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Arthur Morris
08-07-2010, 02:59 PM
I will be posting pairs of images here when available, hopefully every few days at most. Please let me know which head angle that you think is best. After a bit, I will share my opinions. We are beginning with a tough one. All of the images that I will be posting are extracted JPEGs pretty much as they came out of the camera. Because I stopped down here to save the whites I did lighten each of these images before posting.

Important note: this is an ongoing thread. You can learn a lot by scrolling down but if you have played before and are re-visiting it would be best to go to the last page and scroll down to see the latest offerings.


Don't be shy. Play!

Image A.

Arthur Morris
08-07-2010, 03:02 PM
Image B. Warning: this pair is a very tough call :) I do have a definite opinion as to which one I prefer but there is nothing to say that my opinion will be correct. The idea here is for everyone to learn and to freely exchange their thoughts.

Arthur Morris
08-07-2010, 03:09 PM
If anyone has two unprocessed images that they would like to post here, please send them to me first via e-mail to samandmayasgrandpa@att.net as 800 wide, less than 200kb JPEGs. I will post those that I consider appropriate.

Aidan Briggs
08-07-2010, 04:24 PM
I'd go with image B for the slight tilt towards us.

Arthur Morris
08-07-2010, 04:56 PM
Ah, at least we have one brave young soul. :)

Rich Steel
08-07-2010, 05:25 PM
Image B for me to which seems to have better eye contact with the viewer, whereas Image A seems to be looking foward.

Dan Brown
08-07-2010, 05:37 PM
It seems too obvious to be right, but I agree that image B has better creature-to-viewer contact. I would of course keep both!

Jackie Schuknecht
08-07-2010, 05:59 PM
B for me too. Has better eye contact. "A" looks like the HA is parallel to the sensor plane.

Michael Lotito
08-07-2010, 09:22 PM
My vote goes to image 2. The head angle give the bird a personality.

Ian McHenry
08-07-2010, 09:48 PM
Well I'll go for image "A" as although "B" is more engaging If I were taking a picture in the field for ID purposes "A" would get my vote. Bill & forehead appear a smidgin sharper as compared to "B" which appears to have been moving it's head.
Cheers: Ian Mc

Ken Watkins
08-07-2010, 11:29 PM
"B" for me as well, it is more engaging.

Phil Ertel
08-08-2010, 10:47 AM
I have to admit I am a bit conflicted on my choice. Tuff choice!

It appears to me that Image A head angle resulted in the head/beak to be parallel to the senor. Thus the beak and head/eye are all the same focal plane resulting in the eye and beak being sharp.

The pose/head turn in Image B appears to me to have put the end of the beak and eye in different focal planes. However, depth of field seems sufficient to maintain the sharpness. I am curious, what was your f-stop and distance to subject? The pose in Image B does provides the viewer the perception of interaction/connection with the penguin which is a plus for me.

Based on my preference and emotions I select Image B as having the better head angle.

An interesting exercise, I an anxious to hear your thoughts.

Arthur Morris
08-08-2010, 11:03 AM
1/500 sec. at f/7.1 with the Canon 70-200mm with the 1.4X II TC hand held at 280mm with the MIV. This is going great; I am thrilled that so many are playing. I will try to remember to post my thoughts tonight! Lots more to come.

Christopher Miller
08-08-2010, 03:10 PM
I prefer "B" too. Much more engaging pose IMO.

William Malacarne
08-08-2010, 03:54 PM
I prefer B for the same reasons that others have posted.

Bill

allanrube
08-08-2010, 04:14 PM
I would like Artie to say A as I took many loon shots yesterday with this head angle. However, the slightly turned towards you ha is better - B.

Arthur Morris
08-08-2010, 05:29 PM
Thanks all for participating. I deleted A after saving it for this feature. The head of bird A is pretty much parallel to the back of the camera as many of you noted and this is a fine acceptable head angle (for me) for a perfect field guide portrait with the bird's body also parallel to the back of the camera. Here is the important lesson that nobody picked up on: in both of the images, each created in the same tenth of a second, the bird's body is angled slightly towards us. In these situations, the very minimum requirement is that the bird's head be on straight, that is, parallel to its body. In A the bird's head is actually turned away from the direction that the bird itself is pointed. In B, with the head turned just a bit more towards us, the head is on straight. As many noted, it seems that the bird is more engaged with us. For me, that is caused by the way the light is hitting the bird's face. In A, the face in front of the eye is darker than in B because the head is turned away from us and from the light. Even though it was cloudy, the light still had a direction. My two cents. After commenting on a few comments I will post two more. Good luck! Just to be clear, B has the best head angle.

Note: Thanks to Jon Saperia for correcting the typo above. Glad that someone was paying attention.

Arthur Morris
08-08-2010, 06:02 PM
'A' seems to have the perfect angle, just a few degrees off the parallel plane, but there is no interaction between the bird and us. This headangle misses the intimacy a good headangle should accomplish.'B' has a headangle that one could argue is a little too much (25?), but there is definitely contact with the bird which, for me, makes the difference.

Peter, my friend. You must either be bad in math or the Swiss use different degrees than we do :) In B I would estimate that the bird, and its head, are angled about 8 degrees towards us.

Arthur Morris
08-08-2010, 06:10 PM
I have to admit I am a bit conflicted on my choice. Tuff choice! It appears to me that Image A head angle resulted in the head/beak to be parallel to the senor. Thus the beak and head/eye are all the same focal plane resulting in the eye and beak being sharp. The pose/head turn in Image B appears to me to have put the end of the beak and eye in different focal planes. However, depth of field seems sufficient to maintain the sharpness. I am curious, what was your f-stop and distance to subject? The pose in Image B does provides the viewer the perception of interaction/connection with the penguin which is a plus for me. Based on my preference and emotions I select Image B as having the better head angle. An interesting exercise, I an anxious to hear your thoughts.

You would up with the right answer. I do believe that in many case when the bird's head is turned 2-3 degrees towards us, with the bird perfectly parallel to the back of the camera, that they eye and the bill tip will be on the same plane, thus rendering both sharper....

Arthur Morris
08-08-2010, 06:12 PM
Here is image C.

Arthur Morris
08-08-2010, 06:13 PM
And here is image D. Which head angle do you prefer and why?

Dan Brown
08-08-2010, 06:21 PM
I'm going with C as numero uno, the head is angled slightly up and toward the viewer and has more light on the face and eye. I also would keep D for two reasons, 1- the bird is intent upon his catch and therefore displaying more behavior, 2- storage is cheap these days:p

Phil Ertel
08-08-2010, 06:37 PM
First thanks for the replies above. I also find this exercise to be educational and fun.

In both C and D the head angle seems to be approximately the same. The bodies seems to have similar if not the identical pose also. The difference I see is the tilt of the head. In Image D the head appears to be slightly rotated toward the viewer whereas in Image C the head appears to on a 90% axis (not rotated). The result is that the head in Image C provides a slightly better view of the side of the face. Based on these perceptions I choose Image C as having the better presentation.

Dan Brown
08-08-2010, 06:42 PM
BTW, this is a very cool thread! In the time that I have been participating here on BPN (year and a half), the proper head angle capture technique has probably improved my bird photos more than any other technique learned! Thanks Artie and all!!

Andrew Merwin
08-08-2010, 08:48 PM
I prefer image C also. I like the position of the eye better than in image d because the eye in image D is pointing slightly down ward towards the sand. The eye position in image C is more intimate.
Andrew

Ken Watkins
08-08-2010, 09:20 PM
C would be my choice for two reasons the eye looks better (more open?), and the position of the "mud" at the bottom of the beak looks better than its position on D

Aidan Briggs
08-08-2010, 10:25 PM
Just my personal preference, but I would keep image D. The HA of image D keep the bill tip and the eye more on the same plane than image C.

Kaustubh Deshpande
08-09-2010, 10:10 AM
Artie, C in this case. Better view of the eye. You know I love playing in these ones.

Stu Bowie
08-09-2010, 12:45 PM
OK, I missed the first one, but in this I will go with C. The head is ever so slightly higher and tilted fractionally away from us. The angle also shows the eye a little more open.

Arthur Morris
08-09-2010, 12:49 PM
OK, I missed the first one, but in this I will go with C. The head is ever so slightly higher and tilted fractionally away from us. The angle also shows the eye a little more open.

When you say, "The head is ever so slightly higher and tilted fractionally away from us" are you referring to D?

Stu Bowie
08-09-2010, 12:59 PM
When you say, "The head is ever so slightly higher and tilted fractionally away from us" are you referring to D?
No Artie, I mean in C, that the head is tilted slightly higher and tilted away from us. My final answer is still C.;)

In D, it seems to be lower.

Arthur Morris
08-09-2010, 01:06 PM
It may bea matter of semantics. Do you agree with this: in C, the bill tip is closer to us than in D?

