Varied Thrush

As you may have gathered from the posts of others in the Pacific Northwest, we had a bit of snow the previous couple of days. Yesterday, I went out to my blind in it to see what birds were coming into the feeders. The Varied Thrushes rarely come in good weather, but they do come in when we get snow and we’d had over a foot by the time I went out. I had half a dozen at one time in the area of the feeding station.

I culled my images yesterday, but we had a power outage before I could process any and today the external drive array that I use as my primary storage didn’t power up, so processed this one outside of Lightroom except for the final step as that software seems to get confused if you have two copies of the same file name.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

I’m finding that the noise reduction programs don’t seem to do as well when the background is high key and the subject dark. Is anyone aware of a good trick? I ended up using AI Clear on this which did a fair job, but not as good as I’d really like.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

I debated shaving a touch off the bottom to get rid of the second hump from the perch-any opinions yea or nay?

Any pertinent technical details:

7DII, Sigma 150-600 C @ 324 mm, gimbal head mounted to blind, f/8, 1/320, iso 2000, manual exposure. Processed in ACR 11, PS CC and a final touch-up and export in LR CC.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Varied thrush, one of my nemesis birds. I would add more space to the bottom which would provide a stronger base by inclusion of more of the perch. …Jim

Sorry @Jim_Zablotny. I forgot to mention that this is full frame, so I have no more without stealing it from another frame, which might be a good idea-I’ll have to look at the others from the series.

Really nice pose and perch. I’m enjoying the point of view and the head turn. That said; yes, this is a very difficult exposure because of the right snow background/high key effect. The orange plumage is exposed perfectly in what appears to be overcast conditions. While most of the black plumage is okay, I find the head region to be a little dark and exhibiting less detail in the black plumage, especially the band across the eye.

If you have it, DxO photo lab might do a better job on the noise, although I find the noise levels to be within the acceptable range.

Interesting observation on the blacks, David. On my screen, the blacks on the head look fine.

I have DxO, but it’s an older version. I just never got comfortable with the interface.

I wonder what it would do to run AI Clear just on the bird, rather than the whole image. I’ll have to try it-stay tuned.