Dark-eyed Junco (Slate Colored Race)

This bird (I think it’s a female as the shade of gray matches the female Oregon race birds at my feeder set-up) has been coming into my set-up off and on all this winter, but this is the first time I’ve managed a reasonably clear shot of it. It seems rather skittish and is usually in the grass. While it’s not the greatest image and I did a ton of work on the background (which I’m still not completely happy with) it is an unusual bird for my area, so I thought I’d post it.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Does the background look even faintly realistic?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?


Pertinent technical details or techniques:

7D2, Sigma 150-600 C @ 600 mm, gimbal head mounted to blind window, f/8, 1/400, iso 2500, fill flash at -2 2/3 EV, manual exposure. Processed in LR & PS CC. Cropped to a 4x5 aspect with extra canvas added at the top. The background was pretty much completely replaced to clone over a log and smooth it out a bit. I’m not very happy with it, so I’ll probably reprocess this one sometime. Taken January 3rd at 9:29 am under cloudy skies.

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Dennis, Regardless of background difficulties, the Junco is another fine example of your seemingly flawless technique in bird photography. While I do not have a feeder or hide, we don’t prune any of our plants in our backyard so the birds will have something to help tide over during winter. We have a number of Juncos. I’ll have to look more closely to see if there is one or some of same kind. We also have some resident Scrub Jays and an Anna’s remaining here through the winter.

Very nice contrast between the bird and the background. Great job on the detail. Wonderful had turned and pose. With respect to the ID, I’m not sure but it certainly looks like some of the pictures I’ve seen of the sub species. And it has the body of a Junco.

Another wonderful avian image, Dennis. Your setup, technique, and patience seems to be working well. I also like the head turn, and the perch that he is on, with the soft background that makes him standout.

Agree with the other comments that there is excellent detail in the junco with a nice head turn. The perch complements the junco nicely. I like your idea to show birds that aren’t so common. I looked this up in Sibley and he says that “some females” (of the slate-colored species) are indistinguishable from Oregon, which would make me think this might be a male, though “some” is not all that helpful. I’d say the junco stands out a little too well from the background. It reminds me of my attempts to substitute backgrounds.

I like the pose and lighting here, Dennis. I am not sure of the ID, but it looks like a slate-colored male, the kind I used to see in Wisconsin.

About your question on the background, I do not see evidence any signs of cloning, but the background appears unnaturally soft in the scene. It looks somewhat artificial, especially at the top of the perch, where there is a hard edge.