The 200-400 at the Palouse/I Challenge You to Tell Me Which Is The Better Image « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The 200-400 at the Palouse/I Challenge You to Tell Me Which Is The Better Image

Action and Behavior Voting Continues Today

Voting Continues today in the beyond amazing Action and Behavior category of the BIRDS AS ART 2nd International Bird Photography Competition. Click here to vote.

The Streak Continues: 189

It is 4:07 am here in Pullman, WA as we get ready to head out for our day of Palouse photography. We spent yesterday afternoon at the spectacular Palouse Falls State Park. This morning we are heading back to Steptoe Butte. In a very few minutes….

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This post took 2 hours to prepare. Enjoy!


This three-frame Art Vivid HDR image was created on our first morning of Palouse scouting with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (with the internal extender in place at 350mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops +/- two stops around the base exposure of 1/30 sec. at f/22 in Av mode. White Balance = AWB. Live View and 2-second timer.

Central Sensor/Surround/AI Servo-Rear Focus AF on the stand of trees on the right and recompose. Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Sharp Image

Steptoe Butte

Steptoe Butte is justly famed as the crown jewel location for scenic views of the Palouse farm fields. I am on an exploratory scouting trip in eastern Washington state with Denise Ippolito. Joining us are our mutual friend and BPN Out-of-the-Box Moderator Cheryl Slechta from Micanopy,FL, and Denise’s (and now my) friend Lynn Fulton (aka McFulton) of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. All four of us fell in love with Steptoe on the way up even though the light was relatively harsh at 8:30am under mostly sunny skies. Sunrise and sunset are supposed to be the the best times to be there; we will let know if that is true.

I went Art Vivid to combat the blah light. It worked quite well.


This three-frame in-camera Art Vivid HDR pan blur image was also created on our first morning of Palouse scouting, just moments after the image above with the Gitzo 3532 LS carbon fiber tripod, the Mongoose M3.6 head, Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender (with the internal extender in place at 366mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III . ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops +/- two stops around the base exposure of 1/3 sec. at f/45 in Av mode. White Balance = AWB.

Central Sensor/Surround/AI Servo-Rear Focus AF 1/3 of the way into the frame, re-composed, and panned slowly from right to left (and then possibly back again….) Click here to see the latest version of the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The Blurred Image

The 200-400 at the Palouse

The 200-400 absolutely rocks on Steptoe Butte. It gives you plenty of reach when needed and allows you pretty much infinite framing options. More than 90% of the 1,000+ images I made this morning were created with the tripod-mounted 2-4. I even made a few with the internal TC in place and an external TC added. I used my 70-200 f/2.8L IS II a bit and the 24-70 for a very few frames. Those 3 lenses cover me from 24 to 784mm.

Why Not a Blur?

After making more than a few in-camera Art Vivid HDR images similar to the opening image here, I decided to try a few creative combos: in-camera Art Vivid HDR/horizontal pan blurs. Oftentimes you will have lots of blurs that look great on the back of the camera but when you get them on the laptop, you are hard-pressed to come up with a single keeper. I took a peek at just a few images at lunch today to find something for today’s blog pot. The opening image here was he best of a similars, and amazingly, the blur was one of only two.

I Challenge You to Tell Me Which Is The Better Image

Please, please, pretty please leave a comment and let me know which you think is the stronger image of the two. Which would you rather have on your wall? Which is the more pleasing image? While I like both of these images, my answer to all of those questions is the same. But only by a mile. Opinions from the blur-haters are especially welcome.

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27 comments to The 200-400 at the Palouse/I Challenge You to Tell Me Which Is The Better Image

  • avatar Jim Kranick

    I’d hang the sharp in a room where I could look at it for a while and discover all that is there. I’d hang the blur in the front hall where I would walk past it and see the watercolor-like abstract.
    If I could only have one it would be the sharp landscape.

