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Portrait of a Pest

Portrait of a Pest
Photo Information
Copyright: John Plumb (JPlumb) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-01-08
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200, NIKKOR AF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 ED DX VR
Exposure: f/5.3, 1/60 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-02-13 20:26
Viewed: 3584
Points: 24
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is strongly gregarious forming flocks often numbering in the hundreds. When I saw this guy and his gang there were about twenty in the flock; they were all very cute. Just last week in north Sydney we saw a much larger flock, I would guess closer to two hundred. When you see and hear this many wild cockatoos flying around together it is like an inverse image of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.

Large flocks like this can become pests. Cockatoos are very prolific chewers. The birds I saw when I took this shot were constantly chewing on and dropping small branches. This isn’t too bad with a small group and a lot of trees, but they can become very destructive as a large gang, destroying trees, and homes.

People in infested areas will often cover their homes or trees in netting, or find ways to continually scare the birds off. Each state and territory has different laws applying to the destruction or scaring of cockatoos. Permits are needed to kill the birds if they are protected, but not if they aren’t. In some areas contractors can be hired to deal with the problem.

It’s not known why the birds do this. It could be they are looking for food, they could be maintaining their beak, or they might just be having fun. Food does bring them in however. People will often feed the birds seed. This draws flocks into neighbourhoods and destruction can soon follow.

Much of this from: Ken Eastwood’s “Who’s a Naughty Boy Then”, Australian Geographic, Issue 80 – Oct-Dec, 2005. and http://www.abc.net.au/science/scribblygum/october2003/

I’ve probably worn out my welcome with cockatoo photos so after this guy I’ll move on to other flora and fauna I’ve seen.

Workflow for this photo was as follows:
Shot was taken (in Raw) under tree cover, so there was indirect light (though you can see highlights in the background)
NEF file was processed to maximize highlights and shadows
Levels were adjusted to establish black and white points
The colour balance was adjusted slightly (mainly to reduce green and blue)
Curves were adjusted separately (colour and RGB)
I couldn’t get the contrast just right with curves (need more practice here) so I used a brightness / contrast adjustment
Saturation levels in the background were adjusted slightly down
The photo was lightened mainly on the beak and eye area (and a shadow on his lower shoulder) using an overlay area (similar to a dodging and burning process). A couple of highlights were darkened the same way.
By using layers I was able to go back several times over several days and “tweek” the results.
The photo was finally cropped and saved as a TIFF with layers intact.
For this post I have resized it, then sharpened using Smart Sharpen and saved as a JPEG.

mlines, magiqa, Maite, pablominto, Perro, rcrick, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Maite: BackgroundJPlumb 1 02-28 18:23
To captainsgirl: ThanksJPlumb 1 02-24 19:13
To magiqa: Why call it a Pest?JPlumb 1 02-18 18:16
To arfer: ThanksJPlumb 1 02-18 18:04
To claudine: Those Guys Always Look Like They Are LaughingJPlumb 2 02-16 08:53
To mlines: Strong BeakJPlumb 1 02-16 01:57
To jeanpaul: Excellente PriseJPlumb 1 02-16 01:44
To GLEM: Joli PortraitJPlumb 1 02-14 21:32
To pankajbajpai: Eye ContactJPlumb 1 02-14 21:27
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Critiques [Translate]

hi john,
nice portrait shot,
well composed,nice pose,
good eye contact,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • GLEM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 540 W: 87 N: 750] (10)
  • [2007-02-14 2:38]
  • [+]

Salut John,

encore un très joli portrait de cet oiseau. Belle netteté et belle lumière.
Le BG est de la même couleur que sa crête ce qui la cache un peu.


Hello John,
I'm very surprised to read those notes as I had absolutely no idea that those birds could be a pest like this. What do they do to homes? This is really amazing... This is a nice portrait of this little pest with excellent details, good exposure and POV. Those guys always look like they are laughing :) Well done and thanks,

bonjour John
Excellente prise en portrait de ce beau perroquet
Les couleurs sont éclatantes et la netteté est parfaite. Félicitations pour la qualité.

Merci et au revoir...JP

Hi John. Excellent up close portrait of this commonly seen bird. It shows well the strong beak which can damage wood not to mention fruit in the backyard. Very good clarity and colour. Well presented in this good series. TFS. Murray.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-02-16 23:02]
  • [+]

Hello John

Excellent notes very informative,the portrait is very well done,with good POV and DOF.The image is focused with sahrp details,and very good colours.TFS


It is lovely! Why call it a pest? Wonderful portrait!

beautiful portrait of this bird, great color and sharp focus. TFS

thanks for your comments on my photo "just taking a walk" :o)

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2007-02-25 5:05]
  • [+]

Hi John
This is wonderful! An excellent portrait of this lovely cockatoo! I love also the composition with that beautiful bg. I don't know how the original was but the result is gorgeous!
My compliments and TFS.

Hello John,
This is a pleasant portrait, the bird gives a good pose!
White feather coat is well exposed, DOF spot on with great details in the face...
Good point of view and tight cropping works well!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • Perro Silver Star Critiquer [C: 41 W: 0 N: 59] (553)
  • [2007-05-24 21:11]

Hello John,
A very nice portrait of this Cockatoo.
Well composed, excellent sharpness, the details on the feather is so great!
I like the eye contact.
This tight crooping is perfect for this nice portrait.
Very well done, John.
I hope you have receive my Email.
Thank you for your comment, I appreciate.
My best regards,

Hey John, nicely done and I agree they can be a pest, I have a regular visitor to the garden and lets me know if I haven’t put any food out by squawking until I do, usually around 5:30 am, but they do bring some life to the garden, Cheers Rick

Hi John,

A good POV of the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, the photo has a good composition, sharpness and nice colors. Thanks for sharing.


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