Least Flycatcher (+1 change)

With the bird & perch brightened a little bit -

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


Springtime in my backyard is a madhouse. I routinely hear 1/2 a dozen birds or more all at once. These guys have a couple of distinctive vocalizations and it seems like there are a few pairs around. Now I know what they sound like, I can identify them easily. They’re about the size of a Chickadee and mostly stay high up in the canopy, out of reach. I got lucky with this shot though when I noticed one coming lower and lower on a day I sat on the deck with the camera. It’s a bit ‘bird-on-a-stickish’, but it’s the first photo of one I’ve taken and I was pretty tickled. Now if the rest of them would only follow suit!

Specific Feedback

It was cloudy and so the light kind of uneven, but at least it’s soft on the bird itself. It’s about a 1/4 crop and mostly to eliminate big branches and to give a better view. How does the light look? I used a variety of masks and other tools to even things out a bit, but also highlight our little fluffball. Thoughts?

Technical Details

Handheld - zoomed out a bit to find the little guy


Lr for initial work to balance the light and the crop. ON1 NoNoise with auto settings tweaked a bit. Ps to remove a big branch and run a light Orton effect in the highlights with a warming filter. Lr again to lift the exposure a bit more.

Critique Template

Use of the template is optional, but it can help spark ideas.

  • Vision and Purpose:
  • Conceptual:
  • Emotional Impact and Mood:
  • Composition:
  • Balance and Visual Weight:
  • Depth and Dimension:
  • Color:
  • Lighting:
  • Processing:
  • Technical:

Beautiful pose, Kris and I really like the mottled background. Detail in the bird is excellent. While I might wish for a thinner “stick”, I get pretty frustrated with the Bird-on-a-Stick criticism. Anyone who knows birds should know that birds prefer a bare perch so they have more escape routes and a better view, so “sticks” are where you find them. One of the photographers who offers courses and wrote a book on songbird setup photography routinely removes a leaf or two or a couple of blossoms on his perches because he knows the birds will pick that place to perch.

Hi Kris, nice catch of this flycatcher. A tough to get species at least for me anyway. Details look good and I like the diagonal perch through the frame. I’m wondering if the bird and perch could be lightened some to stand out a bit more. A fine catch either way.

Really like the pose here and the detail is great. The perch looks good as well. I agree with Allen that the bird could be a bit brighter. I could see a tighter crop on the left and bottom. Congrats on an excellent photo on your first chance with this bird.

Thanks @Allen_Sparks, @Dennis_Plank & @Allen_Brooks - I was so happy to get this after years of hearing them and never getting an opportunity. After years of being happy and impressed with the original G9, the detail in the updated version surprised & pleased me. I can pull a lot there without it looking forced or crunchy.

There’s a slightly brightened version in the OP. Better or did I go too far?

Oh and here’s another shot from another day in worse light, but I like the “stage” effect all the foliage has.