Thanks to all who played the eagle round :)
After having enjoyed reading this thread, i exchanged some emails with Artie about HA's when photographing hummingbirds. The attached photo shows three different HA's for the same copper-rumped hummingbird photographed last month in Trinidad. They were all taken at the same camera settings, have not had any "final processing" in PS and are only intended for discussion of their HA's. "A" is rotated a few degrees towards the viewer, "B" is at about 45 degrees to the viewer, and "C" is almost directly/90 degrees towards the viewer. Is there a preferred HA, which would you keep or delete?
Last edited by Peter Hawrylyshyn; 04-04-2011 at 08:19 PM.
Thanks a stack for posting this Peter. Everyone is welcome to contact me about posting some comparative head angle e-mails. I look forward to the gang's comments. Hummers certainly are a different breed....
My preference is "A" on the hummingbirds.
In part because in all three poses, I have a hard time telling if the bird is looking at the photographer or just staring beyond. The eyes are so different. So rather then try to guess... I go with the image where I don't have to decide if he's looking at me or not, he's not. Does that make sense?
I almost never care where the bird is looking as long as he is not facing the other way :)
Does that make any sense?
Did you miss this in Pane #1:
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.
But, as a consequence of the "right" head angle, don't you almost always get good eye contact, too? So it's a byproduct of what you're striving for: the best head angle.
And while (non bird photographer) viewers won't necessarily be able to articulate it, they'll respond more strongly to the image with the strongest eye contact, all other things equal, because that's where the emotional connection to the wildlife in the image is made.
Yes. A perfect head angle often results in what many folks would consider good "eye contact." I just don't think of it that way. And I am not sure that I would agree that all types of folks will like an image better if they feel that the wildlife subject is looking at them.
Many folks have remarked after studying a collection of my work that I seem to have some "connection" with my subjects. That I consider a supreme compliment. The funny thing is that while they all use the word "connection" none have every mentioned "eye contact."
I like B. I think this is the best head angle of the 3, but would like it much more if it was just a few degrees less towards us.
Andre, Please excuse my comments in Pane 363. I did not realize that Peter had labeled the three hummer images A, B, & C and thought that you were talking about the second pair of images on Page 1.
Yikes. Now I see that my assumption was correct :) No harm no fowl :) Anyway, it is good to have you here Andre.
On their own, i would have been happy with any of these. B is my preferred HA, but C is to me by far the most interesting and appealing image because of the iridescence of the gorget/head.
Usually the iridescence is only seen with more head-on angles, but often when viewed directly head on (a "preferred" HA), individual feather details become blurred because the HB can change the feather angle to help create the effect. Thus HA can become a secondary consideration, and to quote Artie - "the gorget rules".
I suspect the same may apply for other species where special head coloration or feather markings may make some images more appealing with less than ideal HA's.
Thanks for the comments
From a pure HA viewpoint, I have a slight preference for B, followed by A, followed by C. I wouldn't delete any of them.
I'm pleased to see the question of eye angle being raised, because I do think it's important.
Firstly, let me say I agree with Artie about the fact that, in the field, the best thing you can do is to press the shutter when the head angle is right, because it's almost impossible to tell at that point exactly where the bird is looking. What I do think, though, is that eye angle becomes more noticeable in post-processing and can then be used as one factor in deciding which is the best image of a set to keep (see the eagle shots AS and AT for illustration).
Actually, for most bird species, there are two different ways in which a bird can look at you - using one eye or two. Without turning their heads at all, birds can look in a range of different directions. If they see something they're particularly interested in, they will often turn their heads so that they can make use of both eyes, especially to get the depth perception benefits of binocular vision.
I subscribe to the view that humans generally feel a greater sense of 'connection' or 'engagement' with photographic subjects (of any species) if they feel the subject is looking at them (see my comments in pane #315). Obviously, this corresponds to the situation in which the subject was looking 'down the barrel' of the lens when the photograph was taken.
For the Hummingbird shots, I think the greatest 'eye contact' is in A, followed by B, followed by C. In other words, despite the bird turning its head more towards the viewer (photographer) as you go from A to C, this is actually because the bird is interested in something above the photographer's right shoulder, rather than the photographer himself.
If these were my images, I would therefore be in the (usual) situation of having to balance a decision on conflicting qualities, e.g. best eye angle in A, best head angle in B and best gorget lighting in C.
The choice - if you have to choose just one - depends on your personal priorities. If you're trying to sell images to illustrate a field guide, go with A; if you're producing colourful decorative art, go with C.
I'm not driven by the need to sell images, so I'm free to makes choices in line with my personal 'photographic mission', which is "To capture and convey the beauty, variety and lives of birds through high quality, aesthetically compelling images".
On this basis, I would choose B. A is nice, but 2-dimensional and C lacks engagement and has a tree growing out of its head. B has a pleasing set of angles and overall shape, plus an interested-but-relaxed subject demeanour with good engagement.
Knowing what you're trying to achieve helps with the difficult decisions!
I though I responded to this thread but see I did not. I have little to add at this late date. I would go with B given those three choices.
A does it for me
A for me too. I have a preference, with wildlife, for natural images, if something is looking at me then it has spotted me and I am not part of its natural surroundings or behaviour. I would not delete any, just market them differently ;)
I am late to enter the game....
Because I am trying to publish a bird guide (Blurb.com), using my own photos..I would choose A. The image show the entire head shape and color, bill size in relation to head. I probably would work on the bill a bit, though.
Assuming that you are talking about the images in Pane 1 and 2 I would agree. I need to get this thread up and running again soon.
Sorry forgot to include that....I was referring to pane #356, interesting thread.
I spent almost the entire day being educated on HA's and EA's and fixing pupils and what not - only to realize that this thread has died? Come on, guys! I wanna play too! :-)
Somewhere midway between A and B
Just checked out Peter's three hummer images. What a great bird by the way.
A is too flat, in fact it almost appears to be angled ever so slightly away. I like B and C. I love straight-on heads (like C) because I like to think it's how they see each other when interacting directly.