Anhinga just off the mangroves

Took me by surprise . Just popped off the bush. Not used to seeing them in flight so close.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

Did not have time to create it. It was very exciting when it happened.

Technical Details

Late afternoon light. ISO 125 300 mm fixed F 3.2 speed 1/2000

Hi Bill,

Welcome to NPN! :slight_smile:

This is a very nice image of an Anhinga, especially considering you didn’t have time to set it up the way you wanted.

Anhinga birds are cool in my opinion because of their long necks (which are great for spearing fish), short legs with webbed feet and broad tail feathers.

Although the image is a little underexposed, it’s one that I would be proud of if it were mine!

The position of the wings and the tail are great and the neck shape is wonderful, too!
The details and color in the eye and beak are spot on in my opinion.

Just curious here, do you have the ISO set to “auto”? if not, that could explain why it’s a little underexposed. It could have just been the quick shooting though :slight_smile: (not enough time for the camera to find the exposure it wanted).
Just a note on ISO noise, there are a few good choices for software that can remove digital noise (in case you weren’t already aware), so letting the ISO value get a little high is usually not an issue with software made to get rid of noise, (no noise in this image of course). It’s just a general note about digital noise.

I like the BG as well!

Very nice and again, Welcome aboard! :slight_smile:

I wanted to add that it must have been a very exciting moment to see and capture this Anhinga flying so close like this! It’s those moments that make photography so much fun and rewarding in my mind :slight_smile:

I usually have ISO set to Auto. I was just getting started for the day. Thank you for the critique

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Hi Bill,

I had a feeling that was the case.

I’m curious, was this taken in the southeastern part of Florida?
That’s the only area I’m aware of with mangroves but my knowledge about mangroves is pretty limited.

Thanks, Bill :slight_smile:

Hi Bill, welcome to NPN. What a cool first image too. I love the pose and position in the frame. Maybe a bit more room on the right side, but that’s a minor thing. Great shot, looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Welcome to NPN, Bill. Excellent flight shot. I like the light on the tail and wings and the wing position. The large image shows the eye nicely, but I wonder if some shadow detail could be brought up in the neck. Personally, I would like a bit more room behind the tail and maybe a bit more room for the bird to fly into. Your shutter speed worked to give good detail in the wings.

I wish I had more room but I Donn’t. I was not really prepared for the shot. Thank for the critique

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Nice catch! I’m not sure I’d have the reflexes for it so congrats. In terms of the right side, if you use Photoshop you can Add canvas and use Content Aware fill to create more room there and it would look pretty natural. I think a lot of bird and wildlife photographers use it to improve this exact kind of image. Just an idea.

Excellent reflexes! And welcome to NPN!

It’s helpful to know more about equipment and processing. I’d try pulling more detail out of the shadows and possibly raising exposure a bit, to see if that might lead somewhere interesting. It looks like you have a capture worth working with. I second adding canvas on the right.

Hi Bill, I hope you’re having a great day! :slight_smile:

Some have suggested that they’d like more canvas on the right and I’m sure that you would have included that space if it had been there in the original image.

Way back when I first started submitting images for critique, I got a little frustrated hearing suggestions that seemed impossible to accomplish, then I realized that those suggestions were from folks just trying to be helpful.
And that those suggestions were considered good information for the next time around. :slight_smile:

For future reference, it would help us to know what software you’re using for your post processing, that way we can give advice or instruction on how to accomplish something specific. For example; Ps has most of the same tools that Capture One has but the way they’re used (and named) can be quite different.

I decided to take this wonderful image of yours into Photoshop (Ps) and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) to see what I could do in regards to adding some Canvas and Content Aware Fill on the right as @Kris_Smith suggested. Sometimes it doesn’t work as well as we’d like but in this case it worked pretty good IMHO.

BTW, ACR is very similar to Lightroom (Lr), ACR doesn’t have as many fine tuning features when compared to Lr.

What was interesting to me in this case was adding the canvas on the right first (under Image>Canvas Size), then as a second step, select the newly added canvas, then use “Content Aware Fill” (under Edit> Content Aware Fill), the AI did a horrible job of filling in that area.
But when I used the crop tool to increase the canvas by sliding the crop adjustment handle to the right (with the “Content Aware” box checked), it did a good job IMHO. :slight_smile: I think it’s a matter of how the AI analyzes the “Sampling Content”, maybe it has a better algorithm? I’m not sure but this method worked much better.

Here’s a couple of screenshots with text showing the method for adding canvas and content aware at the same time.

And the results (below)

And a screenshot showing an exposure mask where I decreased the exposure of the sky some to bring more emphasis to the Anhinga. (this could have been done in ACR as well but it was an afterthought and I thought I’d show another way to get it done :slight_smile: (below)

Your Original Image (below)

The edited version showing the added canvas with automatic content aware fill, raised exposure on the head, neck and tail, and lowered exposure on the sky. (below)

I still thinks it’s an outstanding image and certainly one we would all be very proud of :slight_smile:

Please don’t hesitate to post more of your work and please feel free to ask for anything specific, even help with site navigation.
We are all eager to help and interact with other photographers, we don’t bite, we might bark a little once in a while but an old dog like me needs to do something to make sure I’m still alive :smiley:
I’m just kidding about the bark comment, we don’t even growl unless it’s quietly to ourselves. :slight_smile:

Hope this helps, Bill :slight_smile:

Thanks for your help. I found some space on the right. Should the background be darker.

Thanks again to you all. I appreciate the help.

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Hi Bill,

You are quite welcome. :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for posting the reworked image! :slight_smile:

This looks really good!

As for the BG brightness, it looks good to me as you have presented it.
Brightness is mostly personal preference as long as it doesn’t go too high and this isn’t too high in my opinion.

I like it, well done and thanks again, Bill! :slight_smile: