70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

I’ll admit right up front that when I saw that “Cover Art” was the theme for this week’s photo challenge, I had no idea what I was going to do.  Then I thought about what I have been shooting lately. A quick look through my files, and you would see that nature images is what I have been focusing on. Then I was looking at this image that I processed a week or so ago:

ISO 160 200mm 0ev f/3.5 1/800

ISO 160 200mm 0ev f/3.5 1/800

And there is my cover art for an article on the plight of bees. I was thinking in terms of a series of images.  The one above looks nice and cheery and the truth is that beehives aren’t thriving lately. I wanted to make the image that conveys that peril.  The above image was shot in a local cemetery and I had used an f-stop of 3.5 to blur out the background.  I also tweaked the exposure a bit and sharpened it in Photoshop.

My first thought was to convert it to a infrared image, I thought that would create a surreal, something is a bit off kind of feel.  I did that by creating a black and white layer in Photoshop and then using the infrared setting.  I didn’t like the outcome, but I did like the black and white version, which was the first step in creating this image:

ISO 160 200mm 0ev f/3.5 1/800

ISO 160 200mm 0ev f/3.5 1/800

While I liked the tone of the image, I felt that it was too sharp and that blurring would help create a sense of the bees disappearing.  So this image has a field blur filter applied to it.

I liked it, but was curious to see what a similar filter setting would look like in color.  So, I created another version:

ISO 160 200mm 0ev f/3.5 1/800

ISO 160 200mm 0ev f/3.5 1/800

Now I’m not sure which version I like best.  Which version most suggests to you that something has gone wrong for the bee population?  Feel free to let me know in the comments section!



49 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

  1. spartacus2030 says:

    The last one is just an out of focus image which just suggests an armature attempt. The bee on top of the black and white one is in focus, so I choose that one. Bees pollinate one third of all our crops. Without them, we wood bee in serious trouble! Hope you’ve found this helpful! Excellent image BTW… Tell us, did you use a flash? I have the Canon 5D… I know it’s meant to be a portrait camera, including all extras cost me $8,000, and even with the shutter wide open, on a tripod, at fast speeds and a clear 50 mm macro lens, a locked up mirror, and a shutter release cable, I still get blurry bees. What am I doing wrong?


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  3. While I get and see and understand what you are going for with the blur/disappearing I just love the first one. I hate to see those wings caught mid-flight lose their sharpness! How about cropping the feeding bee out and just have the one flying away? Sort of like the bees are leaving? Kind of? Either way I love it! 🙂


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  5. I like the first shot the best. Very nice that you made the bottom bee in focus too, just like the flowers. In that photo, the flowers and bee look so harmonious together. I was sort of wishing that you captured the bees’ wings fluttering furiously, in a blur. Maybe next time 😀

    The third photo looks great too. In this photo, I feel drawn to the flowers. Very creative use of Photoshop.


    • I’m thinking about what you said and a few years ago I did have a bunch of my neighbor’s honey bees die and I had to get rid of them. I was too distraught and didn’t think of taking a picture. They were beautiful, even dead, they had really pretty coloring.


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  7. Well! Looks like your question generated a ton of suggestions 😍. If it were me, I’d use the first photo but I’d crop in very close and have just the colorful part of the flower and I’d have the bee in black and white. Just a thought – and you’ve gotten lots of them PJB!


  8. well I had the chance to read all the comments (love when I get to do this on some posts) and I agree with spartacus about the third photo – and well, the first photo I absolutely love like many others – and I also agree with the idea that maybe a selective coloring would work the peril connection.

    anyhow, that first photo is amazing – the close up of those proud little flowers (where their base petals make it feel like a little rocket – to me at least – especially the pair to the right of the left bee – they stand – angled – with such poise) and it is such an energizing shot.


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