Female Evening Grosbeak

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


We’re into the first summer heat wave here and I went out to my blind yesterday afternoon anticipating that there would be quite a bit of activity at my bathing pools. There wasn’t as much as I’d hoped, but I did have a pair of Evening Grosbeaks come in (just to drink). The light through the firs surrounding the pools was dappled and bright where it came through, which made for some interesting processing challenges.

Specific Feedback

The head, upper body, and beak were in bright sun in this one with the background deeply shadowed and a sunlit leaf behind the tail. I played with exposure highlights and shadows and removed the bright leaf. I wanted to keep the dappled light impression, but keep the contrast down to avoid it looking garish-how did it work?

Technical Details

Sony A1, FE 200-600 + 1.4 TC @ 643 mm, tripod, f/9, 1/640, iso 4000, manual exposure. Processed in LR & PS CC. Cropped to 7352x5600. Taken yesterday at 1:43 p.m. with bright sun filtering through evergreens.

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Nice profile on her Dennis. You did pretty well taming the light, keeping good detail in the bird, and removing the bright leaf cleanly. I really like the mottled BG. Hope the rest of the birds come investigate the pools.

I think this captures why they’re called Grosbeaks very well! I haven’t seen any of these since I lived with my parents in NH and that was the 1980s. Such lovely birds and pretty darn large, too. This looks like dappled sun, although I think you could possibly bring up whites and/or highlights in the bg a bit more to reinforce the idea. The shadows on the bird and the perch look reasonable given the light and there is the right amount of highlights and brightness in her feathers to also look natural in this kind of sun. Wish for more eye detail, but it looks like the focus landed on the shoulder instead. Nice moment though and I’m a bit jealous.

Hi Dennis, I think the light is pretty fine in this image with the head/eye and topside of the bird well lit. Looks good to me. Nice pose and BG. As Kris mentions, the head and eye are not as sharp as the body maybe due to motion blur or focus plane.