tricolored heron lesser yellowlegs was active just as dawn was breaking at the Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island NWR. I knew that the shot here was almost as much about capturing the colors in the sky as it was getting a sharp shot of the bird, so I set up my tripod fairly low to capture the reflections of both bird and sky.
Update: Thanks to numerous readers for pointing out that my heron is actually a lesser yellowlegs. I was photographing both birds in the area and obviously got my wires crossed. I guess blogging before my morning coffee isn’t such a good idea.
When I processed this image, I chose to take it down a more creative path than I’d get by just saturating the colors and enhancing the contrast. Instead, I used the “Pastel” filter in Nik’s Color Efex Pro to get a diffuse look that enhanced the oranges and blues. I then used a Flypaper Texture in another layer to get the brush effects. The last step was a return trip to Color Efex Pro 4, where I added a mild corner darkening effect with the Vignette Lens filter.
If you’re interested in learning more about these techniques, check out my video workshop, Layers of Creativity, and you’ll see how the process works.