Which has the better head angle, and why?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Image H, because of the better pupil position.
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.
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.
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.
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....
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.
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.
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!
Please let me know your thoughts on the three head angles :) Remember, these are extracted JPEGs not optimized files.
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.
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.
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.
Image M. Which has the better Head Angle, and why?
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).
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!
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.
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.
If any of you still think that M is better than L then I will be sending you back to Head Angle Kindergarten :)
To see all the folks who made the above possible check out the post here.
And then add Peter Kes to list :) Thanks all.
The GIF really accentuates the difference between L and M.
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.
Hey Jon, For a skimmer, the hunched down posture is typical so L is more natural for me.
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 :-)
Artie - I think the GIF is a great teaching tool. Thanks for making the time investment.
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.
Here are three more. Rank em, worst to best. This is image N.
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.