Pelicans at sunset

Hi, I’m new and this is my first post. I went to the Oregon Coast the week before last with my wife and a large group of Pelicans were diving into the surf. I was able to shoot a number of shots as the sun set and this is my favorite, although I am not that experienced at post so any thoughts would be appreciated

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Pretty much any

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Pretty much any

Any pertinent technical details:

Fuji XT-2, XF 100-400 with 1.4x extender, 500mm, f7.7, 1/2000, iso 5000, handheld standing in the surf.

Allow other members to download your photo to demonstrate processing examples only?


I love the wild gyrations of the pelicans! Most images you see are staid portraits or soaring, but to me this shouts Pelican! I love to watch them feed.

While the seas and sky don’t pop, I think a whole lot could be done with the pelicans themselves and the background would matter less. Lots of roads to that Mecca, but I’m betting you could accomplish the most in a RAW processor if they were shot in RAW, or in Photoshop’s RAW filter if shot in JPEG.

I see that you’re okay with downloads, so if I get a chance this morning I’ll do so and give it a quick pass to illustrate my words.

Thanks for the feedback @Hank_Pennington. I agree that more can be done with the pelicans but I can’t decided which direction to go. Thanks for taking the time to help me out with it and I look forward to seeing your suggestions.

I did a quick download Jeremy, but the file is just too small to play with. I didn’t see the things I was hoping to see using the RAW process filter for jpegs, telling me both of my limits and the probability you’ll have to work in layers to adjust the pelicans independent of the background. I was looking for more detail in the pelicans, however you can get there. I still love the “cavortions” in such great birds! Last winter I had one crash into the water so close to my kayak that I got a bath from the splash, and loved every minute of it.

@Hank_Pennington I kind of figured the file might be to small. I will re edit it tonight and try to get more detail out of the pelicans.

Sounds good Jeremy. It’s worth the effort!

Welcome, Jeremy. Your conversation with Hank addresses the pelicans, but I really like the light in the water, particularly just above the out of focus foreground wave. I think you’d have a much more powerful image if you cropped just above that foreground. While I like the two distant pelicans as well, if you have enough detail in the image a crop below them at the top would jive you a horizontal image with just the two main characters and the luminous water and sky which might really look great.

Looking at the largest version of your image there’s a fair amount of noise present, so I think some noise reduction would also be in order. In that version, the pelicans aren’t really sharp, so I do think you want to keep them fairly small in the frame and concentrate on the luminosity of the issue instead of trying to bring out detail that isn’t there.

Thanks @Dennis_Plank, I wasn’t sure about leaving the foreground wave in the photo so I’ll try removing it. In terms of the pelicans themselves I think I might be over stretching the file if I try to get more detail out of them as they were silouettes right out of camera so I appreciate your comments about the light on the water.