Getting Clearance to Land

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge has several groupings of plastic gourds for purple martins and it can be quite busy during breeding season. A subadult male is letting its mate know about something while she attempts to land on the platform Each box is numbered so researchers can monitor nesting success. I prudently cropped this shot to remove partial gourds and to emphasize the interaction of the martins.

Specific Feedback

Do you think that this type of crop works for this image?

Technical Details

Z9 1.4x TC + 600mm f4 (1/4000sec at f7.1, ISO 2000) Levels, crop for comp, DeNoise, and rubber stamp tool to remove large dark marks on gourd…Jim

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Beautiful shot, Jim. Excellent work to manage to get both birds so sharp at f/7.1. The crop works for me. I could see cloning out the entire background gourd, which would allow you to crop a bit more from the left and bottom without upsetting the balance, but this works just fine. Ours are being particularly vociferous this morning and very busy poking their noses into the other swallows’ business.

Cool! I could see some crop from the left and lifting the shadows a bit. The title fits with runway 18 – they are named with the 2-digit magnetic heading.