My Thoughts on the Western Gull “Which Do You Like Best?” Images « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

My Thoughts on the Western Gull

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This image of a very worn first winter Western Gull was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens with the 2X II teleconverter (hand held at 400mm) and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/7.1 set manually and confirmed by histogram check. AI Servo central sensor rear focus AF and re-compose.

When I am creating portraits of static birds with my favorite new set up, I always support the lens in one way or another when hand holding. Here I sat on a rock and braced my left arm on my left knee. In addition to ensuring a sharp image I was able to create a more intimate photo with the pleasing background that I wanted (including the white strip of breaking surf at the top) by getting low.

My Thoughts on the Western Gull “Which Do You Like Best?” Images

Though I like all three images (else I would not have posted them here :)), the first is my fave. I am a sucker for wing stretches and for distant blue ocean backgrounds. I was also down low when I created this image.

Note that that in the second image, the one of the bird landing, I was standing. As a result, the background, i.e., the Pacific Ocean, was actually much closer to the subject than in the wing stretch image where I was much lower. Thus the background in the first image was softer, sweeter, and more out of focus than the background in the second image.

I love the third image for its abstract look, but feel that I could have created a much more powerful photograph had I not been lazy about mounting my flash when I left the car in the pre-dawn light. The way to go with this image would have been to underexpose the ambient and light the bird with the flash. This would have yielded a much darker pink/blue background and brought the bird to life. Next time I will not be so lazy 🙂

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This is the original of the second image, the one of the landing gull. As you can see, I cropped it from our left, covered the remaining part of the closest bird with a Quick Mask of ocean background, added canvas to the top, and repaired the clipped wing tip.

The techniques that I used to process the image are included in Ditigal Basics and Robert O’Toole’s APTATS I, both PDFs sent via e-mail.

Shopper’s Guide

Here is a list of the gear that I used to create the two images in this post.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens
Canon EF Teleconverter 2X II
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body

If you are considering the purchase of a major piece of photographic gear be it a new camera, a long lens, a tripod or a head, or some accessories be sure to check out our complete Shopper’s Guide.

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