D810 iso2000 300 f4E &1.4tc 1/2000 f8
50% crop, cloning, burning. All words welcome.

A great pose, Steven. My personal taste would put the bird in the lower right rather than the upper left, but with that head turn, I think it works either way. There’s quite a bit of noise evident in the largest version, which probably makes sense at iso 2000. I don’t really think you need 1/2000 shutter speed for this kind of image, so you probably could have brought the iso down a bit.

Are you saving your images in the RAW format in-camera? This has a bit of the look of an image saved as a jpg.

Raw is me.
I do wonder how you can suggest a crop without knowing what is on half of the original file?
Maybe you could explain that.

This crop works for me for the reason Dennis mentioned although I would instinctively put the bird in the lower right as well. The noise is an issue for me here, too. I wonder if some advance NR algorithm like (Topaz Denoise or AI Clear) can help reduce some of that.

I don’t do avian subjects, Steven, so am maybe not the best person to comment. I note the comments of others about the bird’s position and agree that the more usual placement of the main subject would probably be lower down. However in this case I feel the bird’s being where it is and looking out of the frame maybe suggests it could be about to fly any second and I rather like that.

I totally like the composititon the way it is, Steven. Very nice shot and I love the soft colours. Personally I would not have used f/8 but f/5,6 here to soften the background a bit. I appreciate that would reduce the DOF on the bird, though, so I understand your choice as well.
Grt, Ingrid.

Thanks, I never set the f stop. I use auto exposure shutter priority at 1/2000 (a shutter setting where I know I will not cause camera movement), so the camera chooses the f stop every time. Maybe not the best method tho does eliminate my camera holding ability (with that lens) from ever being one of the many challenges getting anything acceptable.

Hi Steven, with wildlife photography I tend to choose the f-stop in A-mode. I will check the shutter speed in my view finder and if it’s not fast enough, I bump up the ISO until it is. That way you can keep control over the depth of field ànd the shutter speed. Anyway that’s my way of working, take if for what it’s worth.

Afterthought: if you fear that you will find the above way of working difficult, why not choose full M-mode, choose your shutter speed AND f-value and work with AUTO-ISO?

Grt, Ingrid.

I choose a consistent ISO because it produces more similar (in technical way) looking prints in a one person print show, to provide a type of continuity. It was a forethought that seems to be working out.
Fear is not part of my process.