Back Modifications (2)
Views 151 Unique 45 Award Shortlist   

Pied Wagtail

By Emilpix
A pair of Pied Wagtails have been frequenting my small garden this winter, only the second time in thirty or so years. They tend to be a bit skittish and numerous attempts to photograph them at close range have given me less than I had hoped for. I caught the edge of a terracotta pot at the edge of one attempt and thought that this would give a nicely contrasting background if only I could tempt the birds into the right position. Moving the pot and placing meal worms in the right place seems to have done the trick I feel.

Tags: Wagtail bird Wildlife and nature Terracotta pot

Save 69% on inPixio Photo Studio 11 Ultimate (discount applied at checkout)


15 Jan 2018 2:56PM
Well captured.
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2216 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2018 7:09PM
The detail on the wagtail is good, Mick, but the terracotta pot colour is overwhelming your image. The pot has given you a nice clean area behind the bird's head, but is too bright and distracting.

You have the bird and branch nicely focused, with the rest of the background blurred, so that the bird stands out well.
Well done for working out how to capture one of the birds.

I have done a modification where I reduced the terracotta colour, brightened, increased highlights, reduced saturation and sharpened.
I also cropped to remove more of the background and to give more room on the right than on the left, i.e. more room in the area into which the bird is facing.

15 Jan 2018 7:37PM
Thank you both, particularly for your reworking Pam. 'Beauty' being in the eye of the beholder though I feel that your version seems rather flat and increasing highlights has reduced detail in the bird's face which also seems to have a greenish tinge, to my eye at least. I do appreciate your comments though and wonder what others might think. Meantime - I must get a paler terracotta pot! =8)
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4238 Canada
15 Jan 2018 9:24PM
It is a nice catch indeed.

It is a little underexposed, and that does give good definition to the lighter feathers on the face, at the expense of the larger, darker area, and can also contribute to over saturation. So its a combination thats tricky to shoot well, I think.

So I would increased exposure, perhaps around +2/3 ( I think that pot did help fool the meter?); decrease overall saturation, I used -10; and lift shadow detail to allow more detail in the darker feathers without losing too much in the face. Overall, the effect of lifting shadow detail may well decrease contrast.

I did tweak white balance to get a white face,which meant increasing yellow (warmer) and decreasing green.

Ive re jigged the composition and framing, but thats not needed, its fine as it is.

BTW, you uploaded with the Adobe RGB profile, - best to use sRGB as required by the site, - EPZ doing the conversion might have some effect on how it looks.


15 Jan 2018 9:29PM
Thanks. Willie. Sorry about my error in loading it to site.
paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2018 8:56AM
Quite a nice shot. It is just a touch soft on feather detail but that might be due to compression. You are a bit slow on shutter speed, though, if hand holding, and you should not be too sure IS will correct any movement. I would suspect a little camera movement. As Willie says, a touch under exposed too - lighten a bit and put highlight detail back with the burning in tool.

16 Jan 2018 10:27AM
Thank you Paul. Camera was mounted on a tripod. The lens doesn't have IS so not an issue, if mounted on tripod IS should be dis-engaged anyway. Outer feather detail is soft probably because they are downy feathers and subject to the the windy conditions prevailing. I accept that the image is slightly underexposed. Again, my thanks to all who care to comment.
Steve_S Plus
15 183 3 United Kingdom
17 Jan 2018 12:13AM
A black and white bird is quite difficult to expose for. Increasing the exposure would certainly blow the whites. There is little detail in the white head feathers as it is. You will not put detail back in burned out areas. Your description says it was shot as a JPEG. Shoot in raw and expose for the whites. It is easier to bring back detail in the dark areas with Lightroom etc. Watch your iso though or it may become noisy.

Your crop is too tight. Leave more room on the right for the bird to "look into".

In setups like this, you are completely in control of your background.......throw the pot in the dustbin Wink
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1848 England
17 Jan 2018 7:51AM
As with your previous upload to the Critique Gallery, I've arrived late, and others have commented far more expertly than I could.

One of those cases where there is a balance - the background does contrast nicely - but the colour is so much brighter than the bird's feathersthat it draws attention. You would have problems with any contrasting background, though, because the bird is dark: rim lighting against a darker background would be wonderful, but hard to arrange, to say hte least...
17 Jan 2018 11:02AM
I love the different interpretations of photographs and have commented on those as far as Paul's. As to your's Steve, the image wasn't shot as a JPEG but uploaded as such. Love the comment about the pot even though I thought it an appropriate background - notwithstanding the fact that it is a bit (?) bright. Thanks for your comment and yours too Dudier - all are grist to the mill and much appreciated in my quest for the perfect photograph. =8)
paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
17 Jan 2018 2:55PM
There is nothing wrong with the pot. Simply a part of any garden for years and not even slightly detrimental to your image. I've looked at some of your other images of birds and that slight mussy effect is there in them. I, too, do a lot of bird and small animal photography and this is fine detail which is not fully sharp- it is there on the flight feathers too, not just the downy stuff.

I'm being hyper critical because your shots are way above average, and on a computer screen there can be so many reasons for slight fall off such as compression, JPG and so on.

17 Jan 2018 3:08PM
Many thanks Paul. I always welcome the views of others in the hope that their slant on my images help me achieve better representations of what I photograph.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.