David Kepley  

Green Heron by David Kepley

May 2023 - Green Heron

May 2023 - David Kepley


About the Image(s)

I went out to a local wetland to shoot birds this morning. I was really pleased to capture this green heron and his reflection. I thought that the background reflections on the water were a pleasing contrast to the bird. In post processing, I sharpened the bird and softened everything around him.

Settings: Canon 7D, MarkII, 150-500mm Sigma lens shot at 500mm. 1/400 sec, f6.3, ISO500.

7 comments posted

Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
Hi David, really nice bird and reflection. I agree with sharpening the bird, but would have left the background as-is. I don't think the softening of the background helped the image any, and it looks darker which doesn't help either. Your shutter speed might have been a little low which could be the cause of the softness of focus on the bird. Thanks.   Posted: 05/02/2023 21:10:43

Susan Sayshi   Susan Sayshi
Yeah, it's a little dark, but it's a good-lookin' bird with a mirror-like reflection. So cool! And no cropping! He must have been very still and very close to you. Or you were quick on the draw :-)   Posted: 05/03/2023 20:04:36

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
This is a fine environmental portrait that may be a bit long on environment and a bit short on bird. I find the composition pleasing and the exposure to be adequate. It appears that nothing is truly sharp in the image and that becomes a weakness. I will bet that this was taken hand held and holding a 4.2 pound monster lens at 500mm and a shutter speed of only 1/400 is likely the cause of the softness. When photographing birds fast shutters are your best friend. Since your ISO was only 500 this could have been raised to obtain a faster shutter. I would recommend a shutter of at least 1/1000 and more if possible.

I agree with Michael that I would have not softened the background especially since it appears doing so also softened the bird as it looks sharper in the original. Just because the current software makes it possible to select the background does not mean if should be done.   Posted: 05/04/2023 14:18:18

Bud Ralston   Bud Ralston
Hi David - I loved the heron, setting, composition, and colors. I think my old eyes are failing. Even with my new Rx, the photo looks out of focus.   Posted: 05/09/2023 17:05:09

Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
Hi David. On this shot I am going to agree with the rest of the folks. I think it looks a little soft. I do like the environment and see the reason for wanting to keep the reflection in the photo. I am finding in this case some of the environment elements are overpowering the subject of the photo in my opinion. The large log on the left is where my eye keeps going. I run into this all the time and so try to be aware of them and move to try and get the element out of the frame. Sometimes it just can't be accomplished.   Posted: 05/10/2023 11:00:58

Cindy Marple   Cindy Marple
I too really like the near-perfect reflection, and the diagonal of the log that the heron is standing on is a great "perch".
I would try Topaz AI Sharpen on the bird itself and see if you can get it a bit crisper.
You could minimize the impact of the other big log with a crop. I'd try cropping from the left to about the point that the thin branch above the log enters the water- roughly half the big log. Then a bit off the top just for balance. It's hard to avoid some of those elements when shooting- the birds just don't stay put, or there isn't another vantage point, etc.   Posted: 05/12/2023 12:49:09

David Kepley   David Kepley
Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. What I was really going for was a shot of the bird and his reflection. So I was trying to darken and blur the rest. I like the idea of cropping in from the left to reduce the visual impact of the log. I tried to do that by darkening it. I'll also work on sharpening the bird. Thanks again for your help!   Posted: 05/13/2023 09:51:52


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