Thanks for your input! Here are the completely uncropped images: Where would you crop these?
Good point, I’ll work on the eye part. Still getting used to ‘aiming’ 400mm. Do you have any experience using a flash to put catch-light in an animals eye? I have a few failed shots for that very reason – a black eye amidst black plumage; for all photographic purposes, it might as well have not had an eye at all. I really had to get it where the sun was shining directly on the eye.
As to lenses, yes a good lens helps, but I must say that Samantha has gotten some fabulous shots on a 55-250 in the past, (think a notch down from the 70-300) so don’t let it discourage you!