Pick Six! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Pick Six!

Below I present six totally different images. As a group, they have something in common. Leave a comment and let us know which is your favorite image and why. (Actually, feel free to comment on all of the images if you wish….) And if you would like to hazard a guess as to what the images have in common, be my guest 🙂 I will reveal my favorite on Thursday and let you know the connection between the images.

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This image was created on Little St. Simons Island, GA with the Canon 500mm f/4L IS lens, the 2X II teleconverter, and the EOS-40D. (Manual focus). Contrary to popular opinion, this image is pretty much right out of the camera: a pink omega sun!
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This Chinstrap Penguin image was created while photographing from a Zodiac near Coronation Island in the South Orkneys in the Southern Ocean with the handheld Canon 100-4oomm IS L zoom lens (at 180mm) and the EOS-1Ds MII as we pulled away from the iceberg for the second time. (I had begged the Zodiac driver to return….)
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This image was created in Brunswick, Maine with the 14mm fish-eye lens and the EOS-1D MIII. The big pile of leaves was on the lawn of the town library.
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This image is a six frame composite. Each of the six vertical images was created with the Canon 800mm f.5.6 L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark III. The images were stitched together in Photoshop CS-3 using File/Automate/Photomerge.
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This shorebird flock (mostly Sanderlings) was photographed at Cupsogue Beach Park, Long Island, NY with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and a pre-production model EOS-1D Mark IV using 45-point AI Servo AF.
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This image was created at Bosque del Apache NWR in San Antonio, NW with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X II teleconverter, and the EOS-1D Mark III. Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes in ground fog lit by the rising sun.

Let us know which is your favortie and why. And if you wish, take a guess at what connects each of the images in the group. Even a wild guess will work 🙂

30 comments to Pick Six!

  • Joseph Adair

    Beautiful imagery! I’m a bit disgusted by a certain commenter above…cropping is a personal thing you suggest to amateurs who ask for it: otherwise, only you know what you wanted to reveal about what you saw.

    As a frequent visitor of Bosque del Apache, I appreciate that image most, and envy your lens’ reach! The magic often happens beyond my 640mm range. Love the fog and I hear the cacophony in my head, great job!

    Love them all, they show your heart.

  • Ben Denner

    I prefer number six, it is an absolute beautiful picture and the only one of its kind I am sure. My comment comes from South Africa [the lost world ]
    Wish you could give workshops over here. I am in possession of your book “THE ART OF BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY”.

  • Melvin Grey (UK)

    All great images Artie, as I am sure you know. What they do show is your ability to be ALWAYS on the lookout for the chance to create beautiful compositions and the technical skill to take advantage of any situation.

  • Scotty K

    I would have to say #4 is my favorite for its beautiful simplicity and color. Of course, having been to Bosque to witness the cranes and geese firsthand, #6 really touches my heart. As far as what they all have in common, I amm guessing they were all from IPTs.

  • Steve Valentine

    Wow – how do you choose the best one for 6 amazing photographs?! If I had to go for one, it would be #1 – just! I love the lone bird silhouetted against the sun.

  • Phil Ertel

    Which one of these is my favorite is a difficult decision. For me it comes down to the Kukak Bay panorama and the Bosque del Apache images. Since I can only pick one, the Snow Geese and Sandhill Crane wins out. The dynamic colors/lighting and the number of birds gabs my attention and holds it.

    My guess at what these images have in common is that they were all taken during one of your IPTs.

  • Monte Brown


    Difficult challenge to pick. The first one is my favorite, the sun looks like a keyhole into another world.
    The sillouette of the bird completes the transparent look of the keyhole.

    Monte Brown

  • I like all these images but image number 4 is my favourite. I think that the connection is that they were all hand held. If that is the case then image number 4 is even more remarkable. Keep up the good work Artie.

  • The shot of the penguins is wonderful. The soft colors of the white glacier and the light blue that separates the iceberg/glacier in the background. The background iceberg seems completely disconnected from the foreground, just floating in the distance. Beautiful!

  • Renato Fenandez

    All great, specially #2 – the Penguins…My take on commonality would be that they are all available as Canvas?

  • All are exceptional, but the lighting/atmosphere of Bosque del Apache and the composite get my votes.

