Two Drops and the Perch Turned Brown

It drizzled for the first time this summer several days ago and my green Himalayan blackberry perch turned brown very quickly. As is the case with most areas in the Pacific Northwest at this time of the year, I have had a charm of juvenile American Goldfinches hanging out around my feeders for several weeks. The sun doesn’t even hit my perch set up until after 9 AM in September. By that time the light is starting to get a little harsh and one needs to exert significant control over the exposure values especially in the sidelight. This image was taken when the sun had just started covering part of the perch. The light on the bird itself was quite bright. But I still enjoy the light on this bird and the background.

Iso-320, 600 mm, F10, 320th, D 500, tripod, -2 EV, no flash, 50% of full frame, Adobe camera raw 10.5, Topaz adjust, TK sharpening action at 30%

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Any concerns about the level of sharpening or saturation?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any concerns about the composition. I do have questions about catch lights. What criteria does one use to determine whether the catch light should be cloned away or left as is. (Not counting double catch lights as a result of fill flash)

A little brown sure mellowed out that perch in a hurry, David. I like the side lighting. I’ve never cloned out a catchlight caused by natural reflections, but I have seen some weird looking doubles. I certainly wouldn’t mess with this one.

A very nice image.

I think the sharpness is fine and the catchlight looks quite natural. The composition is fine too with the finch well placed in the perch. The bright spot behind the finch grabs my attention though and I am not sure what caused the dark patch in the finch’s breast.

Thanks so much for your comments on the American Goldfinch. I have made some changes including darkening the background area that you found distracting. With respect to the dark area on the feathers, I looked closely at the original and believe that was just a darker shadow; however, I did try to lighten it up a bit with the adjustment brush. See what you think.


David: The repost is much better with the finch more prominent. I wasn’t sure if the dark patch was a shadow from the flash, but it looked odd. I think you handled the heavy side-lighting very well with the flash.