An Eye For Design: Jean-Luc Vaillant « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

An Eye For Design: Jean-Luc Vaillant

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This image of a Galapagos Tortoise was created by Jean-Luc Vaillant on last July’s Galapagos Photo-Cruise at the new azolla fern pond that our guide Juan discovered with the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II (hand held at 125mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Jean-Luc Vaillant.

I removed a large broken branch to our right of the tortoise and opened up the dark shadows with a Tim Grey Dodge and Burn. All of the rest of the images are as Jean-luc gave them to me.

Jean-Luc Vaillant

I believe that I first met Jean-Luc Vaillant on a San Diego IPT more than half a dozen years ago. He struck me then as a very nice young man and that was an accurate first impression. I remember Jean-Luc rolling around on the beach at Children’s Cove in LaJolla photographing Harbor Seals, his 600mm f/4 and EOS-1Ds pretty much buried in the sand. He has been on probably half a dozen BIRDS AS ART trips since then. It has always been a pleasure photographing with Jean-Luc.

I was delighted when I learned that he would be joining us on the recently concluded Galapagos Photo-Cruise. Somewhat strangely, Jean-Luc was one of the few on that trip who regularly shared images with denise and me. Most times when I’d see his images I’d find myself thinking, “That is a beautifully designed and different image; why didn’t I think of that?

I asked Jean-Luc if I could run a few of his images in a blog post and he kindly agreed. I grabbed what I wanted on a memory stick while we were waiting for our return flight to Quito. And that brings us here.

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This image of the azolla fern pond cover was created by Jean-Luc with the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II (hand held at 180mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/16 in Av mode.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Jean-Luc Vaillant.

An Eye For Design

The image above is one that I missed even though it was staring me right in the face. Denise Ippolito saw and captured a very similar image.

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This image of the red carpet weed and some members of the group atop a knoll was created by Jean-Luc on our afternoon dry landing at Chatham Island with the remarkable Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens (hand held at 15mmm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/500 sec. at f/9 in Av mode.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Jean-Luc Vaillant.

Image Design

In the image above Jean-Luc shows his great eye for image design. The careful framing, the foreground carpet weed, and the diagonal of the cliff leading to photographers on the hill in the upper right of the frame combine to make this interesting image. I did not miss this one: that’s me in the royal blue blouse on the top of the knoll. I had gone up to tell the group that there were some great scenic opportunities available from a rock shelf below and to the right of the spot where Jean-Luc was standing.

9m8c0114 Red-footed booby collecting nesting material

This image of a dark-morph Red-footed Booby tossing nesting material was created by Jean-Luc on first morning landing at Tower Island, Darwin Bay with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Lens and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Jean-Luc Vaillant.

Wider Can Be Better

This bird began tossing nesting material right in front of us after I had correctly position the group. I photographed the same bird with the hand held 200-400 at 366mm. By standing well behind the seated group and effectively working wider Jean-Luc came up with a superior image in this situation. Being seated was much better for flight as it effectively separated the background from the landing boobies. See “Beginning of a Love Affair with the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS lens: Day 2 Darwin Bay, Tower Island am-Part I” here for some of my images (including several killer flight shots) from that great morning.

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This image of a Galapagos Tortoise was created by Jean-Luc Vaillant on our morning dry landing at Peurto Velasco Ebarra, Floreana with the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II (hand held at 200mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 800 at f/10 in Av mode.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Jean-Luc Vaillant.

Tight Framing When Needed

By approaching the subject slowly and carefully and framing tightly Jean-luc emphasized the parts of the tortoise that scream “ancient” to anyone viewing the image.

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This Yellow Wabler with prey item image was created by Jean-Luc Vaillant with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 800: 1/800 sec. at f/7.1 in Av mode.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Jean-Luc Vaillant.

Working in Av Mode

Careful readers will have noticed the Jean-Luc works in Av mode most of the time. I have no problem with competent folks doing just that. Be assured that he checks for blinkies and evaluates the histogram with each new situation that he encounters.

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This Galapagos Fur Seal/Sally Lightfoot Crab image was created on our morning Puerto Egas landing by Jean-Luc Vaillant with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 500. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/15 sec. at f/10 in Av mode.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Jean-Luc Vaillant.

Aperture and ISO Choices

Folks can learn a ton by studying Jean-Luc’s ISO and aperture choices. Notice where he works at relatively wide apertures and where and why he stops down. And not that he is not scared to go to high ISOs when he needs them to maintain a minimum shutter speed that will yield sharp images.

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This image was created at sunset on our first landing at Dragon Hill by Jean-Luc Vaillant on last July’s Galapagos Photo-Cruise with the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II (hand held at 140mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/320 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode.

Image courtesy of and copyright 2013: Jean-Luc Vaillant.

Hand Holding and Lens Choice

Notice that Jean-Luc enjoys the freedom of hand holding most of his lenses including at time the 600 II. And notice that his very favorite and most productive lens on the trip was the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II (most often without even the Canon 1.4x EF Extender III (Teleconverter)).

Thanks!

Thanks a stack Jean-Luc for the use of the images. You can see lots more of Jean-lucs great photography here. Be sure to check out his Recent Photos and his Most Popular Photos galleries. I am telling you, the guy is talented!

Your Favortie?

Please take a moment and let us know which are you two favorite images, and why you like them.

On The Road Again

Please know that I will be traveling to and from the Africa for the Tanzania Photo Safari with Todd Gustafson leaving today, August 1 and back in the office on August 21. I will have extremely limited and very slow at best internet access so please do not e-mail me until I get back. Jim will be in the office every weekday to help you with your mail order purchases and Jen will be here handling IPT registrations. The blog will continue to be active as I have prepared a dozen interesting, brand new educational posts for you in advance for you to enjoy during my absence.

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6 comments to An Eye For Design: Jean-Luc Vaillant

  • I agree with Artie’s assessment of Jean-Luc’s composition skills as well as his exposure choices. Since I love using fish-eye lenses, my vote is for the fish-eye landscape.

  • avatar Ron Fullelove

    All very nice photos, not one that I don’t like.
    But #1 for me is image 7, because I love the contrast between the colourful crab and the grey colour of the sleeping seal.
    #2 would be image 6, what a lovely looking bird.

  • My #1 is the seal and crab. Simply…too cute!

    My #2 is the closeup of the tortoise and the closeup, showing
    the extreme detail of its body.

    Doug

  • Great fisheye image. The left side of the photo does not appear unnatural at first glance. I wish I could see what the topography looked like without the fisheye distortion. Very creative, great visualization.

  • avatar Gary Axten

    The Booby, good choice of lens and composure.

  • It was a pleasure spending time with Jean-Luc. I love them all, hard to pick a fave. If I had to pick one I’d go with the first one. Nice job!