Tom Brott  

The Early Bird Gets the Bug by Tom Brott

May 2020 - The Early Bird Gets the Bug

About the Image(s)

I was out bike riding and taking pictures of the burrowing owls. This was a burrow with 4 chicks plus mom and dad. Dad flew off his guarding perch and grabbed a bug. As soon as he landed on the ground this chick made a mad dash to be first in line for the bug. The other 3 were not far behind.
Canon 7D Mark II, f/11, 1/640 sec., ISO 400, 100-400mm lens plus 1.4 ext. = 450mm shot, hand held.
Processed in Photoshop Raw by adjusting several sliders and then adjusted some of the mid-tones for a little more pop. Heavily cropped to just shoe the chicks pace and expression and dad with the bug.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
6 comments posted

Mike Cohen   Mike Cohen
I love the scene, behavior and tight crop. I normally wouldn't crop the legs as you did but it works fine in this image and I wouldn't change it a bit. It does look a bit oversharpened, especially the male's good eye. That said, I think some people would like it just as it is. Both bird's expressions tell the story and seem humorous to me. I might also dodge and burn around the bug a bit to try to make it more prominent. Very nice.   Posted: 05/07/2020 15:38:08

Lisa Auerbach   Lisa Auerbach
This is a fun image and nature story. The wink adds good humor. I think your background is a bit too bright and competes with the owl. I also see a halo around the top of the papa owl's wings and head. It took me a moment to see the bug so agree with Mike that you might dodge/burn to make it more easily seen.   Posted: 05/07/2020 16:06:39

Pamela Hoaglund   Pamela Hoaglund
You were in the right place at the right time to capture this moment of behavior between dad and chick. I love that the male is winking and the chick is reaching out for the bug. I would like to see the feet or crop a little higher so it doesn't look like they were just cut off but that may not be possible. I too see a slight green fringe on the left side of dads head. Love the image and interaction. Great capture.   Posted: 05/08/2020 19:22:31

John Roach   John Roach
(Group 64)
Cool story. I can't see the food in the beak so I think some edit might be appropriate.
The image seems a little over sharpened or something. I see a halo around the birds. Wonderful capture.   Posted: 05/14/2020 13:27:56

Sharon Prislipsky   Sharon Prislipsky
I feel like the female is saying, "Oh my gosh, is that tiny bug the best you have to offer?" Maybe he is winking because he has a bigger gift in store just outside the frame. Now that I have had a little fun with this, I think you captured a decisive moment here. The cropped off legs are not an issue for me. Initially, I did not see teh bug - your title tipped me off to look harder. I would lighted it to separate it from the bird's feathers which seem to be the same color and texture. I agree that there is a slight halo on the male. It should be easy to deal with. In my opinion, the background could be darkened using the tone curve and pulling down the mid-tones. You might also want to try to desaturate just a bit and reduce the luminance of green.   Posted: 05/15/2020 14:14:12

Judith Lesnaw   Judith Lesnaw
And he is winking!! Wonderful expressions on both birds. Great detail in the birds, and bokeh in the background. I would try to darken the background a bit, maybe reduce the highlights. A great story here.   Posted: 05/27/2020 19:09:12