My Comments on Your Comments/Image #1 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

My Comments on Your Comments/Image #1

[Not a valid template]

For Your Critique: Image #1. See the RAW image at the end of the post.

My Comments on Your Comments/Image #1

Interesting comments indeed. The comments range from loving the image to deleting it instantly. Thanks all for commenting. Either way. 🙂 I happen to like the image a lot; it is the type of image that might do well in a contest.

Here is a sampling of negative comments:

“I would DELETE. It does nothing for me. Just a boring image. Nothing to get excited about.”
“…Can’t find order out of such Chaos. Delete it.”
“I don’t like it.”
“I would probably delete image. Actually I would never have taken it except by accident.”
“I would probably delete or modify. There isn’t anything contrasty to catch my eye or hold my eye.”

And here is a sampling of positive comments:

“It reminds me of prehistoric cave art. Beautiful, in an abstract way.”
“I think it is very special and it reminds me of a Japanese print. I agree with David P that it is a beautiful abstract.”
“I like this one because it doesn’t look like a photograph. I looks almost like it’s done with rubber stamps.Or ink strokes. Amazing what can be done with just a camera and a lens.”
“I really like it, tho’ I’ll have to study it a bit longer to figure out exactly why. One thing seems obvious to me: It’s not a blur; look at the well-defined snow flakes, some of the wing tips, and legs; and all the birds in lower right corner are sharp. The blurry effect seems to come from the snow obscuring the bodies behind it. At least part of the appeal is the muted color, which accents the black-&-white impression. Photography works in many different ways, and a “painterly” photo isn’t bad just because it doesn’t look like what we normally think of as a photo.”
“There is a balance in this image between chaos and order that’s very visually intriguing, and that makes the image work on multiple levels. Interesting chaos such as this is hard to come by.”
“Breaking the rules is pure bravery, with excellent results! It means you have a brain that can think and create. Photography becomes pretty boring if you go by all the rules.”

And here are my comments on your comments:

I try not to add too much contrast to snowy scenes. While the image may or may not be an abstract, it is not a blurred image: the shutter speed was 1/640 sec. and all of the birds are rendered fairly sharp. I might go for somewhat surreal. BTW, the dark birds are White-fronted Geese, the white ones are either Snow or Ross’s Geese. Messing around in Nik Silver Efex Pro is something that I will take a crack at. Same with trying some Photoshop filters (though I am not too good at that).

As far as a very well known and talented bird photographer stating that images should not have birds with wings that cross, that sounds to me either like a misquote or something taken out of context. With less than a dozen or so birds in the frame there are times when I would advise folks to avoid such merges and times when crossed wings can add tension and interest. With hundreds of birds tightly packed in the frame as here there will always be lots of crossed wings and merges; avoiding them would be impossible, trying to would be insane.

I must admit that I made this image on purpose :). On “rules.” There are no rules, just suggestions and guidelines. You are the artist, you get to decide when to follow them and when not to. When folks choose to break the “rules” I always prefer it when they have a good reason for doing so. “Because I felt like breaking the rule” is not a good enough reason for me…. As far as the image being “art but not photography,” I am at a loss to understand that statement: when you push the shutter button you are doing photography.

Kudos to the folks who took time to really look closely at this image. Some who were going to delete it at first glance wound up liking it…. Finally, I agree that this image might really sing if we got to see it really large; how about as a 10 foot wide backlit transparency?

BTW, if you do not like an image there is nothing to be sorry about.

[Not a valid template]

This JPEg represents the RAW file. Note the BLUE cast and the fact that I have taken ETTR (Expose to the Right) to heart.

Shopper’s Guide

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.

7 comments to My Comments on Your Comments/Image #1

  • Jay

    I’ve been looking at this shot for two days now. I’m almost certain I would not have taken anything like it (nor have I ever), more because I don’t think I would have seen the shot. Looking at the picture, it is representative of the idea of “birds as art.” My first thought was that it was sort of Jackson Pollock-esque (maybe not the right analogy, but along those lines). I like it.

  • Mike O'Brien

    Unique and wonderful image. Great artistry with spectacular detail if one takes the time to appreciate the whole image with a different “viewer’s eye”. I wish I had made it. Thanks.

  • That’s the beauty of human kind. There’s never two equal thoughts.

  • cheapo

    While my camera/card combination isn’t fast enough to take multiple shots of anything in RAW, I would never delete a RAW image like this one in camera. And even without any manipulation, I still like it. Hey Artie, I reckon you could sell that RAW image to an actual wallpaper manufacturer! The upper 3/4 of that section slightly left of center could be made into a pattern quite easily.
    Sorry, haha, thats just me thinking sideways again!

  • I think it would make a great canvas wall hanging in a contemporary home, just abstract enough to be very interesting and unusual

  • Artie… something I noticed these days.. is the click for a bigger picture feature inactive in the blog now?

    Missed commenting on the earlier blog, I love the abstraction in that picture… also I think a bird blastoff in snow is a magical experience… and this image captures that!

    Subrash, We went to 800 pixels wide some time ago.

  • Artie.. after reading the mixed reviews (I happen to like the final image, though I admit, I might have deleted in camera), I am prompted to ask you.. do you chimp mid-shoot and delete on the fly in camera? I’ve read all of your work and can’t recall you commenting on whether of not you delete in camera or review all images in post and then delete… Thanks!!

    Michael, I almost never delete in camera; too many bad things can happen. artie