Osprey Couple Starting a Family (Another season, another reason, for making whoopee)

This is an Osprey couple at the Anclote River Park in Holiday, Florida. A week ago the two were busy fixing up their nest and this week appear to be trying to fill it this spring.
Just as the heavy fog lifted I was surprised to see the male swoop in for this action shot. He looks happy. (She? Not so much.)

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

In a previous Oprey post I was encouraged to not crop the image closely and include more environment. I wonder if this is enough? Or perhaps I have another image in the “roll” that shows more of the nest that I could try to splice in on the right. I also tried to make the male Osprey’s feathers whiter, but the feathers tended to blow out and lose definition very quickly.

Technical Details

Panasonic G9 body with PL100-400 lens at 167mm. f/7.1, 1/3200sec, ISO320. Processed in DXO PhotoLab and LRC.


Wow wow wow! This is amazing capture of action. I love the sculptural limbs of the tree. as well. In this shot the nest helps to tell part of the story but I don’t think you need more of it. To me the colour is much more natural in this.

Thank you again!

Glad to see this image with more room and more environment. That’s a good think. It works pretty well. Composition: At the bottom of the frame where the branches merge is uncomfortably close to the edge. Remember…… those aren’t branches, those are lines in a composition. They lead the viewer out of the frame. If there was a bit more room, we’d get to the “V” and go back up rather than out. I’d also prefer more room on the right for the nest to be more prominent than cut in the middle.

Technicals: Some of the whites are blown. Don’t know if you can recover those in your processing software

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Keith’s advice is excellent, but I’m just wondering if you could crop out the nest completely - those twisted branches make an interesting part of the composition on their own. We know they must have a nest! It’s your call. (Great song; I love it sung by Ray Charles).

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Hey Mike, a whole bunch of people sang that song! Ray Charles had the most humorous of them though IMHO :slight_smile: Check out who all recorded that song. Wow!
Makin’ Whoopee Wikipedia Link

Sorry, about that Paul. :slight_smile:

What an amazing capture!

I do personally like this composition as presented.
Let’s face it, ya’ can’t please everyone at the same time.
What’s that saying: “You can’t please all of the people all of the time but you can please some of the people some of the time”? or something like that.

My only concern is the sky, I assume that the sky was changed in some way? Maybe just the color or exposure? Either way, it’s fine that it was done but it doesn’t seem to match or compliment the osprey as well as it should, it appears that the exposure level on the sky is different than the exposure level on the osprey.
That is a tough one for sure and I don’t really have any good suggestions for making it better without the original.
If you feel comfortable with sharing the original unedited version, maybe myself or someone else can help with the best way to deal with it but that is of course up to you.

Great capture of the…Event, as it were :roll_eyes:

Hey. I remembered the Ella Fitzgerald version, but didn’t know that was a cover of a song from 1928. Thanks for sharing the wiki link, even if digressed off topic for a moment.
Getting back on topic, I welcome and appreciate the divergent views. The heavy fog was just burning off, so the sky wasn’t blue blue. More of a dull grey. I did add saturation to the sky, but perhaps overdid it??? Most of the exposure and curves adjustments were on the birds: both overall and on the shadows on the chests.
I’ve attached the OOC jpg file for your additional thoughts and suggestions. Thanks in advance for your insights.

Thanks Paul!

I will play around with this but it may be tomorrow before I post the results, I have a few things to do shortly but I look forward to seeing what I can come up with, meanwhile there may be others that want to give a try as well and we cam compare to see what we feel works.

Thanks again, :slight_smile:

Hi Paul,

Your image proved to be a little tougher than I had expected, there were some areas where the shadow details were a little off, parts of them were greenish looking, not sure what the cause could be though.

I tried to raise the exposure level of both the sky and the osprey pair while keeping an eye on how well they blend together visually and it seemed to work fairly well.
The feathers on the male was a challenge because there were small areas that were darker than others, some areas were even a little off with color, maybe the male was just dirty and needed to bathe before getting dirty :slight_smile:

The sky worked out fairly well in my opinion, I was able to use a mask created with a brush set at about 50% density, 50% flow, 75% feather with the brush size at about the diameter of the female osprey’s body and wings, then I brushed little areas of the sky randomly with the blacks, exposure and shadows raised a fair amount, this in essence raised some highlights and even created some whitish clouds, then I adjusted the amount with the amount slider to fine tune the effect.

Then on the nest I created individual masks using a small brush about the diameter of one twig, I created a mask for each type of twig, one for the brown ones, one for the green ones, one for the moss and one for the shaded underside, then I adjusted them to make the browns more brown using various saturation, exposure and even temperature and tint sliders, then made the greens greener, etc.

I did the same process on the branches to bring out more of the details and color.

The main takeaway is to target very small portions on each element with individual masks, then work on blending them all together using the “Amount Slider” in the mask section.
BTW, I used Lightroom for all of the adjustments, I stayed in the masking section most of the time but I did do some minor tweaks in the global section.
Another takeaway is to make all of the adjustments in small amounts at a time while keeping a copy of the original open a separate window for comparison (I use the photo viewer for that part).

I might have been able to g et it better if I had spent more time on it. As it stands, I spent about 2 hours on it and the results are somewhat acceptable (I think?) You should be the judge of that :slight_smile:

The raw file might have been much better in regards to the shadow details but I’m not familiar with your specific camera, and it could be that the jpeg file compression was the cause of that issue.

Also, it is good that you shot this slightly under exposed! It’s always easier to correct for exposure in post processing. The feathers on the belly of the male was very near to being over exposed even being shot under exposed, so, don’t change that practice while shooting IMHO.

I’m sure you can do much better with the raw file, just take your time with it and take a break away from it periodically, it might help (it helps me when I do that). :slight_smile:

Anyway, I think it’s a great image! :slight_smile:

I like the composition of this and I think your choice of cropping the bottom where you did was a good one, The branch going off to the left at the bottom wasn’t very appealing or supportive IMHO.
But, I think @Mike_Friel’s suggestion for cropping off the nest was also good but you would need to crop some off the left too just to keep the action in the center horizontally, maybe crop just a tad off the top as well to keep the action in the top third of the frame vertically.

Thanks for letting me work on this.

Have a great day! :slight_smile:

Original Version:

Edited Version Below:

edited Version with Optional Crop Below:

All I can say is Wow! And thank you!

I’ll give this all a try.

I take it you like the results. :slight_smile:

You are very welcome!

I enjoy sharing things I’ve learned, it helps me to learn new things as well :slight_smile:

Don’t hesitate to ask for further clarification, I did a pretty general description not knowing your skill level with Lr., that said, I am very willing to elaborate on any part of the process if you like.
Others here may add some tips of their own as well.

Have fun with it, Paul :slight_smile:

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