IPT Student Getting Too Good? Part I with Image Critiques « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

IPT Student Getting Too Good? Part I with Image Critiques

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Coastal Brown Bear Eye Close-Up, Katmai National Park, AK. Image courtesy of and copyright 2011: Clemens van der Werf. This image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 1250. Evaluative metering +2/3 stops: 1/1250 sec. at f/5.6.

Critique 01/32. When I first saw this one on your web site it really opened my eyes! Exposure and sharpness perfect with a great view of the well lit eye with the perfect amount of head turn towards you. Super detail throughout. I have created and seen lots of head portraits of Coastal Brown Bear but this one is new and different. You might try a pano version by cropping half way from the upper scar to the frame edge and half way from the lower scar to the frame edge.

IPT Student Getting Too Good?

Many regular readers learned of Clemens van der Werf in this post: “Mystery Photographer & Experience Level Revealed!” The short story is that Clemens has been on virtually every IPT since attending the 2010 SW FLA IPT. He has been on the Homer IPT, the Bosque IPT, the San Diego IPT, the JBWR/Nickerson IPT, and most recently he attended the 2011 Bear Boat IPT. Prior to his first IPT he had photographed only sailboats, his dogs, and his daughter. His skills have improved steadily.

The problem is that he is getting too good.

His Coastal Brown Bear images from the recently concluded Photo-Cruise reflect continuing growth in all areas of his photography. His exposures are pretty much perfect, he has perfected his sharpness techniques, and he makes all the obvious images. But his biggest area of improvement is in seeing and creating new and different images. See the tight face portrait above as a prime example.

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Coastal Brown Bear and Cub With Salmon, Katmai National Park, AK. Image courtesy of and copyright 2011: Clemens van der Werf. This image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens (hand held at 170mm) with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 1250. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/500 sec. at f/7.1.

Critique 02/32. Here you captured the peak of the action with junior looking for a share of momma bear’s catch. EXP and sharpness perfect. Well-framed. In an ideal world I would prefer a bit more above and a bit less below.

Part I with Image Critiques

To follow along on the next 14 image critiques, first open a new window here. This will bring you to Clemens Coastal Brown Bear gallery. Clicking twice on the right-facing triangle will bring you to image 03/32. Return to this window to read the critique and then repeat the process for the next 13 images.

Critique 03/32. Interesting paired verticals with the same color scheme. Switching the two images would make more sense to my brain as the bear on the left would then be looking towards the paired bear (if that makes sense….)

Critique 04/32. Great job of pressing the shutter at just the right moment. All those head angle lessons paid off here. Perfect EXP and sharpness. Love that you have the bears well back in the frame.

Critique 05/32. Again sharpness, EXP, and framing perfect. And you recognized a good situation with the bear up on a rise. Though a bit more head turn towards us would have been a plus you did make the image as the bear was about to chomp some barnacles off a small rock. Yummy in the tummy.

Critique 06/32. Great choice of perspective with perfect EXP and sharpness. Love the grass. Great detail in the dark fur. The bear is looking just a hair to your right….

Critique 07/32. Wonderfully seen and captured. Compostional balance is perfect.

Critique 08/32. Another Todd Gustafson-like pair with both animals looking right down the lens barrel. Techs perfect.

Critique 09/32. I love the early morning light, the raised paw, and the splashes. I would tone down the two lighter rocks on/near the lower right frame edge and the tiny light spot near the right near foot. And I would do the same with the white rock just above the big splash in front of the bear.

Critique 10/32. This is another new and different image. Love the yawn (though it shows that the bear was mildly stressed). Lovely detail in the dark fur and a great job of getting the eyes sharp (most likely by manually choosing the right AF sensor….)

Critique 11/32. Beautifully timed and framed. Bummer that the little tyke did not have his head turned to our right. The image however does tell the story.

Critique 12/32. This is the cub of the bear seen in 06/32. Love seeing the open mouth and those big canines. Again, techs perfect.

Critique 13/32. Another neat pair. Love the upper left/lower right compostional juxtaposition and the contrast of the light yearling cub with the huge dark adult bear.

Critique 14/32. Killer light. Love the raised forepaw and the perfect look-back head turn. Again, choosing a good situation with the bear on the sandy ridge is half the battle. (See same in the recent post: Life on the Edge Part I.)

Critique 15/32. Nicely executed but 30 seconds late. Had the bear been well to the left the compositional balance would have been greatly improved.

Critique 16/32. This is an example of Clemens making the obvious shot but doing so perfectly. I was lucky to be on the left side of the line-up; in my very similar image it seemed that the two bears were looking right at me when in fact they were looking at a big boar coming down the bear trail.

You can learn more about Clemens here or check out his home-page slide program here. While doing so be sure to visit some of his other galleries.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of he gear that Clemens used to make the two images 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.
Canon 1.4X III Teleconverter. The new 1.4X TC is designed to work best with the newer Series II super-telephoto lenses but it works just fine with the current 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. (Note: Denise prefers the Wimberley head to the Mongoose.
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?

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