Pileated in the forest

I was hiking in the University of Tennessee Arboretum and saw three Pileated Woodpeckers flying around possibly having a dispute. I actually heard them before seeing them. I had to shoot through branches and bushes and learned that I may not be allergic to poison ivy or maybe I am just lucky. I tried to follow the birds for a bit but they remained a good distance away and would not really come out too much into the open for a better shot.

Specific Feedback Requested

As always any feedback to help me improve. The tree in the photo is slanted not the photographer, LOL.

Technical Details

Canon 6dmkii,
Iso 1250, F 5.6, 1/160 shutter, hand held.
Cropped to about 10 percent of full frame to get a better close up and remove distractions. Processed in Topaz Denoise for cleaning and sharpening.

1 Like

Nice job on finding this. The exposure is great with respect to color balance. Using a shutter speed of 160th when hand holding is likely to create issues with sharpness. These days, it may be better to use higher iso to increase the shutter speed. Topaz DeNoise can produce outstanding results up to iso 6400 if the crop is not too great. Give that a try next time.

Love these big woodpeckers though I find them hard to catch with a camera - nice find! The image quality is showing signs of the large crop and slow shutter speed. What focal length were you using?
As David states, a higher ISO may have helped a good bit here.

I am SO jealous of your gorgeous Woodpeckers! Excellent shot in a difficult situation.

Re: poison ivy – we have poison oak out here on the Left Coast but the irritant is the same. I used to think I could eat it, until I got some in a scratch while clearing brush. If you have had a first exposure, avoid future ones like the plague.

A nice frame of the Pileated. Colors/pose are good. I think the bigger issue with the image quality on the woodpecker is missed focus. The focus is nice and crisp on the tree and soft on the woodpecker. If you have software to see which focus point was active, I’ll bet it was on the tree, not the bird.

Hi every one thank you for the feed back. I was at a length of 277mm. I know I should have been at least 300 shutter speed. Prior to the photo I was in aperture priority walking around and had a lot of changing light conditions. This was basically a run and gun shoot and they birds were only around for maybe two minutes. I was just happy as all get out to see them. Thanks to your feedback I can strive for better.

You probably didn’t have time in this case, but your best bet with that camera for sharp focus on a fairly small subject is to select the smallest sized focus spot, and put it in the center for best response, one and put it right on the subject. Canon bodies of that era have hidden helper areas that expand the size of the focus area you see in the viewfinder and if one of them sees the texture on the tree it would probably focus there even though the indicated focus area is on the bird.