I can still hear that great, green, ghastly felt dinosaur sing, "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, merry, merry king of the bush is he...." Okay, he wasn't so ghastly, but it was a huge request from my then three toddlers (a four year old and two year old twins). Needless to say, 100 replays later, and Barney's voice was not so delightful! Forget the fact that I had no idea what a Kookaburra even was!
A bird. Who knew?
While at the San Diego Safari Park, a zoo keeper appeared with one on his arm, oddly un-proportional and quite unique. (They are native to the forests of South and Eastern Australia. They are also carnivorous and eat small vertebrates, insects and birds. And yes, they are known for their loud, laugh like squawks. This is not quite what I imagined.) I took a quick shot of the bird with my 70-200 lens. Obviously the bird was not in it's own environment, with people milling about in the background. But fortunately, I have mastered my editing enough to know this wouldn't be a problem. And that's why I love Adobe's Photoshop, and all of the painterly brushes photographic artists have access to! Did you know there are some really great places to get free brushes that you can incorporate into your toolkit? Check out www.Brusheezy.com for some inspiration.
After extracting the bird with my lasso, I created a background using tones that I color picked from areas of its feathers. Then, having taken a picture of a branchlike structure in the middle of a pond in the park, I borrowed a small area to incorporate into the final image. I reduced the highlights on the bird. I then duplicated the background I created and placed that layer over the branch to further blend the tones and further reduce highlights on the branches. When I was satisfied with the final composition, a brought it into Nik Color Efex. (If you do not own this plug-in, check it out: www.nikcollection.dxo.com.)
Extract....place....create....(repeat). It's what I love to do! Go ahead, give it a go. The worse that could happen is you'll become as addicted as I am!