Aiolornis at dawn
I just happened to capture this shot during testing.
its a good example of how just a few simple effects can create a dramatic scene.
A single light is used, directional, coming from the direction of the sun, with diffuse attenutated for time of day. So except for a little bit of default ambient, pretty much the entire scene is backlit.
Alpha testing is used to apply the wing texture on the bird, resulting in the realistically feathered rear edges of the wings.
Sun and clouds are both alpha blended, and the clearscreen sky color is adjusted based on time of day.
No other special effects are used.
I think the key is the combo of the alpha blending and the lighting.