Hello there

We have a couple of bird feeders/baths in our backyard, which much to my delight, attracts quite a variety of birds (also deer, foxes, squirrels, raccoons, cats, roadrunners, an occasional armadillo) and probably a lot of other wildlife I’m not aware of. My challenge has been to try to get some respectable photos of them. Not my strong suit. This is my latest attempt to photograph a Blue Jay.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

First, obviously cut off his tail, big mistake, but I was so excited he was holding still for a second. Cropped 1:1 and then cropped a bit more off of the left side as this was mid day and the light was awful. I did use luminosity masks to tone down the brightness of the tree (left side) and also used another luminosity mask to paint in some color (also to tone down the brightness). In LR; I used a radial filter on the Blue Jay to add a bit of texture, clarity, sharpness and noise reduction to the bird.
Did any of this editing work? Or has it begun to look to “edited?” Other comments welcome.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any thoughts? Comments welcome.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Nikon D7200, tripod, f/18, 1/40 sec., iso 250, 200-500mm @500mm.

Hi, Linda. I don’t think it looks over-edited. There is good detail and color, and a nice pose by the Jay. Keep shooting!

The bird is a bit soft – at f/18 you could be getting diffraction softening, and it forces a slower SS and higher ISO. If the bird was filling the frame, maybe f/14 would be needed but I’d think f/8 might have been good here. Contrast on the bird itself is not bad, but it’s very jarring on the tree. Did you pull down Highlights in raw conversion? I’d crop as much of the tree as I could, and even if it were softly gorgeous, just placing the bird in a good composition would, for my taste, need a crop from the top and right to halfway to the bird. Soft light is dependable early and late, with the sun not in the sky, and animals are often more active then.

Linda: Just doing a fairly aggressive crop makes this better for me. There is good sharpness in the feathers but just the hint of softness around the head which makes me suspect just the slightest motion blur. At 500mm and your SS that can be hard to avoid. Still a marvelous subject and I’m sure a welcome visitor to your yard. >=))>

Linda, I understand “getting excited” and missing something in the shutter press. The good news is that you should get many more opportunities. I think you’ve handled the lighting well. Bills crop takes advantage of the bird’s pose. The sharpness in the bird’s feathers looks fine. In testing my lenses, when viewing at 100% on a large monitor, I can only see diffraction softening at f/22 and higher.

Thanks for the encouraging words Terry. . . .certainly will do . . … . keep shooting.

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Thanks Bill. I like the crop you’ve done and appreciate you taking the time to do so.

Thank you Mark. I appreciate your taking the time to look at this and will keep the “diffraction” factor in mind for my next capture.

Linda, I am so glad that the Blue Jay stayed still for you for this shot. I know all about excitement and not having the settings right, or cutting off the tail. You aren’t the first to do that, but I still think it came out very nice. I usually shoot my bird shots around f8, if lighting allows, but usually don’t bump the f-stop numbers any higher. Birds are more apt to move, so I want the shutter speed to allow that, at maybe 1/640 if lighting is good enough that my ISO isn’t going up to high. Maybe some of the better Avian photographers on here can weigh in and provide better advice. I really like the head turn that he gave you.

Thank you @Shirley_Freeman. You’ve given me some great guidelines to try on my next shooting adventure. I also like the position of his head, but thinking he only turned because he heard me clicking away. I’ll take what I can get.

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