Steller's Jay

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


I like the contrast between the warm and cool colors. I like the pose, though the bottom part of the tail is an issue that I left alone.

Specific Feedback

Any thoughts appreciated.

Technical Details

Canon R5; 100-500 with 1.4 Tx at 420 mm; 1/1250 at f10, -1/3 EV; ISO 8000

What a background! I love it. The jay contrasts very well with it. If you clipped the tail I don’t think I’d mess with it unless you happen to have a nearby frame that includes it-then it would be easy enough to merge the two images.

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Nice catch! Love the intriguing pose and the stark contrast with the background. Nice to catch the crest so well and the blue on the back. I’m noticing some noise on the beak and head but it’s only noticeable to me in the large file size. Well done.

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Dramatic, with a wonderful pose and setting! But the bird feels just a little too dark – or maybe the whole image is a little underexposed. Would be interesting to go back to the raw file and play with Shadows and Highlights – if you didn’t already push them to the max. Then do a global denoise – you won’t lose feather detail with Topaz Denoise with the right choice of algorithm.

If you cropped the bottom edge, I think I’d almost rather see more of the distracting element than have the tail cut right at the tip. Worth a look anyway.

I’d consider softening the edge of the leaf in the UL corner – it is a bit of an eye-magnet. Several varying brushstrokes with a 30-50% clone brush could do the job.

Hi Diane, thanks for the suggestions. The left upper corner definitely needs fixing-thanks for pointing it out. I did a fair amount of shadow and highlight work and ran Topaz Denoise. I can try playing with it some more, but the jay was quite dark and noisy. We’ll see what can be done.

My first thought was the Jay was a bit dark too, but one I blow it up to full size, it looks fine. I think it just gives the impression because the BG is so bright. But I love that color of the BG, not sure I would mess with it. My only nit left is the cut off tail.

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Hi Allen
The Steller’s Jay contract looks spot on and the framing works of me. Even at 8000, I would have thought Topaz Denoise would have cleaned up the bark noise in the Jay. Are shooting through some brush or is that lens flare in the tail?

Thanks, @peter, there was some leaves in the way. I was fairly close to the jay and didn’t want to move for fear of it flying off.

Beautiful capture. That background is amazing and really sets the jay off. Too bad about clipping that tail but not a deal breaker. Wonderful head turn and good details. The upper right corner could use some dodging. Well done.

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