Common Kestrel Portrait

Common Kestrel Portrait

The Common Kestrel is one of my favorite birds. A relatively small bird of prey, not much larger than a dove, it has amazing wing and body control, able to hover in mid-air, looking for prey below, and also able to fly at incredible speeds in all weather conditions. This photo shows a beautiful male - the males can be distinguished from the females by their grey heads. Females have brown heads with the dotted black pattern, same as their bodies.

What do i like about this photo? A lot. The bird is beautiful, of course. The pose is also striking and interesting. The amount of details is incredible - I was able to get close enough that I did not need to crop the photo at all - the entire frame is used! I used an open aperture (f/6.3 - the most open my lens supports at 400mm) to create a shallow depth of field, so the Kestrel is sharp but the background is blurred out. The background is nonetheless interesting, with the light shining through the tree leaves making for a beautiful pattern (blurred out this is called "bokeh" by us photographers).

What would I want to improve? Not much, actually. Maybe an even shallower depth of field might have made the background even more beautiful and made the Kestrel stand out even more. Not sure about that, actually. Some of the bokeh effect might have disappeard by too much blur.

I really like how this photo turned out.


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