Western Grebes

Taken on my recent trip to Prescott Arizona. I’m SO NOT a bird photographer, but when our own Diane Miller arranged a boat trip with another photographer, Ted Grussing, I faked it for a few hours. It was fun and we saw many birds and wild donkeys. Plenty of boaters, too, which made the birds a bit easier to approach since they were so used to humans and our silly way of getting around the water.

Specific Feedback Requested

I’m open to ideas. Both to be better in the field and in post. I think these are reasonably good for my current level of ability.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Handheld in a boat driven by someone else. Dialed in a faster shutter speed than my starting wildlife custom mode which is shutter priority and auto ISO with Animal detection focus. I think I also remembered to dial in Continuous Auto Focus as well. It’s not a menu setting so I have to change it if I’m in Single Focus mode which I usually am.

Lr processed for some tonality adjustment and fairly large crops. White balance, sharpening and clarity/texture added. Used some masking to only sharpen the bird and to manage detail the whites which amazingly were not blown out!

Shot #1


1 Like

A nice look at the Grebe. I’d go with the first one, the eye seems a bit sharper and (this is totally idiosyncratic) for some reason I prefer seeing movement from right to left-must be how my eye travels in viewing a photo. I am puzzled as to what is under the chin of the first one. It looks like a small fish, with the eye in good focus. I also like the light and colors in the water more in the first shot.

Thanks Allen. The boat never stopped moving and so it was tough for this newbie, but at least one looks decent!

I think it’s ruffled feathers. Scruffy look is in don’t you know!

These are very nice – good head/body angles to maximize DOF, and nice water detail. The coloring on the water fits very well with the birds. For a sunny day we had some good chances and you tamed the whites very well. Ted steered us on sun angle for most subjects. (And he got some killers himself.)

I’ve barely had time for a first cull, with a busy family Thanksgiving. Processing the pictures from there took precedence, with thanks to an active 5-year-old for keeping my wildlife skills sharp. But I’m back to the trip now and will post some soon.

I like the first quite a lot, Kris. The angle of the bird’s body to the viewer appeals to me a bit more than the second shot and as Allen mentioned, the eye seeps to pop a bit more. Boats can be a nice way to shoot.

I agree with Dennis regarding this first image. Nice detail. Perhaps a tad of darkening the highlights on the head and neck and maybe 10% off the top of the image.

Thanks to the Three Ds! - @Diane_Miller, @Dennis_Plank & @David_Schoen

The first one is better, but I really like the rippled wake in the second. I took the neck feathers down a bit in exposure and whites, but maybe not enough. Can crop more, too. Will have a look.

I love the wake in the second! I’d love to see a tighter crop.

I was trying to shoot for the best wakes and bow waves. Got a few that I’ll post soon.

I hope you got some good ones - the little waves they make boogying through the water are pretty cool.