For Your Critique: Image #17 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

For Your Critique: Image #17

This image was created with the hand held Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/5 in tv mode. When working on a boat or in other situations that require a minimum shutter speed I will often choose to work in Tv Mode and dial in the required exposure compensation.

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

For Your Critique: Image #17

The image above of Flightless Cormorants performing their aquatic courtship/mating dance was photographed from a panga (Zodiac) on the 2010 Galapagos Photo-Cruise of a Lifetime. It is presented here for your critique; feel free to praise it or rip 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?

Over the course of the next two weeks I will present three additional images in this series for a total of twenty in all. The last will be followed by several revelations including two major ones.

One of the very best ways to grow as a photographer is to look at as many good images as possible. I do that often in books, by checking out contest result web sites, by critiquing images on Bird Photographers.Net (BPN), by visiting the web sites of the world’s best photographers, and during image critiques and by encouraging image sharing on our BAA Instructional Photo-Tours (IPTs).

The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT

Do consider joining us in July 2013 in the Galapagos; it may very well be my last trip down there….

The GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience: 13 FULL and two 1/2 days of photography: $12,749. Limit 13/Openings: 5.

July 2-16, 2013 on the boat. Fly to Quito on June 30. Travel insurance day: July 1. Fly to the archipelago on July 2. Get off the boat on July 16. Spend that afternoon and evening in Puerto Ayora (lunch & dinner on your own). Fly to Quito on July 17. Fly home on the early morning of July 18. Non-refundable deposit: $5,000.

Briefly, my two-week trips are without equal. The world’s best guide, a killer itinerary, a great boat (the Samba), and the best leader with seven Galapagos cruises under his belt. The great spots include Tower Island (including Prince Phillips Steps and Darwin Bay), Hood Island (including Punta Suarez, the world’s only nesting site of Waved Albatross, and Gardner Bay)—each of the preceding are world class wildlife photography designations that rank right up there with Antarctica, Africa, and Midway), Fernandina, Peurto Ayora for the tortoises, Puerto Egas—James Bay, North Seymour, South Plaza, Black Turtle Cove, Floreana, Urbina Bay, and China Hat. Plus tons more. And lots of snorkeling for those who wish to partake. All park fees, meals except as noted above, guide fees, ground transportation, and the flights to and from the Galapagos are included.

Click here for information on all BAA IPTs.


BIRDS AS ART Bulletin #388 is on line and can be accessed here in spectacular white on black type. Here are the features:

  • The 2012 Southwest Florida Instructional Photo-Tour (IPT)

Earn Free Contest Entries and Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

More and more folks are earning multiple contest entries with their B & H purchases. See here for details on that. Eleven great categories, 34 winning and honored images, and prize pools valued in excess of $20,000. Click here to visit the competition home page.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images 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 400mm f/4 IS DO lens. I missed this versatile lens so much on last year’s trip that I will surely borrow one for my 2013 trip; it is unsurpassed for panga (Zodiac) photography.
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.
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.

16 comments to For Your Critique: Image #17

  • Steven Swart

    This comp shows the water movement created by the birds and the direction of movement. Also if you moved the birds to the right you would cut off the water feature.This comp also focus my eyes immediately on the birds and then I am drawn to the right along the water trail.

  • Mary Stamper

    I can’t see any reason to change the position of the birds. The wave flow seems to fall from the right on down, which puts the birds in the lower left. I personally don’t get the notion that moving objects need to have a place to move to. No they don’t. That can be left to the imagination. And having movement towards the edge of the frame actually creates a sense that something is moving, particularly in a shot like this where a fast shutter speed has been used in order to freeze the actual movement.

  • Jim Swinehart

    Artie, Why TV mode?

  • Hi, I like it and would keep it with a little adjustment: making the image a little bit darker (its too light for my taste) and I would crop to exclude the light spot on the right but keep most of the small waves behind the birds. That would almost center the birds but that I would like in this case.

  • Jay

    Of couse it’s a keeper. My preference would be for the birds to be shifted towards the right hand side of the image giving them a little more space to move towards. This would cause you to either lose some of the movement in the water, or would have required you to have framed the shot differently. Assuming you didn’t crop the image, it may not have been possible with 400mm lens, and I could see why you would not want to lose the movement in the water.

  • My only nits are the highlights in the background water, they distract me. Also the one on the right edge of the frame. I’m easily distracted. 🙂

  • Ted Willcox

    Neat interaction of the to subjects. Composition is correct, as noted in Jeanette Bennett’s comment. A keeper for sure!!

  • This doesn’t quite work compositionally for me either.

    Just like with head angles, there’s a de facto “rule” that images are more balanced and aesthetically appealing if the subject have space to move into: I certainly feel that this image – good as it is is – would be improved if (say) some canvas was added to the left side of the image, and maybe cropped from the right side.

  • Wonderful shot. Don’t change balance. Your bubbling water was caused by the bodies just below the surface. That water turmoil is clearer on the right. Although their bills face to left, we know they really are not focusing on anything other than each other. Law of thirds is not forgotten here. Good job!!!

  • Jan Weld

    I would be thrilled to have captured the birds interacting so well and beiong able to see both faces. Its a keeper in my book.

  • David Policansky

    I would have framed it the way you did, Artie, because the birds are moving from right to left and the wakes behind the birds show this movement and make the composition please me the way it is.

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Does anyone care to comment on why in this image the birds need to be on the left side of the frame? artie

  • Dennis Pritchett

    I like this image, but feel the subjects should be positioned more to the right. They seem to be crowding the left edge of the composure.


  • Scott Ferguson

    Great shot technically, but perhaps the composition is a little unbalanced? A little more space on the left, and a little less space on the right?

  • David Policansky

    Well, as always, Artie, your photos are at least interesting, and this one is more than interesting. It’s very pleasing and obviously technically excellent. But for me something is missing and I don’t know what it is. In any case, it’s not one of the photos I’d show to people when I want to show them what a great photographer Art Morris is, although as Ron said, I can’t find anything not to like. (As for Ron’s light patches, well, there’s not usually much snow in the Galapagos, especially on the water.)

  • Ron Sprunger

    I can’t see a thing not to like in this one. Might wish for a tad more DOF for the left-hand bird, but the eye looks sharp, and the behavior is wonderful. I love the smooth water swirls in front, not so sure about the light patches (snow?) in the BG.

    It’s just a gorgeous shot all around.