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Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon (Image ID 40378)
Photographed byEdward Mikucki on Mon 24th Dec, 2018 and uploaded on Thu 7th May, 2020 .
Resolution1800x1350
Viewed535
ID40378
CommentPlease note: Upon submitting an earlier version of this photo for publication, I received an email from the gallery moderator (Graham Cam) recommending a number of ways to improve the image, and that I resubmit the image to the Critique Gallery. The image submitted here is the latest version - after addressing most of the issues pointed out by Graham. Any further recommendations on how to improve this shot would be appreciated.
As a relative “newbie” to bird photography and post-processing in Lightroom I’d also welcome any comments as to how I’ve gone about this process for this image. I’ve tried to summarize major steps/concerns/processes that I’ve taken below.

The original photo was of two pigeons perched on a branch next to the Swan River. I made the decision to concentrate on the lowermost bird when editing to emphasize the somewhat comical, “wide-eyed stare” that these birds have.
• Routine corrections to sharpening & noise levels were applied during uploading to Lightroom.

Main Weaknesses of Original Photo:
• Whites & highlights of branches & tips of wing coverts overexposed & blown out.
• Mid-tones a bit overexposed resulting in somewhat washed-out coloring in bird plumage.
• Near-vertical branch behind main subject bird is distracting.
• Excessive noise in background. (During initial editing at 1:1 this was considered acceptable and not dealt with. However, the noise became clearly evident after resizing to fit website specifications).
Main Strengths:
• Overall good focus & detail of the subjects.
• Uniform background with pleasing bokeh effect (first time I’ve intentionally tried for this effect).

Strategy & Workflow:
• I wanted to crop this image to emphasize the head and front half of the subject for the reason outlined above, but also to remove as much of the branch sitting behind the targeted bird as possible. Unfortunately, for me the latter proved difficult using Lightroom’s clone & healing tools without introducing blemishes & artifacts along contacts with the bird’s body. I was left with cropping out as much of the offending branch as possible, but this left a fair portion of the branch still visible in the photo behind the bird’s legs.
• I widened the crop in the 2nd edit to give the bird a little more head room. I then boosted the mid tone contrast. This time, however, I used the tone curve to make the adjustments. (In previous work I’ve generally stuck to the sliders in Lightroom’s basic panel.)
• Blown-out areas were either darkened using the adjustment brush tool or fixed using Lightroom’s cloning tool.
• Finally, I used the adjustment brush tool to reduce background noise levels. Here, I made my corrections at a 2:1 ratio rather than at 1:1. This greatly improved background noise levels in the final edit.
EquipmentCamera: Sony DSC-RX10 IV
Editing Software: Adobe Lightroom Classic on HP Spectre X-360
Monitor: BENQ BL2711U (3840X2160 native res)

Camera Settings: f/4, 1/1600 sec, ISO-500, 220mm (600mm equiv.) focal length
LocationGuildford, Woodbridge Riverside Park, Western Australia
Keywordsadult
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