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.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!

This photo was shot on a sunny morning over the summer.  I pulled it out of my archives in part to re-edit it.  In my Photoshop class we have covered split toning and I thought this image might be a good candidate for that.  Here is the edited version:

ISO 200 50mm f/5.6 1/250

ISO 200 50mm f/5.6 1/250

Here is the original photo:

ISO 200 50mm f/5.6 1/250

ISO 200 50mm f/5.6 1/250

Split toning can be done in Camera Raw if you have Photoshop.  Basically what I have done is first convert the image to grayscale.  Split toning then allows you to bring a hint of color back into your photo.  In this case I set the hue slider to yellow and bumped up the saturation until I go the image that you see.  I then sharpened the image a bit.

Photoshop is not the only editing software that has split toning.  If you are interested in knowing a bit more about the topic I would recommend this blog post by Sonel.  I have provided a link to a post she wrote about a month ago where she explains in some detail how it works.  She has also included screen shots of her process which are very informative.

This post was written in part as a response to the WordPress weekly photo challenge which has the theme, Good Morning!

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment about split toning or my image in the comments below.

Cheers!

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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.

Cheers!

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Animals, Flowers, iPhone, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Another bee in the series

Last week I posted two bee pictures.  One in sepia and one in color.  This one is in color, but is a bit different:

ISO 64 4mm f/2.8 1/694

ISO 64 4mm f/2.8 1/694

It is different because I took it with my iPhone.  Now that it has been edited, it is a very small image, but good enough for this format.  I snapped this picture because I thought it was interesting that the bee and the bug were sharing this flower.  This photo has been edited in Aperture.  I used curves to make it just a bit brighter.  I didn’t want to make it too bright because I liked the green and yellow tones as they turned out in camera.  I also sharpened the image a bit.

Cheers!

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Animals, Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Another day, Another bee

I wrote yesterday about a bee that I had photographed and then edited into a sepia image.  The post is here if you would like to take a look.  Today I was looking at another series of bee shots and here is what one of the final images looks like:

ISO 800 135mm 0.67ev f/22 1/125

ISO 800 135mm 0.67ev f/22 1/125

I think it was the bright yellow of the flower that made me decide to keep this a color image.  I managed to get a pretty sharp photo, even with the movement of the bee and the flower.  I had used my tripod earlier in the shoot, but did not for this particular image.  I think the most challenging thing about this image is the background.  There is just a lot going on.  So, the original image I cropped to try and get some of the background out but still leave enough to convey the scene I was shooting.  In Aperture I corrected this photo a bit using curves, I just wanted to darken the image a little bit.  I have also sharpened the image.

Cheers!

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Animals, Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Sepia in Spring

It has been cold here and while that is fine since it is winter, I do find myself looking forward to warmer weather and longer sunlit days.  A few days ago I was looking back through some photos from the spring and I found one I hadn’t yet edited.

ISO 800 100mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

ISO 800 100mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

I have a series of pictures of this bee and I have been trying to edit them in different ways.  Here is one edited version:

ISO 800 100mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

ISO 800 100mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

This version I edited in Aperture.  I cropped it, put it in a sepia tone, and sharpened it.  I like this version, not really sure if I love it.  I think this photo shows one of the downsides to not having a macro lens.  With a macro lens, this picture would be sharper, even before editing.  My kit lens did a decent job though.  I think the 50mm lens I have wouldn’t have worked because I was having trouble getting any closer to the bee.

So, what do you think? do you like sepia for this particular subject matter? Your comments are welcome in the comments section.

Cheers!

 

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Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

A walk in the park

I love walking in the local park.  I got this photo:

ISO 800 135mm f/22 1/160

It was bright out, so I was trying to take advantage of the light to get a high f-stop and shutter speed.  The petals are still a bit bright, even though I toned it down in Aperture.  There were a lot of bees out on the particular day.  I probably could have gotten a better picture if I could have been shooting either earlier in the day or later.

Cheers!

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