Surf Scoter ... in the surf

I have found surf scoters to be very difficult to get close to, but I finally got a decent opportunity at last light recently.

Didn’t do much in post. Cropped, straightened, sharpened rhe bird, and reduced noise on the BG. All C&C welcome.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
700mm, handheld
ISO 640

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Excellent, Lyle. The low angle really worked and the water is gorgeous. The side-on pose of the bird works very well.

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A nice pose and environment, but it seems very underexposed to me. The profile is AdobeRGB – it’s going to display more accurately more more people if converted to sRGB and the profile tagged, but that’s only for color, not exposure.

Here’s a quick and dirty correction. The increase in cyan in the water could easily be fixed.

Excellent point of view and superb detail on this image. I like the composition. I do agree that it’s a little dark but I would go about halfway in between what Diane posted and what you posted. It’s important to keep the blocks as black as possible yet show as much detail as you can. This is always a challenge with dark plumage birds.

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Thanks, Diane. I do think I have a bit of room in the highlights, and you’re right, I need to remember to convert to srgb color space. But these birds are a true, inky black. I don’t think I could move the darks much without losing the true blacks on them.

OK – I didn’t know they are black. It’s always difficult for me to bring out some detail in a dark subject – it needs some sculpting from the light angle and reflections. I think the eye can see quite a bit of detail in a black subject, and I try to bring that out in a photograph. but it may be at the expense of accuracy.

Nice job, Lyle, and on my monitor it looks quite what I would expect of a Scooter, so I wouldn’t change a thing. Cheers, Hans

Keep the blacks in the scoter. You could fool around with an adjustment layer using Shadows & Highlights with tweaks in opacity to get the blacks just how you want them. These are tough to get near shore and I hope that you did not have to go swimming for this one. Well done…Jim