Osprey in Flight

This is a 2nd photo of an Osprey flying in my neighborhood (North Florida). I previously posted another. I had purchased a new camera and lens and went looking for wildlife, and I spotted this osprey. It was actually a cloudless sky when I took the photo. I am new to Lightroom and Photoshop and struggled to get the right balance of brightness to the bird vs. sky. Photoshop took most of the blueness of the sky out. I wasn’t thrilled with the white sky, so I imported the photo into Luminar 4 and replaced the sky. I also lightened the bird a bit.

Specific Feedback Requested

I would love to have had the bird higher in the frame, but this was the best I could do in tracking him. Is it acceptable to replace the sky the way I did? Should I crop it more (losing some of the wings) in order to see his face and eyes better?

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Nikon D500
Nikon AF-S 300mm PF4
1/1600 at f/8
ISO 400
Processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and Luminar 4 as described in the description


You have a good look at the osprey Scott. Too bad about not enough room for tail but you already know that. Head looks sharp and a really nice overhead fly by pose.
The blue in the sky looks off a bit to me but otherwise clouds and sky look good. i would lose the jet trail with a bit of cloning iin PS. And I would say there is some blue in Osprey also. You might try desating blue in LR and see how that looks.

And I wouldn’t think this is a photo for more cropping. If anything the osprey needs more room. It does sound like they are around your area and you might be able find nesting or feeding areas and get some nice behavior shots as well.

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David gave you some really good pointers on this image. You might consider trying to add some canvas below the tail. This would give the image more balance and I think there is enough of the tail there to add the canvas. You may have to do some cloning but it should work. For me the main issue is the blue cast throughout the image. This could be a white balance issue or it could be related to bringing in the sky from Luminar, which by the way makes it a composite image.

I own both the D 500 and 300 PF. This is an excellent set up and you should get a lot of mileage out of it. If you can afford it the 500 PF is just as nice and one of the sharpest lenses I own.

Hi Scott:

Too bad about the close framing and slight cut of the tail. We all do it. Just keep practicing.

My first reaction to the photo, before reading your description, beyond the clip of the tail, was that it looked like a composite. The light just doesn’t match between the sky and the bird. I read about the sky replacement and now I understand my visual reaction.

I’m not a fan of sky replacement. I’m not saying it is wrong or not allowed, just my personal feeling about it.

The color of the sky is pretty odd with a heavy cyan cast that doesn’t add to the overall appeal of the image for me.

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Thanks. I wasn’t clear what was meant by composite image, but now I know. I will need to learn how to add canvas to an image; that’s a good idea. I also need to continue to learn more how to get the adjustments I’m looking for in LR and PS

Thanks Keith. I struggled to get the sky right. I need to keep learning more about post processing software.

Although this could probably be better, here is my attempt at adding canvas and fixing the color balance. Basically, what I did was add some sky from the top of the image and then blend it in to the clouds below. I also decreased the blue saturation by about 25% and raised the white about 25%. I could have done a better job with the blending on the clouds.

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I like it. Did you do this in Photoshop? I need to spend more time learning to use more functionality.

All photoshop.

A good learning resource for you might be a basic photoshop video series by Sean Bagshaw. He is an excellent teacher. Google him and check it out.

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