Yellow-headed Blackbird-Antique Image

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


I don’t know what made me think of this image, but a few days ago, I remembered that I had some in my files of this bird taken quite awhile ago and decided to look for them. I finally found them in April of 2013. A fellow NPN member at the time had posted a Bittern shot from Ridgefield NWR and I asked him for specifics on where he found it. It was my first trip to the refuge and the darn thing was right where he told me. Unfortunately, it came out of the reeds and stood right beside my car so all my shots were pointing down at it. However, at that time, there was a colony of Yellow-headed Blackbirds (since disappeared) quite some distance back from the tour route, and this one was kind enough to fly up to quite near the road and pose for quite some time.

After that experience, I’ve been going back several times a year.

Specific Feedback

This is a bit of a composite image. The eye came from an adjacent frame as the nictitating membrane was deployed in the image I started from (not the one I posted back in 2013). I also had clipped the bottom of the image just slightly below the bottom of the cattail head and I wanted more stem. I tried content aware crop, but it didn’t have enough stem to work with, so I stole it from an image of a Red-winged Blackbird taken a bit later that same trip. I scaled and rotated it until it fit, then blended it in.

I’d be interesting in knowing if any of my manipulations are obvious.

Technical Details

Canon 7D, EF 500 F4 + 1.4 TC, beanbag on car window, f/8, 1/1000, iso 400, aperture priority, pattern metering. See above for manipulation details. Otherwise, processed with today’s LR + PS CC. Some canvas added to bottom, cropped from the top and a thin slice of canvas added on the left. Final size was 3534x4920. EXIF data says this was taken at 7:23 AM on April 24th, 2013.

Hi Dennis, your adjustments all look good to me. And a very nice image - good details in the yellow and black with a fine pose on the cattail. Sharpness looks really fine. The yellows are fairly strong on the left of the bird but the details still show through nicely - well done. A fine image.

A very nice portrait and everything looks good as presented. The comp is good and the warm, soft BG works well too. Hopefully, you will get more photos of this species in the near future…Jim

Nice catch, Dennis. And your processing is wonderful. No obvious manipulations.

FYI, while Yellow-headed Blackbirds are rare in Ridgefield, I have seen and photographed a pair up there in the past two weeks. They’re having out in the first large reed/pond area on the left side of the road near just before the gate to the hunting section. That’s where most of the Red-wings hang out too.


Gorgeous bird on my favorite perch!! Wonderful coloration in the oranges and yellows! The enhancements look perfect.