Working Hard for His Minnow

Watching the stretch of a Least Bittern (or Green Heron) is a sight to see. They have incredibly strong legs that can hang onto a branch while extending their entire length to catch their prey. These are small birds, and for the most part, somewhat like Kingfishers, very shy around humans. Extreme telephotos are often the only means to catch them in action.

Specific Feedback Requested

I get a bit wishy washy on the crop for this one. I like that I was able to capture the splash and ensuing droplets, but think perhaps it stretches the image too far out to the right.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
This was shot in the wee hours of the morning with what I call 'barely light." ISO was 1000, f/5.6, 200-500 @500mm, D500.

I did the initial processing in ACR. In PS, I did both a darks mask 1, expanded and then modified back to about a 1-1/2 for color correction on the feathers and similarly a light lights mask to knock down the brighter feathers. I also did a select by color range to pull up a better blue in the water for contrast against the Bittern, thus pushing it forward.

A great action image, Chris. I really like the extension of the body and the foot hanging onto the perch is really special. I think the amount of canvas horizontally is just fine, but I’d be tempted to shave a bit off the bottom if it were mine (and I wish it was!!).

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HI Chris
This is a very good nature photograph. At first glance my eye was drown to the splash and only after following up the Bittern body did I see its’ leg attached to the branch. Great action. Did you also get the Least Bittern coming out of the water?

I have the entire sequence done as a composite, if you would like to see it.

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Just did a quickie for sequence

I just saw the composite, Chris. That works amazingly well.

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Hi Chris
Very Cool.

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Indeed, very cool!! The composite must have involved some work.

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About ten minutes…this was a simple one.