Panama By the Numbers

Panama By the Numbers

Yesterday at 2:26 PM I did a little happy dance – I finally completed post-processing my Panama pics!  At times I swore I would never take so many pictures again, other times I was thrilled that I actually got a good shot of a skulking bird.  Here are some stats about the pics that I hope you will find as interesting as I do:

Shots Taken – 5600
Shots Deleted – 4816
Keeper Shots – 784

This means that of all the shots I took over the 10 day Panama tour I deleted 85% of them and kept 15%.  This Keeper rate is actually HIGHER than usual.  Although I would like to attribute this to my growing skills as a bird photographer, truth-be-told it probably has to do more with lowering my level of acceptance.  When I go birding around here and take pictures of a bird I already have many good pictures of, I reject only the very best pics.  In Panama (or any region with different birds) I keep poor pictures because I’ll probably never get another chance to photograph that species.  A Documenting Shot (remember our friend the QSAR?) is a nice “keepsake” of the time I saw a Lifer.

Let me delve into this a little deeper.  Setting aside the 85% of the pics that were deleted, I had 784 Keepers.  I do post-processing on my computer using Lightroom Classic and I assign every Keeper a color rating:  Green is a GreatBirdPic, Yellow is Good Bird Photo, and Red is Documenting Shot.  Here is my Panama distribution of Keepers:

GreatBirdPic (like the Black-breasted Puffbird) – 72%


Good Bird Photo (like the Chestnut-headed Oropendola) – 23%


Documenting Shot (like the Dot-winged Antwren) – 5%


If I had been taking pictures of local birds I probably wouldn’t have kept the Good Bird Photos or Documenting Shots – almost 30% of my total.   However many of these poorer quality shots, like the Dot-winged Antwren above, were Lifers so I kept them.  More about keeping poor shots in a later post.

Just one more point before you nod off while reading – I did come away with some pretty good shots.  I ended up with 139 (18% of the kept total) GreatBirdPics/Award Worthy quality pics.  A majority of these higher quality pics were taken while observing at feeders – the birds perch and feed out in the open around feeders and are much easier to shoot.  I’ll be sharing many of these shots with you in subsequent posts.  Here’s a great shot of a hummingbird named a Green-crowned Brilliant at a feeder:


If you enjoy seeing beautiful pictures of birds from around the world and reading about them Click Here to sign up for our mailing list.  Members can post their GreatBirdPics and learn more about bird photography techniques.

Please Login to comment
Notify of