CA Quail

I was out back set up for whatever moved when a pair of quail came in and, after a bit, the male jumped up into a tree which I rarely see. I got lucky with the branch and the late afternoon sun.

Specific Feedback Requested


Technical Details

D500, Nikon 200-500 lens, Nikon 1.4 TC, monopod, cropped to 4051 x 3293, 1/2000th, f 8.0, 600mm, ISO 3600, AI Clear.


The cropping looks about right although I wish for a different angle. The OOF branch is a bit overwhelming, but given the bird’s placement, what can you do? And yeah, one on a branch is worth getting no matter what. We don’t have these here, but when I go to California I always love seeing them. You might tone down the exposure just a bit on the face since the blacks seem a bit washed out. Glad you were ready for this one!

Fantastic capture, Dave. I used to live in California where we had a covey of quail that lived in our rose garden. Love seeing the little ones in the spring! The detail in the feathers, along with the lens flare in his eye, are just wonderful.

Nice to get the quail up off the ground. The perch is pretty cool as well.

My first impression is that the image looked like a flash had been used. Reading your description, clearly a flash was not used.

I toned down the bird, and toned down then background as well to try to balance the overall exposure.

Better, for sure. Thanks.

Hi Dave
I love the way the branch bring your eye to the Quail, very nice sot.

A gorgeous bird - its rather supercilious look suits the lower shot. I guess if he loses that feather on top, he goes to the back of the mating line. I like @Keith_Bauer’s suggestions too.