Krijn Trimbos
08-09-2010, 05:00 PM
Hi Artie,

Cool game, sorry I missed the first 3 photo's! I think it is a matter of preference here. I would choose C as a more intimate/contact with the viewer shot because of the HA being slightly tilted towards the viewer compared to the body angle which points towards the viewer but also downwards. For a behavior kind of shot I would go for D. In this one the bird seems more focussed on the prey item and oblivious to the photographer (caused by the head and body angle being in the same plane and pointed towards the viewer but also down towards the prey item) which makes it more of a bahavioral kind of shot IMHO. So what I am getting at is that in my opinion it depends on what kind of a HA you want, one that is perfect technically or one that creates more of a behavioral kind of shot. Just my 2 cents.

Thanks for starting this one up.

Cheers,

Krijn

Jackie Schuknecht
08-10-2010, 11:23 AM
D, don't like the tilt in the head in C. The bird is engaged in a behaviour so eye contact is not as important IMO.

Dave Leroy
08-10-2010, 05:27 PM
Neat thread and sorry I missed the first set.
I think in both the head and body angles are in alignment and slightly toward the camera.
For me, it appears in C that the bird has rotated its head slightly to view the photographer and perhaps making it more intimate.
In D the bird has gone back to calmly doing its thing which I prefer.

Dave

Arthur Morris
08-10-2010, 06:18 PM
As noted above, each image has its strong points. For head angle, C wins by a mile as the head is rotated towards us. With me standing behind the 800 the head of the bird in C is parallel to the back of the camera; in D, it is turned slightly away from the plane of the sensor. Had I been lying down on the beach, D would have had the best head angle as the head would have been parallel to the back of the camera. Yes, with the bill tip closer to the plane of the eye in D, the bill tip is sharper in D. But here, this was the question: "Which head angle do you prefer and why?" :)

Note: the bird in C was in no way looking at me; birds are constantly changing head positions and angles even when they are resting. Also, this has nothing to do with eye contact but everything to do with the way the light hits the bird's face.

Thanks all for playing. I will try to post another pair when I get back from my walk.

Arthur Morris
08-10-2010, 07:15 PM
Here is image E.

Arthur Morris
08-10-2010, 07:15 PM
Here is image F.

Which head angle do you prefer, and why?

Jory Griesman
08-10-2010, 08:03 PM
In E, the bird seems to be looking off into the distance, with the head angled slightly away. In F, my preferred choice, the head is angled toward me/sensor plane, and seems more engaged with us.

Andrew Merwin
08-10-2010, 08:07 PM
I prefer image E because the HA is parallel or nearly parallel to the sensor plane. Although both images are keepers IMHO, image E is better because of the HA.

Kaustubh Deshpande
08-10-2010, 08:30 PM
This is a little tougher I think....but I'd take E. In F, I find the bird in an awkward pose ( not saying he is awkward...just seems). In E, he seems very relaxed. Although his head may not be turned towards the camera as much in F, there is nice catchlight and the dof is covering the bill. E it is for me.

Aidan Briggs
08-10-2010, 10:24 PM
Image E. It has the perfect HA for the over the shoulder pose.

Dan Brown
08-10-2010, 11:19 PM
I choose E. The head and bill seem to be parallel to the sensor and the bill has better light falling on it, showing detail while the bill in F is black with no detail.

Dave Leroy
08-11-2010, 08:49 AM
My preference is F.
It seems more intimate because of the slightly increased head turn and better lighting on eye area.

The head angle in E is more square to body, but I think the camera is slightly below the bird so the head needs a tad more turn to be square to sensor.

Dave

AlvanBuckley
08-11-2010, 08:06 PM
I find the HA in image F to be a bit awkward. I feel as though the head is angled 'too much' and the bird would be in an unrelaxed position if it were to keep its head in that position. In image E the bird seems to be in a more natural position and looks as if it is concentrating on something.
I prefer image E.

This is a fun game! Thanks for starting this :)

Alvan

pat lillich
08-13-2010, 10:23 AM
This is very interesting. I understand that this will help to recognize appropriate head angles for good bird photography. But I find myself being drawn to the wrong photos - to me, image F has more energy, while image E is more neutral - doesn't interact with the viewer as much. Obviously I'm going to have to work on this - thanks for posting these Artie - I would really like to understand this better.

Arthur Morris
08-13-2010, 11:25 AM
This is very interesting. I understand that this will help to recognize appropriate head angles for good bird photography. But I find myself being drawn to the wrong photos - to me, image F has more energy, while image E is more neutral - doesn't interact with the viewer as much. Obviously I'm going to have to work on this - thanks for posting these Artie - I would really like to understand this better.

Hi Pat, I am glad that you are having a hard time deciding :) Except for the very first pair, where B clearly had a better head angle (at least by my standards :) than A), there have been strong arguments in favor of each image. That's why this thread is called "Head Angle Fine Points." I suggest that everyone scroll down this page and read the basics on Head Angle in both "Head Angle Police" and the newer post, "Head Angle Philosphies." BTW, I have made all of this stuff up over the past 28 years so you will not find it anywhere or in any book....

My main intention here is to get folks to consider the finer points of this subject. A quick look at a great many of the images in Avian reveals that there are lots of folks who do not understand the basics of Head Angle. Every day I critique many images that are otherwise fine except for the fact that the bird's head is angled away from the viewer rather than towards the viewer :)

See Pane next :)

Arthur Morris
08-13-2010, 11:34 AM
Going strictly by head angle, I give a very slight advantage to the second image, F, in Pane 39. I like the slightly better view of the gorget, the fact that the face is slightly better lit, and the fact that the head is turned maybe a degree or two towards us). In E, the head is possibly angled a tiny bit left of the centerline of the bird's body. The strong point for E is the slightly raised crest. Do note, however, that the raised crest is 100% serendipitous and has nothing to do with the head angle. So I will gladly keep and optimize both images but give the nod (if you will), by 1/2 degree, to F.

Thanks all for playing. I will be back after lunch with another pair.

Arthur Morris
08-13-2010, 11:37 AM
To Pat: You got it "right."

To Alvan (and Kaustubh): YAW. For me, both images depict a bird that looks both natural and relaxed.

To Dave: I like your line of reasoning :)

Arthur Morris
08-13-2010, 12:21 PM
Image G.

Arthur Morris
08-13-2010, 12:23 PM
Image H.

Which has the better head angle, and why?

Arthur Morris
08-13-2010, 12:27 PM
Please do not ask me how I got that buff background in Pane #51....

Never mind the above. It was either temporary or temporary insanity.

Dave Leroy
08-13-2010, 01:11 PM
Both are mighty fine images, and it does not seem to get any easier.

It is really hard to tell on H, and it might just be perfectly square to the sensor.

However, I am drawn to G, which has better viewer contact for me and is more friendly to look at.

Dan Brown
08-13-2010, 02:10 PM
I choose G. The eyeball is rotated and looking at the viewer and the head seems to be turned toward the viewer. This may have caused the bill tip to be a tiny bit less sharp than the bill tip in image H but, IMO this is so slight that it doesn't overpower the viewer-to-bird eye contact.

Kaustubh Deshpande
08-13-2010, 02:33 PM
G for me, Artie. I know you say that its not about eye contact. In both images, bird is probably looking at the viewer. But I still find there is more connection with viewer in G. Strong point of H is that eye( and the surrounding area) is slightly better lit. Cant wait to hear your opinion.

Arthur Morris
08-13-2010, 04:03 PM
G for me, Artie. I know you say that its not about eye contact. In both images, bird is probably looking at the viewer. But I still find there is more connection with viewer in G. Strong point of H is that eye( and the surrounding area) is slightly better lit. Cant wait to hear your opinion.

K, You will have to wait at least a day, maybe two :)

Andrew Merwin
08-13-2010, 07:37 PM
They both have excellent HAs. IMO, the images are so close in terms of HA that I choose both. Neither HA is appreciably different to trash one or the other.

Myer Bornstein
08-13-2010, 07:54 PM
I would go with C because the eye stripe is more prominant and makes the bird seem more intense, but I woul;d keep them both:)

Rachel Hollander
08-13-2010, 10:21 PM
Hi Artie - sorry I missed the first few while I was away but it has been a good read. I'm going with G for this one because the bill is so large on the booby that I believe it is an integral part of the picture and in G it is captured with some depth by the slight turn toward us. In H the bill seems flat.

Rachel

Lance Peters
08-14-2010, 02:15 AM
geez how did i miss these - great thread - glad I got here in time for this one....


I believe H would be parallel to the plane of the sensor thus the tip of the bill appears to be more covered by the DOF than in G.

G - does appear angled towards you a little - but tip of the bill looks like it is a little soft.

I Choose H - for the tip of the bill being sharper.

Ken Watkins
08-14-2010, 03:33 AM
Image H, because of the better pupil position.

