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Thanks for the insight and openness of the forum. Viewing a few of the works and how to's; I got the inspiration to create the attached Beluga whale miniature. I am working on a larger piece in alabaster and I was having some problems with my composition, so I put a few hours in to a simple version to workout some issues.


The second piece is a miniature Kingfisher that is back for repairs from the owner. This work is around 10 years ago. I will have to add a piece for the bill and repaint the repairs.





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Thank you for sharing the photos with us! Creating the small whale from the intended material makes sense, and has had a good result.


I enjoy the kingfisher, who sits very quietly for such a bright and aggressive little bird (in my opinion only). The rumpled top feathers of the crest speaks of having been in the water, having had some recent action. I look forward to hearing his calls in the spring when the Sunrise River opens up, and the Kingfishers have moved north.


It is good to see your work.



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Hello Russ, nice work, can you tell us the dimension of your bird, please. I like how you work the feathers.

Hi Sergio


The kingfisher is less then 5 cm long or around 1/4 the size of a real bird. ah the feathers! I carve each one in to the wood with a ruby bit, sand it with a stone bit then shape it with a wood burner for each of the flight feathers, after this I use the edge of a small stone bit running at around 40,000 rpm to make each grove in the feather, some of the flight feathers I will use the wood burner and try to reach over 100 lines per inch. One of the reasons I am wearing glasses now.


The hardest part for me was to find the right consistency of the paint to show the colour tones without filling in the details. Janel pointed out to me that the white balance for the picture is not right so you might not see the right colour tones in this picture. Each camera uses the lightest shade in the picture to adjust the white balance, I took the picture inside a homemade lightbox without covering the cardboard, my little bird did not have enough white to use by the camera to adjust the colour therefore it used the cardboard and turned the whole picture orange.


Thanks for the comments

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Hi Russ,


The description of the feather carving process sounds like it could be a short tutorial with photos in the Tutorial section, if you are ever interested in doing something like that. You have described a very carefully done series of steps to accomplish the tiny feathers. I have a difficult time imagining 100 lines to the inch! The work you do amazes me.


Hmmm, thanks for the description of your photo set up. Do you have a camera that uses a preset white balance? I would suggest taking a sheet of your whitest paper, or a pure "gray" card (from photo stores), to pre-set the white balance. If the camera has this, it will use that setting and will likely give you the right color temperature for the illumination source. You might even tape the white paper to the back and side walls of your cardboard box, so the reflected light has the right color when it bounces off the walls back onto the subject of the photo.


If your camera does not have it, but you can set the preference and focus by pressing the shutter half way, slip the white paper in just at the distance of the bird, set the w/b and the focus and shoot after removing the paper.


Here is the kingfisher with adjustment made so members can see it a little closer to its colors:




I am charmed by this little creature. Thank you for sharing it with us.



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