Svalbard: It Ain’t Just Birds II/Which Is Your Favorite, and Why? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Svalbard: It Ain't Just Birds II/Which Is Your Favorite, and Why?

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This HDR image was created with the handheld Canon 15mm fish eye lens and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. There frame auto-bracket +/- two stops at f/9 in Av mode.

The image above is another grunge-look HDR, this one with a pile of interesting rocks in the foreground and a large valley with distant mountains filling out the frame.

Here I worked in Live View with a Double Bubble Level in the hot shoe. It is vitally important to create square to the world images when using the fish eye lens else you might wind up losing a good portion of your image when you level it. Hand-holding is very convenient but a bit lazy when you are creating a series for an HDR image. By checking Align source images By matching features you can get remarkably sharp results.

Svalbard: It Ain’t Just Birds II

Whenever I am afield in search of birds I make sure to keep my eyes open for a variety of other potentially interesting subjects. And I usually have a variety of lenses with me in my Xtrahand vest. (You can learn about this great vest by scrolling down here.) Sometimes I need to walk back to my vehicle to grab what I need. Often this is not possible. It is always important to remember, “It Ain’t just Birds!”

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This image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens (hand held at 145mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 in Av Mode.

Lens/TC/camera body Micro-adjustment:+1.

I love the color blue.

This image of the fjord was created as we sat on the mountain that first night waiting for the Dovekies that never came. For the whole story click here, here, and here. 🙂

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This image was created with the handheld Canon 15mm fish eye lens and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/250 sec. at f/16 set manually.

We had a ball photographing the fragile ice breaking up in a large pond. We used every lens we had from our 800s down to the macros and our fish eye lenses. Patrick even used his 1x-5X macro lens. Do the buildings on the far shoreline ruin this one for you?

Which Is Your Favorite, and Why?

Take a moment to leave a comment and let us know which of the three images above you like best and why.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s post. 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.

Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

Canon 15mm fish eye lens. It takes lots of imagination and practice to learn to make good images with this fun lens.
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 with the 1.4X III TC.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.

Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable. Clicking on the link below will bring you to the Delkin web site. There is lots of great stuff there. If you see a product that we do not carry let us know via e-mail; we will be glad to have it drop-shipped to you and save you a few bucks in the process.

I pack my 800 and tons of other gear in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag for all of my air travel and recommend the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 for most folks. These high capacity bags are well constructed and protect my gear when I have to gate check it on short-hops and puddle jumpers. Each will protect your gear just as well. By clicking on either link or the logo below, you will receive a free gift with each order over $50.

16 comments to Svalbard: It Ain’t Just Birds II/Which Is Your Favorite, and Why?

  • avatar Justine Carson

    I like #2 the best, but enjoyed exploring all of them. The lovely shades of blue, the serenity that the image conveys and the detail in the water are what attract me to this photo.

  • avatar Robin Sparkman

    Hi Artie! I like them all, especially since Pat and I were right there with you. But, ohhh how I wish we had been paying attention to what you were photographing in the first shot. Pat was off following the ptarmigan and I was off photographing a stack of railroad ties. Bonk! How could we have missed it? All of these shots are beautiful though, and take me right back there. Wish I was there now instead of in 100+ degree heat!

  • I like #1 the most because of the contrast of the mountains, valley and rocks in foreground.

  • avatar Esther Corley

    I don’t like any of them! If I had, absolutely, to choose, guess it would be the 3rd one with the ice crystals, but I don’t like the “rounded” photo.

  • avatar Debby C

    I like the #3 the best, because the ice crystals are so prominent and so interesting in the picture. The jagged ice is nicely counterbalanced by the smoothness of the mountains in the distance and the sky. It appears to be the entrance to Superman’s cave. 🙂 The #1 is interesting in it’s layers of color and texture, but it appears “too photoshopped” to me; flat, somehow, or lost it’s sense of reality. Now the blue ocean and current patterns of #2 is nice, but not enough going on with the other two to compare with.

