Mike Cohen  

Great Egret Portrait by Mike Cohen

March 2023 - Great Egret Portrait

March 2023 - Mike Cohen


March 2023 - Mike Cohen

Original 2

About the Image(s)

I spent some time with this Great Egret hoping for the classic breeding
feather display, which is beautiful but, alas, never happened. That said, I
thought it still made a nice portrait. After processing it by cropping,
removing a few twigs, darkening down the green leaves on the nest, denoise
and sharpening and taking out a slight blue color cast, I was inspired to
play with the background. I made a large radial gradient around the bird
and added yellow, selecting out the bird and nest from that change. I then
found one of my images with clouds and bought in some clouds around the
background, changing the blend mode to color dodge and then doing a bit of
dodging and burning. I also brightened up the beak and face a bit. I'd be
curious as to which version you prefer. Sony a1, Sony 200-600 at 397mm,
1/250 second, f/6.3, ISO 640.

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

Judith Lesnaw   Judith Lesnaw
This Great Egret Portrait is BEAUTIFUL. The gleaming white feathers just leap out from the warm, dark and blurred background. The complementary blue/orange beak and that wonderful green patch near the eye, and that perfect eye add great interest. The compositional elements keep my eyes traveling throughout the image. From the green leaves lower right my eyes up to that green patch on the bird's face, and then down the orange of the beak to the subtle orange in the left mid background. For my brain these elements form a triangle which frames the elongated triangular shape of the birdbird. Now I know that this is a bird. BUT the angle of the image gives me the impression that he deep in thought and is resting his chin on his hand. I know that birds dont have arms and hands. But just look at it.   Posted: 03/11/2023 11:28:26

Pamela Hoaglund   Pamela Hoaglund
Mike, this image of the egret is gorgeous. Your treatment of the background really enhances the egret and adds a warmth to the image that compliments the warm tones in the egrets left side. The face and eye are very sharp. What I'm wondering is why the legs and lower parts of the wings are soft. It seems that the aperture of f/6.3 should have been enough to keep everything in focus as the head and legs are not that far apart in depth. Your thoughts or enlightenment? I know the important thing is for the eye to be in focus so this is a learning element for me. For me the final edited version is my favorite.   Posted: 03/13/2023 12:45:28

Ally Green   Ally Green
What a very fancy bird! I am drawn to the layers of the feathers showcasing the sharpness of its face and the colours are so vivid. Is this a male or female Egret? Think it is a wonderful composition although i might have just cropped in a bit from the right to hide some of that small plant. I agree with Judith in seeing it is resting its chin on its hand! I too like the final version and what you did to the background..really nice.   Posted: 03/13/2023 15:39:55

Sharon Prislipsky   Sharon Prislipsky
I definitely prefere the final version. I think your background treatment is very artistic. The bright orange of the beak may be a little too bright for my taste. I find egrets challenging because I always end up with areas on the head and sometimes the neck that don't have much detail in them no matter how I expose them. You have done a great job wuth this. Present it on canvas or metal...from what I know about south Florida I'll bet this would sell.   Posted: 03/15/2023 15:50:56

LC Boros   LC Boros
Lovely image: the post work on the background is well done and I like the crop. I do wish the DoF was a big larger though as detail on the back half of the bird is pretty muddied. Not sure if something like Topaz Sharpen would help as it would probably just result in lot of noise, but if you have it, you might want to try it.   Posted: 03/16/2023 09:27:45

Mike Cohen   Mike Cohen
Great feedback. Thanks everyone.   Posted: 03/16/2023 09:51:39