Lately I've been experimenting with a hybrid post-processing approach that creates images that are part photograph and part illustration, almost as if one of those old architectural renderings. I find a number of different tools can really help implement the feel I am going for, such as the faked water reflection I used in my previous golden pond post. Here's one that is more on the side of a photograph to preserve the natural color and beauty of a Great Blue Heron-- but layered in is a combination of LucisArt and a variety of Photoshop steps to give the look of a rendering to some extent as well.
The effect really comes into its own when viewed large (click on the image for a larger view).
Great Brr Heron
And here is one more strongly on the illustration/architectural rendering side...
Ammons Hall, Colorado State University