by juliannjComment by sidpixel:
*Hello from Sid and the Critique Club*
An action shot spoilt by over-processing
First of all, well done for persevering and capturing the action shot you were seeking, apart from anything else you will also have learnt to always have your camera with you! The original shot is quite appealing with a good wing shape and good detail in the darker plumage.
I am here to give you my honest opinion and I have to say there are several things about the image that I would prefer were different. Let me begin with the sky, it is very bright and overpowering I feel it would benefit from being subdued a lot so that it forms a backdrop that doesn't hurt the eyes so much. There are also artefacts in the sky, probably from too much jpeg compression or re-saving the same image more than once. For me the shutter speed is too high it has frozen the bird completely, I would prefer to see some motion blur in the wingtips, at the moment it feels like a cut and paste cutout. As a result of some heavy handed processing important detail throughout the image has been reduced and become less defined, hence your commenters reference to a cartoon which seems a little harsh but nevertheless I can see what he is eluding to. The whites are nice and white which is good to see except that they too have been taken a little too far and again important feather detail has been lost. The image has been over-sharpened, there is a significant halo around the whole bird. All of these are detrimental to the end result.
With regard to my shutter speed comments I know I am in the minority with most people here preferring this sort of capture so I would say keep at what you are doing but ease off the processing. I don't know what your experience is but in the early days you tend to overdo the processing before you quickly learn that what is important is to extract quality from the image with an emphasis on subtlety, your changes should be barely apparent. Good luck with your future entries, Sid.