  • Jessica Pellien

    The image of the shorebirds in flight is beyond gorgeous — they look like twinkling Christmas lights or glittery tinsel. Thank you for sharing.

  • Subhrashis

    Awesome images, all!
    I am liking the chinstraps and the composite most, but that may have something to do with the heat/humidity over here! 🙂 But I reiterate, all are great in their own right!

    The common thread, i think these are all images against you usual style (bird before clean background), but which have been honored by BBC.

  • Artie – they are all excellent but the stitched pano is definitely my favourite. Exactly my kind of pic. #2 choice is a toss up between the chinstrap penguins and the backlit geese/cranes.

    The connection? – my wildcard guess is that they have all been shortlisted for the final round of judging in this year’s BBC WPOTY competition.

  • My favourite would have to be the 4th one.
    Contrary to the principle of making photographs (creating as is pictures of given situations), this photograph appears unrealistic and it could not easily be believed that such view actually exists.
    Guess its the easiest picture to paint and hardest to capture in a photographic camera (which you have). Congrats!

    However, I do like the omega sun for its colour/s, the penguins for the perfect white balance, the ‘shorebird flock’ for its genuine composition, the sixth image for its monochrome, and pile of leaves for the ‘usual’ness.

    I trace that all these photographs belong either to the warm colour scheme or the cool, and that I find is what isq common between them.

  • Adam Felde


    I like all but the leaves. I know that at least one of them (the Bosque shot) was a finalist/winner in the BBC Contest. My guess is that they have all been finalists.


  • Ben Denner

    All photos are absolutely outstanding.

  • Frodo

    I liked number 2, 4 and 5. my appreciation is Not by the hard-work taken to catch the pic but by the final product, as in what i liked the most to see. i do not understand the technicalities anyway. but still i will be waiting to know the ‘connection’. 🙂

  • The first one is the greatest one, showing up the mighty ball at the backdrop in stark contrast to a tiny creature soaring at a great distance away with the thermal mirror adding an extra dimension to the spectacle. Resembles nuclear explosion viewed through IR equipment..
    Common? My guess is the lens+extender(if is)+body combination is for each shot different, none two of the six are crossed gear-wise, which might sooner be considered as a differentiating factor, of course, but imagine the only two would have been taken with that same combination, hence the other four are united by different gear – a common feature

  • Sagar A.

    all pics are great having one thing common: infinity!!!

  • Ilija D

    Shorebirds flock is my favorite.
    Connection: Single dominant color?

  • Esther Corley

    The only one I really like is #6, having been there several times. I can almost hear the birds calling to one another. I like the mysteriousness of it and the warmth of the colors + the composition.

  • Charles Twine

    My #1 choice is the penguins photo. I like the composition balancing the penguins against the mountains(?) in the top right and also the color quality. Possibly crop a little from left side and a little from bottom.

    A close second is the sun photo with the bird (frigate bird ?) silhouette.

    #3 Seen too often.

    #4 Too artificial. Looks like a silk screen print.

    #6 Too much in photo. I would like to do a lot of cropping, especially the foreground.

    All of the photos are monochromic.

  • I like image #6 best. I like the beautiful lighting on the Sandhill Cranes, but I’m not sure how you made the image. Perhaps James Saxon is corret that the common thread is the images were taken using handheld cameras.

  • AC

    I’d go with the 4th one. As to what they have in common, great composition!

  • Pramod

    It’ the Sandhill Cranes !

  • Joanne Wuori

    I like the Bosque image–the color, the action and the drama!

  • Tom Wilberding

    Thanks, Art, for posting these great shots. The common thread? I am guessing they are all back-lit. Also they all seem to be a departure from your signature “bird on smooth color background.” All taken in the fall? Like Carol Flett, my favorites are the penguins and Sandhill Cranes. I like the warmth, mist, and layers of the crane shot, beautiful.

  • James Saxon

    Wow! A difficult choice but I like the 6 frame composite the best. I like the way the lines in the image blend but still provide separation of the layers. It is a peaceful image and offers tranquility when viewed. It was almost a toss-up with the fireball of the sun. I really liked that image but in the end it was the tranquility of the composite that put it over the top. My guess to what they have in common is they were photographed handheld?

  • I love the penguins and the one with the Sandhill Cranes. Did you do a lot of adjusting to the color on the last one? Either way, I think I like it best. The lighting on all of them fantastic.