A or B or Neither or Both? Shutter Speeds? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A or B or Neither or Both? Shutter Speeds?

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This image was made with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 50. Evaluative metering +1 stop in Tv mode. That is all that you are getting for now…

A or B or Neither or Both?? Shutter Speeds?

The image above is Image A. It was created just before 7am on November 23, 2010. See the questions below.

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This image was also made with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 50. Evaluative metering +1 stop in Tv mode. That is all that you are getting for now on this one too.

The image immediately above is Image B. It too was created just before 7am on November 23, 2010.

Which do you like best, Image A or Image B? Why? What do you think was the shutter speed for image A? For Image B?

When I revisit these images in a few days I promise that there will be a lot to think about and a lot to learn.

Shopper’s Guide

Here is a list of the gear that I used to create the images above.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo 3530 LS Tripod
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head

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.

21 comments to A or B or Neither or Both? Shutter Speeds?

  • avatar cheapo

    I like the appearance of the primary wing feathers in A but also want the definition of focus on the heads in B.
    So I refoose to choose. 😉

  • avatar Monte Brown

    Prefer A, the colors are richer and it evokes more action, the panning in both looks very smooth. Shutter speed in A 1/5th B 1/60th.

  • avatar Clifford Brown

    Perfer B. Both shots seem to be panned. A was slower than B A- 1/4sec and B- 1/60sec

  • My personal preference where a shot is essentially of individuals, as in these two pictures, is to have at least the head(s) sharp enough to recognize. Using blur to communicate wing/leg motion is fine. Complete blurs, in my view, are best reserved to indicate the mass motion of a flock as an entity, where the photographic subject becomes the flock itself rather than the individuals that make it up.

    Thus, here I prefer B.

  • I like B better with the sharper head and body.
    As for shutter speed, I’m thinking that B was actually a slower shutter speed than A since the moving wings are more blurred in B than in A. As for specific shutter speeds, I’ll guess 1/30 for A and 1/15 for B with better panning.

  • avatar ASharpe

    It looks like some fill flash was used for B.

  • I’m not a huge fan of blurs but that being said, I prefer B. I find the light-colored area in the foreground of A quite distracting…probably because it isn’t parallel to the bottom of the frame and disrupts my sense of equilibrium. In B, I like that I can see more details of the crane’s heads. I really like the ghosting of the wings and that the lighter parts of the background run parallel to the frame. I think the peachy tones of B’s background are quite lovely. In fact, the more I look at B, the more I like it…maybe I’m becoming a blur fan afterall! I’ll take a guess that both shots were at 1/80, the only difference being that you panned in B.

  • I like Image B better because the heads are in focus and the wings are shown out of focus, whereas all of Image A is out of focus or a blur, which was the intent.

  • I prefer A. To me, B looks like an accident while A looks intentional.

    I’d take a stab at the shutter speed being the same, or nearly so for both images. Slow, around 1/4 or 1/8 of a second?

  • For me, blurs are very much a matter of personal taste and as you can see from the replies, preferences are quite mixed. For the most part, I prefer blurs where there is some detail in the face/eye of the subject and for this reason I prefer B. I also like the faint ghosting created by the downward wing beat. In a perfect world, I would have prefered some small separation between the Cranes but this would probably have moved the front Crane too far to the right of the frame, although you could then add canvas. I’m not crazy about the white background streaks at the bottom of the frame in either image but you could probably remove these with some quick masks. I’m guessing that you used the same shutter speed for both images (1/8th sec?) but that you used some fill flash in image B – this could explain its greater sharpness. Either that or your panning tachnique was better in image B.

  • avatar Christy Williams

    Hi Artie,

    I like B better as it has more details while at the same time showing the movement. Was the first one taken immediately before the second one, just before you started panning along with the birds?

  • avatar Maria

    I prefer definitely A, it’s harmonic.

  • avatar Joerg Rockenberger

    Definitely prefer the first image with the more golden color and blurred birds. The second is too bright and reveals sufficient detail like the heads to draw attention to the fact that they are flying away from us. The relatively sharper heads just don’t balance well with the rest of the image IMO.

    As for the techs I strongly suspect that both images were taken in a burst – especially considering the details in the background – and that the flash fired in the second image but not the first. Or vice versa… 🙂


  • avatar Caspar Davis

    I guess I like A better. If anything, I think the shutter speed was lower in B, although it was probably the same. I think you were panning in B.

  • I’m not a huge fan of most blurs, but I prefer the second one over the first. At least the species is recognizable and the heads are in better focus so that the wing movement is more pleasing. There are a few blurs that are awesome, but I’m not nuts about either of these. Aren’t you glad you asked? :o)

  • avatar Alan Lillich

    I prefer A, more fully abstract and richer colors. The bird’s heads in B are too much in the middle of sharp and blurred. I won’t guess absolute shutter speeds. Assuming there is no fill flash, the wing detail in A makes me think it has a higher shutter speed than B. The background in A seems less blurred, could be from higher shutter speed or slower panning. B is brighter, another sign of slower shutter since the ISO and metering match. I think the blur difference in the birds is that B’s pan more closely matched the bird’s motion.

  • avatar Edward Fisher

    I like both !

    A = 1/20 sec

    B = 1/80 sec

  • I lean towards A, too. I prefer the blur equally “applied” over the entire bird; in B, the faces and forward bodies are less blurry (as opposed to sharp), and the inconsistency is disconcerting.

  • avatar Clemens Vanderwerf

    On second thoughts: The shooting angle in Frame B is (more or less) perpendicular to the sensor, whereas the angle in Frame A is smaller than 90 degree, hence the difference in motion.

  • avatar Clemens Vanderwerf

    I think it is actually the same shutter speed for both images (probably 1/10 – 1/8), but the difference in appearance is created by a difference in panning speed with the subject. Personally, I like frame A better as it is softer and the wings feathers look great.
    Thx, Clemens

  • avatar joan chasan

    A better. all blurry, don’t like leg hanging down in B.