Which is the Best? Keep two. Delete one. Why? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Which is the Best? Keep two. Delete one. Why?

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This image was created on Long Island, New York with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X II TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/8 in Av mode.

Which is the Best? Keep two. Delete one. Why?

Let’s call them A, B, and C. Interestingly enough each image was created in the same 1/100 sec: 2011:01:01 08:42:10. Pretty amazing…. Let me know which you think is the very best of the three and why and which is the worst of the three, and why. For me, one is a clear delete but I am betting that there will be some folks who pick that one as best ๐Ÿ™‚ Please note that the JPEGs here were created from the extracted JPEGs. None of them has been optimized. Please therefore do not take any differences in exposure (however minor) into account.

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Same gear. Same exposure. AI Servo AF. Lens micro-adjustment +7 (as determined by Lens Align; more on that coming soon).

It is amazing to me that the three images exhibit some relatively major differences despite that fact that they were created in virtually the same instant….

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White balance: Auto, Picture style: Standard, Color space: AdobeRGB

Relevant Bonus Question: If you have a camera that operates at a true 10 frames per second and your shutter speed is set manually at 1/1000 sec., what percentage of the action/poses are you missing?

Shopper’s Guide

Here is a list of the gear that I used to create the images above. 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.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body And this is the very best professional digital camera body that I have even used.
Canon 1.4X II teleconverter This is my most used accessory; I would be lost without it.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo 3530 LS 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.
Double Bubble Level You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card Fast and dependable.
NEOS Navigator 5 Insulated Overshoes My brand new pair of NEOS Navigators kept me warm and dry and provided safe footing and a good grip on the slippery jetty rocks.

If you are considering the purchase of a major piece of photographic gear be it a new camera, a long lens, a tripod or a head, or some accessories be sure to check out our complete Shopper’s Guide.

23 comments to Which is the Best? Keep two. Delete one. Why?

  • D Short

    I would keep A & B. These two seem to be looking at me, and C’s head is turning away from me. I can clone that drop of water out.

  • Justine

    There’s certainly nothing approaching consensus among the comments on this post. Interesting points of view, though. As a relative novice and someone who isn’t yet familiar with your general views regarding best head angles (recently bought ABP I and II, but not all the way through them yet), here are my choices: I would keep A and C and delete B. A is my favorite, I like the slight twist of the head toward the viewer and the eye contact. B is similar but has the distracting drop forming under the bill. C is different enough that I would keep it; don’t like the head angle as much as A but it is a nice profile. I don’t really care about the water drop one way or the other; might even mask it out. C also has bright highlights on the bill, which maybe could be toned down.

  • I would keep B and C, C being my favourite, it looks cleaner with better lighting and the head has a nicer shape to it, I would also clone out the drop as I find it distracting.

    1000 frames in 1 second to get all the action at 1/1000th of a second, therefore 10 frames in a second will only be 1%, therefore as already mentioned a number of times 99% missed.

  • Keith Reeder

    A & B for me, for the “eye contact”.

  • Randal Jaffe

    I first found 2 to be my least favorite because the drop of water forming on the underside of the bill makes for an odd bump in my view. After looking more I found that 3 was becoming my least favorite because the drop of water was distracting. Number 1 is my winner.

  • Artie, I’d definitely keep B and C. I like C the most. loved that drop and ‘perfectly parallel to sensor’ profile HA is perfect with the duck swimming away. The face seems lit better too. I know you dont like highlights on the bill…but I am not minding them too much here. Wet bill goes with the falling droplet. These are excellent examples to illustrate how minor HA differences make a big difference in the way the face gets lit. One can see the light on the face improve from A to B to C.

  • Mike Vanecek

    Being a novice … I like A because the bird seems to be looking toward me — more interaction? I would drop B because it is a duplicate of A and less desirable (IMHO). OTOH, C has the drop of water and does not have the neck winkle.

  • Ali

    I’d keep A and get rid of the rest.

  • Brendan Lanpher

    I like A significantly more than other two. I would probably keep A and C overall. I think the reason I like A more than B is the shape of the “disturbed” water in front of the bird. It makes a nice smooth shape with the bird in A and seems a little small and choppier in B. C is a little dull with the head angle, but the water drop is cool.

