Getting into position

The incoming pose right before these peregrine falcons copulate last Saturday morning. I guess it’s implied but the birds are completely wild and are not baited. The male has been with us a good 4-5 years, but the female is new. We suspected that she has killed our almost 15 year old female (known from her leg bands). Their mating episodes hit double digit within 4 hour period last Saturday. I think they are trying to make up lost time because this is pretty late in the season already.

From image design perspective, does the OOF cliff on the right edge of the image bothers you? I am slightly troubled, it was too hard to focus stack such an action shot. I have subsequently burned that area in PS hoping to minimize its impact on the image.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

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D500, 500mm, f/5, 1/2500, ISO 4000. 50% crop. AI Clear, Extended canvas on top stitched from a different frame from the same burst, reduce contrast in the BG from specular highlights from the rocks on the cliff.

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Another excellent Peregrine image, Adhika. I really like the relative poses. The out of focus bit of cliff doesn’t draw my eye at all, so I’m not bothered by it. If you’re not entering a contest with “no manipulation” rules, you could check your files to see if you have a nearby frame with that slice in focus and merge the images. I try to remember to do that in the field, but am pretty unsuccessful at getting my memory to cooperate in the excitement of getting good action.

Beautiful image. I love the action/poses and that action kept me from noticing or being bothered by anything out of focus.

Adhika: I looked at this on a small screen early this morning, but I’m looking at it on my good monitor now. I still have the same reaction. That lower right corner is essentially invisible. If it were really grossly out of focus it might be different, but with the slight loss of clarity, it doesn’t affect the image at all. Excellent work.

Awesome interaction. Such a spectacular opportunity y’all have out there! Both heads being in focus really helps. Cliff doesn’t bother me at all–it should be OOF. If it were in focus, I think it would be distracting. I’d probably clone out that defined piece of rock to the right of the male’s left wing. Additionally, in an ideal world, the female’s head would not have merged with the rock. Small nits in a really nice image.

Thanks, guys! I am not entirely happy with the image quality but I take what I can get until that time comes. I am glad that OOF part does not bother anyway. As for the stick on the cliff, as soon as I posted this, I know that thing has to go. Consider it gone :wink:

Superb behavioral shot in what looks like flat lighting conditions. You did a really good job with the detail, wing position, and expressions on both birds. Does the lower Peregrine have a headache?

Thanks @David_Schoen. I know what you mean about lighting. I, too, want that light especially because I would get a much better image quality then. To illustrate, this is shooting on a cliff and the morning sunlight doesn’t really penetrate the area until the afternoon where it will be sidelit and that’s a whole different beast to deal with.

I bet that lower peregrine was having a headache because this shot has been the fifth time they copulate in the 1.5 hour period. A few seconds after this shot, the male (shown flying in here) landed on her (bending over, perched on the rock in this image) and that’s how baby peregrines are made.