  • avatar Rick Ulmer

    I am with Morris Beattie. Much more to see, discover and hold my interest in the landscape.

  • Hi Arthur, say hi to Denise, Cheryl and Lynn for me. My choice is the blur as well. I love the transition of color in the blur and find the smoothness of the blur to be more pleasing. Going with the blur also helps to ‘hide’ the sections of the crops where the growth is still thin. I’m going to have to try blurring the winter wheat crop out behind the house this week 🙂

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    First time that a blur has really grabbed me. I think my problem is that I have been trying to capture pin sharp bird images for too long. Perhaps my eyes are opening a bit wider at last.

  • avatar stephen sheoskie

    I pick the landscape image for the wall hanger, the definition and depth of rolling hills and valleys are the deciding factors for me,be that as it may,I think the blur is pleasing to the eye and not that far behind the landscape shot.

  • avatar James Saxon

    I prefer the blur. There is just enough blur in the image to keep my eye moving and also allowing the colors to softly blend together at the edges. The colors in the image are “stacked” so your eye moves continually from dark to light and back again.

  • avatar Jim Amato

    The landscape image has wonderful depth, tones, definition, images of the natural beauty and the trees.
    The blur image is a good image of tones and shapes.
    Two different presentations.
    I prefer the landscape image.

  • avatar Clemens Vanderwerf

    The blur of course. Color reflections in the Palouse river …..

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    The blur is a more interesting image, it would be the one I would hang on the wall.

  • avatar Don Nelson

    I prefer the blur, but feel it could be strengthened by cropping out the skyline, and increasing the contrast.
    Most people don’t know that they are looking at sand dunes (actually loess dunes), not water-cut topography. The Palouse is just south of the edge of the former continental ice sheets, and the loess is the rock-dust from the ice sheet.
    Yesterday you saw the Palouse Falls – one remnant of a pour-over from the Bretz floods. Are you going down into the scablands also?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Don. I love the strip of sky. And I increased the contrast to a level that I like :). Other than the falls we have no plans to go to the scablands. Should we?

  • avatar Sharon Hallowell

    I would prefer the non-blur on my wall….

  • avatar Larry Brown

    Totally agree with Morris Beattie.

  • My overwhelming first choice is the blur. Beautiful softened colors stretching across the image in graceful sweeping waves. This would be stunning as a large canvas on a wall!

  • avatar Kathy Graff

    Definitely like the blur more.

  • avatar Jim Brown

    Love the blur.

  • avatar Morris Beattie

    The sharp image draws my eyes into it. I want to explore along every ridge to see what treats are captured there. I could spend a long time exploring this image over and over. The blurred one held my interest for about two seconds. A bunch of wavy colors, whatever.

  • avatar John Snodgrass

    Must admit, this is the first time I have voted for a blur. Considering which to put on my wall made it easy.

  • avatar Jerry Turner

    The blur is a dreamy, colorful, abstract image, whereas, the first one captures the sense of place much better.

    If you want a pretty quilt, go for the second one.

    If you want a landscape, complete with trees, go for the first one.

    Just my 2 cents…….

  • avatar Walt Anderson

    Art, I have photographed in the Palouse several times. To me the blur captures the feeling of the place much better. I wish I thought to try that the last time I was there. I will do so next week in South Dakota! BTW, if you have a taste for ice cream try Fernados on the WSU campus in Pullman WA. Best regards, Walt Anderson

  • avatar Muriel McClellan

    Love them both. But if I were to hang one on the wall, I would go with the blurred version. Enjoy the Palouse. It is a real treat. Best to you and Denise.

  • avatar Loren Charif

    Even though they’re the same scene, they’re very different. And both beautiful. Asking me to pick a favorite (in this case) is like asking me to pick my favorite child (or, should I say, my favorite child of yours!).

  • avatar Deirdre Sheerr-Gross

    No challenge from me…
    Both are their own right.
    What a treat!!
    Warm wishes to you both.