Northern Crested Caracara
(Indigenous raptor of Latin America)
Photographed in Yucatan, Mexico
Equipment info: Captured in CameraRAW, with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR camera and Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM + 1.4x TC zoom lens.
Photo info: 1/250s @ f/5.6, ISO 1600, FL with TC = 280mm, Handheld, Natural Light.
Editing: RAW conversion and post-editing completed in Photoshop Elements 11 (PSE11).
Challenges: Although this raptor was static (not moving) he was in a deeply-shadowed area, and against a dark background. Even if I had my external flash with me, I doubt that I would have used it. Flash can be disruptive to wildlife, and also destroy the beautiful ambience of natural light.
Pluses: I was fortunate that natural light was illuminating his head and shoulder areas, which allowed everything else to fade into the shadows. The natural light also provided a nice catchlight in his eye, which brings added life to the photo. The soft natural light also lent a nice warm glow to the image.
Editing: During RAW conversion I warmed up the White Balance just a tad, and also lightened the shadows to increase feather detail. During post-edit in PSE11 I cropped the image, and added a little sharpening.
Conclusion: I like the subject a lot, raptors are magnificent birds of prey and worthy of respect. I am well-pleased with the technical aspects of this photo as well: focus, exposure and composition. This image won recognition on page one of 1x.com (One Exposure) Link to Publication. Sometimes things just go right for the photographer.
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler
Reporting from Matapalo Samara, Costa Rica . . .