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Hi Kent, I never solved the problem. I did tend to use my underexposed brackets though. Yellow headed black birds have the same issue, I eventually resorted to shooting YHBB on days with a bit of cloud cover. Just a tiny bit and that was a hard thing to find.
I grew roses and very few had great backgrounds or decent light angle plus I was never able to get focus where I wanted. Some of my better ones were taken with a 500mm lens which really blurs out the background.
By the way, this red one is great, I don't think I can improve on it.