For Your Critique: Image #9 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

For Your Critique: Image #9

This panorama was created from seven vertical frames stitched together in Photoshop (File/Automate/Photomerge). The individual images were made with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark III (replaced now by the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV). ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2 stops: 1/800 sec. at 8.

As is my habit, I woke early. I was entranced by the eerie, foggy scene before me. Seen and created at 6:17am on June 10, 2009 from the deck of the bear boat anchored in Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK.

For a greater appreciation of the image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

For Your Critique: Image #9

The image above is presented for your critique; feel free to praise it or rip 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 month or so I will present eleven more images in this series for a total of twenty in all. The last one will be followed by two major revelations.

For a greater appreciation of this composite image, click on the photo. Then click on the enlarged version to close it.

KATMAI BEAR BOAT IPT: July 24-31, 2012 fr. Kodiak, AK: $6499. Limit 8/Openings 6.

Coastal Brown Bears at point blank range, cubs nursing and playing. Spectacular scenery. Likely: puffins, nesting Bald Eagle and kittiwakes, Steller’s Sea Lions, & rafts of Sea Otters.

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Shopper’s Guide

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

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:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales 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.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV User’s Guide. Learn to use your Mark IV the way that I use mine. Also available for the 7D and the Mark III here.

18 comments to For Your Critique: Image #9

  • graham larkin

    Dear Sir,
    great pictures but I have to ask what do the images straight from the camera look like before or if they are enhanced n photoshop ?
    as a beginner and have no interest in photoshop ( I do have light room ) I would like to know haw to get the best image of birds ( or anything ) sharp direct from the camera. current equipment is nikon d300s and sigma 15-500mm lens

    I would appreciate your advice .

    thank you


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Graham, There are many before and after examples posted in the blog, several in fact in the last few days. Do understand that the images that come out of digital cameras are inherently unsharp as compared to film images and, if they are properly exposed, many look washed out and are low in contrast. And many feature dust bunnies so it is hard to get away from at least minimal processing.

      That said my best advice for learning how to create the best images in-camera is to get the two book combo here. The original The Art of Bird Photography (in softcover) and the all=new follow-up, The Art of Bird Photography II (916 pages on CD only). And than start studying. artie

  • now there’s an image that made me sit bolt upright in my seat and go WOW. I mean, of course all the bird photos you post on this site are stellar, so maybe it just really caught my eye because it’s unique from your typical material … but I think it’s more. something about the minimalism to it, that confuses the mind as to whether it’s a photography or a painting, or digital graphic art.

    simply astounding. again, love the bird photos, but definitely this photo is one I’d purchase and print big.

  • Ron Sprunger

    Truly incredible. I love the softness of the fog, and the monotone look, contrasted with that one hard spit of land unsoftened by fog. I don’t understand how the deck of a boat can be steady enough to shoot a long-lens pano of that quality, but it’s beautifully done.

  • Sarah Mayhew

    Lovely, wouldn’t change anything.

  • OK,

    having come back to this a number of times now, I’m starting to realise that I don’t really like that dark left-to-right band of land in the foreground: I don’t think it needs to be removed, but I’d like to see it toned down quite a bit.

  • John Storjohann

    Artie, this is a stunning landscape; surrealistically beautiful. There’s not much else to say; it’s that good, and I’m usually not at a loss for words!

  • Liz Noffsinger

    I absolutely love this! I am always trying to catch images like this as I am drawn to “layers” of hills and mountains fading into the distance. I find them irresistibly appealing. This one is perfect. I especially like the streak of dark water in the foreground. The simplicity of the entire composition is what makes it so powerful!

  • Mary Stamper

    Beautiful! The lines flow beautifully, and the range of tones is just right! This image could be used for many purposes…..hang on wall, print in book, internet etc.

  • Charlie Young

    Beautiful pano. A definite wall hanger.

  • Well, of course you have brought joy and beauty to my day (with my cuppajoe). Thank you. I love the fog. You have captured it beautifully. Was it that blue? Seven images stitched together. It must be huge! I agree with keith, It would look great on my wall too!
    Thank Artie, your sharing makes my day brighter and me a better photographer!

  • Now that’s something I’d hang on my wall!

  • Richard Curtin

    I suppose I would keep it :-). Beautiful image! Deceptively simple. Believe the fog separates the second.ridge just enough.

  • Very subtle tonal transitions. Love the variations in line and the low lying fog. I really want to see your B & W interpretation.

  • Love the monochromatic look and mood of the image. It would be quite nice on canvas IMHO. All you need is a flock of birds in the upper middle-right. 🙂
    Keep it!

  • Love it! The blues and the overlapping hills/mountains are beautiful. The left to right flow of the elements is perfect. I have heard that it is best to stitch verticals for panoramics for the larger file size and some cropping options after the stitch. Beautiful image!

  • One of my favorites of yours. When I clicked on it and saw the large version- my jaw dropped! Beautiful image.