Photo Stories,  Software

Photo Story: Roseate Spoonbill Flapping its Wings – Plus a Processing Tip

A Roseate Spoonbill was on my shot list for a January photography trip to southwest Florida.  With as much bird photography as I have done, I had never need or photographed one in the wild.

Roseate Spoonbill Flapping its Wings

Roseate Spoonbill Flapping its Wings

Not only was I able to get a good shot of a Roseate Spoonbill on the ground, I was also able to get a shot of one in flight.

These photographs of Roseate Spoonbills were taken at Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve on Sanibel Island in Florida.  The Roseate Spoonbills seems to like to hang out at the 3rd opening to the water right past the observation tower.  The water on the left hand side, past the tower seems to be shallow even at high tide.

Roseate Spoonbill in Flight

Roseate Spoonbill in Flight

Photo Details (Top Photo)

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II Lens with 1.4x III Telephoto Extender
Focal Length: 560mm
ISO:  500
Aperture:   f/8.0
Shutter Speed: 1/1600 of a second
Exposure Compensation: +1/3
Lighting: Sunny Afternoon.


  • Cropped the photo and lightened the shadows in Lightroom 5.
  • Removed smaller shore birds in the lower left hand corner by copying the water in the lower right hand corner in Photoshop CC 2014.  See below for technique.
  • Added contrast and pop to the photo by using the Hummingbird Wings I filter in Topaz Clarity.
  • Used Viveza 2 to selectively lighten the darken the image.
  • Applied the Lighten/Darken Center Filter in Color Efex Pro 4.
  • Selectively removed noise from the photo using Topaz DeNoise.
  • Selectively sharpened the photo using the Unsharp Mask Filter in Photoshop CC 2014. 

Flip Horizontal Technique to Replace Parts of a Photo Background or Foreground

I’ve used several techniques in Photoshop to replace or clean up the background of my nature photos.  This was a nice sharp photo of a Roseate Spoonbill.  The only problem was there were several small shore birds in the foreground.  After several of my other techniques in Photoshop didn’t work.  I tried this technique to copy the foreground in the lower right of the photo.

  • Press Control+ J (mac) / Command + J (windows) to copy the background layer.
  • Select Transform à Flip Horizontal from the Edit Menu.  This should also work with Flip Vertical and Free Transform Techniques.
  • Add a black layer mask to the new layer by pressing Option key (mac) / Alt key (windows) and clicking the layer mask icon at the bottom of the layers panel.
  • Click in the layer mask.
  • Select the brush tool with a white foreground color and paint away the area of the top photo so the flipped image can show through.

Written by Martin Belan

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