Today's Great Egret + RP

A RP with a little more light on the bird:

The original:

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


We’ve had low clouds the last few mornings without the post-sunrise clearing (with low light) I always hope for. But I always enjoy trying for flight photography at a local rookery in the narrow window between ugly trees. A few days ago I shot another one with very subdued color in the lores, and this is probably a different one as it was heading for a different nest tree. Bad year for hormones?

Specific Feedback

Are the tonal limitations too, um… limiting? The leading edge of the right wing is darker than the left but this is the raw file with just denoise in PS. I could fix it (and possibly patch the missing feather) but I’m short on time. A special house guest arrives tomorrow along with another couple for dinner.

Technical Details

Screenshot 2024-04-24 at 8.10.56 PM

This is the full raw frame with shadow and highlight corrections and some saturation in LR. Into PS for denoise – that’s all.

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Hi Diane, looks really good to me and natural. The wings have a bit of a transparent look which is a cool effect. Great that you are capturing the bird carrying sticks. Love seeing that behavioral aspect. A fine image.

I love the light through the wings, Diane, and the weird way it’s carrying the stick from some tiny stub that doesn’t show. You caught a great wing position. Maybe it’s just my monitor , but the bird looks awfully gray to my eye.

I wouldn’t change a thing, Diane. Including the missing feathers. The colors and the detail I can see all seem more natural & realistic, IMHO. Lovely image.

I love the lack of color or tonal range. It makes it feel very ethereal. I especially like the way the egret’s stick echoes the fragility of its legs. For me, it provides balance and brings the eye back to the bird instead of the sky and its emptiness. So it’s the best of both worlds, focus on the form of the subject and a lot of space to give us a sense of flight.


I like this view and pose of the egret. The whites look good. The fact you can’t see how the egret is holding the branch was at first a bit jarring. Very nice capture.

A lovely shot. At first it appeared to be that the heron wasn’t carrying the stick at all. But I got over that.

Cropping is a matter of taste but I think a tighter crop here might improve a fine image.

Diane this shot beautifully captures the essence of the egret at work, with the lighting highlighting its feather details and adding a sense of calm to the scene. The focus on the egret gripping the twigs firmly hints at the cycle of life and its preparations for nesting. Lovely work! :clap:

Thanks, @Allen_Sparks, @Dennis_Plank, @linda_mellor, @Marylynne_Diggs, @Allen_Brooks, @Don_Peters and @Saundie! I agree the tonalities are a bit on the dull side. A RP is above, with more attention to tonalities. And I’m not delighted when they carry sticks that way – it looks like a clumsy paste job. (It’s not!)

Excuses: Shooting these guys against an overcast (darker than it looks here) presents a challenge, with the undersides darker than I’d prefer. On a clear or light mist morning there will be a few minutes at sunrise with some light on the undersides. I need to try for that soon.

This nesting season I’ve been too busy elsewhere – the eclipse, general busyness and a special house guest – a very interesting old friend we had lost touch with when she moved to New Zealand for 10 years. She’s basically a full-time surfer and competition judge. Another friend ran into her surfing in Mexico a couple of months ago and they somehow discovered they both knew us! She blew thru San Francisco last week and we managed a few days to get acquainted again. Intense fun!!

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