Reworked Red-Tailed Hawk Grooming

This is an old one from November 2015 that I always liked, but had problems with getting it to its full potential (probably still not there). It popped up on my desktop slide show and I decided to try reprocessing it. I removed (or nearly so) some large and dark out of focus branches in the background, then used a mid-tones luminosity mask and a curves layer to give it some extra pop. Final adjustments to the hawk were made using the local adjustment tool in LightRoom.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Any processing artifacts I missed?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

I was trying to focus attention on the head and beak and the grooming action. Did I succeed? Does the large upright branch steal the show?

Any pertinent technical details:

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Having never seen the first I cannot comment on the cloning, but it looks good.
A unique pose, worth the time I think.

This really needs to be seen large. I like the pose and like Dan, I have not seen the original to make a comment about the postprocessing. The area of the head behind the blends in with the body and I’m wondering if there’s a way to change the contrast or perhaps make a little brighter so that it is more separated.

I don’t see any processing artifacts. In fact, I’d love to read an article about your cloning process. I am not very good at it! This setting is fantastic. That perch is perfect, and the preening bird provides an intimate view. I do think that you could probably get more detail out of the bird. Maybe lighten the face around the eye so we can see it better? And add some contrast to just the bird? I’m not sure what I’d do, but it feels like there’s a little more detail to be had.

Very nice pose. Only suggestion would be to crop out part of the tree from the right because it detracts my eye from the hawk.


Thank you, Lucy. I’ve been leaving that vertical alone because I love the growth on it, but I think you’re right. I’ll go back soon and do a vertical crop.