Small Category Voting Analysis and Related Comments « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Small Category Voting Analysis and Related Comments

Image Stabilization Settings: A Whole New World

Thanks to all who commented on my question. Several folks came up with the right answer. Want to learn more? See the comments here.

You Be the Judge: Flight

Voting in the Flight category is still open. Voting will end early on Tuesday morning, July 17, 2012. If you would like to chime in and vote click here.

Small in the Frame Category Voting Analysis and Related Comments

Totals of the Judges’ Votes (each of 5 judges awarded each image 1-5 points):

1-Bear & Wagtail by Arnfinn Johansen: 22
2-Bearded Tit on Reed by Jeroen Stel: 20
3-Oxpecker on Cape Buffalo by Isak Pretorius: 19
4-Swan-scape by Paul Conor McKenzie: 18
T5-Coot Silhouette by Kaustubh Deshpande: 16
T5-Herons and Falls by Matt Hansen: 16
7-Stilt in Mangroves by Paul Klenck: 15
T8-Flamingo Patterns by Paul Conor McKenzie 14
T8-Sunbird on Blossom by Isak Pretorius: 14
T8-Bird-scape by Jessica Yarnell: 14
T8-Savannah Sparrow Singing by Aidan Briggs: 14
T8-Cattle Egret Mist by Giovanni Frescura: 14
T13-Flamingo Aerial by Sallie Jo Perraglia: 13
T13-Bramblings & Siskins by Gail Lynn Foster: 13
T13-White-Eye in Canopy by Ron Horbinski: 13
T16-Heron Silhouette by William Joseph Campanellie: 12
T16-African White Pelicans Fishing by Vladimir Michael Kogan 12
18-Eagle Silhouette by Blake Shaw:: 11
19-Heavenly Cormorant by Ron Henderson: 11

Public Voting Totals (each of you was asked to vote your five favorite images 1-5 points with 5 being your favorite):

1-Heron Silhouette by William Joseph Campanellie: 211
2-Bear & Wagtail by Arnfinn Johansen: 149
3-Bearded Tit on Reed by Jeroen Stel: 123
4-Herons and Falls by Matt Hansen: 110
5-Swan-scape by Paul Conor McKenzie: 86
6-Savannah Sparrow Singing by Aidan Briggs: 64
7-Heavenly Cormorant by Ron Henderson: 63
8-Cattle Egret Mist by Giovanni Frescura: 61
9-Oxpecker on Cape Buffalo by Isak Pretorius: 52
10-Coot Silhouette by Kaustubh Deshpande: 45
11-Flamingo Aerial by Sallie Jo Perraglia: 32
12-Bird-scape by Jessica Yarnell: 22
13-Sunbird on Blossom by Isak Pretorius: 19
14-Flamingo Patterns by Paul Conor McKenzie: 18
15-Stilt in Mangroves by Paul Klenck: 16
16-Eagle Silhouette by Blake Shaw: 12
17-Bramblings & Siskins by Gail Lynn Foster: 8
18-African White Pelicans Fishing by Vladimir Michael Kogan: 4
19-White-Eye in Canopy by Ron Horbinski: 0

Analysis of the Voting

I was surprised that the “Bear & Wagtail” image did not carry the day in this very strong category. There was some strong correlation with 1/2 in the judge’s vote finishing 2/3 in the public vote and “Herons and Falls” finishing 6/4. With regards to runaway public vote favorite “Heron Silhouette” (T16/1) perhaps the judges were bit jaded by seeing so many great silhouettes over the years…. Kudos nonetheless to Joe Campanellie for topping the public vote with his very fine image. As many of you have been at times in other categories, I was somewhat mystified as to why “Flamingo Aerial” did not do better with both the judge’s panel and the public vote.

With 422 images entered in this popular category and only 19 sent to the judges everyone here deserves a big tip of the cap. Thanks a stack to all who chimed in. I will try to finish uo the tight category before I get on the bear boat on Wednesday. At that point, there will be only two categories left. I will be back in the office on August 2nd.

