Red-Headed Woodpecker

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


We are having a friendly mini-Big Year with some friends and were out bird watching with them on this overcast morning. Goal is to be the first to reach 100 different species of birds. Anyway, came into an area loaded with Downy, Red-bellied, and Red-headed woodpeckers. Grabbed several images but really liked this one. Looking for general impressions, input, advice.

Technical Details

Nikon D500, Tamron 150-600mm G2 @600mm mounted on a monopod
1/800sec @ f6.3 ISO 3200
Cropped and saturation, textured increased, slight contrast boost, noise reduction and sharpening in Lightroom.

Hi Doug, nice catch of this beautiful bird. These birds are tough to expose correctly and I think you did well. You might be able to eek out a little more detail on the white patch on right but this still looks good to me with reasonable detail on the dark and light areas.

I like this shot as is showing an environmental image with the bird right at the tree hole in its natural surroundings.

I played around with an alternative wondering what removing some elements would look like and a more vertical crop given the large oof tree on the left. I came up with this below:

Just food for thought. I like your original showing the full environment also.


Hi Doug
I get the feeling, this Red-headed Woodpecker think the grass is always greener on the other side of the tree. Love the head turn and think Allen’ s reframing helps the viewer concentrate on the woodpecker and not the branches on the left side of the frame.
Love the red-head.

Lovely setting and the lack of color of the trees and BG makes the woodpecker stand out nicely. Alan’s cut works for slightly better. Cheers, Hans

A lovely image with the woodpecker very nicely exposed, Doug. I really like the tree with what looks like the nest hole above the woodpecker. When I look at the original post, my eye tends to stop at the right side of the tree the bird is perched on, so for me the stuff past that doesn’t add anything to the image and I’d probably go with something like a 4x5 vertical aspect ratio.

However, this is just my taste and it’s a beauty as posted.

1 Like

A very nice detailed look at the Woodpecker and I like the pose you captured. There are many ways to crop a photo and it’s all individual taste. For me, the tree on the left seems rather “heavy”, so I like Dennis’s crop removing some of that tree, but I also like what Allen did by removing the branches on the right, but leaving that pleasing background. For me, the nesting hole and the excellent look at the woodpecker are the important elements, so I could even see some major work to remove the large tree and have a somewhat more intimate view of the bird and nest.

Hi Allen, Thanks for the feedback. I do really like the crop you suggest and the removal of the other elements really allows the focus to be on the bird and treehole.


I agree with the heaviness of the trunk on the left side of the frame. Looking back, wish I thought quick enough to capture a vertical composition as well. Oh well, live and learn. Thansks to you and everyone else for the excellent and helpful feedback. Much appreciated.