Roseate Spoonbills

This was right beside a very busy highway between Savannah GA and Hardeeville SC. It was mid-morning on my way back home from the Savannah NWR, on a very busy highway. I ran across the highway, earning a blast from a semi who thought I was way too close.
Thanks for looking!

Camera Info: Nikon D500, HH
Lens: VR 300mm f/4E + 1.4x TC
Focal Length: 420mm
Focus Mode: AF-C
AF-Area Mode: Dynamic, 25 points
Aperture: f/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/1600s
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Comp.: 0EV
Metering: Spot
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 640
50% of full frame
PP in LR/PS CC 2018, Topaz Studio, Camera Raw filter, TK sharpen for web @ 45%

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Should I have used a polarizer? Given the strong backlight, I just about maxed out the shadow/highlight sliders. Are the shadows on the subjects believeable?

Phil: A polarizer looks like it would have been useful as there are plenty of places that it would have helped cut reflections (I’m not referring to the bird reflections in the water). Very harsh looking light with the backs of the spoonbills not showing any detail. Pushing the shadows as far as you have makes the image look pretty flat with little natural contrast.

Agreed. After I posted, I tried a little repair. it helped some, but the backs were totally blown out.

Third time’s the charm.

Hi Phil:

Looks like the lighting was pretty tough. The original image looks washed out and a little unnatural. As you say the back feathers and blown. The second repost looks much better. I think you could also play with reducing the exposure or perhaps selectively dodging the bright areas in the back.

Hello, Phil. Great birds to see and frame. The second image is already much more appealing in my opinion. As suggested, you could play with exposure a little, or (if using LR) try the ‘reduce haze’ slider a tiny bit? Not sure if it would work in this case, but surely worth a try ! Cheers, Hans

Phil, it’s nice to get a good frame of these younger spoonbills. The partial backlighting is difficult, and so I think a polarizer would help a bit.

Your third version is by far the best, Phil, you even managed to recover a bit of texture in the backs of the Spoonbills. I suspect a polarizer would have helped, or perhaps some fill flash. You could try playing with this some more, but your time might be better spent looking for another opportunity in better light.