Bald Eagle Squabble #2/Which Do You Like Best? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Bald Eagle Squabble #2/Which Do You Like Best?

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This image was created near Homer, AK with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens with the 2XIII TC (hand held at 238mm) and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops off the sky: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode.

Bald Eagle Squabble #2/Which Do You Like Best?

The image below was featured in the previous post: Bald Eagle Squabble/Interactive Photoshop Lesson. The image above was the next frame in the sequence. Which do you like best, the top image or the bottom image? Be sure to let us know why.

Do see the excellent comments on the before and after Photoshop images here: Bald Eagle Squabble/Interactive Photoshop Lesson.

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This image was created near Homer, AK with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens with the 2XIII TC (hand held at 238mm) and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops off the sky: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode.

To foster the learning experience here, i have included a screen capture of the BreezeBrowser main view screen for the top image below.

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I use and depend on BreezeBrowser every day of the year. It allows me to sort my keepers and deletes faster than any other browsing program. We use it on the main computer to to catalog our images file drawer style. And the companion program, Downloader Pro allows me to download my images quickly and conveniently. It automatically adds my IPTC data and the location. It creates a folder named by the Month/date/year. The Breezebrowser/Downloader Pro saves me hours of time each week. To learn earn more or to purchase, click here.

Things of note on the Main View page for the top image:

  • The active focusing sensor was off the subject at the moment of exposure yet the image is razor sharp. Why? As explained in the Mark IV User’s Guide I set CFn III: 8 to 1: Left/right AF point. In addition, also as per the MIV UG, AF expansion w/selected pt. is one of the items in my My Menu Settings. Both the M IV UG and the 7D User’s Guide help you select items for your My Menu Settings and teaches you how to set up this time-saving feature. I access my My Menu Settings dozens of times during each photographic session.
  • My AF micro-adjustment was set to -4 for a specific lens/TC/camera body combination. To learn about micro-adjusting your gear, see the Lens Align Mark II Tutorial.
  • You get to see the image as it came out of camera. The work that I did in Photoshop was quite similar to the work that I did on the bottom image. That work is detailed in the Comments here: Bald Eagle Squabble/Interactive Photoshop Lesson.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear (or the current replacement) that I used to create the images above. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot–depending on the situation–with the 1.4X III TC.
Canon 2X III teleconverter. I use this with both the 70-200 and with the 800 (the latter while focusing in Live View as described in our Mark IV User’s Guide).
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. The very best professional digital camera body that I have ever used.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable.

35 comments to Bald Eagle Squabble #2/Which Do You Like Best?

  • Artie,
    Thank you for the explanation. It really helps.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Jay wrote, “Lessons learned from this post. First, I need to work on my editing skills. Second, I need to go on one of these trips.”

    Jay, see the announcement of two eagle trips in Bulletin #368. We have already sold 7 of the 20 slots…. But remember that you need to pass the HCT (Happy Camper Test) before sending your deposit check. Details available by e-mail.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Jay, Teena, and Laurie-B, Well said 🙂 Each of you made a good case for your favorite which also happened to be my fave. Laurie-B, Neither the under-primaries from the top image nor the far-wing from the bottom image are suitable for transplanting because of vast differences in the lighting (and tonality) and the twisting and skewing of the individual feathers. It could of course be done but it would be extremely hard to do well without having it look phony. Thanks for your kind words. later and love to all, artie

  • Hi Arthur,
    The second image is my favorite – the one with a portion of the wing outside the frame. As others have said, it’s the action I like, the adult’s braced lower wing, the tail feathers wedged against the ground to counter the juvenile’s escape; the flying dirt behind the juvenile’s feet. I also like the balance of the birds in the frame better although I’m not sure why. It does not bother me at all that the juvenile’s wing is out of frame. I have a question about attempting to repair the wing though. I know you’ve said that mending the wing is impossible. My skills aren’t up to it for sure but I keep looking at that portion of the left wing you removed from the first image thinking… maybe? Can you tell me why you ruled that out? Was it the lighting on the wing, sky as background instead of water? What tells you to walk away from the start? What am I missing?

