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The Making of Flamingo Paradise

Posted on 01-03-2013 in Favorite Photos
The Making of Flamingo Paradise

Flamingos are colourful, stately and graceful birds. Their zoological habitat is usually well designed, offering an interesting and artistically pleasing backdrop for making great photos. In short, they make great models. As well, this particular photo presented a few challenges – to make the birds really stand out, I needed to improve the depth of field by blurring the background. And since the birds are quite detailed, this required careful use of the magnetic selection tool. In short, this photo needed additional modifications.

Equipment and Settings Used

  • Pentax Super Program Film Camera
  • 50mm lens
  • ISO: 200
  • Aperture: F8
  • Shooting Mode: Manual

Post Processing

Upon opening this photo in Photoshop CS6, I cropped it using the rule of thirds,  increased its resolution to 240 dpi; and then resized it. Next, I needed to blur the background so that the flamingos would pop out.


I duplicated the original layer and chose the magnetic selection tool to  select  the main  flamingos and the foreground. I inverted my selection and using the Lens Blur Filter,  I blurred the background , thus making the flamingos stand  out.

Moving over to Lightroom 3,   I opened my photo and turned on the before and after preview. I browsed through the presets  in the Adjustments menu and came up with two General: Auto Tone, and Wow: HLS  Only Green, to  give my photo its unique look. Satisfied with the results, I sent it back to Photoshop   and saved it as a jpeg.

Original photo:
Final result:

- jmick


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JXL [Delete] Jan 4th, 2013 5:57AM

What I initially liked about the PP picture is the contrast within the feathers of some of the flamingos (the dark gray edges). However these bright lines are way more apparent in the original and I therefore like the original more then the processed picture.

Some other remarks: composition: The flamingo's are to close to the edge of the picture and one flamingo misses his feet This makes the picture messy. Some of the flamingo’s are too bright/overexposed. PP: the transition from sharp to blurred is too sudden. This makes the picture not convincing.

jmick [Delete] Jan 3rd, 2013 9:40PM

thanks for the feedback.

philbaum [Delete] Jan 3rd, 2013 3:36PM

I like it, the flamingos in their natural color always looked to garish to me and didn't interest me. In this BW treatment, i looked at their shapes for a longer length of time so it works. Coincidentally, i've used the inverse command recently for two pictures, and its a nifty way to pull out the subject from the background

jmick [Delete] Jan 3rd, 2013 12:26PM

thanks for the feedback,

tessfully [Delete] Jan 3rd, 2013 9:32AM

Nice artistic rendering. Effective work on blurring the background.

accio [Delete] Jan 3rd, 2013 3:56AM

The resualt is fashinating at first but ...flamigos does not have that colour in nature!