Cecilia Clark  

Uninvited Guest by Cecilia Clark

May 2020 - Uninvited Guest

May 2020 - Cecilia Clark


About the Image(s)

In 2018, while visiting family in Homosassa, FL, I went to the nearby Ellie Schiller Homosassa Wildlife Park. It is a wonderful wildlife park because of the birds and manatees. Many of the birds are permanent residents due to past injuries but there are also fly-in visitors. Guests can be very close to the birds and even inside of the net enclosures.
I went twice, but only got this one photo of the flamingos feeding.

Nikon D750 camera
Nikon Lens 70-200 f/4 at 86mm
ISO 1800
f/6.7 1/180

I imported the original image from LR into PS without adjustments. In PS, first I cloned/darkened the upper right bright corner then I made a second layer for Luminar 4. In Luminar, I used a Lifestyle look called "A Day at the Beach." I added some sharpening to small details and decreased the AI accent slider slightly.

Back in PS, I decreased the layer to 75% opacity, saved it, and back in LR, I did lots of spotting to clean up some of the distractions in the water, applied my lens profile, slightly modified the exposure, sharpened, added a vignette.

It was flamingo feeding time and they were soon joined by the uninvited guest—a vulture, which made the image more interesting to me.

7 comments posted

Georgianne Giese   Georgianne Giese
The story and the colors of this image are quite impacting. The black bird really adds to both. You really brought out the vibrance as well as the reds in this image, to make the scene more impacting. I loved that!

It would be helpful, in my opinion, to remove the bird reflection and feet along the upper edge (Content Aware Fill in PS-- Edit > Fill > Content Aware).

On the bottom edge, it would be nice to see a little more space beneath that bottom reflection. In PS, you can do this with the Crop tool. Select the Crop tool and drag down the bottom so that the canvas shows for about 1/4 to 1/2". After doing that, on the top Crop menu, click the Content Aware option, and then click the Move tool (or any other tool). The bottom pattern will be extended in your image. The only other issue with doing this is that the dimensions of your image change and you might not desire those new dimensions. You can compensate by cropping some of the top. On some images, you can compensate by changing the image size (Image > Image Size and uncheck the chain-like link between Width and Height.)   Posted: 05/01/2020 10:40:45
Cecilia Clark   Cecilia Clark
Georgianne, Thanks for the insight and tips. The bottom reflection always bothered my eye as well. I tried the crop/content aware option to add about 1/4 inch to give the bottom reflection some room. It worked well except that I had to do some cloning to make sure patterns didn't repeat to obviously.

Regarding the upper reflection I like it but agree with Bunny that the beak of the real bird should be removed. To my eye, the reflection at the top gives balance to the entire image.

I do appreciate the extra eyes helping this be a better overall image.   Posted: 05/05/2020 11:42:50

Bunny Laden   Bunny Laden
Cecilia, I love the contrast between the vulture and the flamingos. The "Day at the Beach" look works well. My suggestion is along the lines of Georgianne's. I find the partial bird legs and beak at the top distracting, although I do like the reflection. To my eye, the image looks as if it could be straightened just a tad. You'll see that my result cuts off the lovely image at the bottom. Georgianne's content-aware fill idea would work better.   Posted: 05/01/2020 12:40:03
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Cecilia Clark   Cecilia Clark
Bunny, thank you for giving your perspective. Regarding straightening the image, at first I did the same thing you did. But when I put guides on it in PS, the upper right tray is almost straight as is. I decided to go with the reflection of the tree as my guide and it is parallel to the right side of the image. Anyway, perhaps the crooked trays are just part of the fanciful image of flamingos having their lunch served in trays.   Posted: 05/05/2020 12:00:05

Witta Priester   Witta Priester
Cecilia -This is a difficult photo for me. I find the "hand of man" -- all the non-nature bits - distracting and not particularly pleasing, though the flamingo colors and all the water reflections are nice. You clearly liked including the vulture (though I'm thinking it looks like a large crow to me) and the story of him muscling in adds to the image. I feel there's just too much happening in this photo, so I tried making it into two photos, each with a cluster of three feeding stands. Mostly I straightened the photos, cropped and vignetted. If the flamingos are sharp (I can't tell) and there's a catch-light in some eyes that's a plus.
  Posted: 05/05/2020 11:14:42
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Denise McKay   Denise McKay
Cecilia, This image has an "Alice in Wonderland" feeling to me. I find it very visually interesting, and I think you could use a variety of post processing techniques to make this even more fairy tale like, and less documentary.

I love the color tones and textures of the pink birds with the greenish brown water reflecting the surrounding foliage. I also like the juxtaposition of the metal feeders in this natural environment; again giving this photo a kind of surreal feeling.

I agree with other comments about removing the flamingo reflection at the top, where no bird can be seen, and possibly extending the bottom of the canvas a bit more.

I see some fun possibilities with this image if you care to go there!   Posted: 05/06/2020 12:32:06

Connie Reinhart   Connie Reinhart
The first thing that caught my eye was the interloper. That vulture takes this from a vacation shot to something far better. Yes, the reflection at the top should probably go. If you were painting the scene, you would most likely not include it. Using the table legs as a straightening guide is iffy at best. Try using the legs of the foreground flamingo instead. They stand straight. I like this image - and flamingos are not my favorite bird.   Posted: 05/06/2020 13:07:12


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