I came across a wild male turkey on a hike with my camera club. Intrigued by one image of his feathers, I went back the next week in the hopes of finding him again. I was in luck, as he was there with 11 of his ‘wives’ and stayed around for almost an hour while I photographed him displaying. I particularly enjoyed his iridescent feathers in the sunlight.

Specific Feedback Requested

This is cropped (I have submitted the original too), so I wonder if another shot or crop of this one would improve the image. I have enhanced the colors and do like them but would like others’ opinion. Did I go too far? Any critique welcomed.

Technical Details

1/50", f/10, ISO 400. Processed in Lightroom: adjusted exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, texture, clarity and dehaze. Sharpened in Topaz Sharpen AI.


Here is the uncropped version.

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Beautiful patterns Bill! At first look, I was trying to sort out the subject. Shingles? rock formation? Then the feathers came into my mind. There is a wonderful geometry in the image with nice curves and layers. I like the colors as well. Nice work!

I love the cropped image! This may be my favorite of all the ones submitted for Sarah’s critique. Beautiful design, color, movement…. Fantastic job Bill!

It’s amazing that you were able to approach a wild turkey that close.

Thanks so much, Alfredo. Yes, part of what I like about this image is the initial ambiguity–what is the subject?

Thanks so much, Kevin. I’m glad you really like it. It was a very fun hour spent, plus the editing was also fun.

Igor, these turkeys apparently have a home very near to the picnic area where I photographed them. They come to feed at the picnic area, so have become used to people being around. They were quite comfortable with me about 10 to 20 feet away. I did use a 700mm lens (500mm + 1.4x teleconverter).

Hi Bill –

What a great subject! Now I want to go find myself a wild turkey to photography. In looking at the original, I think you picked out the crop that I would have selected as well. There are a few small bits of cloning I would do along the edges, especially the bottom middle where there is a tiny bright spec of feather peeking into the frame.

I like the strong colors but I might have personally tended more toward blue color balance, but that is purely personal preference. And, if the turkey had been standing REALLY still and you have a camera that offers auto focus-bracketing, getting a bit more sharpness through a focus stack would have been a fun experiment to try. Given the subject, the slight fall-off in sharpness is understandable and a non-issue in my view.

Aside from cleaning up a few distracting specs, I think this is a fascinating, successful photo.

Thank you for sharing this photo for my guest critique!


Sorry for the late response. I was on a photography trip, including David and Jennifer’s Death Valley workshop.

Thanks for the edge patrol suggestions. I’m not sure what you mean by tending toward the blue color balance. It is already quite blue. Do you mean to back off on the yellows/oranges? Yes, the turkey was moving, so focus stacking was not an option.
I really appreciate your suggestions for improving my image.

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I think this is a great Abstract! with all the colors and the crop! Nice work

Hi Bill - I hope you had a wonderful time in Death Valley! Yes, I meant backing off the oranges and yellows a bit so the blue would dominate even more than it does now. I didn’t mean this so much as a suggestion but possibly an entirely separate interpretation. Regardless of that comment, I just love the photo overall.