For Your Critique: Image #6 & Travel Day Adventures! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

For Your Critique: Image #6 & Travel Day Adventures!

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Brown Pelican in Peach Heaven, La Jolla, CA. I created this image with the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II lens and the 2X II TC (hand held at 400mm) with the EOS-1D Mark IV. Flash at zero. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +2 1/3 stops: 1/60 sec. at f/6.3 in Tv Mode (to control a minimum shutter speed). See more on this image here.

For Your Critique: Image #6

The image above is presented for your critique; feel free to praise it or tear it to shreds. All suggestions are welcome. 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?

Over the course of the next two months or so, I will present fourteen additional images in this series for a total of twenty in all. The last will be followed by several revelations including two major ones. Do note that for your viewing pleasure, I have posted a 1400 pixel wide version of the first image in this series; you can see it here.

Travel Day Adventures!

I awoke at 3am as rain began beating down on the roof of my Mom’s home in Holbrook, NY. I got up for good and was glad to see that it had quit raining. I had the car loaded by 5:30 and was on my way to McArthur Airport in Islip for my flight to Orlando. As I drove into the airport it began to rain again so I decided to see if I could use curb-side check-in. Seeing only two folks on line I rolled up to a young cop and asked him if I could leave the car for two minutes and check in explaining that I had two bags and two carry-ons, , would need to walk the hundred yards to the terminal, grab a $4 cart, walk back to my car, and then walk back to the terminal. He smiled and said, “Sorry. No.”

It began to rain a bit harder. I made my way to the terminal, paid for a cart, got back to the car, and loaded my bags. As I went to cross the roadway the cart hit a rut and veered right smacking against the curb. I followed the cart into a four inch deep puddle. With open-toed sandals. My Think Tank bag and my two big checked bags fell off the cart into the puddle. I packed everything up and made it to the terminal. I checked in and was on line for security when I remembered that I had forgotten to return my rental car keys.

I made it to the gate an hour before my flight smiling at what a great morning I had had. Still breathing, and still loving every minute of it. If you see this on Tuesday morning, it means that I was successful in posting this from my seat on Soutwest Airlines (still on the ground) via the 3G Mobile Hotspot connection on my Droid phone.

Shopper’s Guide

Below 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. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our recently revised Shopper’s Guide.

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.
2X III teleconverter. This new TC is noticeably sharper than the 2X II TC.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. My workhorse professional digital camera body. I own two.
Canon 580 EX II Speedlight. This is Canon’s most powerful, top of the line flash.
Canon CP-E4 Compact Battery Pack. Powers the flash. Allows more consecutive flashes and faster recharging times.

19 comments to For Your Critique: Image #6 & Travel Day Adventures!

  • Ray Rozema

    Beautiful color, composistion and detail Excellent eye contact. I too wish the fade was a little lower such could see the entire bill

  • love it a lot, Artie. stunning shot…I wouldn’t have the comp. any other way.

  • Lorraine

    I would have mistaken this for a painting in any other venue. It is amazing what a camera in the right hands can do! I love this.

  • cheapo

    Now you see, if I had taken this, and had no others, I would have to use it. Otherwise not.

    Now you see, I would have to think that I am much more experienced at this than you…. artie

  • Mary Stamper

    What a supremely cool image! I love the way the bird seems to emerge out of a cloud! And I think that the amount of white balances perfectly the rest of the image.

  • Charles Scheffold

    At first, I honestly didn’t care for this image. It took me a while to realize that a computer screen doesn’t really do it justice. I tried several different monitors and have come to the conclusion that this would look great printed on a fine art paper and framed.

    I’m drawn to the bird’s eye – it’s captivating.


  • Pat Fishburne

    Art: Ilove the pelican in Peach Heaven. It’s like a pink fog is enveloping the pelican. I’m glad that you didn’t crop it because I think the image is enhanced by having as much of the pink fog above as below the pelican.

  • Artie, this is a wonderful image. I love it! Attention is focused on details of the bird. Simple background with some mystery! beautiful colors.

  • Ron Sprunger

    My initial thought was that I’d like to see the fade just a touch lower, to complete the beak and show a hint of the bird’s breast. The more I look at it, the better I like it just the way it is. Beautifully, artfully done.

  • Sarah Mayhew

    I agree with Bruce Barsness. I think it might work better if more tightly cropped so there is less white. Nice image.

    Thanks for stopping by. Obviously I disagree with both you and Bruce else I would have cropped it differently 🙂 Taking anything off the bottom would destroy the compositional balance for me. artie

  • The image fades too quickly into white; I would like to see all of the beak. I know you are trying to keep the pelican’s eye off of image center, but the white is negative space, there is too much of it at the bottom, and the eye can’t help but go there. That said, overall it is a stunning image and an unusual but appealing treatment of the subject.

  • Adam Felde


  • What’s not to like? It’s lovely.

  • I like the image very much. The bright colors of the pelican against the peach-colored background is fantastic.

  • I really like this image. Its like you are breaking new ground, once again. Would be interesting to do what you could of the orginal Audubon series this way.
    Once again, another travel snafu. Seems like you are having a lot of those, yet you do travel a LOT. Be careful.

    Thanks Jim. I can only be as careful as the pilots. 🙂 And I know that they do not want to crash. And I have devised a good luck system when I fly: I tip $5 per checked bag and I give every bathroom attendant that I encounter $2. It is sort of “fly safe/good luck” insurance. I figure it’s a good plan to treat the folks nicely and it brings good luck with the flights. If the plane crashes, what would I need with those few bucks? And so far, the good luck tipping system has a perfect record; not one of the planes that I have been on has crashed. artie

  • Forgot to say, I hope the rest of your trip home goes more smoothly!


  • I love it; it almost looks like a perfectly drawn chalk portrait. Were there distracting elements in the lower portion, or were you experimenting with the “fade to white”? Either way, it works. I’d be interested in the technique. Loren

    Thanks John, The bird was on an ugly sandstone rock with bird poop so I experimented with lots of flash and came up with a new technique. artie

  • Jay

    Beautiful shot. Love the way the colors work and the fade from pink to white, as well as the details in the feathers.

  • John Storjohann

    Artie, I love this shot…it has an almost mystical, ethereal beauty to it…a sense of a pelican rising from the mist or out of the fog. Wonderful head pose, beautiful peach-colored BG, great catch light in the eye…wish I’d been there! My only suggestion would be to crop just a bit off the bottom; I think it might tighten the composition a bit. Beautifully captured.

    On another note, happy to hear you survived the trials and tribulations of the airport…hope you had a safe flight home! Take care.

    Thanks John, I call this one “Pelican in Peach Heaven.” I like the crop as is as the bird’s eye is pretty much on a thirds position. I am safe in Orlando as I type on the way home. My right-hand man Jim Litzenberg picked me up ten minutes ago. artie