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In fact, I don’t mind the symmetrical and centered look of the image. In fact, I think you’re right that it’s more interesting this way. If it was off to the side there would be too much dead space on the other side. The clouds are not dramatic enough to act as an interesting secondary element. Therefore by placing your main subject in the center you broke up the dead space.
It’s interesting that you bring up trying to use a leading line. When I first say the image I saw the potential for that as well. However, when you’re working in nature you need to make snap decisions and you’ve done a great job of that with this composition.
You’ve done a great job of organizing the space within the image. You’ve captured quite a wide geographic space, yet you’ve managed to use shape, line, object placement, negative space and color simplicity to help organize the composition. All 4 of your frame’s walls are clear of any distracting amputations and your focus is precisely on your main subject. Great work.
The main issue that I have with the photograph is that it’s side lit, and it’s illuminating the birds back. If you were in front of the bird this would create a nice highlight around their features (because if you moved 90 degrees the bird would then be back lit). The problem with the side lighting in this case is that the bird isn’t positioned in the best way to take advantage of it from your current placement.
If the side lighting was coming in from the other direction it would be great because the birds face would be exposed. Or if the light was coming from behind the bird (back lit), it would create a nice glow around the bird. The lights current direction creates some nice texture in the wings, but I feel that the front of the bird is the more interesting part and I feel that it’s hidden from me.
Either way, the way the bird lands is out of your control but it’s important to think about these things so you know how to position yourself for the best probability of success.
Great work with this one!