Bear & Wagtail by Arnfinn Johansen

There is a lot that makes this image very special. First and most importantly, you could not have placed the bird in a better spot, right in front of the huge, hulking bear’s face with a lovely background of yellow grasses. Though only small details, the bird’s raised wings and hanging feet and the bear’s open jaw and his seemingly evil glare all add immensely to the image. The soft light allowed for a perfect exposure that reveals all the detail in the bear’s coat. The out-of-focus tree trunks in the upper right balance nicely with the delicate bush in the lower left. Add the perfect framing and you surely have a winner.

Bearded Tit on Reed by Jeroen Stel

The curved reed, the sweet out-of-focus background, the bird’s perfect pose (especially the down-cocked tail), just the right head angle, the bit of snow on the bill tip, and the stunning image design combined to make this a small-in-the-frame jewel.

Oxpecker on Cape Buffalo by Isak Pretorius

The perfect subject-to-imaging-sensor orientation (square in this case), the bright colors of the oxpecker’s bill and eye, the pleasing image design with the bird well back in the frame, the lovely two-toned background, the soft early morning light, and the dozens of tiny flies all added to the success of this image.

Swan-scape by Paul Conor McKenzie

The musical arrangement of the swans, the magical light on the distant mountains spilling onto the lake, the mystical stand of trees, and the contrast between the black water and the white swans make this one very powerful and beautiful photograph.

Coot Silhouette by Kaustubh Deshpande

Another musical and pleasing arrangement of the birds, the curve of the branch, the striking silhouette presentation with still a hint of the coots white bills, and 9 1/2 out of ten very good head angles left a smile on most folks’ faces.

Herons and Falls by Matt Hansen

The slow shutter speed water is superb, as is the image design and the placement of the single heron atop the rock, so nicely set against the white water. The 2nd heron here being somewhat lost in the background actually detracts rather than adds to an overall pleasing scene.

Stilt in Mangroves by Paul Klenck

This lovely image pretty much defines the category. The centered composition works well here because the habitat is so strong. Exposure and framing are excellent. The lone problem is that the bird’s right leg is totally hidden by a branch or root. The reflection adds to the peaceful mood.

Flamingo Patterns by Paul Conor McKenzie

A very nice pure pattern shot where the varying densities of birds helps to lead the viewer’s eye around the frame.

Sunbird on Blossom by Isak Pretorius

A lovely bird on a nice flower. Just the right shutter speed for the rain streaks. A perfect exposure that–what looks like the help of fill flash–yielded nice detail in the dark tones, a pleasing image design with the subject in the lower left corner, and the perfect head angle that shows that long bill perfectly. All good!

Bird-scape by Jessica Yarnell

This image features a large gathering of birds: Wood Storks, Sandhill Cranes, and a variety of herons, egrets, cormorants, and ducks. The trees are nicely framed and it seems as if each bird is in just the right spot in the frame.

Savannah Sparrow Singing by Aidan Briggs

This is another image that might be used to define the category with the Savannah Sparrow singing it’s heart out from the vegetation that it calls home. Both the sharpness and the rule-of-thirds composition are additional pluses.

Cattle Egret Mist by Giovanni Frescura

This mystical image features great light and a lyrical arrangement of the subjects.

Flamingo Aerial by Sallie Jo Perraglia

The curved shoreline, the varied tones and textures, the super-sharp birds, and especially the shadows of the flamingos made this one very special for me. Eliminating the very few birds and shadows that intersected the frame-edges would have strengthened this fine image.

Bramblings & Siskins by Gail Lynn Foster

This whimsical high key motif is a delight to the eye. Great timing of the shutter release assured a very cool composition. It suffers from a bit too much contrast.

White-Eye in Canopy by Ron Horbinski

The image design and the light coming through the large leaves are the strengths of this image. A nice dose of flash on the bird would have improved this one immensely.

