Male Bufflehead in bright sun

Getting a good exposure on a male Bufflehead or even a male Barrows Goldeneye in bright light is a challenge, especially when large crop is required. This was taken about 2:30 PM today. It is 25% of full frame or about five megapixels. I certainly wish it was closer.

What technical feedback would you like if any?


What artistic feedback would you like if any?


Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If backgrounds have been removed, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)
Iso-540, 500 mm 5.6 PF at F8, 2500th, handheld, D 500, 25% of full frame, Adobe camera raw, Topaz adjust, TK sharpening action at 10%

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Your exposure looks good, They are challenging and in sunlight I would say almost perfect with details in both white and blacks,
You lost some detail in the large view with the crop and I think it needs some CW rotation.
Nice angle and nice water.

Hi David,
I pretty much agree with Dan. Nice exposure, water, and POV. The crop has affected the IQ. Nice full profile capture.

I’m going to be the odd one out here and say that it looks a little underexposed to me. Nice comp and colors and always great to get light in the eye.

Yes it is a little underexposed in order to bring out detail in the white plumage at such a large crop. Unfortunately, where I shoot ducks in my area, they rarely come close to shore, or at least close enough to to differentiate the feathers. All the duck species I encounter are rarely exposed to humans and are quite skittish. I do use a blind but even the slightest movement of a camo covered lens effects them.

Understood. I have a pond on my property that gets a lot of ducks but even camouflaged I’ve never gotten any great shots there. It’s frustrating to have them so available but so skittish.

You managed to bring the colors in the head up nicely, David, but to my eye, the whites look very gray. I tried to work one of the ones from Nisqually and gave up on it, though some of the others that I lowered the exposure on might work. Interestingly, the one I was working on didn’t show any clipping on the histogram, but the brightest whites just would not cooperate.