    There is one part of the first image I like better than the second. That’s the adult’s riveted lock on that fish.

    Thank you for the gift. I always learn something here.

  • I like the first shot better… The clipped off wing draws attention but that can be fixed to any degree that is more effective and not quite as obvious. I like the angle of the eagle and how she is focused on us as she is striking back at the juvenile. It is an awesome shot. The second shot is great too but the first shot really catches my attention.

  • Jay

    I will also go with the first image presented in this post, though if I only so the second image I would be impressed by that one also. The question you ask is why. Nothing technical. It’s purely the image that was captured. Starting with the older eagle. In the top image his head is angled giving the feeling that he’s looking at the younger bird as he’s pushing him away; in the lower image the head is straight on to the viewer. The angle of the older bird’s head in the upper image also gives it a more intense appearance emphasizing that this is a real fight, and not some playing around before dinner. Also, the body angle of the older bird in the upper image gives it a larger appearance (and a slightly darker coloring which I also find pleasing). As to the younger eagle, the wing shape in the upper picture gives the appearance that he is being defeated; the wing shape can almost make a viewer think that the bird is landing,or at least still in the fight, and just being pushed back a little. I also like that the wing tip of the younger bird is being pushed out of the frame. It’s giving the image a real sense of movement. The feathers on the younger birds legs are pointing to the right, adding to this sense of movement. While the tail feathers in the lower image do this, it is not to the same degree as the upper image. There are a lot of other little details that also make the upper picture pleasing, such as the conditions of the wings (missing feathers, etc.) that just aid the picture.

    Lessons learned from this post. First, I need to work on my editing skills. Second, I need to go on one of these trips.

  • I like the first image. I feel it conveys more intensity. I do believe you can repair the wing 🙂

  • Bill Richardson

    “Impossible” to add a wing tip? Sounds like a challenge. How about posting a higher resolution photo and seeing what we can do?

  • Giovanni

    Arthur I prefer the second because the action is all inside the shoot.
    A used the central point Af, why the focus is right if the central point is out of the focus?

  • Dena Proctor

    Thank you Arthur….You are kind and gifted and for sure it is a great picture I wish I had one half as good! Correction received gladly!

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Bill and Loren, Repairing the missing wing section is pretty close to if not impossible. Actually, let’s go with impossible–there is no source material to work with…. I am afraid that what you see is what you get 🙂

  • The first one by far for me. Clearer and better visible faces. The first one also conveys better the “Hey Buddy, what you’re doing on my turf ?”-expression.

  • I’d have to go with the new one as well, assuming you’re going to add canvas and repair the clipped wingtip, just as you removed the stray one in the original image. Reasons are as already stated by many others: better head position/angles on both birds (I love the look of annoyance on the adult, looking at the juvy), wider wing spread on juvy.

    That said, I’d be happy with either one!


  • Bill Richardson

    I am always surprised by what images people prefer. Many times I get best feedback on images I don’t think are my best. With that caveat, I think the new images is better because the adult’s head angle is better and the juvenile is more off balance (more movement) I do think you should fix the clipped wing though. ;-0

  • Opps, I was looking at the 2nd and 3rd images, so disregard my comments.

  • The first image is best, as the second image has an extra wing in the photo that in the first photo was eliminated with photoshop. The foreground has been cleaned up and the horizon has been straightend out as well. The foreground has also been lightened up to give detail on the sandbar which the birds are standing on. The birds colour has also been adjusted so more detail is present. Nice job.

  • Dena Proctor

    Arthur, I prefer the bottom image because I like the posiition of the adult and juvi wings. I feel like in the top picture it would have been better to go a little wider to capture all of the juvi’s wings. If it was my picture, I wouldn’t flag it for one of my favorites, and I’d be mad with myself for missing it. Like you said different strokes….no offence please!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Dena, Thanks for stopping by. I have already flagged it as one of my favorites. And I was very happy with the result, preferring it by far to a possible wider image that would not show the expression on the juvie’s face nearly as well 🙂 Be sure to stop by on Tuesday to see which one I prefer 🙂

      By the way, “If it were my picture….” is correct 🙂

      ps: I never take it personally 🙂

  • No. 2 because the adult eagle is looking at the food and all wings are fully visible. Great shot!

