Re: Your best shot, plus a technique improvement.
1/3200 f6.3 ISO800 400mm
In my humble opinion... THIS image was your most successful shot of the day... BUT... a slight change in settings could have provided you with even better results. ISO should have been 400 (even less noise)... F-stop should have been 7.1 or 8 (better lens sharpness and slightly stronger depth of field)... and a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second would have been adequate to freeze motion.
And if you cropped any more of this image off from the right... that was a mistake. A slight dynamic range edit to provide more details in wing shadows would have rendered better results (next time try using Active D Lighting). If you'd like to see how I would have edited this image, let me know and I'll post a re-edit (with your permission of course)...
On your Active D lighting idea, my understanding is this affects the way JPEGs are rendered but I was shooting RAW.
You're right... that amazing Expeed Processor (version 4 for your camera and mine) that Nikon spent millions of dollars to develop and fine tune is at your beckon call... but ONLY if you shoot JPEG... which is exactly what I do...
A different kind of bird... it's Kody... shot in JPED with Active D-Lighting set to HIGH!
I shoot RAW + JPEG. If the SOOC shots are good enough they are there with no additional work, if not the RAWs are there too. I am about 98% sure the Nikon software, absent you fiddling with it, will develop the NEF files the same way the camera would have, but you can go in and change things. Lately I have been using DxO, which I think does a really good job.
Interesting point. I have jpeg to slot 2 so will do some experimenting. Thanks.