Chestnut-backed Chickadee and Repost

Repost without incorporating Diane’s background idea (which I like):


Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


We had a cloudy day today and even a bit of rain, so I went out to my blind to see what was happening. Not a lot of action. Pretty much the two species of Chickadees and American Goldfinches. I did have a Cooper’s Hawk come in, but it was out of the field of view of the camera and it left before I could reposition. Everything is molting or recently molted, though some of the youngsters look very neat and trim. I’m not sure if this is a recently molted adult or a youngster.

Specific Feedback

There was a small hot patch on the cheek and I brought down the highlights globally-should I have just used a local adjustment brush?

Technical Details

Sony A1, FE 200-600 @ 600 mm, tripod with gimbal head, f/8, 1/60, iso 2000 manual exposure. Processed in LR & PS CC. Cropped to 3595x2706. Taken at 9:23 this morning under heavily overcast skies.

1 Like

Hello, What a sweet little bird. I love chickadees and struggle to get something so well composed and detailed as they are so fast. I think this is a great capture. I am not great at post-processing but I wonder if the drop in highlights should just have been with the brush. I feel like the bird could pop out a bit more even though it was a dull day. The detail you have in the criss-cross feathers and the feet is absolutely beautiful.

What a little cutie!! The bird seems dark – I wonder if you could pull up more shadow detail? I’m not in love with the bright areas in the BG and they might be amenable to some painting, if you’re into that. There would probably be more material to pull from before any crop. I had to give it a try, and used my “fill light” technique on the bird. Made a slight tweak to the green hue because it just felt more lively.

OP to allow toggling for comparison:

Nice job on the rework, Diane. I hadn’t thought of painting int he background. I do like that better than the original (dead grass with ferns in the foreground) . I was just reworking this one myself. The tones in the bird are driving me a bit crazy. Maybe I should have used Jim’s idea and some fill flash to give the bird a bit more pop.

Cute bird Dennis - wish we had these down my way. I like the diagonal perch and the pose of the bird and view of the head is quite nice. I like the changes on the bird you and Diane made as well as the BG suggestions. Nice one.

I really like your rework. More pop, and to my taste, not oversaturated.