Arthur Morris
08-14-2010, 06:37 AM
I would go with C because the eye stripe is more prominant and makes the bird seem more intense, but I woul;d keep them both:)

Myer, Wake up! We are up to G & H :). The answer to C & D is above in Pane #21. But you did get it right! (We are on Page 2.) See you on Saturday at the JBWR/Nickerson IPT :) And good point on the eye stripe being more prominent.

Alan Lillich
08-14-2010, 09:36 PM
Image G is definitely more appealing to me. I'm pretty sure that comes from an impression of engagement. The bird in H seems to be looking ahead in the plane of the image, the bird in G seems to be looking a little bit towards the viewer. If this thread did not have head angle in the subject I would have sworn the head angles are the same. With that clue I can see a tiny difference in HA in the curve where the bill meets the top of the head. Nonetheless, I think the eyes are influencing me more. The eye in G has a bit of black rim at the front of the iris, the eye in H has a small black rim at the back of the iris. I think this is where I'm getting the impression of looking out versus ahead.

Myer Bornstein
08-14-2010, 09:42 PM
I like G appears to be looking at me very sutle

John Hawkins
08-15-2010, 08:55 AM
I like G also as it has the ever so slight tilt to the viewer and I do not mind the little softness of the bill. I also like the fact that it is not as tight to the left as H. H looks too stiff to me.

Phil Ertel
08-15-2010, 03:25 PM
I like Image G. The slight head turn toward the viewer makes it more interesting to me when compared to the head being parallel to the sensor in Image H.

pat lillich
08-16-2010, 08:37 PM
I like G too - in part because the shape of the upper eyelid and the slight turn towards the camera gives me the opportunity to read a story into his expression (ie - he looks a bit like he is mildly glaring at the photographer for intruding on him) while the other eye shape and straighter head angle gives a more bland effect. But boy are both beautiful....

Richard Mc Donald
08-20-2010, 06:22 AM
I'll go H also because the bird looks more alert by the simple fact that the iris is slightly dilated and a tad more forward.

In G the bird looks doughy.

Richard

Arthur Morris
08-20-2010, 01:43 PM
I was serious when I said, "It does not get any easier than this." But I guess I was wrong. For me G is the no-contest correct head angle. In H the head is either square to the camera or more likely turned about 1 degree away. In G, the head is turned slightly toward us--BTW, that puts the eye and the tip of the bill on the same plane--and the rear part of the face is much better lit. Aside from head angle G is a much more balanced COMP with a bit more of the body included and I agree that the dilated pupil (not iris Richard but I understood what you meant so thanks :). Thanks to all for playing and congrats to those who got it.

Arthur Morris
08-21-2010, 03:18 PM
Hey Marty, Good seeing you here. And you got it right. If you scroll through the thread you will see many pairs of images :) See the next three panes!

Arthur Morris
08-21-2010, 03:20 PM
Image I

Arthur Morris
08-21-2010, 03:21 PM
Image J

Arthur Morris
08-21-2010, 03:22 PM
Image K

Please let me know your thoughts on the three head angles :) Remember, these are extracted JPEGs not optimized files.

Alan Lillich
08-22-2010, 07:34 PM
Image I does nothing for me, it is neither here nor there. J is a nice classical portrait, it is my favorite. I really want to like K, it has engagement and some humor, shows the narrow profile of the beak. But for me a head-on shot of a bird really only works if the eyes are clearly visible. These are as much as they can be, but not as much as I want. J and K combine nicely to tell a story, especially if you've seen a skimmer at work and marveled at them dragging that apparently huge beak through the water. As a standalone image, J is the best of the 3.

Alan

Rachel Hollander
08-22-2010, 09:16 PM
I'm going with I on this one. I think the bird's body is ever so slightly pointing away from us so that the head turn in I brings it back to us and also reveals more detail in both the neck and head areas. Although I'd probably actually prefer something between I and J. J would be my second choice and then K. K just doesn't work for me when the bill is so thin and there is hardly any eye visible.

Rachel

Kaustubh Deshpande
08-24-2010, 10:50 AM
Artie, J is better than I for me. HA is a little extreme in I, I think. In J, the eye is seen much better. I like K a lot too. But it is so different that I cant really compare it with J.

Arthur Morris
08-26-2010, 02:01 PM
Thanks all of tried there hand at this one. Several nailed my thinking :) For me, I is a delete. There is too much head turn, so much that the eye is seen only as a slit. J is the classic perfect for portraits 1 degree turn towards us. And K is as good as it gets for a skimmer looking down the lens barrel as it shows off the laterally flattened "clam knife" bill. So Peter and Kaustubh saw it my way and Clive did well for his first try. I will post another tonight.

Arthur Morris
08-28-2010, 08:12 PM
He's back!

Image L

Arthur Morris
08-28-2010, 08:13 PM
Image M. Which has the better Head Angle, and why?

Jory Griesman
08-28-2010, 08:29 PM
To me, this is splitting hairs, but I like L. There is slightly more engagement between bird and I (I think!). Maybe 1.5 degrees tilt toward me, vs. parallel or 0.5 degrees angled away for M. My 2 cents (2.1 cents Canadian).

Alan Lillich
08-29-2010, 09:19 AM
I quickly decided that I liked L better, but it took some time to figure out why and relate that to head angle. Even though I normally seeing through the nostrils (how's that for a fetish?), something about M felt off. Then I realized that the legs indicate that the body is rotated slightly towards the viewer. The nostrils indicate that the head in M is probably close to being in the image plane, while the head in L is rotated slightly towards the viewer. So the head in L is inline with the body, while the head in M is rotated slightly away relative to the body. (It helps that I spent some time yesterday rereading the head and light angle sections of ABP II.) This is turning into quite the education!

thanks,
Alan

Myer Bornstein
08-29-2010, 11:20 AM
I pick L. more engagement with me than does M

Kaustubh Deshpande
08-30-2010, 09:47 AM
Definitely L....head slightly turned towards the camera. In M, my eyes go out of the frame very quickly following the skimmer's line of sight.

Jon Saperia
08-30-2010, 05:33 PM
Thanks all for participating. I deleted B after saving it for this feature. The head bird A is pretty much parallel to the back of the camera as many of you noted and this is a fine acceptable head angle (for me) for a perfect field guide portrait with the bird's body also parallel to the back of the camera. Here is the important lesson that nobody picked up on: in both of the images, each created in the same tenth of a second, the bird's body is angled slightly towards us. In the situations, the very minimum requirement is that the bird's head be on straight, that is, parallel to its body. In A the bird's head is actually turned away from the direction that the bird itself is pointed. In B, with the head turned just a bit more towards us, the head is on straight. As many noted, it seems that the bird is more engaged with us. For me, that is caused by the way the light is hitting the bird's face. In A, the face in front of the eye is darker than in B because the head is turned away from us and from the light. Even though it was cloudy, the light still had a direction. My two cents. After commenting on a few comments I will post two more. Good luck!

This thread is the third in the series you suggested folks read in the series on HA you suggested in a reply to a post I made in the "eager to learn forum". Think I was getting it - but your note here confuses me a bit. You said you deleted "B", yet it seems like you too prefer it. The light on the head does seem better on B, but the HA is not parallel to the FP while it does seem better in A. Am I understanding you correctly, what have I missed?

Arthur Morris
08-30-2010, 05:49 PM
Hi Jon, Thanks for catching my brain typo :)

I just edited that post to read as follows:

Thanks all for participating. I deleted A after saving it for this feature. The head bird A is pretty much parallel to the back of the camera as many of you noted and this is a fine acceptable head angle (for me) for a perfect field guide portrait with the bird's body also parallel to the back of the camera. Here is the important lesson that nobody picked up on: in both of the images, each created in the same tenth of a second, the bird's body is angled slightly towards us. In these situations, the very minimum requirement is that the bird's head be on straight, that is, parallel to its body. In A the bird's head is actually turned away from the direction that the bird itself is pointed. In B, with the head turned just a bit more towards us, the head is on straight. As many noted, it seems that the bird is more engaged with us. For me, that is caused by the way the light is hitting the bird's face. In A, the face in front of the eye is darker than in B because the head is turned away from us and from the light. Even though it was cloudy, the light still had a direction. My two cents. After commenting on a few comments I will post two more. Good luck!

Note: Thanks to Jon Saperia for correcting the typo above. Glad that someone was paying attention.

It is always good to have a student who will keep you on your toes.

Jon Saperia
08-30-2010, 05:53 PM
Hi Jon, Thanks for catching my brain typo :)

I just edited that post to read as follows:

Thanks all for participating. I deleted A after saving it for this feature. The head bird A is pretty much parallel to the back of the camera as many of you noted and this is a fine acceptable head angle (for me) for a perfect field guide portrait with the bird's body also parallel to the back of the camera. Here is the important lesson that nobody picked up on: in both of the images, each created in the same tenth of a second, the bird's body is angled slightly towards us. In these situations, the very minimum requirement is that the bird's head be on straight, that is, parallel to its body. In A the bird's head is actually turned away from the direction that the bird itself is pointed. In B, with the head turned just a bit more towards us, the head is on straight. As many noted, it seems that the bird is more engaged with us. For me, that is caused by the way the light is hitting the bird's face. In A, the face in front of the eye is darker than in B because the head is turned away from us and from the light. Even though it was cloudy, the light still had a direction. My two cents. After commenting on a few comments I will post two more. Good luck!

