Hiding from the snow

Yes, it actually snowed here in the Texas hill country on January 10th. Last time it snow here was 4+ years ago and this was definitely a “dusting” and barley lasted a day. I grab my camera and headed out to captured the moment.
There were a couple dozen of these Chipping Sparrows on the ground under the bird feeder searching for spilled seeds. I was keeping to the edge of our yard, creeping up on them through the cedar trees and had just set up. All of a sudden this little fellow flew up on an oak tree limb not 6 feet from me. Very slowly I turned my camera around focused as best I could a shot away.

Clearly there are many things that aren’t that great about this photo. For me it is about me and the little bird “hiding from the snow.”

I recently posted an image of a Killdeer and got some fantastic feedback from @Dennis Plank, @pixeldave Leroy and @Diane Miller. From that I’ve learned my focal length was too long, , the iso too high, my shutter speed too slow and it could have been better if I had opened up my aperture more. Also should have been using a tripod and cable release.

I did remove a frozen snow drop from leaf hanging down on this side of the birds head. And realized the leaf is distracting. Any suggestions on how to remove it? Or does the leaf add to the “hiding from the snow?”

Cropped 1:1 to make this a more intimate scene. Does that work? Also, I burned the background on the right side a bit. Would darkening it more help? I dodged the breast feathers some and used texture/clarity in LR.

Any other thoughts, comments or suggestions would be great appreciated.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Nikon D7200, f/11, 1/500sec., iso 800 @300mm, handheld.
Is this a composite? No

Thank you.

Diane, this is a intimate look at a sparrow “hiding” in the brush. Yes, it would be nice if that one leaf weren’t crossing it’s head, but with that gone the feeling of hiding is also gone. I think your 1:1 crop and the positioning of the bird work well in the hiding context. The oof background is moderately noisy, but I think you should be able to improve that by adding some noise reduction in RAW processing.

Hi, Linda. As Mark noted, there is a bit of noise in the BG but overall a nice shot. I, too believe the leaf adds to the fact the bird is “hiding”.

Thanks @Mark_Seaver and @terryb, you’re right about the noise, LR took care of that. Appreciate your thoughts and comments.