I was shocked today by the violence between these two Pied Billed Grebes

How do I make this image more impactful?

Is there a better way to deal. with the silvery water surface?

Best Crop advice?

Nikon D850 + Nikkor 180-400 T.C.1.4. @550mm f5.6 1/2000
ISO 640

I’ve included the uncropped image and the way I elected to crop it.

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I’d say you captured the action really well. I like how the female is looking at the pair of males. The crop works well and draws the eye to the action. Not sure you could do much with the water; not sure you need to as the color seems to work with the grebes. Great job.

I agree you captured the action well and I like the crop. For the water you might use a soft brush or brush with a large feathered area and separate out the birds and then lower exposure or highlights/whites on the water. Also I don’t know for sure but doubt very much that serious damage is done during these mating displays. Good job capturing the detail and head turn on female.

Hormones at work, Albert. Just look at most human 14-30 year old males (and many more old enough to know better).

You manages excellent image quality for having the birds that small in the frame. They held up very well to the crop. I don’t mind the silver water and the crop looks fine. You could look at a panorama style crop. When I started writing this, I accidentally had the screen scrolled up far enough to do that and it looks pretty good. Excellent image.

Thanks Allen. Not much color on the Grebes or background making for a pretty monochromatic image. I experimented with B&W but didn’t think that it worked.

I like the idea. I took it too the extreme by flattening this shot with the female further from the sparring males.

I like the composition, Albert, though I think the males are a bit close to the edge. Did you just crop the jpg? It looks like the image quality suffered somewhat in this version.

I can’t believe the image quality in your original crop. That lens must be razor sharp. I love grebes; they are some real killers when it comes to prey. I’ve never seen two have a breeding squabble.

The silver water doesnt bother me. I really like the interaction. Crop-wise, I’d crop in about halfway from the top and add that much to the bottom of your original. Otherwise, there’s not much you can do when the crop is this large. I also noticed a big drop in image quality on your pano crop. I also assume it’s from just cropping the .jpg?

Thank’s Lyle.
I always considered Grebes to be innocuous little critters. That is why I was so taken aback when I discovered that the ferocious combatants were the Walter James Mitty of the Avian World.
Yes. For pano crop I just chopped the top off an iPad image as part of a proof of concept.
I like your idea of shipping the action more into the background.

Thanks David
Think I’ll stick with the silver.