Note: Thanks to Jon Saperia for correcting the typo above. Glad that someone was paying attention.

It is always good to have a student who will keep you on your toes.
Thanks, I had to get one right after a while. I will keep reading.

Arthur Morris
08-31-2010, 04:38 PM
OK, back on track to L and M. Which has the better head angle? Some folks above state that I am splitting hairs. Most folks prefer L to M by a good margin. If you were able to switch from L to M instantly it would be evident to all the L is far superior to M and that the bird's head in M is actually turned a bit away from us. To make it easy for all to see I have created an animated GIF. Thanks to a whole bunch of folks and me spending two hours pulling my hair out, I am finally able to post the image here.

http://www.birdsasart.com/baacom/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/skimmer-anim-gif-maybe-_W3C0642-Nickerson-Beach-Lido-Beach-Long-Island-NY.gif

If any of you still think that M is better than L then I will be sending you back to Head Angle Kindergarten :)

Arthur Morris
08-31-2010, 04:41 PM
To see all the folks who made the above possible check out the post here (http://www.birdsasart.com/baacom/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/skimmer-anim-gif-maybe-_W3C0642-Nickerson-Beach-Lido-Beach-Long-Island-NY.gif).

And then add Peter Kes to list :) Thanks all.

Jory Griesman
08-31-2010, 05:42 PM
The GIF really accentuates the difference between L and M.

Jon Saperia
08-31-2010, 09:06 PM
One thing I observe is that while I get the head angle difference and agree L is more engaging, one thing the animation points out is that in M, the head is not as squashed down on the body as in L. in L the effect is not too bad, and I know this is about head angle so L wins. Just that this is one aspect of the head position that was pointed out to me a while ago and is pretty evident in the animation you created.

Arthur Morris
09-01-2010, 04:24 AM
Hey Jon, For a skimmer, the hunched down posture is typical so L is more natural for me.

Jon Saperia
09-01-2010, 06:52 AM
Thanks for the pointer - what is natural does matter - I agree. Now I get to quote, or at least paraphrase, something you once said: To be a good bird photographer, you have to be a good birder. I am still working on both :-)

Rachel Hollander
09-01-2010, 02:04 PM
Artie - I think the GIF is a great teaching tool. Thanks for making the time investment.

Rachel

Arthur Morris
09-01-2010, 02:11 PM
YAW. There is still some hair left on my head. I will have Lance post his tutorial now that I understand it. I will add a bit to it.

Arthur Morris
09-01-2010, 05:47 PM
Here are three more. Rank em, worst to best. This is image N.

Arthur Morris
09-01-2010, 05:48 PM
Image O.

Arthur Morris
09-01-2010, 05:49 PM
Image P.

Jon Saperia
09-01-2010, 05:58 PM
I would go O, N, P. In P (lowest rank) the head is turned a bit too much toward the camera - it looks to be a quite a lot. N is better, but is tilted a bit away from the camera. O seems to me to be the best with the head tilted just the one or two degrees toward the camera to give the appearance of it looking at you.

Andrew Merwin
09-01-2010, 07:28 PM
I agree with Jon. P, N, O from worst to best. Simply stated, I think O has the best HA.

Myer Bornstein
09-02-2010, 05:38 AM
i like P the best the followed by O and lastly N . P makes the bird more attentive. BTW I would clone out the dark area on the right side :D

Arthur Morris
09-02-2010, 06:02 AM
BTW I would clone out the dark area on the right side :D

Thanks for playing. Remember, these are only extracted JPEGs, i.e., the images have not been optimized :)

Rachel Hollander
09-02-2010, 12:37 PM
I'm going with O as the best and then P and then N. I think N is slightly away from us and P is turned a bit too far towards us.

Rachel

Kaustubh Deshpande
09-02-2010, 04:15 PM
Artie, O is definitely the gold medal winner for me. For silver, I will give P a slight edge over N. With bird looking straight out of the frame, my eye also wanders out. P is a little extreme, yes, but I still like it more than N.

Alan Lillich
09-04-2010, 11:08 AM
Worst to best: N, P, O. Although N and O look similar at first glance, as I looked more the tradeoffs among the 3 determined my choice and put P in the middle. N is the worst because the bird is looking slightly away, the catchlight is behind the pupil, the bill seems a tad foreshortened (farshortened?). P has the catchlight nicely at the front of the eye, but the bill is definitely foreshortened and the right angle juncture of the lower bill and neck is unappealing. O strikes the best balance, the catchlight is just in front of the pupil, the bill is nicely proportioned, the curve where the neck meets the lower bill is pleasing.

John Hawkins
09-04-2010, 11:18 AM
I think P,O,N. I like p. I am partial to the look right at the camera. Has a more inquisitive look.

Dave Leroy
09-05-2010, 07:47 PM
With the best first, I say O, P, N.
It looks like the body may be turned very slightly away from the camera and head is square to body in N therefore a bit away from camera.
P gives a more full view of head and better viewer contact, and O looks about perfect to me.

Dave

Beverly Kune
09-07-2010, 05:20 PM
From best to last ... for me ... O, N, P. O is the most personal and inviting, feels very intimate, great HA.

I had a bit of a time deciding between N & P for next place, & finally decided that in P the HA was too much, and tended to foreshorten the lovely beak. N is a nice-enough portrait, although lacking the emotional engagement. It seem that the body is turned slightly away, and the HA is either in line with the body, or perhaps a degree or so turned away ... gives a nice view of the face (great for an id shot).

Jon Saperia
09-09-2010, 04:23 PM
If this were by vote, then the order I suggested might come in second as only a couple of us went with P as the worst followed by N. I think most of us said that O was the best. Artie, if I have N and P reversed, that is a preference for N by a bit over P, can you say why this is wrong please? Thanks.
Jon

Arthur Morris
09-11-2010, 02:04 PM
My two cents :) N is a clear delete. The bird's head is turned slightly but definitely away from the plane of the imaging sensor. If you picked this as your favorite or even as your second favorite, you need to go back and study the basics in the various ER threads. That leaves us with O and P. Both are keepers with O my favorite by a fair margin as P is borderline too much head turn towards us. Do note that the semi-plover's body is angled ever-so-slightly away from us.

Arthur Morris
09-11-2010, 02:09 PM
If this were by vote, then the order I suggested might come in second as only a couple of us went with P as the worst followed by N. I think most of us said that O was the best. Artie, if I have N and P reversed, that is a preference for N by a bit over P, can you say why this is wrong please? Thanks.
Jon

Jon, In N, the bird's head is angled slightly away from us (as is the body). With the body angled ever-so-slightly away from us a square head angle is the very minimum required..... While N looks OK after a quick look careful study reveals that the head is indeed angled away from us.

Arthur Morris
09-11-2010, 02:15 PM
Almost forgot, thanks all for playing and congrats to those who nailed it.

Here is image Q.

Arthur Morris
09-11-2010, 02:17 PM
And here is Image R. My only concern is with the amount of head rotation of the adult bear: which is the better image, Q or R? And why?

Brent Stephenson
09-14-2010, 10:11 PM
Having agreed, mostly ;), with the previous ones I thought I'd join in. I like Q better than R due to the fact the adults head is angled slightly down and towards the camera. This allows the bears left ear to be just visible over the head, which I think makes for a more pleasing shot. Also like the dribble from the salmon in Q.
Cheers,
Brent

Kaustubh Deshpande
09-15-2010, 09:44 AM
I like Q more Artie. It looks more relaxed....enjoying a nice meal kinda relaxed. In R, for some reason, it doesn't appear that way. But I think the face is lit slightly better in R. BTW, why vertical?

Arthur Morris
09-15-2010, 10:01 AM
Note to K and Brent: look carefully at the light on the eye in each image....

Myer Bornstein
09-15-2010, 10:05 AM
I like R better lighting is better and the eyes are brighter

Arthur Morris
09-15-2010, 10:06 AM
BTW, why vertical?

K (sorry, I forgot what your friends call you :confused:) A horizontal would have worked here to but I prefer the front-end vertical in this and similar situations for the following reason: if I am working in horizontal format and the adult raises it's head I am out of business.... Front-end vertical COMPs are discussed in detail in the chapter on advanced composition and image design in ABP II (https://store.birdsasart.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=32) (916 pages on CD only).

Kaustubh Deshpande
09-15-2010, 10:10 AM
Thx Artie. I understand why you went with vertical. yes, I agree that eye is better lit in R.

