Whimbrel in Puget Sound

I have a love hate relationship with Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. The early morning sun is in-your-face and the boardwalks over the McAllister Creek drainage are 12 feet high. Other boardwalks are probably 5 feet off the ground so it prohibits good point of view images unless they are right at eye level in the brush or flying above the brush. But on the other hand, it is a good stop off for wildlife in migration looking for a snack or a rest spot. This Whimbrel is no exception. Normally found in northern Alaska and northern most Canada below the Arctic Circle, this bird was probably on its way south to its fall migration location in Baja. This is an extremely rare sighting as most of the time they prefer the coast to inland waters. This was taken from the 12 foot high boardwalk but probably 15 feet off the ground as wire mesh is stretched across the railings preventing any lower access.Despite the impediments of the location, I was very happy to spend an hour watching this Whimbrel enjoy a feast of small sand crabs.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

All comments are happily accepted.

Any pertinent technical details:

Iso-100, 200-500 at 480 mm, F6 .3, 800th, handheld, D 500, somewhat harsh midafternoon (that’s when the tide is favorable) light, 60% of full frame, Adobe camera raw 10.5, Topaz adjust, TK sharpening action at 20%.

Excellent job handling a difficult situation, David. I like the composition and the Whimbrel looks like it has excellent detail, with the crab being a very nice bonus. There’s a slightly “gritty” look to the out of focus foreground that my eyes find disturbing-you might want to do s slight blur there. Good job getting the bird against the open patch of water. Well done.

A really fine look at a species I have never seen. I can see from the conservative approach to using TK sharpening, that you may have been already there before the sharpening. I am wondering how this would look without. Optionally, would a 0.1 pixel blur overall at saving smooth things out?

Hi David
That is a nicely angled shot for 15ft off the ground. The Whimbrel has nice detail and I like the dinner action.


When I first started using TK sharpening action, I had it set at 50% but as I have learned to fine tune contrast, black levels, clarity, etc, I have been gradually dropping. My last post today was at 1%. The other nice aspect of using this action is that it easily converts tiff images to. Jpeg. I can set my long dimension to whatever I choose for file size and it will put the image in my 72 dpi jpeg folder for the web.