Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

When I first saw that focus was the subject of this week’s photo challenge at WordPress, I thought about taking a photo creating focus based on depth of field.  But I have also started a new term at school and I am taking a Photoshop class.  I am going to be very focused on learning new ways to edit my images so I used some of the techniques we covered in class this week to create this image:

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/250
ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/25

Here’s how I edited the image in Photoshop:

  1. Created a duplicate layer
  2. Did a hue and saturation adjustment and moved the saturation slider all the way to the left.
  3. The hue and saturation adjustment came with it’s own mask, so I used a black paint brush to brush back in the color of the bee and the flower.
  4. Then I wondered what the density and feather sliders on the mask would do so I dropped the density to 80% and added a feather of 1.7 pixels.
  5. Then I decided that I wasn’t crazy about the completely unsaturated background so I moved that slider to -78 which brings back a bit of color to the background.

The bottom line here is that I was messing with the color to create focus.  Here is the original:

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/250
ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/250

I took this photo using my Canon 50D and a 50mm lens.  I was using a tripod and a fast shutter speed with the hope of stopping the movement of the bee as much as possible.  I was only somewhat satisfied with the way these original images turned out.  I think I am going to take my point and shoot camera along next time to see if I can get a closer view that I might be happier with.

So, what do you think of the images? In response to a recent post, a reader commented that they liked photography to look as natural as possible.  I have to say that in general I do agree with that statement particularly when it comes to nature photography; how do you feel about that? Does the fact that I used Photoshop on this bee put you off? Your comments are welcome below.



44 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

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  1. I have mixed feelings about editing or using Photoshop or something similar. I don’t see anything wrong with the latter (as long as it’s not presented as the unadulterated photo, of course), but there’s a part of me that feels like it’s tough to compete with a picture that’s been “made better.” I like that you put them both here.



    1. Yes, in this case not putting up the original would have just you a bit in the dark about what I was trying to do with the photo. It is funny too, that sometimes we have to make clear that a picture has not been edited. Thanks for commenting.


  2. I like the vibrancy of the natural photo, but I always enjoy how seeing a little photo tweaking can change the entire vibe. 🙂 What a handsome little bee, and a great photo of him either way! 😀


      1. Only afterwards PJB. Most of my shots I just leave like that but as I get bored easily I like to play around with different programs to see what kind of effects they can produce. Lately I’ve been playing around with Photoshop Actions. Keeps me out of trouble. 😆


  3. Photography sure has changed since my final year at high school when I learned how to develop black and white prints in the art department ‘dark room’ (cupboard). I need to see someone working with Photoshop so I can understand it all better, I think!


    1. Well it’s funny that you should say that, my oldest is currently taking a black and white photography class, complete with darkroom 🙂 I am hoping to take a similar class next fall. So while it is true that there is a lot that has changed with the introduction of things like Photoshop, it is still important to have an understanding of underlying photography concepts.


  4. I very much like the first photo and the way you used Photoshop to focus on the bee and flower. I am also from back in the days of film and darkrooms 🙂


  5. each of your pictures has qualities of its own .
    sometimes you do manage to get a good shot with the point and shooter – that is unfortunately the only equipment I have to use.


  6. I like it! I think I would have left the bright green stem on the focus flower. And I’d like to see the version with the rest in total B&W. To me, Photoshop can enhance if used in a subtle way. I hope you are enjoying your class! I think it is a good idea to practice what you’ve learned on your blog photos. Besides, when class is over you can always go back to “au naturel”


    1. It is interesting that you mention the stem, because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with it. Also, the total drop of saturation, made the rest of the photo a bit of a dishrag looking mess, maybe if instead of desaturating the photo I had made it black and white and then added some color back that would have worked too.


  7. I like both photos. I don’t mind the photoshopping. The first one seems more soothing to the eyes. By the way, I didn’t see the first one as unnatural until I saw the second one.
    Thanks again for the editing details…I finally got a copy of Photomatix and when I have time I’m trying to figure it out. 🙂


      1. I played around with bracketing exposures on my camera this weekend so I can plug in some pics. I’m not sure, I’m doing it right. But I’m guessing it’s a matter of practice and trial and error. 🙂


  8. To me it’s about the finished product…how you get there is up to you. I think the colors in the background of the original, while blurred, still distract a tiny bit and your adjustment works to put more of a focus on the flower and the bee in the foreground. Good luck with your class PJB.


  9. Nothing wrong with a bit of photoshop if it enhances the shot. I personally only use a bit of sharpness in my Nikon program for my pics..:-))
    Great shot!


  10. Hi Amy. Great shot and excellent conversation. I think that using photoshop is perfectly acceptable. The key in my mind is to understand your intention and what you’re trying to communicate. If photoshop/editing helps you communicate, then go for it!


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