Heron Silhouette by William Joseph Campanellie

Small in the frame subjects in vertical compositions need to be tucked into the corner of the frame just at the Great Blue here is. Sharp with a beautiful sunset. I would not have been surprised if this one placed well higher.

African White Pelicans Fishing by Vladimir Michael Kogan

Whether created from an aircraft or a high cliff aerial views are always intriguing. Add in some pink light and a pleasing image design and the result is a very strong image.

Eagle Silhouette by Blake Shaw


Clean, simple, and striking with a perfect head angle. A bit of a crop from our right would have tightened up the composition.

Heavenly Cormorant by Ron Henderson

The lovely light here created a mystical mood. A healthy crop from the bottom would have tightened up the composition nicely and gotten rid of the large smudge below and to our left of the bird. Does all that extra space below the bird add anything to the image? That is a question that we all need to get in the habit of asking both in the field and at the computer.

New York City Weekend Nature Photography Seminar December 8-9, 2012

Details for this great weekend seminar are available here. Do consider joining Denise Ippolito and me for a great learning experience. Do click on the link to see many of Denise’s incredible tree and flower images. Camera club discounts available; see the details at the link.

5D Mark III Guide Pre-publication Version Still Discounted

Click here for details. When the guide is complete it will sell for $50. Folks who purchase now will receive the final version and any updates for no additional charge so ordering now is a win-win proposition. If you click on the link above you will see that the list of items not yet covered is continues to shrink….

I spent the better part of Tuesday and today working on the 5D III UG; when I am done, the price goes to $50. Buy now to save! The more I study this camera the more I learn how complex it is. Rudy Winston at Canon has been a huge help and so as Denise who helped me with the section on Multiple Exposures today. I still have some work to do.

Nickerson Beach/JBWR Photo-Tour August 15-17, 2012: Room only for one more!

Nickerson Beach/JBWR Photo-Tour August 15-17, 2012: $999. Co-leader: Denise Ippolito. Introductory slide program: Tuesday August 14 at 7pm.

Please call us at 863-692-0906 to register. For more info and a collection of images click here.

8 comments to Small Category Voting Analysis and Related Comments

  • They were all fantastic shots that I would love to have in my portfolio. I am also surprised that Sallie’s Flamingo image didn’t rank higher but each of the images in this group were amazing!

  • Thanks to the judges and everyone else who voted for my Coot silhouette.

  • As mentioned above, I’m also a bit mystified as to how the Flamingo Aerial did in both judging sections. I personally voted it top of the bunch, as it’s powerful both photographically and emotionally; and fits the category very well. I can perhaps imagine a large-sized physical print drawing more people’s attention in this case.

    I agree with Artie’s comments on my heron/falls image…that 2nd heron tangled in the rocks detracts from the frame, especially since it’s so close to the “main” heron. Maybe if it was on the opposite side of the frame it wouldn’t draw as much attention.

    Anyways, great job everyone. Excellent images.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Matt for your most gracious comments.

    • Matt and Artie – You two are my favorite people in the whole wide world right now! Thank you for showing Flamingo Aerial a little love. Matt, I think you are on to something about the size when it is printed large all the subtle details of the flamingos and the shadows really pop much more than when on a small computer screen. I am going to go back and take Artie’s advice about cloning out some of half shadows on the edge (great suggestion – Artie!) and reprint. I loved this section of the lake with the brown shallows just for the shadows. The pictures from this flight ranged from wide landscapes like Flamingo Aerial to total chaos of close ups with hundreds of flamingos in the frame. You can see more from my Flight Over Bogoria at

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: Thanks as always. For what it’s worth, I didn’t vote for the bear–magnificent as the image is–because to me it was a photo of a bear rather than of a bird.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Fits for me: Small in the frame/Environmental (images of a bird or flocks of birds in their natural habitats). We actually moved this one from Action to Small in the Frame.