Brother and Sister

This week’s Editor’s Pick is for the first of this series (though we love all of them).

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


This is the same Peregrine Family as my last peregrine image. These were taken approximately 1- 1/2 weeks after they had fledged and they loved coming back to this perch. The female is the bird on the right and the male is the bird on the left. The female loves this male juvi and she and him are constantly playing together, doing in air talon grabs and crazy aerial maneuvers. As they were sitting there kissing each other (for lack of a better word) I fired off several hundred images. They did this for several minutes until the male finally grew tired of it and flew off. Of course the female chased him after he left but it was another great moment that we all got to spend up close with this family of peregrine’s.

Specific Feedback

Any and all feedback is certainly welcome.

Technical Details

Z9, 800mm lens, f/6.3 (wide open), ISO 3200, 1/2500th, hand held, manual


oh wow. That is so cool and special. I’m glad someone who can appreciate it (and photograph it well) was there to see it. Awe is something that is so hard to depict in photos, but I think to some extent you have it here. Maybe privilege is a better word. Whenever I get to spend time with an animal I feel it. That animal doesn’t have to tolerate me, but when one does it’s special. Even the smallest of them can make me feel this. Maybe it’s because humans live so apart and at odds with nature most of the time.

Each frame you’ve shown has its own bit of personality and emotion so to speak. Their enjoyment of each other is nice because so often they are bitter rivals and would literally have eaten the other as nestlings. At least that’s been my experience of raptor siblings.

The background is to die for. I don’t think you could have picked one better if you tried. The colors support and accentuate the birds perfectly and your focus is spot on. Cooperative light, too. Darn…was your magic wand back from the shop? What a moment!

All three images are gorgeous, David. Kris pretty well summed it up. Did a photographer sneak that perch in on the off season? It looks way too beautiful to be there naturally. If you don’t object to a little cleanup, there are some tiny white specks in the background of the first and third images that you might eliminate. They’re pretty unidentifiable, so I don’t think they add to the image.

Hi David
The frames are remarkable, in covering nature in action and the quality of the shots. Would have love to been there.

@_Kris , @Dennis_Plank , @peter , than you for your comments.

Kris, I know many of the locals, including the photographers that shoot these birds, consider these birds a privilege to watch and photograph. There many locals that come to the location everyday and just sit and watch particularly in the days after the juvis have fledged. The parents have grown up with photographers shooting them daily and think nothing about landing just a few feet away. Each bird has their own unique personalities and at least with these peregrine falcons, the juvis always seem to love each other. They are frequently seen perched together rubbing beaks and laying together. And they play endlessly. The background is flowers and grasses that are past their prime and drying out. Just a couple of week before this shoot the background was vibrant yellow and I don’t like them as much as I like the burnt orange colors seen here. Oh, and you don’t need a magic wand to shoot these birds but I love that you said that. Thanks very much for your very generous comments.

Dennis, I know for sure that the perch is not natural. It’s been there for years and I would imagine that a photographer placed it there. This is a vertical rocky cliff face that they nest on so there are no trees growing out of the cliff face. Just flowers, ice plant, and shrubs for the most part. I will clean up the little white bits floating in the air. I believe those are from wing flaps but I’m not sure. Thanks for pointing those out and also thanks for your comments, Dennis. I appreciate it very much!

Peter, Thanks very much. Let me know if you want to come shoot these next year.

Man, oh man. I would have a hard time picking a favorite of these 3 prizes. I would not change a thing with these 3 “wall hangers”.

David, it is a privilege to see these amazing birds and read about them and their parents. The fact the nesting site is public is even more amazing. The comments made by @Dave_Douglass, @Dennis_Plank, @peter, and @_Kris say it all. What I can add is thank you for introducing us to these wonderful birds.

Hi David, I’m late to the party but these images show fascinating interaction. The background is terrific. Well seen and executed!

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It worked perfectly. Your voice was crystal clear. Thanks for stopping by.

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Love the BG which goes well with the subjects. I have no nits for you and find that all of the images are fantastic…Jim

Thanks very much, Jim. I appreciate your comment.

Thank you very much @Dennis_Plank for the EP.

Well deserved!

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David: each and every one is fantastic. You could not have asked for a better situation and you took full advantage of it. Congrats on the Editor’s Pick.

Wow! All three are beautiful images. I’m especially captivated by the third - the male with his wings partially extended. A portfolio shot!

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Hi David
Thank you for the inviting me, I would love to take the trip.

What a spectacular set. These birds are beautiful and, how you capture them really displays that. Your DOF provided the birds in such great focus and allows for a dreamy soft background. Composition is perfect. What a gift for them to land on a branch that adds so much appeal to the shots. I can think of no recommendations for improvement. They are all perfect as is. Beautiful work!

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Thank you, Donna. I appreciate you taking the time to leave me your thoughts. These birds are certainly fun to photograph each year. Thanks again!

I can’t add anything but kudos for these images! The ‘kissing’ image is wonderful - and I think ‘awe’ is expressed because we anthromorphize such moments, but even in the others of the series, there is such awesome beauty being expressed in their gestures, and the overall technical excellence with which you executed these images. Wish I had shot them!!