Tutorial Thursday Jan. 9

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.

4 thoughts on “Tutorial Thursday Jan. 9

  1. Hi Hazel,

    I have 2 questions:

    – after you applied AI Clear to the hawk photo in TS 2, did you go back to PS, duplicate the layer and then go back to TS 2? I am not sure why you didn’t just stay in TS 2 to add the textures. Can you explain, please?

    – what us the advantage of using TS2 over TS?

    Thanks, Diane

    1. Hi Diane,
      I did apply AI Clear and return to PS. I like to keep things on separate layers, so I do that often. The alternate way is to just stay in Studio 2 and then export as a .ts2 file. Most of the time, however, I prefer working in PS and then saving as a TIF file (non-proprietary format). Just a matter of personal preference.

      Studio 2 is an upgraded version of Studio, so they won’t be updating the original Studio anymore, while Studio 2 will continue to receive tweaks and upgrades. You can also access Adjust AI, DeNoise AI & Sharpen AI directly from Studio 2, which you cannot from Studio.


      1. You can use my link on the blog main page to Topaz and the code meredithimages at checkout to save 15%. Be sure to log in to your Topaz account once on their site as you may have other special pricing depending on previous Studio purchases.

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