American Bittern coming up to Periscope Depth

American Bittern (Botaurus lintiginosus), Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washingon, USA

This image has been sitting in my WIP folder for some time now…I keep thinking I’ve got more work on it. The original image was horribly overdone on the greens, way too saturated. I think I’ve tamed them, but would like your opinion. I really like the way he/she is stretching to see–I think me…

Specific Feedback Requested

Any comments appreciated. Mostly how’s the color of the grass? I know you’ll have a better perspective of the color than I have…

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Canon 5D III, EF 600mm f/4, 1/320 sec @ f/4, ISO 200, Beanbag on my car window.

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The greens look good. Natural. Not overly saturated or in competition with the bird. And let me tell you the green color is all on me. So jealous. I’ve loved bitterns ever since I was a little girl and had a bird coloring book. The bittern was my favorite and the only one I can remember. I’ve never seen on IRL despite my many years of kayaking. What a classic pose for these guys. Terrifically sharp, too. That “tripod” did the trick! You could edge a free hand vignette in here and it might strengthen the framing.

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A good look at the bittern in its habitat. The pose, detail, and colors are great and the green looks natural. These are elusive birds, so great job in capturing this one.

Typical Bittern behaviour, well captured. Personally I am not that fond of bright green - not that you can do anything about it, as we encounter it everywhere we go :wink: . Although it looks NATURAL to me, personally I would tone down it to my preferences, but I guess that’s my twisted thing when it comes to green - your shot is just fine ! Cheers, Hans

Hi David
Be thankful for the green grass, I have photographed more American Bitterns in brown shrubs and grass and then spent days trying to make the American Bittern look good. The grass really helps the Bittern to stand out. Nice work.

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Excellent environment for this bittern. The techs are perfect.

Never seen this bird before but it looks like an elusive customer, indeed! What I love the most about this photo is that you can see immediately why the streaks on the birds plumage look the way that they look: to blend with the blades of grass! True they are not the same colour as the grass, but whoever is looking for this bird as supper probably does not have much colour vision :smile: The colour and saturation of the grass look perfect to me and the sharpness of the bird is excellent. A Topaz job, I assume?

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Hi Laura, Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them. This bird is common in the wildlife refuge I visit, but is hard to see sometimes, as you say, by the way the plumage blends in.

These days, I use Capture One exclusively for my processing. I still have Photoshop, but rarely pull it out. Lightroom and Capture One do most of the same things, although somewhat differently. I prefer the color profiles in Capture One and the sharpening tools.


You’re most welcome, David!

So not Topaz AI… :wink: Interesting to hear about Capture One. I’ll keep it in mind but, having just become proficient in PS, the thought of learning a new software is not one I can entertain at the moment… phew!

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