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Thread: Head Angle Fine Points

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Default Head Angle Fine Points

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails _-_-A-_Y9C8144--Tagus-Cove,-Isabella,-Galapagos.jpg  

    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.
    Last edited by Arthur Morris; 04-05-2011 at 04:42 PM.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails _-_-B-_Y9C8145--Tagus-Cove,-Isabella,-Galapagos.jpg  

    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.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    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.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    BPN Member Aidan Briggs's Avatar
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    I'd go with image B for the slight tilt towards us.
    Aidan Briggs

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    Ah, at least we have one brave young soul. :)
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Forum Participant Rich Steel's Avatar
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    Image B for me to which seems to have better eye contact with the viewer, whereas Image A seems to be looking foward.

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    BPN Member Dan Brown's Avatar
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    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!

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    B for me too. Has better eye contact. "A" looks like the HA is parallel to the sensor plane.

    Jackie Schuknecht
    www.jackieschuknecht.com

    "Art is not a competition, it is a gift" - David DuChemin

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    My vote goes to image 2. The head angle give the bird a personality.

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    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

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    Banned Ken Watkins's Avatar
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    "B" for me as well, it is more engaging.

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    BPN Member Phil Ertel's Avatar
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    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.
    Regards, Phil

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    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.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Family, Friends and Fun Moderator Christopher Miller's Avatar
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    I prefer "B" too. Much more engaging pose IMO.
    God Bless
    Christopher, Old Photo Master and Master Texturizer

    Old Photo Tutorial

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    I prefer B for the same reasons that others have posted.

    Bill

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    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.

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    '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.

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    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.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Kes View Post
    '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.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Ertel View Post
    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....
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Default Head Angle Fine Point #2

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails _W3C9873--Puerto-Villamil,-Isabella,-Galapagos.jpg  

    Here is image C.
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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails _W3C9872--Puerto-Villamil,-Isabella,-Galapagos.jpg  

    And here is image D. Which head angle do you prefer and why?
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    BPN Member Dan Brown's Avatar
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    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

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    BPN Member Phil Ertel's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Phil Ertel; 08-08-2010 at 06:45 PM.
    Regards, Phil

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    BPN Member Dan Brown's Avatar
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    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!!

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    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

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    Banned Ken Watkins's Avatar
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    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

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    BPN Member Aidan Briggs's Avatar
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    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.
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    Artie, C in this case. Better view of the eye. You know I love playing in these ones.

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    Avian Moderator Stuart Bowie's Avatar
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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Bowie View Post
    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?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    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.

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    It may bea matter of semantics. Do you agree with this: in C, the bill tip is closer to us than in D?
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    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
    Last edited by Krijn Trimbos; 08-09-2010 at 05:02 PM.

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    BPN Member Jackie Schuknecht's Avatar
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    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.

    Jackie Schuknecht
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    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

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    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.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    Default GAME #3

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails E-smaller.jpg  

    Here is image E.
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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails F-smaller.jpg  

    Here is image F.

    Which head angle do you prefer, and why?
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    BPN Member Aidan Briggs's Avatar
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    Image E. It has the perfect HA for the over the shoulder pose.
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    BPN Member Dan Brown's Avatar
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    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.

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    Forum Participant Dave Leroy's Avatar
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    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

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    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

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    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.

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pat lillich View Post
    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 :)
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.
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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    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.
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.
    BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours: we cost more because you get more and learn more.






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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    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 :)
    later and love, artie......... Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions.
    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.
    BIRDS AS ART Instructional Photo-Tours: we cost more because you get more and learn more.






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