KD

Arthur Morris
09-15-2010, 10:22 AM
All good. Here is the lesson: head angle is almost always about the way the light strikes the face (and the eye...)

Remind me of what your friend's call you....

Kaustubh Deshpande
09-15-2010, 10:23 AM
All good. Here is the lesson: head angle is almost always about the way the light strikes the face (and the eye...)

Remind me of what your friend's call you....

KD. easy.

Arthur Morris
09-15-2010, 10:24 AM
KD, Thanks. So easy that I forgot. But I will not do that again.

Brent Stephenson
09-15-2010, 04:08 PM
R certainly does have a slightly more well lit eye, or perhaps it is just you can see more of the eye due to the angle of the head? The eye and nose would be on the same plane as the camera. I do however, like the profile of Q. The eye still shows a good catchlight, but perhaps with more shadow around the 'eyebrow', and I do like that tilt slightly towards the camera (and down at the cub). Both shots are of course stunning and I'd keep them both!

Jon Saperia
09-15-2010, 04:23 PM
As I go through these examples and get some right, and some wrong, I look at what I have done and find some things that are clearly pretty good (or at least I think so) and some things that are not very good. The question is where is the best place to post these questions which are about head angle or other compositional elements you mention in this forum? Should I post examples here or would it be better to do all posting of this kind in the 'eager to learn' forum?
Thanks
/jon

Arthur Morris
09-15-2010, 05:11 PM
ETL would be perfect. Be sure to send me a link and I will tend to it if I am home :) Or Avian. Or as here, Wildlife. No head angles for plants...

Jon Saperia
09-15-2010, 05:45 PM
Thanks. I will post some when i get back from my road trip to the ETL.
/jon

Arthur Morris
09-15-2010, 06:09 PM
How does one take a road trip to ETL??? :confused: :)

Jon Saperia
09-15-2010, 07:27 PM
See, I have not been able to do any photography for a while and it is messing with my head :-)

Arthur Morris
09-16-2010, 09:08 PM
See, I have not been able to do any photography for a while and it is messing with my head :-)

I can dig it!

Arthur Morris
09-16-2010, 09:13 PM
http://www.birdsasart.com/baacom/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/28/welcome-to-birds-as-art/Animated-GIF-_W3C7584-Geographic-Harbor-Katmai-National-Park-AK.gif

I will admit that when you look at Q and R individually that it is a difficult call. But when you look at an animated GIF or when you see the images appear one and then the next in your browser, this one is child's play: in Image R, the bear's head is rotated a bit towards us and that lights the eye up beautifully. And for me everything else is about equal.

Tom Graham
09-19-2010, 09:44 PM
On your #131 reply GIF do you have Q and R reversed?
For me Q is the image that tilts toward me. And Q shows tip of left ear that makes the head 3 dimensional. Although R shows perhaps better right eye lighting, but really really hard to see.
Regards - Tom

Arthur Morris
09-20-2010, 08:00 AM
Hi Tom, There is no "reversed" in the GIF. It runs forever and the images are not labeled. As for Q and R, I have deleted Q and added R to the collection, but thanks for sharing your thoughts. For me, the differences are huge and the tiny bit of ear showing in Q did not impress me :) We will need to agree to disagree on this one.

Arthur Morris
09-20-2010, 08:08 AM
Furhtermore, in R, the entire snout is well lit. In Q, with the head rotated away from us, the entire snout is dark. And in R, the teeth are showing a bit and the bear looks to be smiling. Not so in Q.

Arthur Morris
09-21-2010, 06:53 PM
Image S.

Arthur Morris
09-21-2010, 06:54 PM
Image T. Which head angle do you prefer and why? Again I believe that there is a clear choice here :)

Andrew Merwin
09-21-2010, 07:31 PM
I prefer image T because the HA is shallower by a degree or 2. The HA in S seems 2-3 degrees off to my eye.

Myer Bornstein
09-21-2010, 07:34 PM
Image S, You sense the bird is communicating with you

Arthur Morris
09-21-2010, 07:40 PM
Well, somebody got it right at least as I see it:)

John Hawkins
09-21-2010, 08:50 PM
I say S. I like the head angle and the eye contact.

Oscar Vazquez-Ortiz
09-21-2010, 09:23 PM
I vote for "B." Might not meet the strict HA rules but it's a more appealing image.

Oscar Vazquez-Ortiz
09-21-2010, 09:27 PM
I think S would meet the strict requirements of the HA commando force! LOL!

Arthur Morris
09-22-2010, 06:05 AM
I vote for "B." Might not meet the strict HA rules but it's a more appealing image.

Hi Oscar, See Pane #18 on page 1 to see if you got it right or not. And why. There have been lots of quizzes since that one :) The red knots, Images S & T, are the latest quiz. Thanks for playing.

Paul Randall
09-22-2010, 06:17 AM
Would have to say image S is the better of the two. The bird is alert and meeting the viewers eye.

Rachel Hollander
09-22-2010, 09:22 PM
I think the HA on S is better than T, although what I am most drawn to is the difference in the eye from S to T.

Arthur Morris
09-23-2010, 05:15 AM
I think the HA on S is better than T, although what I am most drawn to is the difference in the eye from S to T.

What difference are you seeing in the eye.

Rachel Hollander
09-23-2010, 06:34 AM
What difference are you seeing in the eye.

Artie - in S the eye is round and appears more alert (for lack of a better word) and in T it is less than round, slightly oblong.

Rachel

Juan Carlos Vindas
09-23-2010, 10:31 AM
In pane #21, C for me, there is more ''life'' on the eye. pane #22, the bird is more focused on whatever it has on its bill, that's important to me as well, but pretending I haven't seen image D, I will say C is my favorite.

Arthur Morris
09-23-2010, 07:12 PM
Hey JC, The answer to the second quiz is in Pane #37 on page 1. See how you did! The most recent quiz started in Panes 135 and 136 above.

Ben_Sadd
09-23-2010, 07:36 PM
For me S is the winner here. In T I have the feeling the HA is a touch away from you and because of this the eye region is not so well lit.

Brent Stephenson
09-24-2010, 05:34 PM
S has to be the winner. HA is better with the head tilted slightly towards the camera. Face is well lit and angle of the bill pleasing. The striking thing for me is also the eye in both images - with the eye in T being slightly closed (as the bird is about to blink). This is distracting for me, and something that always makes me hit 'delete' with my own images...you'll probably say T has the better HA now :D.

Cheers,
Brent

Arthur Morris
09-24-2010, 05:54 PM
No Brent, You are correct and so is most everyone above. Good job. T is a delete for me too because the bird is squinting. But here's the rub, nobody came up with the correct head angle reason for picking S. And it has been covered before so here we go: with the bird in both frames angled slightly towards us, the head needs to be on straight. In T the bird's head is parallel to the imaging sensor but with the bird itself angled towards us that is not good enough, in fact, it is not good. In T the bird's head is actually turned away from the body angle. NG.

To become a head angle expert folks need to learn to consider a wide variety of poses. That's why I started this thead :)

Congrats to all who got it right (for the wrong reasons, I think...)

Arthur Morris
09-24-2010, 05:57 PM
Artie - in S the eye is round and appears more alert (for lack of a better word) and in T it is less than round, slightly oblong.Rachel

You were correct on the eye :)

Rachel Hollander
09-24-2010, 07:39 PM
You were correct on the eye :)

Thanks Artie.

Arthur Morris
09-26-2010, 07:58 PM
This is image U.

Arthur Morris
09-26-2010, 08:01 PM
This is Image V. Which is the best head angle, and why?

Brent Stephenson
09-26-2010, 08:18 PM
The answer based entirely on the head angle would be V. The head is angled slightly towards the camera, nice highlight in the eye, still a little squint through the nostril, and well lit all round. When taking into account the head angle relative to the body, V is also better with the whole body being slightly turned towards the camera in V also (thus the head and body are still in line). See I'm trying to learn :D
Cheers,
Brent

Andrew Merwin
09-26-2010, 08:31 PM
I also choose image V. In image U the body is turned slightly toward the viewer & the head is turned slight away from the viewer. In image V the head is turned toward the viewer. That said, since I have been wrong every time with this exercise, I suggest to everyone that they choose image U.

alexgwoodruff
09-27-2010, 01:09 AM
I prefer T also. I think that the body is angled ever-so-slightly away from the viewer with the head turned towards the viewer - so the eye and beak are on the same focal plane. With the head in this position there is more interaction with the viewer and the eye is lit well... did I do ok?

Arthur Morris
09-27-2010, 06:21 AM
I prefer T also. I think that the body is angled ever-so-slightly away from the viewer with the head turned towards the viewer - so the eye and beak are on the same focal plane. With the head in this position there is more interaction with the viewer and the eye is lit well... did I do ok?

