Queen (+1 re-edit)

With dark diagonals taken down -

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Today as the sun moved to the west (well, not really, but you know what I mean), I went outside and sat on some steps that run down a hill on the side of the garage. There I sat. When I approached the bird flew off, but not far and not for long. Soon she was back excavating her nest. It’s directly on the shady part of the tree so the images at this time of day aren’t great since the light is all on the tree and not on her. Then she went up here and I was on the job. The colors in these birds are so wonderful - you don’t think of them as colorful until you see them all proud and displaying. I hope that if I sit there and just around the yard in general, she will become a bit accustomed to my presence. I have some video of both on duty making the nest and will put together a little reel soon.

Specific Feedback

So it’s a big crop again. Getting closer means a more acute angle and I’m not sure that’s great, so a crop it is. Also direct sun, but it was the condition so I went with it. In the morning she would be backlit so this is ok. Filtered clouds will be better, but tomorrow is solid rain. Processing ideas welcome, too. I tried to get the wb right for this time of year with the greening of the trees.

Technical Details



Lr for a lot of work to massage tonalities and color with masking and global adjustments including lens blur at about 35 in terms of strength. Sent it to ON1 No Noise for sharpening mostly and I like the result. I had a time bringing down the lightness in the newly snapped tree so worked it with masks; also brought down the saturation there and bumped it in the bird. OK?

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1 Like

Hi Kris, nice catch of this real beauty. Love seeing her at the top of the broken tree. Light, colors, and exposure all look good to me. I’m wondering about taking a go at removing the diagonal branch in the BG running from the upper left corner and also the dark one in lower left corner. They tend to compete with the bird for my eye. Either way a fine image.

Thanks @Allen_Sparks - I wondered about those branches, but thought maybe the blur would tone them down enough. From this position I’m looking up at the top of the stump to the trees behind and it’s much messier than the blankness of the river when I’m shooting from the house. Cleaned up version in the OP.

Wonderful opportunity well taken! A very nice pose and setting with light and colors very well handled. The diagonal branches are a problem, though, even with the cleanup. If you had been a little to the left (so easy to say!) they would not lead right to the bird. I find selecting the bird and inversing lets me paint with a low-opacity clone brush to hide or break up the lines of branches. That’s often more successful than blurring, although both can work together very well.

Looking forward to more of this pair – I am so jealous!!

Ok @Diane_Miller - it was a sloppy try. I can make a better effort later. I can also shift positions. I don’t know why I didn’t notice in the field that the branches were pointing at her, but them’s the breaks. I have some lateral leeway I can use at the bottom of the steps. Good advice for next time. It isn’t raining yet, so maybe I can spend some time out there.

Great job in photographing the flicker. Whatever amount you cropped holds up well as the color and detail are excellent. Nice perch as well.

Excellent job, Kris. Detail in the flicker is quite good and you did a great job of handling the bright tones of the raw break in the tree. Personally, I don’t find the dark slanted branches to be a problem, though your cleanup works for my taste.

One thing I’m trying to train myself to do is to hit the button to stop down to the aperture that will be shot and run the focus from near to far, to look for OOF things that will intrude on the composition that barely show wide open. (So far my success rate at actually doing it is not high but it’s a nice idea.)

Thanks @Allen_Brooks, @Dennis_Plank & @Diane_Miller. Seems like I’m headed in the right direction in general. They’re still at it today and I think a pair of Hooded Mergansers chose the nest box I made for them a couple years ago. Fun stuff!

And OMG, Diane, I set a custom function button for the DOF preview function, but damn if I forget to use it! Doh!

nice job on this one. I’m enjoying the clarity, color, composition. yes there are few distractions in the image and perhaps blurring them in the background my help or using the remove brush. The dark diagonal branch in the bottom left-hand corner really pulls my eye

The rework is a marked improvement on an already good image Kris. The bird, the perch, the colors, and the BG are really good, especially for a big crop. My last trip I reset my camera settings and forgot to turn the RAW file capture back on. Doh!

Thanks @David_Schoen & @Ed_Williams - these guys are still around to fascinate me. Got a few shots today after the rainstorm passed. The cavity is just about complete now and I await the nestlings! I might have another go at cleaning up the bg.