Red-and-green Macaws

A few weeks ago I returned from my latest Brazil tour. It was perhaps my best-ever bird photography trip (even though we target general wildlife), with several new species sighted and some really nice photo ops along the way. During the scouting leg of the trip, I made my first visit to the Buraco das Araras sinkhole to try my hand at some of the famed “spotlit” BiF photography opportunities.

At certain times of day, you can get birds flying into the sunlight against a still-shadowy background… and seeing how the most common bird there is the Red-and-green Macaw, one can create some truly vibrant photos. Naturally, I went for the standard fully-lit flight shots when I could, but I also tried to experiment a bit. In this case, I tried to achieve a rim lit look during one of the passes.

Canon R3
Canon 600mm EF
ISO 100




I like the composition, Max and the rim lighting is cool. I don’t know if it’s feasible, but I think it could be even more effective if you could bring out the rim lighting on the bodies and tails just a bit more. It’s there, but I have to strain to make it out, which may be your intention, but I think a little less strain would be more effective.

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Such a creative image. Working with the light and making the image so unique! I’m sure the standard fully-lit shots are nice, but this one sings to me. Lovely concept, execution and image.

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Dennis it may certainly be possible with some selective processing or dodging, but in this case I wanted to emphasize the front curve of the heads and wings without bringing body/tail detail in behind… in order to keep it minimal. It was actually the only shot that came out this way (I didn’t work on this technique too much), but it would be interesting to see how different it would feel if the birds came in at a slightly different angle and more of the body/tail caught the light.

Well, this is very different and quite interesting. Can’t recall seeing something like this before. A compelling image; well done.

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A very nice shot that beautifully captures the wonderful colors of these birds. For symmetry sake I think it would have been better if the trailing macaw also had his tail (nearly) fully seen by the rim lighting as like this it feels a bit like his tail is clipped. Otherwise I like the editing and minimalism.

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This is simply stunning, Max. The fact that you planned this shows how much thought you put into your positioning. I agree with @Dennis_Plank about just a hint more light so we don’t need to strain to see the rim all the way around but it’s terrific as is too. I would love to be able to see just a hint of the eyes but that may not be possible without bring out too much information everywhere else. Super sweet image and very creative.

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Great shot! I love the almost abstract feeling created by the contrast of the black background with the vivid Macaws. Such a creative way to capture them!

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