50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

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

  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.



    • 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! 😀


  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!


    • 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. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus | Pilot Fish

  5. Forest So Green says:

    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 🙂


  6. Rosa says:

    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.


  7. Michele Bourdeau says:

    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”


    • 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.


  8. Claudia says:

    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. 🙂


  9. 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.


  10. Ed says:

    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!


  11. 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!


  12. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Focus | Joe's Musings

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