Prairie Chicken Dustup

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


This past Spring I had the opportunity to view an active lek from a blind in northern Kansas. In this photo I was able to capture the activities of two males who were vying for the attention of the females. As it turns out, the females had already chosen their suitors and had gone into the tall grass and thus their efforts were futile. Having never seen prairie chickens in mating season, I was surprised at the intensity of their activity. Slight crop to center the birds.

Technical Details

I shot this on a Canon EOS R 5 at 1/8000, ISO 2500 at f/8 on a 600 mm lens. I purposefully chose a very high speed to ensure no motion blur.

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Excellent image, Richard. I’m glad to see you posting again. The action is superb and the detail is right on. Exposure looks good. You might bring the shadow area on the underside of the foreground bird up just a bit to mellow it out, but that’s just personal preference. The feathers the rear bird has removed from its opponent are the icing on the cake here. Very well done.

This is a wow image! Beautiful colours and detail. I love action shots and this has it all between the feathers and grass flying! This looks like a hot dry day to have a fight! My one small nitpick is I find the empty space on the left distracting. I would choose a different aspect ratio (E.g. 5:4?) Well done!

Dennis and Robena: thanks for taking the time to comment and for your suggestions. I like both your suggestions and have incorporated both into the attached re-do. Thanks again, Richard


Wow, Richard. This is a beautiful image. I like either crop - the larger photo giving more room for where the bird is heading, and the crop giving more attention to just the birds. Great detail. Nice softening of the shadow. Wonderful capture and story.

Hi Richard, congratulations on this fine capture. The action is superb. Love all the grass bits flying around too. I like both crops for the same reasons Roberta stated above. Well done!

Richard, great to see you here!

Fine action (love the feather in the mouth and the flying grass), and I think Robena’s suggestion—and your updated crop—are spot on.

Many thanks f or the Editort’s Pick. The selection is much appreciated. And thanks to all for your comments. Richard

All the way around, this is a fantastic image, with impeccable timing. Bravo!

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