It’s always a good day to shoot.

Recently we had a lot of cold, cloudy, rainy weather. Each morning a voice in my head said, “There’s no light out there for photography. Everything is dead in the winter. Stay in bed!” But then I had some strong coffee, told the voice to stuff it, grabbed my new camera, and headed out. Every time I was glad I did.

Often the thing I intended to shoot didn’t work out, but then I stumbled on other rewarding subjects. That’s how I discovered our heron population. I was going to try a new macro lens for mushrooms, but quickly gave up on finding any in near freezing weather. I was convinced that it had been a waste to go out on a rainy day, but then I spotted a heron. The photo below is all I got at that point, but then I knew to come back. The result was my recent Great Blue Heron article.

great blue heron and gulls

Here is a shot from the next day.

great blue heron

Stalking the herons led to other birds.

For the image below, I began with the Exposure 4 preset B&W Split Toning > Platinum (cool). To find it, start typing “platinum” in the search box above the presets. You’ll see it after you type a few letters. Then I went to the Age tab and added the texture “Wet Plate (border)”. For other great black & white work, see the recent Simon Griffiths portrait project.

small bird photo made to look aged using the Exposure plug-in from Alien Skin

These white birds (gulls?) were tolerant enough for me to get pretty close. Click this photo to see it larger.

white gulls at Lake Crabtree, Raleigh, NC

You’ll need to click this next one to see detail. I may use Blow Up to create a big print for the Alien Skin office.

gull flock in long panorama

All this fun came from leaving the house with my camera on a cold rainy day. There’s no such thing as a bad day for shooting.

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About the Author:

Jeff Butterworth is the founder of Alien Skin Software. He used to create the products, but now he does marketing and gets coffee for the programmers.


  1. Great Blue Heron | Alien Skin Software February 25, 2013 at 11:35 am

    […] You can read an article on more birds at Lake Crabtree and why it’s always a good day to […]

  2. […] = [];}A rainy day recently started out as a miserable photography experience, but in the end turned out great. First I discovered that there were herons nearby. That perked up my spirits and made me wonder […]

  3. […] need a break from hiking through marshes in the winter to photograph birds. For now, I’m trying to make the birds come to my […]

  4. REC March 17, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    […] /* */ /* */ Alien Skin Software […]

  5. Adrian Lyons March 8, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I know exactly what you mean about ignoring the voice in your head when it’s cold and ugly out. I had a day just like that, but it was eventually made better after I came across this shot.

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