Hi Alex, Thanks for playing. You missed the current quiz--see Panes # 155-156 (Images U & V). And, I hate to say it, you flunked the previous quiz even though the answer key was available in Pane #152 above :) Try the current one!

alexgwoodruff
09-27-2010, 08:39 AM
Ooops - I don't know why I wrote 'T' - I actually meant 'V' - sorry about that!

Myer Bornstein
09-27-2010, 08:56 AM
I agree with V. The body is straight, slightly turned away, but the head is a couple degrees turned toward us, and it makes much better eye contact

Arthur Morris
09-27-2010, 09:00 AM
Ooops - I don't know why I wrote 'T' - I actually meant 'V' - sorry about that!

Yeah, and the dog ate your homework too :) OK, we'll put you down for V.

Jon Saperia
09-27-2010, 09:11 AM
I say V as well. To me though the body is slightly tilted away from the plane of the camera in both shots. I U, the bird appears to be looking off into space. Not that this matters for this exercise, but I think the lighting overall on the head is a bit better in V as well.
/jon

Rachel Hollander
09-27-2010, 12:15 PM
I also say V, the head is angled a few degrees toward us. In U, it appears to me that the head is either parallel to the sensor or a couple of degrees away but the bird's body is also angled away from the sensor plane. U has an ethereal feeling of the bird gazing off into the distance which works with the fog but the HA is better in V.

Rachel

Jon Saperia
09-27-2010, 08:28 PM
ETL would be perfect. Be sure to send me a link and I will tend to it if I am home :) Or Avian. Or as here, Wildlife. No head angles for plants...
Here is the new posting.

http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/showthread.php?72540-Tree-Swallow&p=572463#post572463

Thanks
Jon

Arthur Morris
09-27-2010, 08:41 PM
Thanks for the link Jon. Gang, this one is worth a look :2eyes2:

Gary Jones
09-29-2010, 09:53 AM
This is a very interesting forum - thanks.
I'd go with S. The shape of the eye seems more naturl and there is more engagement with the bird.

Arthur Morris
09-29-2010, 01:39 PM
This is a very interesting forum - thanks. I'd go with S. The shape of the eye seems more naturl and there is more engagement with the bird.

Congrats Gary but your are one quiz behind. The answer to that quiz is in Pane #152 above. At least you got it right :) The latest quiz starts in Pane #155: U or V?

Gary Jones
09-30-2010, 01:10 AM
Oops don't know how I managed being a quiz behind...:)

Here I'll go with V. The eye is catching more light and the angle si more engaging with the viewer.

Arthur Morris
09-30-2010, 09:33 PM
Well, whatta know. Everyone got it right. Mazel tov! Delete U. Keep V. With the bird angled slightly away, the look-back head angle in V is what we needed.

Arthur Morris
10-09-2010, 05:36 PM
Image W

Arthur Morris
10-09-2010, 05:37 PM
Image X

Which head angle to you prefer and why?

Arthur Morris
10-09-2010, 05:37 PM
ps: Please base your decision only on head angle and not on the framing or compostion :)

John Hawkins
10-09-2010, 08:33 PM
I like W, the head angle is much more pleasing. In X, the head angle is too parallel to the camera. In W, it is a stronger pose, stately. If that makes sense.
John

alexgwoodruff
10-09-2010, 09:09 PM
I agree, I prefer W. X looks as if the subject is disinterested, his attention is focussed elsewhere. With W the subject has some connection to the viewer.

Andrew Merwin
10-10-2010, 08:06 AM
I also prefer W which shows a more complete view of the head & holds more interest for me.

Arthur Morris
10-10-2010, 08:41 AM
But what about the advice that the best head angle always is the one with the head parallel or almost parallel to the imaging sensor???

Myer Bornstein
10-10-2010, 08:57 AM
I agree with W for the reasons given and the advice re best head angle is only advice and on X with the head parallel it is only a guide book image :D

Andrew Merwin
10-10-2010, 09:11 AM
But what about the advice that the best head angle always is the one with the head parallel or almost parallel to the imaging sensor???

Every rule has exceptions.
Rules are made to be broken.

Rachel Hollander
10-10-2010, 06:58 PM
I too prefer W for the reasons already mentioned.

Rachel

Arthur Morris
10-10-2010, 09:13 PM
You are all getting too smart :) The next one will be more challenging. As for my comment in Pane #178, there are no hard and fast rules for head angle--each body position and pose requires something a bit different. With a bird or animal facing us having the head parallel to the imaging sensor is almost as bad as having it looking away from you....

Arthur Morris
10-10-2010, 10:06 PM
Image Y

Arthur Morris
10-10-2010, 10:07 PM
Image Z.

Which has the best head angle and why?

Myer Bornstein
10-11-2010, 04:23 AM
Yes Much harder. I vote for Y the vey slight turn of the head just makes the portrait more interesting

John Hawkins
10-11-2010, 06:59 AM
I agree, Y is more pleasing. The bird seems to be looking at us and Z the bird seems a little disinterested. But only because we are looking at them back to back. Would be very hard to say Z would be deleted if this was only capture.

Arthur Morris
10-11-2010, 07:32 AM
It is difficult to see any differences when scrolling. I shall make and post an animated GIF in a bit and then it will be easy to see which is best.... And why.

Jon Saperia
10-11-2010, 09:03 AM
Not sure if the offer for an animated post is a suggestion Y is not the correct answer or just because this one is very hard --- but. I put both images on my desktop and looked at them at the same time. I am still going to go with Y. I agree the head angle is just a bit slightly more toward us which gives it the edge over Z. From what I can see a side effect of this turn is that the bill area just below the eye seems to have a tiny bit more detail in Y than in Z which helps the eye pop a bit more.
/jon

Andrew Merwin
10-11-2010, 09:11 AM
I also prefer image Y. The HA is more toward the viewer making for a better connection with the viewer.

Kaustubh Deshpande
10-11-2010, 09:27 AM
Arite, I am going to say Z as the bill tip is sharper...If Y had more DOF, I'd have selected it as its more engaging.

Arthur Morris
10-11-2010, 10:39 AM
Not sure if the offer for an animated post is a suggestion Y is not the correct answer or just because this one is very hard --- but. I put both images on my desktop and looked at them at the same time. jon

As a former elementary school teacher I gotta say that that is for me to know and you to find out :)

Jon Saperia
10-11-2010, 10:46 AM
;)
Guess I just have to wait. I was never this eager for test return results though.

John Hawkins
10-11-2010, 05:35 PM
We were asked to pick based strickly on the head angle, correct? I'd still pick Y.
John

Rachel Hollander
10-12-2010, 02:32 PM
This is a tough one and it took me a while to decide but I am going to go with Z. Although Y is pleasing and I probably would not notice a difference if they weren't next to each other, I believe there is more light hitting the side of the bill we see in Z.

Rachel

Arthur Morris
10-14-2010, 08:20 AM
http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/baa/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/YZ-ANIMATED-GIF-_W3C0803Yellowstone-National-Park-WY.gif

Well, we have a first ever here, a tie :) And many folks above noted the relevant points above. In Y, the light on the eye and on the black triangle in front of the eye is better than in Z (as per Jon). But in Z, the head is still turned a bit toward us and that is good. And as a result, the bill tip as noted by KD above is sharper.

I will optimize Z first and lighten the areas mentioned above. If that works I will not even bother to optimize Y. And here is the ugly truth: my original pick was Y. As Denise Ippolito said, if you saw either one alone you would think that it had the perfect head angle :)

Jon Saperia
10-14-2010, 08:31 AM
I see the point about the bill tip. I missed that. I was looking more toward the eye area. I have been looking at your animation for a bit now and no matter how hard I try the head angle on Y seems more turned to me. A pointer on how Z is turned more toward the camera would help. I just do not see it.

Arthur Morris
10-14-2010, 08:50 AM
I see the point about the bill tip. I missed that. I was looking more toward the eye area. I have been looking at your animation for a bit now and no matter how hard I try the head angle on Y seems more turned to me. A pointer on how Z is turned more toward the camera would help. I just do not see it.

Jon. The head on Y is turned more toward us than the head on Z. But the head on Z is absolutely turned toward us (but only a bit). The top of the bill tip in Z is on the exact same plane as the eye and that can only happen if the bird has its head turned toward us a bit.

Jon Saperia
10-14-2010, 09:10 AM
Wow... you are faster than any other teachers I have ever had. Thanks. I am not sure I understand what "absolutely" in this case means, but the explanation about bill tip focus and the eye and the bill being in the same plane makes your point. Thanks.
/jon

Arthur Morris
10-14-2010, 09:37 AM
:) Well either it is turned towards us or it is not. And I wanted to emphasize that it is so I used the absolute word. As for fast, I am just home right now.... With lots to do but I enjoy being on BPN. I am the mega-multi-tasker with a large dose of ADD (attention deficit disorder); I cannot do the same thing for more than three minutes in a row.... (Unless I am in the field photographing.)