  • Thom Howd

    I prefer the image where the juvi’s wings are not clipped. The diagonal line from the left wing tip of the mature bird up to the right wingtip of the juvi forms the hypotenuse of an obtuse triangle design that helps lead my eyes around the image from one detail to another as I study the interreaction between the two eagles which are the central characters of this image’s story without leading my attention outside the border of the image… Both images capture interesting expressions and details, just the one image tells the story better imho.

  • giovanni

    Hello Arthur
    you used servo mode ?
    Why not you put the focus point on one of the birds instead stay in the middle ?
    So making is not easy loose the focus ?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Giovanni, Yes, AI Servo AF. (You can see that in the BreezeBrowser screen capture.) Why not switch AF points? No time. Eagle fights start in an instant and are almost always over in an instant. Just like this one 🙂

  • Hi Art:
    I’m confused with the active focusing selection. I have been shooting lots of fast action shots and always have been using the single auto focus and would put the active single point on the moving target that I want to shoot. I use the auto – on with my thumb to lock in and do not use the VR on any my shots, but use a monopod all of the time. Now I am looking at using the Dynamic Area and use the 21 select areas- which focuses by colour recognition . For Bird photography or for that matter wildlife, which in your option works best.



  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    OK, the score is now 7-2 for the top image. Everyone has made some great points.

  • The image that you originally showed on your blog has better composition and more dramatic lines. Also the story is shown better by the eagle looking right at the prize fish and just pushing the youngster away as an aside to his actually getting the fish. In the top one here, the adult looks as though he’s in a play and getting directions as to how to push the young eagle. The story is more important than any technical bits and the original shows the story better. “Scram, Kid! That fish is mine!”, says the adult eagle. “Ouch!!! Those talons hurt! I’m going, I’m going already!”

  • I prefer the second image in this post (image from earlier blog post) for two reasons.
    1. The separation between the adult’s tail and the ground gives me a better sense of the action.
    2. I prefer how the adult’s stare is concentrated on the food source.

  • My favorite is the 2nd image— more dramatic action with both the leg and maybe even the wing pushing the immature aside. Like the adult looking down—look’s more like a “get out of here, can’t be bothered with the likes of you” attitude. Like the composition better—the contrast of one eagle wings up, the other eagle wings spread. In first image, adult’s right wing has sort of strange shape. I like both of the adult’s wings spread, and the wings make a nice diagonal line while the immature’s wings are almost vertical. In other words, there are two lines in the 2nd image—almost vertical and diagonal, where in image #1 there are more than two lines. Second frame shows who is dominant more clearly, while in first frame both birds are more equal in posture. I do like the flying gravel in #1, but still vote for #2.

  • Myer Bornstein

    I also prefer the newest image, the head of the juvenile is much better and I think there is more action. And I do not even mind the clipped wing.

  • I much prefer image no. 2 Not necessarily because no wings are clipped, but I find it a much more dramatic frame. The expression on the eagle on the left being shoved away is priceless.

  • Edward Fisher

    I`m going to be different and pick the first image. One reason is that the adult is looking towards the younger bird, and second is the gravel is being stirred up because the young bird was trying to flee from the grasp of the adult.
    Even though the wing tip is missing, I know Artie can replace it with the magic of CS5.

  • C G Gustavsson

    I too like the second one better, but my main reason is this: In the second picture, the adult is focused on the fish and the juvenile is a rather ignored disturber. In the first picture, I can not tell what the adult is focused on. The other reasons why I prefer the second one are less important.

  • Esther Corley

    I, too, so like the 2nd one better. It is more dynamic, far more realistic, it exudes power between the 2 birds….this is MY vote.

  • I like the second image best. First, the head of the juvenile is more prominent. Secondly, the wing position of the juvenile is more dynamic. I even like that it’s right wing has been clipped. Overall it seems like there is more action in the second. Which one do you like Artie?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for stopping by Adam. I will share my favorite and why late on Monday.