11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

All Aboard

There are times when it becomes necessary to attempt a workaround. This particular photo was one of those times:

ISO 1250 10mm f/13 0.6sec

The challenge before me was to create interesting leading lines within a photo by doing what is called a zoom burst. You do this by changing the focal length while you are taking a photo. There are also various motion filters you can use to create the look afterword, Photoshop has a number of filters for that which you can read about here. In this case, though, I was simply turning the focus ring of the lens while taking the photo. Or at least, that’s what I was trying to do.  Here is what my best, unedited, version was:


ISO 1250 10mm f/13 0.6sec

What wasn’t working was the dial, it wasn’t in focus enough, you can’t read it at all. I could tell this even on the small screen of my camera. I took a bunch of shots but knew I did not have what I wanted. I was at the same time, blocking the way of people who were trying to get through and slowing down my family.  So, I took this shot with my iPhone.

Close up on the iPhone

I was pretty sure that if I got a close up of the dial, I could create something later. So, that’s what I did.  I opened these last two photos as layers in Photoshop.  From there I scaled down the phone shot to fit the Canon shot: In Photoshop: Edit-transform-scale, hold the shift key to keep the proportions of the original photo. Then I added a mask to the phone layer (which was the top layer) and masked out all but the dial. I also dropped the opacity of that layer a bit so that it wouldn’t be completely in focus since the layer below is showing through slightly. And there you have it, that first photo is my final version of this editing process.

My take on zoom burst with a little help from Photoshop.  What do you think? Do you like using blur with photography? I’ll be honest, I don’t use it all that often. It can be an imaginative interpretation of a scene though, do you think it works with this subject? Your thoughts are welcome below.

These photos were taken aboard the HMS Belfast which is docked in London and functions as a museum.  An audio guide takes you all over the ship. It’s an excellent glimpse into what life on a ship would be like.




19 thoughts on “All Aboard

  1. Sue Woollard says:

    I do like this. And it definitely works better with the clearer dial. As you know, I like using PS or PSE to alter photos and get a different end result. I like the zoom burst because it can be done in camera and then enhanced later. I often use a little bit of gaussian blur to enhance shots taken with lensbaby lenses to really emphasise the soft focus. I think we’re really lucky in this day and age because we have so many creative tools available to us 🙂


    • Gaussian blur can be a really nice filter to get a nice soft focus in a photo. I also agree that we are lucky to have so many tools, I also appreciate that there can be more than one way to attempt an edit; that’s nice because if you don’t get exactly what you are after, you can try again with a different tool.


  2. This is great! Thank you again for sharing your process. I have occasionally played around with ‘blur’ but have not yet tried changing the focus while taking the picture. I look forward to checking this out. I also appreciate you giving the photoshop steps.


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  4. I know that you wish that it wasn’t a situation that prevented you from using a tri-pod. I have no doubt that if you could have used one, you would have gotten exactly what you were after.

    Ig you have the chance to shoot this again, do you think that a mono-pod would help?

    In any case, it’s a smashing effort.


    • Yes, I do believe that a monopod would have helped. In fact, I took a look around to make sure there wasn’t just some surface that would have worked, there wasn’t so I just forged ahead.
      I also think the other thing that would have helped here is practice. If I shot like this more often I probably would have a better idea of settings vs. lighting scenarios and would have had a better starting point at least. That is the joy of a challenge like this though, trying something I don’t normally do and having to try and work my way through it.


  5. I can definitely see what you mean about wanting the dial to be a bit more clear in the final result. I think the impact of the finished photo is definitely either one of speed, or frenzy, or perhaps suggestive of time travel! 😉


  6. I use the same technique occasionally and actually like the fact that it’s hard (impossible) to control and always makes me wonder what it’ll look like. (So, the goal-oriented photoshop filtering is not my cup of tea here 😉 In many shots it tends to produce a slightly uneasy or even eerie feeling; not so much with your dial, though.


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