Quite a touching behavior photo Richard. Anytime birds do pair bonding it seems rather sweet. I used to love watching male cardinals feed their mates.
Background is blurry enough to just be there contributing to the environment, the shadows, while direct, are interesting and have brought up some detail. If it was from the side, it would have brought up more, but sometimes we can’t position ourselves perfectly and these darn birds probably wouldn’t take direction! Overall though I think this could use a mid tones boost and a cooler white balance for better color separation. Oh and you might darken the most OOF branches in the LRC, if you have a mind. Overall though, an excellent view to an age-old ritual.
If you do make changes and have a second edit, you can add that to your original post by clicking the pencil (edit) icon. This allows us to compare both photos in the viewer one after the other. You can also edit the title with something like + 1 Rework or similar to alert the group that you have done it.
I had a few minutes so applied my suggestions (plus a few more) in Photoshop -
Beautiful photo, Richard. The background is soft which brings out the subjects very well. I see what Kris is saying and I also wonder if a square crop would work nice here as well, removing the area to the right. It is an amazing capture of these two amazing birds.
Excellent catch, Richard. The depth of field is perfect to put both birds in extremely sharp focus. I’m leaning toward your original color balance as I like the warmth of it and the way it conveys the time of day. I could see the square crop that Dean suggested. When you have two birds like this centering them can work, however, if you don’t have more room on the left, I wouldn’t go with square as I think it would be way too crowded. The foreground and background work well to set the environment without being distracting, so I wouldn’t mess with them.
Looks really well @Richard_Duckworth I like that you showed your layers. You have PS down pretty well. I also agree with you nice seeing other suggestions for edits on the network. It really has helped me. Your photo shows the short window of time photographers have. That photo is one to frame for sure.