The Processed Images; Which Do You Like Best? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Processed Images; Which Do You Like Best?

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This is the image created in full sun with no flash. Let’s call this one image one.
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This is the image captured in full sun with ETTL flash set at +1 stop. Let’s call this one image two.
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This is the image made with Fill Flash when the sun went behind a cloud. Let’s call this one image three.

Each of the images above was processed by me to the best of my ability using the normal BIRDS AS ART workflow as described in detail in the re-written, reorganized version of the Digital Basics PDF.

Let me know which you like best and why. I will let you know my preferences in a few days. You may be surprised….

I believe that the captive bird in the photograph is a Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles), previously known as Masked Plover.

Note: BAA Bulletin 325 can be found on-line here:

42 comments to The Processed Images; Which Do You Like Best?

  • avatar Jim Longworth

    I like #3 best, the detail of the folds of the wattle are clearer and less shadowed, and the head angle and eye contact is more engaging in that the bird is looking at me (the camera) rather than images created looking down on a disengaged subject. Detail and exposure of the white feathers is also much more appealing. The bird is found in Australia and used to be known here as the Spur-winged Plover, due to the large spurs on forewing, now known as the Masked Lapwing.

  • avatar Alexandre Luna

    Numero 1 , mais natural

  • avatar Bill Keown

    I like #1 the best (except for the eye) because of the richer color, detail in the whites & blacks and lack of the “shine” in the other images. I do however like the eye (lack of shadow) in image 3.

  • avatar Melvin Grey (UK)

    I assumed that your question related to the DIFFERENCE in the lighting effects – 1 Strong overhead sunlight, no flash-fill, 2 Strong sun plus ETTL flash at plus 1 stop and 3 Soft sunlight plus your usual fill-flash technique. It did NOT relate to ‘eye contact’ or any other variables within the image. Although you obviously took the trouble to use as static a subject as you could find, there were inevitably minor differences in the ‘expression’ of the bird while you were changing settings and taking the photographs, but these were irrelevant to the exercise – perhaps you should have used a still life pile of fruit!!!!
    I still stand by my original comments – Number 3 – for my reasons given.

  • avatar Caspar Davis

    I like number 1 the best for everything except the eye. The perfection of number 3 is too clinical for me. I like the mood of 1, the wrinkles and the colors, but I like number 2’s eye better. If they could be married, that would be great.

  • avatar Ilija D

    #3 No shadow on the eye and eye contact.

  • avatar James Saxon

    I like image #3 because I see more detail in the whites on the chest and around the eye and head. The colors appear richer which allows the image of the bird to “pop” from the background.

  • Hi Artie
    At first look I preferred the 2nd image on account of the deeper colours.
    But on 2nd look the head turn, clearer eye and sharper bill make this my pick.
    Like Stu in Aus this bird is very common in New Zealand being self introduced across the Tasman but here it is called a Spur-winged Plover.

    • avatar birdsasart

      Yes, it’s the same bird. I believe that Masked Lapwing is the new name. Does this species make it to Africa?

  • I like #3 Art, but I am surprised by my choice. If I hadn’t seen the images, I would have thought I would like #2. In looking at the images, I like #2 the least!
    Have a great weekend.

    • avatar birdsasart

      Do you mean if you hadn’t seen the original captures??? I’ll be back this afternoon with my choices.

  • avatar Peter Kes

    I liked #3 when just out of camera from the previous post, but here I like #2. Although direct eye contact is a plus, in #2 there is a mood of a bird looking just away from you as if he is in deep thoughts, staring. I like that the most of the 3. #1 misses the catch eye.

  • avatar Dan O'Leary

    I prefer #3 because of the colors, contrast and the glossiness of the eye. It also has the best head angle. #2 doesn’t have the “pop” I would like to see and the shadow across the eye is distracting. #1 seems flat overall, with harsher shadows. I believe it could benefit from some local contrast enhancement.

  • Fascinating, Artie. The processing turned out different then I expected. My Choice..# 1. It is a more pleasant Image, exhibits more character, the Face ” opened up,” the color seems more natural, and surprisingly it seems the greatest processing improvement. If I had my ” druthers ” I would like Image #3, with #1 ‘s qualities. Great exercise, Artie.

  • avatar Vince

    #3 for sure again, I won’t re-iterate what everyone else has said about it, but I will add that the direct eye contact makes it feel like a more personal connection with the bird.

  • avatar Jim Howell

    Number 2. The colors seem to have more saturation, less harsh highlights, and only one catch light in the eye. The darker background provides more of a contrast and makes the bird ‘pop’ from the photo. In number 3, the extra light in the eye looks like a studio flash. I do like the turn of the head in number 3. What about a composite of 2 and 3?

  • avatar Beverly Kune

    #3 because of the head position, and most of all because the eye is really engaged with the viewer. The top catchlight is beautiful. # 1 would be my next choice, especially if there was a catchlight in the eye to make it come more alive. I like the slightly deeper coloration in # 1, and the modeling from the shadows. For me # 1 has more feeling than # 2 which I find to be too flat, and more boring to look at than the other two.

  • avatar Gayle

    Artie, I #3 the best because of the head tilt, the detail in all feathers. and the lack of shadow in the across the eyes. I only wish you could get the richer color in the yellow and the brown feathers from the second one into #3.

  • avatar Joanne Wuori

    #2–There is less glare in the eye and the black part of the head. I like the darker backround and the deeper color (yellow-orangish) on the face.