Jon Saperia
10-14-2010, 09:45 AM
Thanks this helps.

Arthur Morris
10-15-2010, 03:25 PM
YAW. See Z optimized here. (http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/showthread.php?73492-Trumpeter-Swan-Head-amp-Face-Detail&p=580289#post580289)

Arthur Morris
10-18-2010, 11:11 AM
Image AA

Arthur Morris
10-18-2010, 11:12 AM
Image AB. Which is the better Head Angle and why?

Please do not eat the dandelions :)

Jon Saperia
10-18-2010, 01:20 PM
If it is about the connection created by the eye, I say AA because of the light on the eye even though the stare is ahead. If I only were to consider HA, then I think AB is more toward the camera and is more engaging from that perspective even though there are no eye highlights.
/jon

Bhushan Dalvi
10-18-2010, 01:21 PM
Artie, I like the AA. The catch light and body / head parallel to the sensor works for me.

Image AB HA would have worked better if the eyes had the catchlight.

Arthur Morris
10-18-2010, 01:35 PM
I will process only one of these so I guess the question is, "Which one will I process?"

Bhushan Dalvi
10-18-2010, 01:38 PM
I will process only one of these so I guess the question is, "Which one will I process?"

I think image AA.

Jon Saperia
10-18-2010, 03:11 PM
In case my choice was not clear, I will go with AB.
/jon

Myer Bornstein
10-18-2010, 03:51 PM
I will vote for AB, the catch light can be put in, The deer/elk? is more attentive in AB slight turn town you with the ears up.

Arthur Morris
10-18-2010, 03:54 PM
It's a lady Elk from along the Madison River in Yellowstone.

John Hawkins
10-18-2010, 06:10 PM
I would process AA as it seems to tell a better story. She seems to have been alerted to something. Her ears perked up, eyes seem brighter, and seems to have stopped in mid chew. Head angle is fine, seems parallel.

Fred Canter
10-18-2010, 11:47 PM
Since I'm getting involved now I'll play along here too. I would choose AA, mainly for the alertness. The ears are up at attention, the head itself shows more awareness, the muzzle is more parallel to the sensor, the eyes are more open and brighter even if the catchlight wasn't present. In AB I get the feeling she's just a few minutes away from falling asleep as the tenseness in the jaw muscles seem more relaxed the eyes are somewhat closed and the head is a little drooped.

Arthur Morris
10-19-2010, 05:56 AM
David, John, and Fred, It's good to see some new blood here :) I'll be back likely tomorrow to share my thoughts.

Rachel Hollander
10-19-2010, 03:11 PM
I'm going with AB which is turned slightly towards us. I think there is more detail in the fur/hair on the neck and much of what is pleasing on AA can be done in PP (e.g. more contrast, catchlight, lighten the eye).

Rachel

Mike Atkinson
10-21-2010, 06:53 AM
Hi All.

I've been a lurker in this (excellent) forum for some time, but this Head Angle thread has finally moved me to join in the fun. What a fantastic way to get a message across!!

I've shared all of Artie's preferences so far and find myself looking forward to the next instalment to see if this continues.

I think an interesting point that has only been touched upon is the fact that HAs have three rotational axes, not just one. In addition to the angle relative to the sensor plane, there is also vertical angle (whether the head is pointing up or down) and the axial rotation angle (whether the bird's twisting its head around the line of its bill). These are quite well illustrated by the bear images (Q & R) and the wader images (C & D).

The only comment I'm not sure about (maybe I misinterpreted) was Artie's statement in Pane 121 that "head angle is almost always about the way the light strikes the face (and the eye...)". To me, head angle and light angle are independent. It's true that most bird shots have the head upright with dominant lighting from above and behind the photographer, so it's possible to make generalisations, but I think it's important to separate HA considerations from lighting considerations. This could be illustrated effectively by a pair of images in which the better HA shot had the poorer lighting.

The current (Elk) image pair illustrates a similar area of potential confusion in that the best HA shot IMO has the worst 'eye'. As a test, I just used Photoshop to create a duplicate pair of images with the eyes swapped over. I think AB with the eye from AA is the clear winner, but then my personal preference is for HAs slightly towards the viewer, rather than perpendicular. (For example, I preferred Swan Y to Swan Z, even though both are good head angles.)

However, if I had to choose which image to process between the original AA and AB, it would definitely be AA because, in this case, the 'eye angle' is having a bigger impact than the head angle. In the end, although HA is a very important consideration, it isn't the only consideration and can sometimes be overruled by others when choosing the best image to process from an imperfect sequence. I've yet to capture my first perfect sequence! :)

Hope my views aren't too out of line!

Mike.

Andrew Merwin
10-21-2010, 08:21 AM
I choose AA because of the catch light in the eye which conveys life to the viewer.

Arthur Morris
10-22-2010, 07:33 AM
Hey Mike,

Thanks a ton for stopping by. It is obvious that you have a ton to add here.

re:

I've been a lurker in this (excellent) forum for some time, but this Head Angle thread has finally moved me to join in the fun. What a fantastic way to get a message across!!

:) Interactive is always good.

I've shared all of Artie's preferences so far and find myself looking forward to the next instalment to see if this continues.

Soon.

I think an interesting point that has only been touched upon is the fact that HAs have three rotational axes, not just one. In addition to the angle relative to the sensor plane, there is also vertical angle (whether the head is pointing up or down) and the axial rotation angle (whether the bird's twisting its head around the line of its bill). These are quite well illustrated by the bear images (Q & R) and the wader images (C & D).

You raise an excellent point, one that I have never been able to put into words so clearly, so thanks a ton!

The only comment I'm not sure about (maybe I misinterpreted) was Artie's statement in Pane 121 that "head angle is almost always about the way the light strikes the face (and the eye...)". To me, head angle and light angle are independent.

Yes, head angle and light angle are of course independent. The light is always coming from where the light is coming from. And the light will always strike the subject's head (unless you are in a backlit situation). What folks need to understand and what I was trying to convey is that with a given light angle there will be a small range of ideal head angles where the light illuminates the subject's face and eye perfectly. A few degrees left or right and the light on the face can go flat....

It's true that most bird shots have the head upright with dominant lighting from above and behind the photographer, so it's possible to make generalisations, but I think it's important to separate HA considerations from lighting considerations. This could be illustrated effectively by a pair of images in which the better HA shot had the poorer lighting.

As Bill Clinton might say, that depends on your definition of "better." For me, a head angle that results in the face and/or eye being poorly lit is a bad head angle not matter what the "rules" say. You might say that light trumps head angle....

The current (Elk) image pair illustrates a similar area of potential confusion in that the best HA shot IMO has the worst 'eye'.

Agree.

As a test, I just used Photoshop to create a duplicate pair of images with the eyes swapped over. I think AB with the eye from AA is the clear winner, but then my personal preference is for HAs slightly towards the viewer, rather than perpendicular. (For example, I preferred Swan Y to Swan Z, even though both are good head angles.)

I will comment on that tomorrow :)

However, if I had to choose which image to process between the original AA and AB, it would definitely be AA because, in this case, the 'eye angle' is having a bigger impact than the head angle. In the end, although HA is a very important consideration, it isn't the only consideration and can sometimes be overruled by others when choosing the best image to process from an imperfect sequence.

Agree.

I've yet to capture my first perfect sequence! :)

Not sure what you mean by that.... Please explain.

Hope my views aren't too out of line!

Not at all. I found them tremendously helpful as they clarified many important points. I hope that you opt to participate here and elsewhere on BPN on a regular basis. What do you like to photograph?

Jon Saperia
10-22-2010, 08:06 AM
I found the discussion above with Mike and Artie very helpful. When I have been making my choices - I have for the most part been making them on the images as is, NOT what I see the potential to be. I believe Artie has said a couple of times he is only going to 'process' one image, which one would it be/ From that perspective I would absolutely go with AB. The head angle is more engaging and highlights to the eye can be added. In competitions I enter, the nature category does not permit certain changes and I have gotten a bit stuck in that way of thinking. As long as one is honest about what was done, it frees up a lot of options. Thanks for reminding me

This also points out something that I have seen a lot in my own work. I will have several images that are about the same but it is not until after I have tired to make a few adjustments to each that I can make my final choice about which is the better.

/jon

Arthur Morris
10-22-2010, 08:57 AM
Yes, the idea is to wind up with the very best optimized images. By learning to think digitally, we save lots of images that we might otherwise delete as source material. And yes, it is a good plan to let folks know what you have done and to obey the rules of all the contests that you enter :)

Mike Atkinson
10-23-2010, 03:25 PM
Thanks for your welcoming comments, Artie.

Bird photography is definitely my passion and has been for the last six years, although I've always struggled to find time because of my day-job and family commitments. I'll try to participate in the BPN forum, though.

