A California Towhee -- in a tree! + repost

They normally are on the ground but this tree affords a view of a suet feeder. My only good view of this tree is to the south, where I’m on a slope above it, so I need a cloudy day. Same tree where I got the Dark-eyed Junco that I posted a couple of days ago.

Specific Feedback Requested

All comments welcome!

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Canon R5, 100-500 + 2X at 1000mm. Tripod, f/14 (wide open), ISO 1600, 1/60 sec. A short burst usually yields one that is sharper, or without a blink. Minimal work in LR, a little BG cloning in PS for a couple of branches. NR, but hardly visible at this size.

1 Like

Very nice details and an equally nice pose. For my personal taste, I wish the BG was a tad darker.

Hi Diane! Cute little bird and nice pose! It’s too bad the nice blurred background wasn’t behind her head, it would bring out her face more. But can’t be helped! Everything else is perfect in my opinion!

A towhee in a tree is a rarity! I like the head over the shoulder pose, but agree about the bg. Overall pretty cracking though.

Excellent color, detail, and pose. I think the crop is fine. If you had the energy, you could probably clone away some of the out of focus branches but not all of them. But it’s fine as is.

Hi Diane
That is a great shot with the camera set to 1000mm at 1/60, did you use a cable release? I actually think the background highlights the Towhee. The. only thing I would look at is move Towhee over more to the right side of the frame.
Nice work.
When using a 1.4x or 2x ex are limited to 300 to 500mm setting on the lens. ie 420 to 700mm and 600mm to 1000mm?

Very good, Diane. Beautiful colors and details and I like the head turn. I think with that head turn it might work better with more canvas on the left and less on the right, but it’s a fine image as posted.

Thanks everyone! I always find the crop difficult with a pose like this. In this case the BG was a mess on the left side, so I cropped there. Here it is with @Dennis_Plank’s suggestion – I like it! @David_Schoen , I did a little more branch pruning (the original raw file is below). Always hard to know where to quit.

@terryb, I darkened the entire image a bit, as the bird is actually a darker brown than it appeared. That darkened the BG an equal amount – it was a darkish bird in a darkish setting.

@peter, no release – I rely on a good grip on the body putting some pressure on the Wimberley head, which is tightened just a little, and pushing the body against my forehead. Yes, both TCs limit travel of the zoom the same amount. But I don’t think I’d ever want to zoom back that far – I always want more reach.

Here’s a repost and the original raw file:


Hey, Diane, not that I’m an expert but I personally like your original/raw image the best. I think it’s because by keeping all the branches in the photo it makes the big branch that the bird is on not stand out as much. It all looks more natural and makes more sense. For some reason I think the brain makes up for what we might with a critical eye call ‘clutter’ and naturally makes the bird stand out more, and not be distracted by even a potentially ‘better’ background, if that makes sense…

Hi Diane
Thank you for the information regarding the 1.4x and 2x extender.