California Quail

What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

The bird was in somewhat subdued light with the background fully sunlit when I took this. I subdued the background as much as looked reasonable to my eye. Would you do more or less?

How does the crop look? I took some off the left and just a touch off the top.

Any other issues?

Any pertinent technical details:

7D mark II, Sigma 150-600 C @ 531 mm, tripod with ball head and Sidekick, f/8, 1/500, iso 1600, aperture priority, pattern metering, +2/3 EV. Processed in LR & PS CC. In addition to toning down the background, I added a bit of light to the quail, used Topaz detail to bring out texture in the feathers and the local adjustment brush in LR to try to accent the face a bit. This was cropped to a 16 MP 4x5 format. Taken at Alta Lake State Park, Washington, at 8:41 am on September 19th.

1 Like

Hi Dennis,
I really like the head turn and am always a sucker for a quail perched on a rock (as opposed to being on the ground as they usually are.) The main thing I might change on this is mine would be the bush on the right. I would either crop as a vertical or clone it out.
Let me first say, I think the entire image exposure can be brought down a touch more. It looks as if teetering on a bit over exposed to my eye. As far as the lit BG vs un-lit subject, I assume you exposed in camera for the subject since I see the EC of +2/3? It’s just a hard image to expose period. With these I sometimes blow out the BG like or have too much noise in the subject because I tried to balance it too much. I know you were pretty maxed at your ISO capability fo that camera without introducing too much noise. I might have opened up my AP a bit since he is pretty parallel in the image. Think you could have gotten away with f/6.3 and also might have lowed my ISO to 400 or 800 to get a slower but manageable SS (even 1/250 since he is still) and tried to expose a bit more for the BG instead of the subject, then increase the subject exposure in PP. With the lower ISO, you could most likely keep out the noise you would normally introduce in PP. Sorry for the long notes, but this is always a hard image to balance.

Dennis: Nice image of the Quail. It is nice to get one off the ground. To address your specific questions:
Crop: I find the image a bit too centered. With the head turn to then right, I’d take more off the left. The bush on the right doesn’t add much for me. I’d likely remove it, or if there’s more over there, include more after cropping from the left. Another option would be a vertical. Background is still a bit bright as it tends to draw me from the bird. Adding a bit of dodging, especially on the birds head would help for me. I know you said you added some in LR, I’d play with more.
A small annoyance is the pine needle on the birds foot.

Excellent pose,detail and rock perch. I also find the bird to be a little more centered than I like and agree with others cropping suggestions. A little more light on the face could be helpful. I can live with the BG luminosity but would like to see it slightly darker.

Hi Dennis
I hate to keep picking on the Quail being to center in the frame, but with that said, the overall photograph looks very nice to me.

I’ll take a somewhat contrary view. I don’t mind the bush, especially as the quail is looking in that direction. You have a nice pose and perch and the detail is good. I could see taking some more off the left to de-center the quail.