Wild birds that fill a significant part of the frame are taken with a long lens. That means the background will be out of focus unless the bird was captured in a tree where leaves and branches are inches behind it. Blurred backgrounds look good because that directs our attention to the subject. Another approach -- one that I am using more and more -- is to defy the laws of optics by using Photoshop to make everything sharp. This is, after all, what we see with our eyes. Inspired by the 19th century paintings of John J. Audubon where both the foreground birds and the landscapes behind them were sharply defined, I can create the same look. To make this work: 1) the lighting on the foreground elements must match the lighting throughout the rest of the image, 2) all parts of the subject must be sharp (i.e. there is no diminution of focus on the bird), and 3) the resolution of the various components should be similar. This is an Agami heron I photographed in the Pantanal region of Brazil composited with two other elements. I combined it with a stand of trees at the river’s edge along with a gnarled tree trunk growing along the same river. My settings for the shot of the heron were 1/500, f/5.6, and 10,000 ISO. I used a Canon 500mm f/4 telephoto and mitigated the noise with Neat Image software.