Flamingo Portrait

American Flamingo Portrait


I am always fascinated by the expressions of birds I photograph and the desire to turn them into avian portraits is always a temptation. So before leaving the images of my trip to Flamingo Gardens a few weeks ago, I was drawn to do something with this rather stern Flamingo Face. For this I utilized the Photoshop Oil Paint filter and some detail with lighting adjustments. I did nothing to change the background as it was already out of focus and looked somewhat like a cloudy darkening sky….other than the texture of the paint filter present in the image. That background is the edge of the pool of water with the lighter area above just being the shadows on the sand with a little vignetting.  Amazing how camera focus and depth of field can create a background that could be many things. I endeavored to have the dark bill stand out via its highlights from the dark background as I like dark on dark, but does it really get lost in the viewing? Flamingos are marvelously enchanting birds.

I wanted a lovely and serious poem or quote to accompany the portrait above. Instead I offer two quotes that made me laugh.  The first may allude to the character of the Flamingo as they are rather feisty and flamboyant. And, the second is so totally my life right now (new roof finished, new seawall needed post Irma grrr) !



The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo.

Lewis Carroll

I feel these days like a very large flamingo. No matter what way I turn, there is always a very large bill.

Joseph O’Connor


~ by Judy on December 30, 2018.

31 Responses to “Flamingo Portrait”

  1. Judy, The parents would be proud of this portrait! Happy New Year. Jack

  2. So beautiful!

  3. That’s amazing, Judy! Happy New Year !

  4. I always enjoy your photos, and the flamingo is … flamboyant. As to the choice of quotes: I laughed.

  5. It’s such as beautiful photo, I am speechless!

    Happy New Year, Judy! Hope your bills will become the size of a Tufted Titmouse.

    • That sounds great to me!! Tufted titmouse it is!! I am so happy that you liked the Flamingo face project!! I think I’d like another opportunity to get some more Flamingo images. Endlessly fascinating for me really. A Very Happy and Prosperous 2019 to you!!! Are you planning a sequel to Village Teacher of another novel sometime soon. I really did enjoy your first book

  6. Thank you Judy, for sharng your exquisite photos throughout the year! What a treat to see the birds and wildlife and natural settings of your region. Happy New Year from Leah and Franklin!

  7. Gorgeous portrait and those quotes are the best, Judy
    Happy New Year! Best, Babsje

  8. You know he reminds me of Plato! You are so good with these portraits, and I’d be hard pressed to choose between them — so I won’t.

    I think the bill shows up perfectly well against the background. In fact, I was surprised at the amount of detail the bill shows. It looks to me as though the edges, where the upper and lower come together, are saw-toothed. I wonder if they use those serations to strain little bits of food from the water.

    I really like the background texture, and I like the softness at the bottom of the neck. It makes it seem even more like a cuddly stuffed toy. I can almost feel those feathers — rather like sheared velvet!

    • Well they seem to swish their heads side to side a bit like spoonbills. There are comblike structures in the bill for straining the algae etc. As these are the first Flamingo pictures I have taken, I did not realize that before either. I agree on the soft looking feathers. The only bird I have touched was a pelican at the Wild Bird Center in Key Largo. The lady who founded the place was carrying a pelican in her arms and invited me to touch it. The head/neck was so incredibly soft. I imagine the flamingo neck must be like that. One think I noticed about the Flamingo which I don’t with the herons is that you can see the bumps of the vertebrae along its very long neck. Or that is what it looks like. Such a long neck.

      Yeah a good reminder on Plato. This guy looks rather stern, Plato was just plain defiant wouldn’t you say! 🙂

      • I got to touch a pelican once. We rescued one that was blind in one eye and unable to fish because it couldn’t fly. It was walking through a neighborhood, which certainly attracted attention. It took three people to corral the thing, but it was captured, and now it lives with other pelicans at a protected pond in Galveston, where it’s well-fed and doesn’t have to fly.

      • Making me laugh visualizing it taking three people to round it up. I like pelicans and penguins for similar reasons I guess…..they tickle my funny bone.

  9. He’s a handsome chap. The dark on dark certainly works for me!

    • Oh good!! Great to have positive input that it works ok. I’ve been showing my husband your paintings. Seeing your 2018 stuff all together makes for a beautiful and colorful collection. I do love your use of color, light and shadow.

  10. Love that ‘pose of grace’ look! 🙂

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