1/1250sec @ f/4.8
116mm, ISO200, -1/3ev
AF-S 70-300mm 4.5-5.6
These birds are extremely common down in Florida, yet extremely difficult to photograph. The difficulty comes in achieving the subtle texture in the very smooth feathers and trying not to blow the highlights. The feathers were used to make fabrics due to how soft they are. This bird was hunted for its feathers. Now I hunt it to take photographs. Poor buggers never get any rest!!
Back to this specific photograph. Due to these birds being common it is hard to get a good original capture of one. I am pretty pleased with this shot as the bird is staring directly at me. Normally a good head angle would be one where the birds head would be close to 5 degrees off the horizontal plane slightly facing the camera. This helps provide the shot with the detail and shape of the head and bill. However in this case I like the way that as a photographer who does his best to keep hidden I was caught red-handed!!
Some critique of the shot would include how the rock in the background to the right of the bird almost intersects with its tail feather. This shows the importance of concentrating on the framing of the shot not just the subject. With birds this is difficult as they move quickly however this one was standing still so I have no excuse.
Good points of the shot start with the detail on the bird itself and work their way down to being able to see the yellow slippers (feet). I feel that the bird is well positioned in the shot (helped by some cropping) and I also like the pose.
The lighting for the shot goes against the rules of the trade and it comes in from the side. For most bird shots it is good to have the light coming from behind the camera. However I like the depth that the side lighting creates.