Steve, I’m just an old landscape photographer taking time to admire your fine work here. As I’ve not done any avian/wildlife photography in 30 years now I’ll skip any technical input and just say I really like the image…
Lovely – gorgeous – subject in a lovely setting! My taste would be for more room on top and a little more on the left.
I love the subdued BG but in the larger version there is a fringe of “hard pixels” along the top edge of the back and the head. From masking? Easy to fix if that is the case.
The whites feel a bit tonally flat, especially on the head and beck. I think I see the intent of a quiet, shady mood, but I wonder if bringing them up a bit would add to rather than subtract from the mood?
I’m another guy who knows next to nothing about avian photography but I do know a brilliant photograph when I see one - and this is one. You’ve really hit all the notes for me. I love the chiaroscuro effect of the background - just enough detail for context and the rest is mystery. The white of the bird has been handled with such a light touch allowing for subtle shading and texture that feels perfectly in keeping with how you’ve handled the background. But what makes this photograph so special is the exquisite gesture of the bird, which makes this picture not only about the subject but also the moment. Print it!
I like the black and white very much as well. I know people have very different opinions about how dark to go in the background. I might try to take out the foreground in the lower right corner (as it is distracting) but leave the around the birds feet…otherwise it might look legless. That’s just my subjective taste to take or leave.
I find the black and white interesting, Steve. It works very nicely, though some of the background elements that were non-issues in the original suddenly become more obvious and distracting. Interestingly, the lower right mentioned by Robena doesn’t attract my eye at all, but the upper right brighter spots do pull my eye.