A second chance!

I mentioned in some recent comment a time years ago when I was pulling out of the parking lot at Abbott’s Lagoon and saw a quail on the right at the exit, keeping watch on a quaint fence post. I had just chatted with a group of birders who had a very high opinion of themselves and they were pulling out a little behind me. I pulled over to the right without spooking the bird, managed to get out of the car and was shooting from the back driver’s side, in very plain sight of them. The first car in their group paused, back a little, and with my heart in my throat I had just managed to get the composition and focus when they all blew by me, spooking the quail. I can’t describe in polite company how furious I was!!

But this trip, shortly after Lon headed out ahead of me from the Pierce Point Ranch, on his way home, I stopped at Abbott’s Lagoon to visit the used coffee department and as I started to pull out I saw this quail!! Not in exactly the same spot but close enough. (Of course the first one was better but I’m grateful for the second chance!) And there was nobody around! I shut down the engine and shot out my window. He gave me several nice poses and hopped down.

This is the first shot I processed when I got home yesterday. Of course I always hope for a Robert Bateman, but I’ll be happy with this one for now.

The fog and sea air out there wrecks sharpness and detail, with thermal mixing, and the subjects I love all need a long lens.

Specific Feedback Requested

All comments welcome!

Technical Details

Screen Shot 2022-09-17 at 3.27.26 PM

Tonal tweaks in LR and a little work in PS – slight blur on the bush (that lens + 2X does not have good bokeh) and more contrast on the bird. Cloned out an OOF wire in the BG. Cropped from the left for composition.

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I thought the title referred to the quail given the torn and bloody looking feathers (or is that my imagination?). I really like the setting of this shot and the muted colors-all works well with the quail who gave you a nice pose.

Woo hoo! So glad you got another chance and you took great advantage of it. Just look at that bird? Classic fence post shot. Looks like there’s some detail in the beautiful plumage (Michael Palin voice) that you might tease out with Topaz Sharpen or similar. And I’m torn about the fence being so much lower in contrast than the bird. Maybe add some here and there and see how you like it. Really a great portrait of this cute little iconic bird.

Great portrait of a fine looking guy. Love the feather textures. They are something! Sad to read about your unfortunate experience earlier. Inconsiderate clods walk, and drive among us, unfortunately. The last thing I had happen to me while shooting was I was standing on the side of a country road with a rough-legged hawk in my crosshairs when a car came whizzing past and loudly honked as it went by. I was standing well off of the road. Was it a lame attempt at being funny?

Thanks guys! @Allen_Brooks, he may have been brushing up against some small scrub – he did look a bit unkempt but didn’t look like any real damage in the other poses. @Kris_Smith, I may have gone as far as I can with detail, given the flat light and noise. Will have another look, and also at the fence. Sticking 1000mm out of a car window in the fog is not ideal. @Dave_Douglass, the best consolation is in knowing that people like that are their own worst enemies.

Hi Diane, a beautiful subject and I think you did quite well with both the shooting and post processing given the conditions. Would love to have these guys in my neck of the woods. Composition looks good with pleasing subject placement in the frame. Well done.

Wonderful image, I love the wide set-up and the matching colours throughout the entire image. Well-seen and executed. Cheers, Hans

I think it’s a stunning shot, especially given the conditions and the inconsiderate morons with whom you were dealing. What a terrific-looking bird. Our Bobwhite quail in this part of the country are beautiful, but not as spectacular. Nicely done.

Personally, I prefer this to your second post, Diane. I love the composition and I think the quail is at least as sharp as the other.

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Thanks @Allen_Sparks, @Hans_Overduin, @terryb and @Dennis_Plank! I’m so happy I had another chance at this shot. There are a lot of Quail out there and I think I’ll be hanging out in this lot the next time I’m over there.

Hi Diane
This is a very nicely framed Quail, blurring the background, really helps the Quail to stand out. I am very impressed with the image quality you get using the 2ext. The Quail’s coloring, eye contact and feather detail are very good.

Just seeing this Diane. I’m so glad for you that you got some redemption! This is a wonderful capture of the quail. Honestly, I think I prefer this image over the later post. I think the head pose looking in to the frame works nicely. Both are great rewards!

And it’s not just the bird, but the environment surrounding is wonderful too - the fence with hints of lichen, the bg bush and the complimentary colors of the soft background - all working together for a beautiful image.


Thanks, @Lon_Overacker and @peter – I was very happy for this special chance!