What Was My Big Mistake? And Another Follow-up. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

What Was My Big Mistake? And Another Follow-up.

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This image was created with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative Metering -1/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/5.6.

Lens/Camera Body Micro-Adjustment: -4.

What Was My Big Mistake?

When the Coastal Brown Bear in the image above sat down right in front of me facing forward on the edge of the stream bank I was tremendously excited. I visualized the image that I wanted to create in an instant. I was sure that I had it right. When I saw the image on my laptop, I was dismayed. What big mistake had I made?

The image was created at Geographic Harbor, Katmai National Park on the recently concluded Bear Boat Instructional Photo-Cruise. I used central sensor/rear focus with the buttons switched AF. The image above is a JPEG that represents the original capture. When you leave a comment, please take a moment to read what you wrote and to correct any obvious errors. Doing so makes visiting the blog a more pleasing experience for all involved. Thanks.

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This image was created at Darwin Bay, Tower Island with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the Canon EF 1.4X III TC (hand held at 140mm), and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 2/3 stops: 1/3200 sec. at f/4 in Av mode.

Another Follow-up

In Editing Practice II: Swallow-tailed Gull, I presented two images and asked, “Which of these images is best, Image 1 or Image 2? Be sure to let us know why.” When I do these Editing Practice posts I need to remember to point out that the images presented are created from the extracted JPEGs and thus represent the full frame original capture. Needed crops will be executed during the image optimization process. Your job is simply to select the best file. And to let us know why you chose it.

Most everyone correctly chose image #2 as best. Doug commented that he liked #1 best because #2 was too perfect. I suggested counseling 🙂 The optimized version of #2 is above. Thanks all for commenting and for doing such a good job!

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of he gear used to make the three mages in this 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.

Remember: you can earn free contest entries with your B & H purchases. Eleven great categories, 34 winning and honored images, and prize pools valued in excess of $20,000. Click here for details.

Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot with the 1.4X III TC which is designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
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:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sale value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂
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.
Be sure to check out our camera body User’s Guides here.
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.
BIRDS AS ART Camera Body User’s Guides. Why spend $2-5 grand on a camera and not learn to use it properly and efficiently?

21 comments to What Was My Big Mistake? And Another Follow-up.

  • Joan Masson

    The front paws are centered but the edge of his left rear paw is cut off.

  • Rear left paw even… (not front)

  • Bears front Left Paw. “Clipped rather than Cropped” (based on the comment in ABP-I about that).

    I also think the toes are a bit too high in the Frame, better if they came down to the 1/4 line approx for a centered image. (i.e. too much grass showing).

  • Artie,

    One thing that looks kinda weird is the bear’s right front paw (to the left in the photo) having one finger nail less conspicuous (i.e, it has one finger mostly covered) compared to the other front paw. That’s what struck me first. Cheers, Antonio

    The bear had its fingers crossed hoping that I would not attack! artie

  • Michael

    Any way you can transplant a salmon under it’s claws? Artie, I agree with Gerald.. Once you have the primary image, pan left, right, up and down and make the additional captures. This would provide a remedy for the cut-off left hind foot which could be rebuilt in post. Now, that said, my initial reaction was…why did he bulls-eye this in the frame and cut-off that little bit of the rear toes. And then I thought..holy smokes, he was close.

  • Gerald Kelberg

    I suspect that you consider the big mistake was not panning to the left and the right of the initial image to get shots of both hind legs and more background so you would have greater freedom in editing and cropping the final image.

  • Pat Dunnuck

    I would have included only the front feet, but that can be done in the crop!

  • From me the first impulse is to keep both hind feet, if I could form a symmetrical image from them, or leave out both hind feet.

    The second impulse would have been to get closer to the ground for a lower angle, if it was possible, and I would have given much more thought to this impulse!!!

  • The bear’s left rear foot . . . the one in the right side of the frame. The other one is hidden in the grass anyway.

  • Jay Gould

    IF the opportunity presented itself, I think you should have moved to your right (the bear’s left) just a bit to shoot at an angle that would have captured the entire rear left paw as well, perhaps a bit more of the rear right paw.

  • Tom Redd

    I vote that it would be nice for both hind/rear paws to have been entirely in the shot and then make the shot more of a pano crop. Just my two cents. Oh and I think the HA may be off. 🙂

  • David

    What does the histogram show? If the emphasis was the nails on the front feet, I suspect it may be blown and should have been maybe -1. I’ve been to Geographic Harbor and lighting is really tricky there.

    Hi David, The histogram is perfect. The -1/3 stop EC was designed to protect the claws from over-exposure. The exposure is perfect. 🙂 There is no such thing as tricky lighting with digital…. Just check the histogram and you should wind up with a perfect exposure on the next frame but only every time. artie

  • I would chose the right paw in the image. The left one is covered by grasses, and unless you would have moved backward there is no way you can have them both in the frame. The excitement I was referring to was getting the shot right before the bear moved on or changed position.

    The paw on our right is the bear’s left paw. But I know what you meant. 🙂 artie

  • Don Burd

    Sorry about that. What I meant was the Left foot on the right side of the photo.

    Thanks Don. That’s what I figured. 🙂 artie

  • Probably the biggest mistake is being that close to the bear! Ok…seriously, I see what others have said about the rear feet, but that doesn’t really bother me; I think there’s too much foreground (grass); I’d probably crop it to just a sliver of grass and, since the rear feet are clipped, and there are a few intrusive blades of grass on the left, I’d crop even more (from the sides) to feature just the forepaws.

    Loren, Remember. This is the original catpure; the cropping comes later 🙂 artie

    All of that said, you may think there’s a major mistake here, but it’s still an awesome shot.


  • Don Burd

    I guess that I would of off centered the photo a little more to the right, enough so to include the entire right foot and claws. I’m not sure if I would of thought of this in the heat of the moment however. Good photo

    Don, DO you mean to include the entire right foot? (The bear’s right foot is the one hidden by the grass on our right; the bear’s left foot is the one on our right…) artie

  • The only thing I can see is the bear’s hind foot was cut off. If the front paws/claws had been further to the left in the frame, and the hind foot completely in the frame, it would be more pleasing, in my opinion.

    Which hind foot? artie

  • Elizabeth Lodwick

    That close I think I would have done a “pleasing blur” backing up. Great shot, just needs his left toes.

  • Yep, you need the right hind claw in the frame, Art – and all of the left hind claw too.

  • I see two things in the image. First, since the lens was wide open at f5.6 stopping down further would have rendered both paws and back paw sharp with more DOF. Second, the framing should have been more to the right to include the back paw instead of clipping his nails, which by the way he needed too!
    I remember a similar moment and made the same mistake, due to getting too excited about the moment.

    If you had to choose one, which rear paw? I was not excited because I was close–the bear approached me and was totally copasetic–but because I had the chance to create an image that I had long dreamed of. artie

  • Kevin Klasman

    On the bear photo, not getting the entire left rear foot? The right rear foot is partially hidden by foliage and is OK by me.