Creative Editing of Hawk Photo
A couple of Saturdays ago we had 2 red tailed hawks visit our property. They both landed at the top of a tree at the far end of our yard, about 200 feet away. The first one flew off pretty quickly, but the other stayed for quite a while. I had time to get my Sigma 150-500mm lens out and my tripod.
The hawk started to do lots of preening, and Dave actually got this shot (I had left everything set up when I went off shopping with a friend!). He kept taking shots for a while till the bird disappeared.
Even at 500mm on a crop-sensor Canon 70D (which makes the lens at about 800mm), you can see he or she was still very small in the frame in this original image:
So I brought it in to Photoshop, cropped it heavily, then brought it in to Topaz Studio 2. First I ran AI Clear (this filter adds sharpening, gets rid of noise and adds clarity all at once).
The vertical lines in the background are not caused by the software – they are there in the original – it’s other trees further in the background!
So while this was an OK capture – not competition worthy, but a decent “record” shot – I, of course, decided to add a little drama to it with some textures!
So I duplicated my layer in Photoshop and went back to Studio 2. I applied the look/preset Peeling Paint (one of my faves), and then added an additional grunge texture of my own. I also did a vignette in Studio 2 to darken the edges. I masked the look and texture off of the bird to keep him brighter. Here is the final image:
An option now would be to smooth out those background “lines” using the healing brush or clone stamp. But I think they’re a little less predominate with the texture and darker effect.
As photographers, we know the “rules” and that rules can and should be broken at times. Here is a good article about the “Living with (and Without) the Rule of Thirds” from PictureCorrect.com.