A "lemonade shot" is one that's not quite right (out of focus, too much noise, etc) that you improved upon by accentuating the fault. This King Fisher is a great example.
The bird was not in sharp focus and was very far away which dictated a very deep crop - really making the noise stick out. So to make some lemonade out to this, the following formula was used:
- Heavy noise reduction, even on the bird, which served to further smooth it out
- A softening filter to smooth it out even more (accentuating the lack of focus on the bird)
- A "painterly" filter even further accentuating the softness of the image.
The final result is an "artistic" image that does a nice job of presentation. Trying to fight the reality of this shot (working contrasts and details of the bird - followed by selective sharpening) would have resulted in a mediocre shot at best, most likely ending up in the trash.
Here as some great filter packages to checkout and play with. Give em a try!
Stay in focus,