Three Tui Photo Art Images


The Tui is one of our native NZ birds that is famous for its glorious song and the noticeable tuft of white feathers at its throat, making a distinctive silhouette.

Its fair to say that nearly all of our NZ birds are fairly drab in the feather department compared to many overseas birds, but they make up for it in the range and variety of their song.

However if you can catch a Tui in the right sunlight, the amazing iridescence on the feathers is highlighted and suddenly he is a much more colourful creature!

On the first image above I was experimenting with some advanced masking techniques in PS (all those fiddly bits around the feathers) and a frame overlay I had seen done by a fellow Awake student.ย  It turns out if you create the rectangle in black and blend in with an interesting mode it intensifies and brightens the colours fabulously.

I have been asked to submit the first image for consideration in the Photo Artistic Life magazine, produced by our tutor, and I had to rework the image in a larger size and noticed that there were two other images that could be edited using the same techniques.

Now there are three, and I am seriously considering getting them printed reasonably big on canvas as a triptych.

How were they made?

The birds and branches were masked out of the original image – I used Topaz ReMask for the main selection and then manually tidied it up in PS

Duplicate the masked bird layer and run thru Topaz Impression for a painted look and blend back into the photo layer until the right balance achieved

A Daily Texture was used as the background and some blending around the edges of the birds brushed in.

A text layer for added interest (except for the middle one cos apparently it got forgotten!)

A black rectangle for framing blended in with soft light or overlay

View all 3 images here

As a comparison here is the original image after it was edited in Lightroom and posted on my Flickr page 3 years ago

Personally I am really pleased with how these came out, the original bird photos were nice but the backgrounds were very bright and distracting.

For the first time this really feels like I have created proper art and I am very happy how they turned out.

I know this sort of thing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I would appreciate your feedback, thoughts and commentsย  – I think the art versions are an improvement – would you agree?

EDIT 8th Oct – I got a lot of great feedback regarding the central image so I have done a new version with a LIGHTER background – would be interested in your views on thatย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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35 Responses to Three Tui Photo Art Images

  1. They’re stunning! I particularly like the first one ๐Ÿ™‚ You really have developed a unique personal style for your bird portraits. They would make a beautiful art book!

    • lensaddiction says:

      The first one is my fave too, he was the bird with the best lighting that picked out all the feather detail and colours and such an appealing pose ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Really appealing pose! It’s a “look at me, I’m beautiful” pose ๐Ÿ™‚ I could also easily see these as designs for postage stamps? Perhaps an edition celebrating birds of New Zealand. I would love to see so many of your wonderful birds but for years the one that’s really intrigued me is the Kakapo! I’m glad they have them on a protected island but it’s so sad that they’re not found on the mainland anymore.

      • lensaddiction says:

        I thought about stamps too, we have had them on there many times with different variations Im sure.

        I haven’t seen a Kakapo myself, the islands are quite regulated and only accessible by boat but there is Sirocco the famous kakapo that had a meeting with Stephen Fry that made it onto the internet a while ago – he spends time at Zealandia in Wellington but wasn’t there when I visited. Much effort goes into helping our native birds and hopefully they will be able to be reintroduced one day.

      • Stephen Fry is one of our National treasures ๐Ÿ˜€ He was following in the footsteps of Douglas Adams who wrote a book about his voyages to seek out rare and endangered species. OMG, we just died watching that episode! Honestly, Simon and I were in tears laughing and it just completely endeared me to them. That’s really great that Sirocco spends time at Zealandia! I think his infamy is a huge benefit to his species in terms of both education and fundraising ๐Ÿ™‚ Legendary!

      • lensaddiction says:

        Last Chance To See – I have that book, it was sad but excellent reading. If you like Sirocco you would love Kea’s they are really cheeky and very interactive with people.

        Have you read any Gerald Durrell?

      • I think I read all of his work when I was younger! I imagined myself living that way, surrounded by animals ๐Ÿ™‚ Is the Kea the one that has no fear of people? I’ve seen some amusing footage of them in nature programs behaving more like a curious cat than a bird! I’m so glad you’ve read the Douglas Adams book too ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, it’s very sad and poignant. At least some of those species are being brought back from the brink!

    • lensaddiction says:

      ๏ปฟEDIT 8th Oct – I got a lot of great feedback regarding the central image so I have done a new version with a LIGHTER background – would be interested in your views on that ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Katalina4 says:

    Wow. Just WOW. A printed triptych for sure. I could see them on metallic paper….

  3. Oh, Stacey, these are just stunning! How I envy your ability to do this!! I have yet to start my PS Fine art class – but every time I see you do things like this, I get closer to beginning ๐Ÿ™‚ Really well done. A triptych will be beautiful!!

    • green_knight says:

      Do make the time for that course – I’m only in Module 2, but I’ve learnt so much already. The course has given me a lot of courage to experiment and be much bolder with Photoshop (or equivalent).

      • Thanks for chiming in about this! I have heard and seen so many wonderful results from the course. I really MUST make it a priority! And good for you that you’re making your way through it. I must come and visit and see what you’re learning ๐Ÿ™‚

    • lensaddiction says:

      I hope you do start soon, it really made a HUGE difference to my ability to be creative and effective with PS, and even better its FUN too ๐Ÿ™‚

    • lensaddiction says:

      ๏ปฟEDIT 8th Oct – I got a lot of great feedback regarding the central image so I have done a new version with a LIGHTER background – would be interested in your views on that ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. green_knight says:

    The first and last work better for me; the middle one is a little dark. What doesn’t work about the original background for me, by the way, isn’t the brightness, but the amount of contrast – the top left corner is very dark and without interest. Otherwise, it looks like the bird is bathed in light, which I find an interesting effect.

    • lensaddiction says:

      FInding a background to fit the middle image has been a real challenge, and its not helps because the bird is lit from the top quite strongly so its been difficult to find a background that worked well. I picked this one because of the lighter colour giving it that glowing halo. I might have to revisit the background again!

    • lensaddiction says:

      ๏ปฟEDIT 8th Oct – I got a lot of great feedback regarding the central image so I have done a new version with a LIGHTER background – would be interested in your views on that ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Great effects here! I like the way the feather colours ‘pop’ and the background is really pleasing, and an added interest with the text. The middle shot is a tad dark, would add to the image if the breast feathers were lightened up?

    • lensaddiction says:

      The middle shot is dark cos thats the way the original was unfortunately, I have worked to lighten the breast feathers but there is only so much that can be done before it starts too look wrong ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    • lensaddiction says:

      ๏ปฟEDIT 8th Oct – I got a lot of great feedback regarding the central image so I have done a new version with a LIGHTER background – would be interested in your views on that ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. leecleland says:

    The backgrounds really set these birds off Stacey. A great tryptch! and even though the middle one is dull in comparison I think to have them all shiny similar wouldn’t be as effective. The details you’ve retained in the feathers is fantastic.

  7. leecleland says:

    I like the background you chose for the middle one which makes it a better stand alone image and the positioning of the script. But if you’re having them as a triptych my preference is for the original with the other two. Be interesting what others think.

  8. Tui’s are lovely birds. As you mentioned if the light falls right the just look awesome. I always love to whistle back to them while they are up the trees. I’ll pick your first photo because it shows the glow and natural colors best. The darker background looks, in my opinion better than the very light background in the last one.

Love to hear your thoughts on my post!

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