Say's phoebe + repost

Over Christmas, my wife and I visited Bosque just as the shutdown was starting. We did not see too many people there, probably due to a combination of the shutdown and Christmas (the refuge offices were closed). We saw lots of cranes and geese (though not as many geese as we saw when we were there about 10 years back), but one of the highlights was seeing other less common species like this Say’s phoebe in late afternoon.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

My camera had difficulty focusing on the phoebe and I ended up using the center point only. I added some canvas on the left and would like your feedback on how it looks.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

I would like to get your feedback on this on the composition and color palette (does it look natural).

Any pertinent technical details:

840mm on car window, 1/1000s@F8 (+1 1/3Ev on aperture mode), ISO400.

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

Love the color palette and composition, excellent small in frame image.

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Very nice - great com, BG, and pose. I like the inclusion of the weeds, although i might clean up some of the less interesting ones.
fine image!

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I would also clean this up a bit, but I like the concept and the bird looks great.

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Thanks for your suggestions, @Sandy_Richards-Brown, @Dan_Kearl. Here’s a repost with all but the main stalks cleaned up.

Great improvement of an already-fine image !
I usually prefer not to clone many things out, but find I need to clran things up to present a neater image.
excellent work!

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Lovely, esp the understated orange hues and off-center placement of bird.

Was this cropped at all? For 840mm he’s pretty small so you must have been quite far away which could explain some of the focus issue. In the large version the bird appears to have some halo on the breast and it seems crackly from over sharpening. The Bosque light is so warm and inviting.

I absolutely love the concept. I see the re-post, but I would prefer you leave the stems on the left and clone out the stems on the right. I’d then crop in a bit from the right, but not quite as much as you did in the re-post.

Thank you for all the feedback. @Sandy_Richards-Brown, @Lyle_Gruby: I too am reticent to clone out part of the background, especially if they don’t interfere with the image. But sometimes, we never know how things will look until we try it out.

@John_Neukirch: This was full-frame - the phoebe was feeding in the middle of a small prairie, hence some distance away.

Hi Govind. I prefer your first composition to the repost. To me that cluster of seed heads on the right does a lot to balance the image. You could remove the out of focus one under it and maybe the ones on the left that creep into the bottom of the frame. I like the feel of this a lot.