5 being your favorite):

1-Pallid Harrier looking back by Kiran Poonacha: 164
2-Great Grey Owl braking by Marcello Libra: 118
3–Weaver approaching nest by Bjorn Olesen: 108
4-Malachite Kingfisher with prey by Basie van Zyl: 103
5-Arctic Tern kiting by Amir Ayalon: 86
6-Scissor-tailed Flycatcher by James Fuller: 76
7-Bald Eagle in snow storm by Yves Guillot: 73
8-Osprey touching down by Arash Hazeghi: 60
9-Harrier landing by Kiran Poonacha: 56
10-Whistling Duck quartet by Arash Hazeghi: 46
11-Bald Eagle vertical by Giulio Zanni: 26
12-Hummingbird at flower by Keith Kennedy: 23
13-Burrowing Owl by Tin Man Lee: 20
14-Great Egret taking flight by Clemens van der Werf: 12
15-Short Eared Owl by David Leroy: 9
16-American Oystercatcher by Robert Rommel: 9
17-Long-billed Curlew by Gaurav Mittal: 8
18-Bald Eagle taking flight by Clemens van der Werf: 4
19-Forster’s Tern vertical by Arash Hazeghi: 4

Analysis of the Voting

As expected, Pallid Harrier looking back was the clear winner with both the the judge’s and the public. That said, any one of a dozen of the fine images here would have made wonderful first place choices. With 626 images entered, this was a hugely popular category. And probably the strongest category yet. The 19 images that you got to consider revealed the great the strength of this category. As usual there was some strong correlation between the two votes: Arctic Tern kiting at 3/5, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at T-4/6, and Malachite Kingfisher with prey T4/4 for example. And as usual there were some seemingly inexplicable results such as American Oystercatcher T4/16 and Short Eared Owl T4/15. The one incontrovertible fact is that there was a slew of outstanding images in the flight category. Kudos to Kiran Poonahca with two highly placed images, Clemens van der Werf with two more, and Arash Harzeghi with three. In retrospect, Whistling Duck quartet (T8/10) might very well have been the most under-rated image….

The images below appear in the order of finish as per the judge’s voting.

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Pallid Harrier looking back by Kiran Poonacha

The lovely out of focus background, the foreground grasses, the incredible sharpness, a pleasing image design, and the spectacular over-the-shoulder screaming pose with the bird braking in full downstroke with a perfect head angle and a spread tail all helped to put this one on top of a strong collection of flight images.

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Bald Eagle in snow storm by Yves Guillot

Razor-sharp focus on the eye, the perfect subject-to-imaging sensor orientation, the lovely wings up/feet down landing pose, excellent underwing detail, the bird’s intense stare, and all that snow combine to make this a powerful and artistic image.

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Arctic Tern kiting by Amir Ayalon

I have photographed a lot of Arctic Terns and seen a lot of great images of them over the past three decades, but this beautifully symmetric image that features soft light, a perfect exposure, the fanned tail, a sweet background, and excellent sharpness is the best by far.

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Scissor-tailed Flycatcher by James Fuller

A stunning and colorful songbird in flight. Sharp. Angling slightly toward the viewer. Sweet light and background. All good!

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Short Eared Owl by David Leroy

A great bird with razor-sharp focus on those yellow eyes, a powerful incoming flight pose, and a background with varying tonalities that match the subject perfectly this image is a stunner.

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American Oystercatcher by Robert Rommel

This superb image features a killer wing position, sweet light, perfect exposure and sharpness, lots of interesting habitat, the trailing water droplets, and just the right head turn towards us.

Bird Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher with prey by Basie van Zyl

This spectacular capture features a colorful bird, an incredible turning pose, a perfect head angle, a really cool prey item–does anyone know what it is?, those tiny hanging feet, and a lovely background. A nice crop from our left would have strengthened it quite a bit for two reasons: the light blue area upper left draws the eye and all that room behind the bird does not add anything to an otherwise fabulous capture.

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Great Grey Owl braking by Marcello Libra

Spectacular bird and pose. Sharp with a good exposure. Having the bird higher in the frame would have been a stronger option.

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Bald Eagle taking flight by Clemens van der Werf

The ridge line and the flying snow and dirt are the strengths of this image that also features excellent sharpness, detail in the whites and the blacks, and a very pleasing image design.

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Harrier landing by Kiran Poonacha

A sweet landing pose with the feet down and the tail up. Lovely soft brown tones. From the moment that I saw this one I felt that it could have benefited from a bit more contrast via a Curves adjustment.

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Osprey touching down by Arash Hazeghi

Sharp. Perfect timing. Exposure right on. And a spectacular pose combine to make this image special.

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Whistling Duck quartet by Arash Hazeghi

Absolutely perfect framing and exposure with four amazingly perfect wing positions.

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Hummingbird at flower by Keith Kennedy

A well lit, well posed hummer set against a pleasing background with some nice flowers. And I like the bird’s rather inquisitive look. Does anyone know the species?

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Weaver approaching nest by Bjorn Olesen

Lovely wing position, image design, and the curved grass in the bird’s beak all add interest as does the inclusion of the nest. Overall this one could have gone a bit lighter. The dark area at the top of the frame detracts a bit. Lastly a bit of selective sharpening of the nest would have improved the photo.

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Forster’s Tern vertical by Arash Hazeghi

Crisp and clean with detailed whites, a wicked vertical pose, and exquisite sharpness. And the open bill is a big plus.

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Burrowing Owl by Tin Man Lee

A wicked pose and a good exposure. A bit of selective sharpening of the face and a Gaussian blur of the area below the bird and a small crop from the bottom would have improved an already fine image.

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Long-billed Curlew by Gaurav Mittal

With the bird well back in the frame, the lovely wings-up pose, a nice background, and an excellent exposure this one works for me.

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Great Egret taking flight by Clemens van der Werf

The luscious yellow pre-dawn light, the wings-down pose, and the take-off splash are all pluses here.

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Bald Eagle vertical by Giulio Zanni

That this spectacular image finished last in the judge’s vote shows the great strength of the images in this category. It was not many years ago that a nearly identical image was honored in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.

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