Thursday, December 4, 2014

Creating the Mask of the Cockatoo


One day while I was perusing my library of bird photos I came across this one of an Australian red-tailed black cockatoo.

Original red-tailed black cockatoo photo - Portrait Mode

Canon EOS REBEL T2i
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
70 mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO 800

Seeing it in landscape mode caused it to catch my eye.

Original red-tailed black cockatoo photo - Landscape Mode


Since I have developed an interest in creating abstract art from bird feathers, it occurred to me that this arrangement would make an interesting art piece.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Creating a Fountain of Feathers

One day while wandering through the Fort Worth Zoo, I happened upon some Caribbean flamingos with their feathers puffed out. I love the way flamingo feathers look, with their delicate colors and texture, so I snapped several photos. I really liked this one in particular.

Caribbean Flamingos

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens 
Canon Extender EF 2x III
260 mm, f/11, 1/60 sec, ISO 800


In looking at the central flamingo and the one on the left, it occurred to me that I could create a semi-symmetrical artistic image out of them. What follows is the processing I did in GIMP.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Enhancing an "Upstanding Bird"

During a visit to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans I came across a black-crowned night heron standing on a railing. It looked like a wild heron since it didn't have a leg band and it was able to fly. The bird seemed quite used to people, so it just calmly stood there while I managed to get eight shots of it before some kids came up and scared it off. This one is my favorite. I find the red eye quite captivating.

Original Black-Crowned Night Heron Photo
Original Black-Crowned Night Heron Photo

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
Canon Extender EF 2x III
400 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO 400

Since the colors in the photo are a bit dull and the bird is slightly out of focus, I decided to do a little enhancing and ended up using a couple of techniques I hadn't used before. 


Monday, August 4, 2014

Grin and Bear It – Buffing Up a Bruin

The Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas, has an interesting black bear habitat. On the day I visited, there was an enormous number of wild black vultures hanging out with the bears. Apparently the bears don't mind the vultures and pay little attention to them. You can see one of the vultures in this photo.

Black Bear at the Cameron Park Zoo
Original Black Bear Photo

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
200 mm, f/10, 1/60 sec, ISO 400

I really like the expression on this bear's face, so I chose to process this image into a close-up. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Creating the “Majestic Lionfish” Portrait

The Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas, has a building containing some tanks of fish and other sea creatures. One that fascinated me (and most of the crowd passing by) was the lionfish tank. The glass was reasonably clean, the lighting was good, and there were very few items in the tank to obstruct views of the fish. It was nice that there were only a few fish, and they swam around slowly, giving lots of opportunities for interesting shots. I took 100 photos. This was my favorite shot. It was also the first photo I took.

Original Lionfish Photo
Original Lionfish Photo

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
200 mm, f/10, 1/40 sec, ISO 1600

What follows is how I processed this image. 


Friday, June 6, 2014

Creating the “Fibonacci Cockatoo” Portrait

The Fort Worth Zoo has an Australian section, and just outside of the building containing some aquatic animals is a small area containing a few trees where the keepers place various types of Australian birds. One is the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. This bird normally looks blackish with some red markings on the tail. On the day that I shot 15 photos of this bird, the lighting brought out the blue in the feathers.

Original Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo Photo
Original Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo Photo

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
200 mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO 400

I chose to work with this particular image because I really liked the way the feathers were spread out around the curve of the neck with the head turned back over the body.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Creating the “Grumpy Gorilla” Portrait

In October of 2013, my husband and I went to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a vacation. One of the attractions we visited was the ABQ BioPark Zoo, also known as the Rio Grande Zoo. We became fascinated with one of the gorilla exhibits that contained a bachelor group of gorillas. One gorilla in particular enjoyed interacting with people. He sat down at the front of the enclosure and proceeded to go through a range of actions, including tearing up and fiddling with pieces of paper, beating his chest, folding his arms, and making popping noises with his lips. We merrily snapped away with our cameras while he did all this. I took 130 pictures. Once we were back home and I had a chance to review them all, I chose this one because I really like the attitude and personality it presents.

Male Gorilla, ABQ BioPark Zoo, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Original Western Lowland Gorilla Photo

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
168 mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 200

However, the only thing interesting in this photograph is the gorilla. The background is ugly. So I popped the photo into GIMP and went to work on it.