  • I would delete B. I like the head angle in both A and B, but it appears to me that the focus in B is not as precise. I would also keep C because I like the water drop.

  • Hi Artie. With the bird swimming away from the camera, I like the “looking over the shoulder” poses of A and B, with B being my favorite. I would keep B and ditch A and C. Regarding the bonus question, if the camera had a frame rate of 1000 fps and shutter speed is 1/1000 of a second it would theoretically capture 100% of the action in a full second (not possible to achieve 100% of course – mirror & shutter movement take up some of the time). So if the camera has a frame rate of โ€œjustโ€ 10 fps it is capturing only 1% of the action and missing 99%.

  • Jonathan Michael Ashton

    I would ditch C and keep either of A and B. A & B are both very good and there is little to choose between them. If pushed I would prefer B but having said that I like them both. It is only when I see two such similar images that the question arises. Had just A or just B been taken I would have been perfectly content with either.

  • From a quick skim I may be in the minority, but I would delete the 3rd one. The middle one I would pick as the best if these were my photos.

    Why? the head angle. Too straight and boring in the last one, and just a bit too crooked in the 1st.

    Middle is just right.

  • I fall into the A and C camp; A for the head angle, and C for the water drop. That said, any of the three without the other two would be a very good image; C has the definite edge for the reason stated. A or B, in the absence of the other, would be fine, too.

    Bonus question: I agree with Prem; 99%.

  • Hi Artie – I would have to agree with Joerg about the head angle in C, looking 90 degrees to the sensor and almost away. I’m a sucker for the drop of water though and would probably keep it just for that reason. Of the other two I like the head angle in A best so that’s my choice. The “twist” in the neck in A doesn’t bother me at all.

  • Edward Fisher

    I would chooose B and C, with C being the more interesting of the two.
    A has to much bend in the neck, so I would delete it.
    C has the water drop and tail feathers showing, which adds interest. The head in C apppears more parallel to the camera sensor which gets rid of the creases in the neck.

  • I would keep A and B for the same reasons Sarah mentioned in her 8:35 post. There is more interaction with the viewer.

  • Joerg Rockenberger

    I’d toss C. While the falling drop certainly adds interest I think the head angle is pointing too far away from us. This is especially emphasized by the appearance of the duck bordering on swimming away from us.

    Among A vs B, I prefer the exposure and head angle in B but don’t like the little wavelet in front of the duck about a third from the bottom of the frame and perhaps 15 – 20% from the left edge. Also, the darker wavelets in the left background encroach more on the bird in B than A. Agree with another commenter that the neck in A looks a bit twisted.

    Answer to bonus question is -as already mentioned – 99%.

    Real question IMO: why does the brightness vary so much in a burst? Not sure you saw my BPN post about my (rented) 1DMkIV at Bosque showing frame-to-frame brightness variations. I think it was Jim Neiger suggesting that it may be due to a hanging shutter…


  • Keep B & C. And exactly 99%. Will you be at the NANPA Summit in March, Mr. Morris? I’ve received a High School Scholarship to attend, and it’d be cool to meet you.

  • Prem Balson

    To answer the bonus question, one would miss 99% of the action/poses.

  • Sarah Sterling

    I like A best. Looks to me like the bird is looking at me. C is the least interesting to me as it’s a straight profile and no communication. Each one does show a different angle of the bill though.

  • After a second close look, I prefer C with the water drop. That drop (though it could be cleaned off in Photoshop) is running down his bill in B. I really don’t like head angle in A which causes a twist in his neck. That twist is less prominent in B, and it’s gone in C because he’s looking straight ahead. I like it best anyway.

  • Artie, I’d pitch A and keep B and C. The head angle in B is perfect, but in A his head looks unattractive to me. I’d keep C because the drop of water adds interest though his head angle is not your favorite.
    Bonus: you’re missing 99% of action if shooting 10 frames per second at 1/1000th of a sec. (technically speaking, but not aesthetically speaking).