Resplendent Quetzal

Several of us have been to Costa Rica where we had the opportunity to photograph this amazing bird. They live among avocado trees in several central American Highland regions. They are on most wildlife photographers bucket lists. This particular location was very close to one of the lodges where we stayed. If anyone has been fishing in Alaska they may know the term combat fishing. This is essentially what happens in the resplendent quetzal habitat. We got there very early and were probably the second or third group at the location. By the time we left several hours later, there were several hundred people lining the road in close proximity. This one landed so close to me that I was only able to get a headshot. I tried to take two images; one of the upper body and one of the lower body. But it was too hard to combine them. Fortunately there are several other areas which aren’t as popular but require more walking to get to.

Specific Feedback Requested

please note I really had to desaturate the greens in order to make them look decent on my monitor. This is about a 60% decrease in the green saturation.

Technical Details

ISO 5000, 500 mm PF, F5 .6, 500th, D500, handheld, probably 50% of full frame

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Wow, what a gorgeous bird. You may have had trouble with the greens, but you nailed the details in the bird and his meal. I did get a photo of a Quetzal in the rain forest, but nothing to compare to this. I’m still studying all the detail in this shot! Nice work.

Wow, David, what a shot! The details are exceptionally good. Love the expression he gave you, and the seed in his beak. Wonderful colors in the bird, and a nice complimentary BG. Perfect! :+1: :+1:

That is actually a small avocado in the beak. The Quetzal actually grabs the avocado while in flight. Then it perches on a branch to eat the avocado. It spits out the seed. And that is the only way the avocado plant is propagated.

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Gorgeous portrait of a very interesting subject with wonderful detail and a great pose. The BG is perfect!

Great shot David! Excellent detail and exposure, and very nice background. Nice pose too. Too bad you have to fight for elbow room but it certainly worked.

What a beautiful bird! Your image is sharp and I like the pose too. Nice head shot!

Excellent, David. I suspect I know the spot. Luckily, there were two other locations we were able to go to. We did see them at this spot, but they were some distance back. It must have been incredible to see one this close.

I love the detail on the head and the colors are awesome. Now I know why avocado prices are high :slight_smile: The background suits this quetzal quite well too. Great job getting this photo…Jim

You really scored on this one, David. Awesome.

Hi David
Between you and Jim, I am going to have to spend more time studying how to make the quality of head shot. The detail and color in this photograph is outstanding.

Absolutely gorgeous.

So cool to get a close view like this, David. Excellent detail throughout. I’ll be honest, on my screen it almost looks to me like the colors have been desaturated a bit too much. Every time I’ve seen this species, even in somewhat dull light, I recall the greens popping a bit more.