  • I also prefer the third image of the three. I prefer the head turn giving better eye contact in the third image. The feather detail is also better in this image over the other two. I also prefer the lighting “balance” between foreground and background in the third image.

    The only thing I don’t like about the third image is the wattle. The wattle seems over processed to me. Something about the color just doesn’t seem right. Can’t quite put my finger on it though, so maybe it’s just too much coffee this morning 😉

  • avatar Esther Corley

    I definitely like #2 the best as it seems the truest to nature in color. I don’t think the gray feathers are that important as one’s eye is drawn to the head, not the end feathers. I will be most interested in the result.

  • I’ll add that there is more detail in gray feathers as well in #3. Sure appreciate all these learning opportunities from BAA!

  • My vote is for #3. The black head stands out from the background better than #2. I like seeing the back wattle? better and sharper than #1 or 2. The bill has more vibrant color than #1 or 2. The eye is a little more alert than #1 or 2. The yellow is brighter than #2 and more even than #1. Eye has shadow in #1, better without in #3. More catchlight in eye in #3 which I like. More detail in white and yellow in # 3 than in #2.

  • avatar Alan Lillich

    #3, no question. The complex catch light at the top of the eye is magical. Do you know what made it? The more open pupil helps too. The other eyes look almost lifeless by comparison. They would have been OK by themselves, by not alongside #3. In the same vein, #2 is better than #1 for me because #1 has no catch light in the eye. I didn’t realize it until I read earlier comments and purposely looked, but the more upright pose of #3 helps too. All in all, the bird in #3 is alert and engaged.

  • avatar Mary Ann Robinson

    I like number 3 best–no shadows, edges more defined, and eye clearer.

  • No.2 as it has better colour, precise dept of field, No.3 has more DOF resulting in more details but there is an large extra catch light.

  • avatar Melvin Grey (UK)

    No contest! Number 3 – perfect shadow to highlight ratio, giving a very three dimensional ‘feel’ with plenty of detail in shadow and highlight areas. Natural BG tones and overall a ‘cleaner’ looking image.

  • Number 3, because I feel better eye contact in this pose; also no shadow line across the eye. The only negative for this pose is the specular shine in the supercilium-crown area. But why do I have the nagging feeling this is NOT your pick?

  • avatar Brian Young

    I like No. 2 best as I find No3 too flat and uniform and No1 having a shadow on front of chest

  • avatar Roger Williams

    I prefer image #2. The colors are richer, I don’t mind the slight shadow over the eye, and there is more pronounced contrast between the bird and the background. Also, the background is blurred, which causes less distraction with the main subject. While the eye-shadow is eliminated in image #3, there is a sheen on the head (including the black crest) that I find distracting. Finally, the more open eye in #3, gives the feeling of alarm, while the bird appears more relaxed in #1 and 2.

  • Hi Artie, I prefer #3. The black of the crown seems to be seperated from the BG and the HA is better to my eye. Dan

  • avatar Phil Ertel

    Hi Artie, I prefer the the third image (fill-flash/cloud). The main reason is the eye. I find it more pleasing not to have the shadow crossing the eye as seen in the other two images. I also like the head angle and slightly raised head of the third image as compared to the other two.

    Thanks for the information on flash and I think the new structure/presentation of your blogs is a big improvement which I like very much.

  • avatar Glen DeKlein

    Number3. It is sharper overall showingthe detail and color of the bird better. Also you have eliminated the partial shadow over the eye that was in Number 2.

  • i like #2 best. the head position is essentially the same as #1, but the color balance between the head and the beige body feathers is better, and it has a nice catchlight. while #3 has a more pleasing head position and the color balance between the head and body feathers is good (although the yellows are different from those in the other two images, i don’t know which is more accurate), i don’t care for the additional catchlight just above the pupil. i would have perhaps darkened the background just a bit more.

  • avatar Stu

    Number 2 , it has the best colour and the eye is sharpest. 3 has a slightly better ‘pose’.

    It’s a Masked Lapwing, very common in Australia.

  • avatar Malcolm Mackenzie

    In order of preference. #1,#3,#2 IMHO
    #1.Much more detail throughout, particularly the white feathered collar.
    #3.Like this eye, would prefer #1 with this eye. Don’t like the yellow area above the eye.
    #2.White collar seems a little washed out to me.

  • avatar Michel Martineau

    Hi Artie
    I also like # 2 ,and the reasons are that in my perspective you had capture there a perfect exposition the light is good and the plumage detail are great.I also like #3 I beleive that DOF seem to be better the beq is sharp all the way compare to # 2 but I find it a little bit overexpose.
    As you will have notice I’m not a pro and I’m just trying to learn.

  • avatar Pat Fishburne

    I like #2 the best. I would have said #3 but the yellow skin above the eye has less detail and looks a little blown out.

  • I’d go for number 2 – it has a natural looking catch-light in the eye which always adds life.

    Number 1 looks flat by comparison and the black crown (I’m guessing it’s black) seems grey and washed out. Number 3 has reflected light in the eye but doesn’t look like a naturally shaped catch-light, though the angle is a little different so it’s maybe showing too much of the flash gun?

  • avatar Greg

    I prefer #3 over #2 because of the brightness of the eye that draws my attention and gives an alert feeling. The color and head position are better in #2 but there is a “heavier” mood because of the eye seems dark. I do like the additional dark feathering in image #2.

  • avatar vincent gravel

    Number 2