Blue Eyed Pelican

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


Yesterday I hit a bonanza at the lake! There were many birds present including this pretty one. I was really surprised to notice it has blue eyes! I’m sure birdwatchers already know this, but I’m new at this!

Specific Feedback

I am curious about avian wildlife images, is it better to show more of the landscape or is it ok to do close-ups? In this pic, the landscape was not all that interesting, but it gives a sense of place. Thoughts?

Technical Details

I’m shooting with a 300mm prime on a 4/3rds sensor, so this is equivalent to 600mm. Handheld on a windy day!
OM1, Olympus 300mm Pro
ISO 640, f/6.3, 1/2000 sec, 300mm

1 Like

Hi Kristal. I don’t think you’re going to get any consensus on the tight/loose composition question :smile: My personal take is that it completely depends on the image. If there’s an interesting environment to show and it tells a good story, I’m all for loose compositions. If the environment doesn’t add to the image I’ll go tighter. I do tend to go a little looser than a lot of people. I’ve notice that when people start in bird photography, they tend to have tighter compositions, I think because they’re so pleased they can actually get that close!

Once they get that out of their systems they tend to loosen up a bit. I’d probably go a little looser on this one, if you have it. You have excellent detail in the bill, which I really like. I also like the wing position. The back doesn’t have much detail in the whites, but that’s normal. The angle is so low that it’s very difficult to get much detail, so it doesn’t bother me. The one thing I’d do is straighten the image. The fence, water line and top of the bank all angle up slightly from left to right.

Another excellent image. I noticed you commenting a lot when you posted this. That is a surprisingly good way to learn. It makes you think about what you like and what you don’t and you can then incorporate that into your own images.

1 Like

Good sharpness and detail with nice tonalities. I second @Dennis_Plank on leveling the “horizon”. In this case the environment is a little distracting with the poles or fence or whatever so that would be an argument for going tight, and for minimizing the contrast of that BG. Nice job of tracking!!

And it’s always so nice to see a poster caring enough about other images to leave a few comments – and better yet to maybe either learn something or contribute to someone else’s learning. I rarely comment on images by people who never participate in other discussions.

Nobody here is after “Likes” – this is about discussion.

Hi Kristal, I’d say this image is a candidate for going in tight even though I agree with Dennis in general it varies image by image. I could see adding a sliver of space on the bottom as I think this would not add any distractions. Agree with straightening. This is a fine catch with nice wing position. Well done.

Hello, nice flight shot of this bleu-eyes :wink: … I can only echo as to the ‘development’ many photographers show from ‘frame filling’ to ‘including environment and habitat’. Only nit would be that the image doesn’t seem level to me, a tiny correction would be advisable imho. Cheers, Hans

Dennis, You described my thoughts perfectly when you said, " I’ve notice that when people start in bird photography, they tend to have tighter compositions, I think because they’re so pleased they can actually get that close!"

I was tickled to capture that pelican and failed to notice it wasn’t “level!” I will fix that and work on a better crop.

Thanks for the encouragement in both the image and commenting. Both are rather intimidating when you are new to a forum.

Diane, Thank you too for your comments and encouragement. I will do both, fix the image and continue to comment.

You are so right about “likes” they don’t advance anything but an ego.

Thanks, Allen, I appreciate your comments too. I will “fix” the image. Next time I’m going to search out a location with a better background! Hope the birds do too! :slight_smile:

Hans, Thanks for your comment, it is not “level.” Actually, it’s a lot more level than my “normal” images! I will fix this one. Many thanks to you.

Hello, I hope you feel comfortable to keep posting here. I have learned a lot from this group which is very generous with feedback.
I am in the camp of cropping out the fence at the top as it definitely distracts. It can also distract when the background divides the subject…eg. the line caused by the edge of the water, though I think if you can soften the background by decreasing texture and contrast it would be interesting if that made a difference to the bird popping out more. I love the colour story you have. Very harmonious.

Hi Kristal
You have already received all the reviews on this photograph, remember this should be fun. Keep Peter

Hi Robena,
I am enjoying posting here. The suggestions are excellent and I am anxious to implement them. I like your suggestion of lightening the background, it is disturbing. Thanks for your encouragement!

Hi Peter, Yes, there are several excellent suggestions. I am working on them! Thanks for your comment.