Living on the East Coast, I often get the opportunity to observe and photograph snowy egrets. Watching them strut, pose, preen, and squawk at perceived intruders makes me think that they have such attitude and take themselves so seriously. They often end up as subjects of my photo art.
With this full-frontal view, I noticed the yellow skin extended from eye to eye above the bill, looking like a costume mask. This prompted the idea to go in a more humorous direction and to dress the snowy up with a top hat and bowtie. An ornate frame was added to emphasize the formality of the portrait and provide a focal point while still showing its brightly colored legs and feet. I often don’t know what a final piece will look like, and one thing often leads to another, which is part of the fun with this kind of creative work!
How I got the shot
I took the base photo during a visit to Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina, a wonderful location for bird photography. This particular snowy egret was standing on one of the pilings, which allowed me to get an eye-level photo by kneeling down. The snowy’s position also enabled me to photograph its full legs and feet, which are normally submerged in water or mud and wouldn’t have worked as well for this kind of full-length portrait.
What I used
To create the photo art piece, the snowy egret was first extracted in Photoshop and Topaz Studio 2 was used to give the bird an illustrative look, moving it away from a photo toward an art piece. The different elements were then assembled and blended as layers in Photoshop to create the final composition.