White Pelican Mornings Reposts (Color Images Added)

Preening Pelicans

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


The first image was taken just after dawn at Bolsa Chica Preserve. It was interesting to watch the pelicans, cormorants, and egrets all work together in their fishing expedition. The egrets would line the edges waiting for the pelicans and cormorants to drive the fish toward the shore so they could get their share. The second image was taken later in the morning a couple months ago.

Specific Feedback

I liked the intense lighting in the first image on both the pelicans and the egrets. I also like the softer lighting in the second image, but it is not as intense.

Technical Details

  1. Canon 60D, f9, 1/3200 sec, iso 500, -1 EV, 100-400 lens at 400 mm.
  2. Canon 7DMii, f29, 1/1600 sec, iso 640, -1 EV, 100-400/1.4TC at 420 mm. TV and iso priority.

Thank you @Allen_Brooks and @Dennis_Plank for your suggestions with these. I’ve reposted after adjusting the whites. I’ve also added the color versions of these. The early morning light really didn’t translate to BW very well.

Critique Template

Use of the template is optional, but it can help spark ideas.

  • Vision and Purpose:
  • Conceptual:
  • Emotional Impact and Mood:
  • Composition:
  • Balance and Visual Weight:
  • Depth and Dimension:
  • Color:
  • Lighting:
  • Processing:
  • Technical:

Both nice and black and white is a good choice. I especially like the first one, showing both species. The near pelican seems too gray; can the whites be brought up?

I like the compositions and the black and white is an interesting and nice choice, Ed. However, my taste is for white birds to look white even in black and white images and these are all looking pretty gray to me. I think selecting the birds and maybe a curves adjustment to keep the highlights under control would work well to bring those grays up.

Nice grouping Ed and I like the black and white treatment though I agree on the whites (repost is an improvement). Interesting to catch this behavior of one species taking advantage of the feeding behavior of another.

Hi Ed
I looked at all the photographs in DXO PhotoLab 7, which by the way are very nice and the only thing I could add to the conversation is this one. I desaturated the green foreground and background, leaving the Pelicans pretty much untouched.
What do you think.

This is great @peter. You have a really nice touch with processing in DXO. I need to break down and look at alternatives for processing one of these days.