When I said I've yet to capture my first perfect sequence, I meant that every time I take a series of shots, they're always a mixed bag in terms of focus, head angle, eye detail, etc., so the choice of which image to process is always a trade-off. I try to get everything right in-camera and hate having to choose between the best HA and the best lighting, etc., in post-production, but it's a fact of life I guess.

Anyway, looking forward to the next pair of images!

Mike.

Arthur Morris
10-24-2010, 07:44 PM
Well,, I started out like AB by a mile but as time passed and I read all of your comments I started liking AA too. In the end I went with the eye from AA in the head of AB as here :) As it happens I deleted both of these in favor of one with a lot more character. I agree that AB has the best head angle but that AA has lots going for it.

In retrospect I like the image here so much I regret deleting the RAWs :) You gotta love it.

Arthur Morris
10-24-2010, 07:48 PM
This is Image AC.

Arthur Morris
10-24-2010, 07:50 PM
This is Image AD. Which is the better head angle? Which is the better image?

John Hawkins
10-24-2010, 08:10 PM
I like AC as I like the slightly open bill and the angle of the head is better as it is off the body. And this picture has more room at top. The eye is also better in AC.

Mike Atkinson
10-25-2010, 02:58 PM
For me, AC definitely has the best HA and is also the best image for other reasons (see below).

Taking HA first, this is a great illustration of the three rotational dimensions. The head in AC is angled slightly more towards the viewer, rather than being parallel to the sensor plane (I mentioned previously that I prefer the bird to be looking slightly 'towards' me, rather than perpendicular to me). More importantly in this shot, though, AC has a better angle in terms of rotation along the line of the bill, resulting in a more open 'face'. Fnally, AC has a more 'head down' angle (the bird's bill is pulled closer in to its neck), which isn't always a good thing but, in this case, results in a more graceful curve down the neck-bill line and creates a 45-degree diagonal bill line in the frame that strengthens the composition.

Trying to separate lighting from HA, AC also has a better-illuminated eye - complete with catch-light - which adds appeal.

Finally, I prefer the composition in AC because, apart from the 'line' aspects mentioned above, it has the eye further off-centre, a less cramped crop at the top and more even proportions across the horizontal centre-line of the image (I think the ideal subject placement would have the eye centred vertically and a third of the way across the image horizontally, with the wing-line on the other 'third-line'). I would also have equalised the gaps to the left of the head and to top of the neck. These things are obviously very subjective and individual, but I find myself playing around with them for ages trying to find an overall balance with some compositions.

Mike.

Andrew Merwin
10-25-2010, 02:58 PM
I pick AC because the HA is turned more toward the viewer making it a more engaging & intimate connection with the bird.

AlvanBuckley
10-25-2010, 03:36 PM
Haven't voted on a HA since the first few! Glad to be back :)
I also vote for AC. As Mike said the head/face is more 'open' this allows the viewer a more engaging view of the bird.

Arthur Morris
10-25-2010, 09:01 PM
Glad to see you back Alvan :)

Bhushan Dalvi
10-28-2010, 08:48 PM
AC for me. The HA though very slightly different makes it a keeper. The eye looks more engaging.

Arthur Morris
11-01-2010, 09:26 PM
Way to go guys, four for four. AC is best. My thinking here is kept simple. For images of preening birds what you want is to have the bird's head parallel to the imaging sensor. Clean and simple and it works ever time. In AC the bird's face and bill are perfectly parallel to the imaging sensor, in AD, they are not. I was gonna make an animated GIF but since you all got it right I will save on the labor costs :)

Arthur Morris
11-08-2010, 08:44 PM
Been swamped :)

This is image AE.

Arthur Morris
11-08-2010, 08:45 PM
And this is image AF. Which is the better head angle and why?

Andrew McLachlan
11-08-2010, 09:17 PM
Hi Arthur, AE is better. Head looks more in line with the body and I also like how the head position is pretty much parallel with the perch.

Mike Atkinson
11-09-2010, 03:14 AM
AE for me too: the bird is half-turned toward the camera and has its head on straight.

Looking at this from the viewpoint of angles in general, I think AE illustrates several qualities of diagonal angles.

First, the bird's body and head are at a diagonal angle relative to the sensor plane and this can give a greater sense of intimacy than if they were parallel (field guide style).

Second, the bird and perch are at a diagonal angle relative to the frame, which creates a more dynamic feel to what could otherwise be a relatively static image.

Third, the bird's eye-bill line is diagonally downwards (as Andrew says, parallel with the perch), which aids the composition in this case and gives the bird a relaxed, contemplative look. (The only downside in this case is that the bill loses the nice outlining against the sky as in AF.)

Fourth, the lighting on this subject comes from a diagonal angle in both the altitude and azimuth axes. This has brought out the colours and textures beautifully, whereas side or top lighting would have been too harsh and front-lighting too flat in this case.

To keep the HA discussion clear, the first and third points are the only ones that relate specifically to HA.

Mike.

Myer Bornstein
11-09-2010, 06:48 AM
if we are talking just HA then AE is better since the vulture is looking at you But I like AF better for the separation of the beak from the body

Jon Saperia
11-09-2010, 07:00 AM
I agree AE is better overall with a better connection to the viewer. What AE gives up to AF is that in AF, the angle of the head is such that one can see through the structure at the top of the beak (do not know its name) which is always nice.
/jon

Arthur Morris
11-09-2010, 08:24 AM
Jon, The nostrils are called the nares on birds.

Jon Saperia
11-09-2010, 08:38 AM
Ah.. Thanks. I have some of Sand Hill Cranes and I just saw that in pictures where I can see through the nares it is hard to get the head angle with a degree or two toward the sensor as we have been talking about and still be able to see through the nares.

Thanks for the bird anatomy lesson :-)

Arthur Morris
11-09-2010, 08:48 AM
YAW. Depending on what you are looking for square to the camera or 1/2 of one degree towards us can either be acceptable or perfect.... Remember, there are no rules--just guidelines and understanding.

Charles Scheffold
11-10-2010, 03:29 PM
If only talking about head angle, for me it is AE - I feel more engaged with the bird than I do with AF. That being said, AF would be a good image if one were trying to demonstrate the head shape/features for a textbook.

Charles

AlvanBuckley
11-16-2010, 07:36 PM
I also vote for AE for the same reasons as said before. Although I do like how one can see a more clear boundary between the bald head and the feathers in AF.

Arthur Morris
11-18-2010, 10:24 AM
AE the winner by far :) While AF has two good things going for it, the round look to the back of the head and the separation of the bill from the upper breast, the bird's head is actually turned away from the angle of the body so it simply cannot work for me.

On to the next pair.

Arthur Morris
11-18-2010, 10:27 AM
This is Image AG.

Arthur Morris
11-18-2010, 10:28 AM
And this is Image AH.

Which head angle do you prefer and why?

Kaustubh Deshpande
11-18-2010, 10:54 AM
AG for me. That one has the head turned a bit upwards letting the light strike it much better.

You always say that with the bird's back towards you, "head perfectly parallel to sensor" works better...which is AH in this case, I guess. But I definitely like AG more here because of the light on the face.

Jon Saperia
11-18-2010, 11:26 AM
I think this is an example of the multiple axes of the head. In AG the head is tilted so that the bill is a bit closer to the body crossing over the front a bit more. The result is that the eye is looking at you more directly even though the head is 'not perfectly parallel to the sensor'.

/jon

Arthur Morris
11-18-2010, 12:50 PM
Jon, So which one do you prefer???

Andrew Merwin
11-18-2010, 01:31 PM
I prefer AG because the body is away from the sensor & the head is more toward the sensor.

Jon Saperia
11-18-2010, 03:38 PM
Sorry... I was not clear. AG is my preference for the reason I noted above.

Myer Bornstein
11-18-2010, 06:07 PM
I agree with AG the eye is looking at you

AlvanBuckley
11-23-2010, 05:00 PM
Another vote for AG
The head angle is preferable because it has its head turned more upward and the eye is looking more directly towards the viewer

Mike Atkinson
11-28-2010, 03:01 AM
AG for me.

Firstly, the head is turned more towards the viewer in AG, whereas AH is closer to being parallel to the sensor. I wouldn't want the head turned too much towards the viewer, but this is just right for me.

Also, the head in AG is turned such that the bill tip is slightly closer to the camera, resulting in the 'face' being pointed more skywards (notice how you can see less of the top of the head in AG). This isn't necessarily always a good thing from a pure HA viewpoint but has the advantage that it strengthens the illumination on the face, which in this case brings the eye out of the shadow nicely.

As a final thought, many bird species can move their eyes quite considerably relative to their heads, so they can exhibit a range of 'eye angles' for a given head angle. The EA in AG is towards the viewer, whereas that in AH is downwards. Most viewers will respond to this the same way they would when engaging with a human, subconsciously sensing more of a connection where there is direct eye contact.

Thanks again for providing the opportunity to think about these subtleties, Artie.

Mike.