Flying Willets

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


Shooting surf birds at our local beach. They were pretty skittish for some reason and kept flying while I was still a long way down the beach. It was really hard to get them in focus against the backdrop of the moving surf as the AF kept focusing on surf before I could lock on to the flying birds. I finally got one in good focus here, and I liked the similar position of the second willet behind it even though it is very OOF.

Specific Feedback

It may be taboo to post a clearly OOF bird. Also, not sure about the composition, whether, or not they need more frame in front and under them.

Technical Details

Canon 7D Mii, f10, 1/2000 sec, iso 400, -1 EV. 100-400/1.4 TC at 560 mm. Bright sunny afternoon.


Beautiful work Ed, I now appreciate how hard this is to do especially near the ocean! Well done great shot! :clap:

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Very good, Ed. I would like a bit more room on top and the left. Yhis is a wierd case in which I think it would have worked even better if there were just a tiny bit of overlap between the birds to clearly show the relative distances tomahe the out of focus rear bird make more visual sense. Still a fine image.

By the way, even the fancy bird eye autofocus gets confused on the water-it seems to think every highlight is an eye.

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I like this. The softness of the sand and water makes for a pleasing background. The in-focus bird has a nice pose and is looking towards you and the detail is very good. The OOF bird adds some context to the scene and IMO improves the image-in other words I think two birds makes for a better photo than just one and if both were in focus, where would the eye go?

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Ed: this is a very fine image and having one bird OOF does not detract from the in focus bird. Both birds stand out nicely against the background. Well done.

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Hi Ed, I agree with the others that the oof bird does not detract. Nice to catch them in the same in flight pose. Also agree with more room in front and top. Nice exposure on both the whites and dark areas of the bird. These guys look like just plain brown birds until they fly off and show the white in the primary feathers. A fine catch of that too.

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The OOF bird adds a “photographic realism”, as it would look all wrong if in focus. I like how the beach environment is included so well in the BG. Good shot, Ed.

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Ed, you’ve filled the frame well with the two birds. The sharpness of the front one stands out while the softness of the rear bird shows how challenging the shot was. The beach/water edge in the background shows where this was take, another bonus.

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@Saundie, @Dennis_Plank, @Allen_Brooks, @Allen_Sparks, @Mike_Friel, @Mark_Seaver thank you so much for your comments. This has been a great challenge for me and it’s getting me out for five mile walks on our local beach to get some exercise in too. Thank you.

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