Unusually for me, I took this photo of a female kingfisher as a jpeg rather than RAW (420 mm on the f/2.8+1.4xTC, f/4, 1/1250 iso 640, 5DIII). It's a 100% crop of 1104x944 with no sharpening or any processing, at the standard Canon setting. It was dismissed for "lack of sharpness and Photo has too little detail/is too smooth/too much noise removed", which is a bit odd as no noise reduction was used.
Lack of sharpness? Too little detail? To smooth? Too much noise removed? Whoever passed judgement is "too full of themselves".
That picture is far superior to the best kingfisher picture that I have ever taken..... Where does ability to get into the right spot at the right time come into the judging? That is the most important skill here...
Congratulations, beautiful shot.
To be totally fair, there are incredibly sharp, clear, low-noise photos of kingfishers out there. There is some specific technique to capturing them up close (a setup perch or perches, a preconfigured blind that you are inside of BEFORE the kingfishers arrive, and a moderately long lens (400mm at least, 500-700mm ideal).) There is a lot of information on the net about how to capture those really sharp, low-noise, close-up photos of kingfishers, but they are also well-known as very wary, and very aware, birds, and difficult to photograph "well". If you set up a blind after they have started fishing in an area, they will notice it, and they will often move to a different area. The quality of a photograph can and does indicate the "ability to get into the right spot at the right time"...in otherwords, the quality of a photograph demonstrates the technique used to make it. I am not saying AlanF doesn't have that ability, just saying that the judge wasn't necessarily "too full of themselves"...maybe they just have a higher standard of quality.
So, while in comparison to any kingfisher photos you or I may have taken, this is much better...if the "judge" who dismissed the photo was accustomed to seeing higher quality versions, and knew that it was possible with some patience and specific technique to get higher quality... In all honesty I could understand the rejection. It is a great photo, but you can also tell that it is a pretty extreme crop (1104 pixels on the long edge, which is less than a fifth of the maximum length the 5D III supports at maximum resolution.) It is a "100% crop" in that it is unscaled, however it is less than a 5% "crop" in terms of relative pixel area (~1mp vs. 22.3mp). A 5% relative crop is pretty heavy. Personally, I try not to upload anything of mine that is under 10%, and I aim to have over 50% relative crops in all of my shots...for the very reasons Alan's otherwise great photo was rejected. Personally, I'd take the criticism as incentive to read up on the best techniques to attract and photograph kingfishers up close (and there is some really good material out there...and kingfishers truly are amazing birds worth the time to learn, especially if you can capture them hovering just over the water when they dive for a fish or just after they come up out of the water with one in bill!