Adult Red-tailed Hawk and Photoshop

I just wanted to share this image of a Red-tailed Hawk adult that I photographed in the Centennial Valley of Montana before and after using Photoshop to remove some annoying wires. Typically I leave my images alone and don’t use Photoshop to remove features in the frames but I enjoyed this image so much I played around with removing the wires and the pole on the lower right hand side. Most of the time I merely crop, adjust levels and sharpen my subjects in Photoshop.

I wouldn’t license this Red-tailed Hawk image for print because it has been altered but I like the image without the wires. Someday I hope to get this pose without wires in the frame!



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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. This great shot showing that beautiful red tail and your photoshop skill, should be celebrated for what it is, as long as you are honest about it.

  2. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    Marvelous! I can just imagine how you felt actually being able to experience this magnificent bird. Many thanks,

  3. It is a lovely moment of capture. It’s one of the times when it would be great to have a personal mini hovercraft to be able to get higher so that the wire wasn’t an issue!

  4. Like you, I’ve got a must have shot of birds and the wires have been an issue for me as well. The bird is beautiful. I’ve been going over all of my birds and marking down ideal shots for each of them. Some I already have….others I need to do a better job.

  5. It’s a fabulous photo! Much nicer without the wires.

  6. I would license mine for print only when I’m sure my PS skills are competitive and mastered. And I’m getting there. The more I practice the better I get, because if Photoshopped images are going to get printed, for me they need to display mastered techniques. As for the truthfulness of the situation (how the image was originally seen), it all depends how I conceive the image; whether it’s documentary, or artistic. I strive to publish images that blend both documentary and artistic qualities, but it’s not easy at all, and requires more time. Just recently I had a copyright infringement issue with two images that were reposted on another blog. I’m trying to establish a dialog with the editor, but he’s not answering me. I understand your concern about the ‘truthfulness’ of the scene; yet I still think it’s your image; and if you cloned out the power lines well without showing cloning marks, then I don’t see why it shouldn’t be put up for print or sale. But I also respect you position on this matter.

  7. I know those darned hawks, just love to hang in the wires don’t they! Great shot though and I too try to get rid of wires if I can, otherwise I look at it this way – that is truly their habitat like it or not.

  8. IMHO, the image is much better without the distractions. One can purely focus on the bird

  9. Its hard to draw the line on some aspects of photography…..does one simply crop an image to make it look better? photoshop a wire out? lighten an image if it is a tad dark? Or, does one untouch any image at all in any way and only accept what comes right out of the camera? It really is hard to draw an exact line

    I guess the same is true for photography ethics…to an extent. Thanks for the post Mia.

  10. Nice pic..both versions…and your integrity. There is so much “altered” stuff out there I don’t trust any images I see. Between photoshop and baiting, so many people are fooled into thinking the images they see are real and the photographers are better than they really are. You are the exception…keep it up.

  11. Wonderful without line, awful with…looks like it’s going right through the bird…god bless photoshop…it enables us to see such great photos and allows us to eliminate ugly “noise”.

  12. A nice piece of work Mia.

  13. Love your work great shot just adds charm and nature at its best!

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