A Clear Case of Intimidation

When the weather starts getting cold in Valdez the Lowe River water level drops rapidly, leaving isolated land-locked ponds with trapped spawning salmon. The eagles, seagulls, ravens, crows and other birds flock to these ponds and compete for the salmon. In this case a juvenile Bald Eagle was feeding on a salmon carcass and the crow was hoping to grab some scraps. I liked this photo because the hard stare of the eagle, it’s raised head feathers and the body language of the crow all made it a “Clear Case of Intimidation” :wink:

Specific Feedback Requested

There is no way you can get a pretty background with the tangled driftwood banks of the river but I wasn’t trying for pretty in this case. Its more of a behavioral photo. Ideas for decreasing the distracting elements would be appreciated.

Technical Details

Sony a6500, SEL200600G @ 495mm (744mm w/crop factor), ISO-800, f/7.1, 1/3200, hand held.

Great story to the image @Gary_Minish . No doubt who is in charge here. The size juxtaposition and the body language of each is really great and adds to the image.

I bet the crow got to eat! Very interesting shot, Gary. Could you possibly select the BG and then add a strong blur in Photoshop? That would be my only suggestion - we’d still have the environmental feel but with less distraction.

What a great image. I love the interaction between this Eagle and the crow. A wonderful catch!!!

I downloaded your image and played around with it using the Neural Filter called Depth Blur in Photoshop. It’s in beta status, but it does a nice job sometimes in blurring the BG. I put a check mark in Focus Subject. It found the 2 birds. Then just move the amount of blur slider until you get the BG where you want it. Don’t worry if it blurs where you don’t want it. You can add a white mask to the layer in Photoshop and use a black brush to take out any blur you want in focus. I think the blur helped keep the log from being so noticeable. I also quickly darken the lighter spots on the log. Hope this helps.


This really worked well Donna! I especially like how it resulted in a cleaner separation of the eagle’s head from the background log. It gives it a much more 3D appearance and toning down that log really helped with the distractions. Thank you for the detailed explanation of what you did. I greatly appreciate it and will have to investigate that Depth Blur feature!

I’m so happy I could help. You have certainly helped me.

Wonderful, Gary. I love the interaction which can clearly be seen in the image. Interesting information about the trapped salmons as well, must be a real fest for the birds ! Nice one, Hans

Great interaction shot; really tells a story. The crow looks definitely cowed by the eagle’s stare.