For Your Critique: Image #3 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

For Your Critique: Image #3

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This image was created with the with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/640 sec. at f/5.6 in Av mode.

Lens/Camera Body Micro-Adjustment: +2.

Finding fire in the mist at Bosque is always a thrilling experience. To learn everything that I know about Bosque del Apache NWR before you first visit, be sure to purchase and study a copy of our Bosque Site Guide. After 16 years of visiting I have learned a bit about the place and am eager to share it with you.

For Your Critique: Image #3

Feel free to praise the image above or tear it to shreds. Would you keep it or delete it? Let us know why either way, what you like or what you hate. What would you have done differently? Above is “Geese and Cranes in the Mist.” I look forward to each of you taking your best shot.

Over the course of the next three months or so, I will present seventeen additional images in this series for a total of twenty in all. The last will be followed by several revelations including one major one.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the image in today’s post. 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.

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. My two Mark IVs are my workhorse digital camera bodies.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo GT3530LS 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.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.

The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.

Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable. Clicking on the link below will bring you to the Delkin web site. There is lots of great stuff there. If you see a product that we do not carry let us know via e-mail; we will be glad to have it drop-shipped to you and save you a few bucks in the process.

I pack my 800 and tons of other gear in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag for all of my air travel and recommend the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 for most folks. These high capacity bags are well constructed and protect my gear when I have to gate check it on short-hops and puddle jumpers. Each will protect your gear just as well. By clicking on either link or the logo below, you will receive a free gift with each order over $50.

Shopper’s Guide

24 comments to For Your Critique: Image #3

  • Lines, shapes and color – a wonderful combination.Excellent job and I would not do anything to it!

  • cheapo

    The glorious colour is like a balm for sore eyes, and the ‘natural history’, as you often describe it, leaves nothing to be desired. Epic is a good word to use. A crop to ‘panoramic’ would make an excellent alternative, but I like the way the OOF foreground and background frame the birds. ( I begin to see what you do Artie. As much as you can before the click. After all, you probably roll off hundreds of shots at a good location, so the less to do on the computer the better.) The only alterations necessary are the little bits of ‘white out’, which, to me are mildly distracting once I was over the thrill of first sight. Given the opportunity and funds, I would buy this one. :¬)


  • ThereseS

    Wow, I love this image. It has a 3D effect that makes me want to spend more time with it. There is a quiet beauty of the cranes with all the activity of the geese around them that feels like a story is being told.

  • My feeling is that less is more. This image is far too busy for me. The light is fantastic of course – perhaps a shorter focal length lens could have been used with a better result.

  • This one I love (for the reasons others have posted and more) – though I’d probably crop a bit of the foreground. It gives a bit of balance but really doesn’t add anything to the photo.

  • This is a very striking and interesting photo. The only way to improve it perhaps is lighten the upper left corner as some have suggested.

  • Pat Dunnuck

    Make a Fine Art Print & sell it…perfect!!!!!!


  • Charlie Young

    Leave it “as is”. It ain’t broke,don’t fix it.

  • Artie…not half bad…HA! Send a print to PS106

  • Ken

    Reminds me of Dante’s Inferno, the painting. Must be some really bad birds, but great photo.

  • Mary Stamper

    Spectacular! It think lighten the upper left-hand corner to match the brightness of the right. Also, rather than remove the bright spots on the lower right, I’d look for some possible spots in the lower left that could be lightened to match the right. Otherwise, a totally stunning image.

  • Jamie

    Artie this is a beautiful image for sure. While it stands on its own as is I would suggest that you try it as a panoramic by cropping it down at the top to a bit above the snowgoose taking off and at the bottom just a bit below the sandhills. This creates a panoramic crop with depth beginning with the swimming birds in the foreground, continuing to the sandhills in the middle and ending with the snowgeese in the background. For me, visually this creates the depth and perspective that I like while giving my eye a way to journey through a stunning image.

    Can’t wait to see more!


  • Looks more like the terminus of heaven and hell I’ve ever imagined.

  • Carl

    An outstanding image, again.

  • Alan Lillich

    This is incredible on a quality well calibrated monitor. The light is bursting from the earth, simmering in the FG water, and exploding in the middle. The layers of birds add engrossing depth and richness. Almost all of the cranes are facing the same direction and appear almost 2 dimensional. Then the geese behind them are fully 3D, an entertaining contrast.

  • Wonderful image. Difficult to think about improving such an image. The only thing that crossed my mind to change was to lighten the upper left hand corner.

  • Marty

    WOW! Don’t change a thing… it is STUNNING! Please tell us more and show more of the photos from that shoot. That photo just made my day! Second thought… when I was growing up we used to have a neighbor.. old Mrs. P. She would come out with her scissors and tell all the kids that she’d cut their fingers off if we touched her flowers. If you change this photo, I’ll send old Mrs. P. after you!!!!!

  • Dan Brown

    Awesome, Artie! If I may be so bold though, I would like to evict the really bright spots near the right-center edge. A very inspiration piece of ART!

  • Artie –

    Just when I think you’ve shown us the best, and it can’t get any better…it does! What a shot! Please keep inspiring us!

  • Incredibly stunning

  • Rick Scmidt

    The monochromatic look works for me, along with the sheer number of birds and that the Sandhills (presumably) are looking in the same direction, as if focused, in contrast to the chaos around them.

  • hermann

    Styling! as the paragliders used to say.

    This is good enough to hang in my house for me. The strong colours appeal to me, and the great depth of the image is a bonus. Inspirational.

  • Jay Gould

    Artie, your image is beyond unbelievable and fantastic; you keep raising the bar higher and higher. Beautiful!!

  • Keith Reeder

    …tear it to shreds…

    You’re talking crazy now Art, and you know it!

    Seriously, although this is a popular subject, style and composition, few people have made this style their own the way you have, and I’d suggest that this might even be better than the one that went down so well with the BBC back in the day: I prefer this latest one anyway, because it has more “depth” from front to back than the original.