Making Your Bird Photography “Pop”

Crissal Thrasher - original
Crissal Thrasher - original
Crissal Thrasher - edit
Crissal Thrasher - edit

I was fortunate to capture some great close up images of one of our unique desert birds, the Crissal Thrasher. These birds have a long curved bill they use to excavate arthropods and other food items from the soil. The Crissal Thrasher’s brown colored plumage helps them blend in to the environment and avoid being noticed by predators. However, this camouflage makes it difficult to capture a good image of the bird when it is standing on the ground.


When I edit photos, I want to the viewers eye to be immediately drawn to the subject. Photos where the viewer has to spend time looking around the image are (in my opinion) not as powerful.


I try to keep the natural color of the birds I photograph, especially if the image is properly exposed. With this photo, I did some general white balance correction and sharpening of the bird. But I knew I wanted to make the bird “pop” out from grey/brown background. I first created a mask of the background and then warmed the background using the white balance and also added some noise reduction.


What do you think?

Exposure Program:  Aperture priority
FNumber: 6.3
Focal Length: 600
Sensitivity (ISO): 640
Shutter Speed Value: 1/1000
White Balance: Auto 

Lens Model: Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 

Camera: Sony A6600

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