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

Travel Theme: Short

This post is about two types of travel, on-line and in person.  The photo I am posting today is from a short local trip I took to Jefferson Barracks.  Jefferson Barracks has a National Cemetery and a separate but connected park that is part of the St. Louis County Park system.  I was visiting the County Park section that has displays about the history of the site as an Army post from 1826-1946.  That is where I took this photo:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/8 1/500

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/8 1/500

This was a tough shot to get.  First it was windy and I had no tripod, so I knew if there was any chance that I might catch this bee, I would have to have a quick shutter speed.  Secondly, I thought about my f-stop setting.  I knew that the background was busy, but I thought if I blurred it enough, you would be able to tell I was in a garden without getting too distracted about many of the details.  I settled on f/8.  That made the bee and flower clear but the background blurred.  The third issue was lighting.  It was very bright out, but the bee and the shadow of the petals of the flower it was on were quite dark.  I tried using an ISO of 100 and my flash.  While sometimes the flash can help add light in dark areas that are close but the background is bright, in this case it just really looked artificial, and to me it was important for this image to look as natural as possible.  So I put my ISO up a bit to 320.  I’ll show you the original photograph below and tell you that I was pretty happy with it.  This photo has been sitting in my photo library not thought of much until I took another trip.

This trip was on-line.  I love looking through other people’s blogs.  I also really appreciate it when people visit my blog and leave comments.  Sometimes, folks leave a comment regarding editing and leave a tip for me to try.  This was the case last week when I posted about a Snowy Owl.  A photographer named Liz who writes Nature on the Edge left me a tip about how she uses levels to make adjustments.  It was a way of using levels that I had never tried.  I thought that was interesting, so I went to check out her blog and see what type of work she does.  The link that I left above was the post that I looked at and then thought again of my bee photo.  Her nature shots were beautiful and very simple.  A simple image was what I was trying to do with my bee.  My last remaining issue with that photo was that it was still too dark in the stalk of the flower and the bee.  So I used her suggestion to make a very subtle edit, on that you might not even notice unless you were looking very closely.  Here is the original:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/8 1/500

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/8 1/500

What I did was this.  In Photoshop, copied the original photo.  The used a levels adjustment layer and adjusted for the bee.  The cmd-control-i to invert and make a mask.  On the mask I took a black paint brush and painted over the background which was now really too bright.  Once I was satisfied with the bee and the background, I cropped and sharpened the image.

What do you think?  it is a pretty small adjustment don’t you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

The travel theme at Where’s My Backpack? this week is short.  It actually took me longer to write this post than to do the editing, so the editing process was short.  I thought that both my in person and on-line trips were short, but what fun, I’m glad I went.



16 thoughts on “Travel Theme: Short

  1. I like your words around why this is short! Your editing has worked well, I think a few subtle changes to levels/curves, a judicious bit of cropping are often all we need!


  2. That is such an amazing and gorgeous photo! My flower would have been great and the bee blurry or the bee would have been focused and the flower would be a purple blob, but I would have had a 50/50 shot of at least one of them turning out. The lighting on this is so good. You did a fantastic job.


    • Thanks, I did get a lot of throw away shots on this one. It was tough to get everything in focus because of the movement. It was windy and the bee was quite active, so both parts of my subject matter were moving, yikes 🙂 As for the lighting, I did move around and take the shot from several angles as well, sometimes all of it is just a lot of trial and error.


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