  • avatar David Policansky

    None of these images quite reach the level of most of your other images for me. I like #2 the least. I like the serenity and large expanse of blue but there’s nothing to catch my attention or to focus my eye anywhere on the image. Next is #1, which I think might have been more interesting with a more-normal FL lens. The perspective of the fisheye is a bit disorienting for me and while many parts of the image are interesting and appealing, as a whole it doesn’t quite work for me. I like #3 the best, mainly because of the ice crystals, but having the distant mountains (which are probably closer than they appear!) and horizon give it a nice perspective. Again, I imagine–without having been there or tried it–that I’ve have preferred say 25-30mm rather than 15mm. It is the most interesting of the 3 images to me, with a clear and attractive focal point, but I’m still not sure it would make my wall.

    All three images make clear what a wonderful place Svalbard is! Thanks, as usual, for sharing.

  • avatar Nick Sharp

    I like #3. This is a very interesting picture. The ice breaking up is just stunning. The buildings are hardly noticeable. I don’t think it ruins the picture. Additionally, I feel like looking down on the earth with the detailed ice foreground.

  • Hi Artie,
    I’ve been reading your blogs for a while now, but keeping my mouth shut. They’re fun to read. I really enjoyed your “Pet Peeve” blog where you defended your honor. I agree with Joe McDonald’s Statement: “Congratulations; you’ve made it to the big time. They’re starting to assassinate you.” But back to these images. I have a different point of view from my fellow photographer above. While the ice photo is sparkling, the first photo tells the story of what this part of the earth is made of. Ice is beautiful, but it’s everywhere (except where I live—Florida). I agree with Bill Richardson’s comment about it. It could use some bazaz in the foreground, which is the point of interest for me. In New Jersey we called it Puddingstone. But this Spitsbergen pudding is made out of different stuff. This image reveals it. Thanks Artie. Why not supe it up with a little Vivesa contrast and warmth—just the bottom? Leave the top the way it is.

  • avatar David Gancarz

    Definitely #2 because of the serenity and simplicity (except for the spot in the sky ;~) #1 is not to my liking because it seems obviously HDR with odd colors. #3 is interesting but the extreme spherical distortion takes from it.

  • avatar Ron C

    I like all three, but #1 is well balanced and more pleasing to my eye and has my vote. I always tend to look at images with the idea of putting them up on my wall. #1 would be there. The fissure draws my eye back to beautiful mountains and the image doesn’t have a “fish-eye” look to it, which helps with that sense of balance to me.

  • avatar Charlie Young

    I like the third photo best. The ice crystals are stunning.

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    No question : #3. I would like number 1 with more contrast. It looks flat to me. The second one is an interesting pattern but lacks any point of interest. In #3, the ice forms a beautiful pattern and point of interest and the mountains are a great background. For me, this image is typical of why I like to shoot wide angles. I would have corrected the horizon curve though.

  • I like #2 best… I really like the “nothingness” of the shot. Of course, the blue color makes it all work. It could be gallery shot.

    I’m not very partial to fish-eye landscapes, but of the two, the shot of the ice in #3 is the most interesting.

  • The fragile ice is my favorite. First of all, I am just fond of ice patterns in general. I think this photo is the most creative of the three—to have seen that fisheye possibility is amazing. The buildings are no problem for me and their smallness even emphasizes the importance of the ice.
    The first photo catches my eye, but I have mixed feelings. I am not a fan of grundge—don’t like the aggressive colors and contrast. I just like reality better. The all blue is great too, but just really drawn to the ice.

  • avatar Myer Bornstein

    I love the ice picture taken with the fish-eye I am drawn to the ice crystal. In fact at first glance I did not even see the buildings. they are small and unobtrusive

  • I’d vote for #3; incredibly detailed, interesting foreground (almost surrounded?) framed by the mountains in the background; a real eye-grabber for me. Buildings? What buildings? Barely visible, and not a distraction. In fact, they help make the viewer know that this is a real photograph, not heavily manipulated. I love it.