Merlin & Dragonfly

The sunset was intense through the trees at dusk time. Saw this Merlin high in the tree, snack time. I did not notice the dragonfly until after posting the image. Notice right about his head on the tip of the tree branch.

Specific Feedback Requested

any feedback is appreciated

Technical Details

Nikon D500
Nikon F5/6 500mm lens
Exposure: 1/1000 sec, F5/6, ISO 3200, manual


I think you found a nice scene here. The back pose of the bird with the look back is nice. The scene is busy, but that’s just the way it is on some images.

Looking at the larger version, it is quite noisy. I did a little work in PS with some masking to work the background separate from the bird to remove noise and remove a few stray twigs near the edges of the frame. I also toned down the highlights in the background and darkened the background a little bit. I selected the bird and added some light to the back plumage and did some selective dodging on the head/eyes to try to add more emphasis there.

I’m sure the RAW edits would be better, but maybe this will give an idea of what might work.

Wow it looks great! Boy the masking really is a great tool! Thank you for the rework I do like the results very much!

I like the look the Merlin is giving and the dragonfly is a nice bonus. For the most part the branches complement and frame the Merlin, though I could see trying to remove the branches at the left shoulder.