For Your Critique: Image #4 & My Thoughts on Images #2 & #3 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

For Your Critique: Image #4 & My Thoughts on Images #2 & #3

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This image was created with the with the tripod-mounted Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens and the EOS_1D Mark III (since replaced by the EOS-1D Mark IV). ISO 800. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/320 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode.

When this bear caught a salmon and walked right towards me I was a bit frazzled as it stopped to dine only 20 feet away. I quickly removed the 1.4X teleconverter and saw the image.

For Your Critique: Image #4

It is quite apropos that I present this image on my way to Anchorage today and Kodiak tomorrow for my eighth trip on the bear boat. I am meeting Robert O’Toole and ten clients for a week in Katmai. We start with otters on Wednesday morning.

Feel free to praise the image above or tear it to shreds. Would you keep it or delete it? Let us know why either way, what you like or what you hate. What would you have done differently? Above is “Coastal Brown Bear Fish Eye.” I look forward to each of you taking your best shot.

Over the course of the next three months or so, I will present sixteen additional images in this series for a total of twenty in all. The last will be followed by several revelations including one major one.

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This image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 2X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV (hand held at 140mm). ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1/4000 sec. at f/5.6 in Av Mode.

My Thoughts on Image #2

Image 2, above, was presented for your critique here. The image garnered 30 comments, some favorable, many suggesting a variety of crops. I pretty much like it framed as is. David Policansky liked the image about as much as I do: a lot 🙂

My Thoughts on Image #3

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This image was created with the with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/640 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode.

Lens/Camera Body Micro-Adjustment: +2.

Finding fire in the mist at Bosque is always a thrilling experience. To learn everything that I know about Bosque del Apache NWR before you first visit, be sure to purchase and study a copy of our Bosque Site Guide. After 16 years of visiting I have learned a bit about the place and am eager to share it with you.

Twenty-four folks commented here on “Geese & Cranes in the Mist.” Reactions were overwhelmingly positive except for one chap who who did not like it feeling that the image was “far too busy.” I like it a lot too but not as much as the most of the folks who commented; what bugs me? With the wind slightly east of north the geese the are taking flight are flying away from us and even the cranes are leaning to their right. I did not like that when I was out there witnessing this glorious scene and I do not like it now but, it is what it is and I did my best.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in this blog 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 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens. 500mm is the most popular telephoto focal length with a wonderful blend of reach, ease of handling, and relatively light weight. I owned two of these at one time and loved them to death. This focal length will soon be replaced with a Series II model that will be smaller and lighter and feature 4-stop IS. I can’t wait 🙂 To learn more about the news lenses start here.
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–as above–with the 1.4X III TC.
Canon 1.4X III TC. This new Series III TC is designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon EF 2X III TC. This new TC is significantly sharper than the 2X II version.
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:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Be sure to check out our camera body User’s Guides here.
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.

10 comments to For Your Critique: Image #4 & My Thoughts on Images #2 & #3

  • avatar cheapo

    Even though I’m a vegetarian I’d keep it. :¬)
    It’s certainly a seller! Though if the focus had been perfect on the claw, as mentioned by Jay, it would improve the shot. Clone out the errant bits of fish top right. Is it possible to deal with the lumpy OOF brown thing, and restore the claw??


  • avatar Granville

    Hi. Not a critique really as I like all the images. On image 2 I don’t quite understand the use of the TC if the image was shot at 140mm, or does this really equate to 280mm? Maybe I’m missing something.

    Granville, I was set up to photograph individual swans in flight with the 2X when I visualized this image. As I had time I should have done it again with the 2X removed…. artie

  • avatar Doug

    Since it is technically solid I would keep the image but due to the subject I would let it sit on disk to be seldom viewed. while I like the close up of the paws and fur I can’t get past the plight of the fish having its guts ripped out. Yes, I know it’s all part of nature but so are skunks and mosquitoes and I don’t care to have those around my house either.

    Hey Doug, I would not hang it on my wall either :). artie

  • avatar Bruce Shanks

    A powerful image, but as part of a portfolio, to give us greater appreciation, of the context.An even tighter crop, may help the image by getting rid of the “emptiness” of the right hand side, and reducing the amount of the eaten abdomin of the salmon.

  • avatar Jay

    I would probably delete “Coastal Brown Bear Fish Eye.” My preference would probably focus on the bear, not the dinner. Thus, would look for the shot of the bear biting into the fish. One other thing that I notice about this shot is that my vision is drawn to the claw and eye (obviously, as it should). However, the focus doesn’t seem as sharp on this point of the picture; the body of the fish near where it has already been eaten seems to be the focal point. If anything, this picture leaves me wondering about the images of this bear’s meal that you haven’t shared with us.

    Jay, Though I remember focusing right on the eye of the fish I do agree that sharpest focus is a bit beyond the eye. I will go back to the original and apply a contrast mask to the eye and the surrounding claws. As for the rest, you simply have missed the point of the image :). See the comments of Mary and Kathy below. Not sure how I could have made my point more emphatically. artie

  • avatar Mary Stamper

    I like the image as it is. To me, it is mostly about the eye between the claws. I like the way my eye first grabs the red flesh and then slides down the fish body to meet up with the eye between the claw. Then you realize that it’s a bear. That’s just about a perfect visual manipulation to me. A very engaging and arresting, not to mention startling, image.

    Hey Mary, Thanks! We are often on the exact same page as we are here 😉 . artie

  • avatar Kathy Graff

    As a composition, I think the photo works: the light grey space on the right balances well with the dark brown fur of the bear on the left, and the eye of the salmon between two bear claws strongly draws my attention. The foreground is somewhat confusing but this is not a pretty image and I’m not distracted by the foreground because the subject of the image is so powerful. I don’t (personally) care for the subject but it would be an important addition to a photo story about coastal brown bears.

  • avatar Chuck Mohr

    I agree that some muzzle would add interest. In addition, I’d photoshop out the white spots on the fur – they appear as distracting flaws rather than highlights. I think the back paw would be much more interesting if the picture was taken from farther to the right, and the claws completing the grip on the fish were visible. Of course, scurrying about with a nearby bear might not be the best idea (any cubs around?)….

  • avatar Randal C. Jaffe

    I actually do not like Image 4. I know it has been done to death (no pun intended) but I would have liked seeing the bears muzzle salivating over the catch. With this extreme closeup it just loses to much context for my taste.

    Randal, You say that this image has been done to death. Funny; to me it is unique–I have never seen anything remotely similar…. With the eye if the fish peeking between the claws. artie

  • avatar George Cottay

    My immediate strong response to 1495__800x800_brown-bear-w-pink-salmon-lighter-tight-on-claws-_e0w4949-geographic-harbor-katmai-national-park-ak.jpg is immediate strong dislike. Though a fish eater myself I still do not like seeing the pink salmon torn apart with it’s eye staring off into oblivion. I also am right adverse to being that close to a bear, even though a 500 mm. In short, this seems like a great image to me.

    I also appreciate the example of thorough file naming.

    George, Your comments confuse me :). And I think that you meant averse not adverse… artie

    ad·verse Adjective: Preventing success or development; harmful; unfavorable: “adverse weather conditions”.

    a·verse Adjective: Having a strong dislike of or opposition to something.