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, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Sculpture

Sculpture is theme at Where’s My backpack? this week.  This is one of those themes that at first I was thinking that I didn’t have anything, but once I took a look through my archives I realized that I had more than I thought.  I decided to go with this photo in honor of the 4th of July:

The edited photo

The edited photo

This World War II memorial is on the grounds of Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis Missouri. This memorial is on St. Louis County Parks property.  There is a National Cemetery right near the county park.

This photo was a tough one to get and I have to say, if I was to do it again, I would go at a different time.  This photo was taken in the middle of the day, so harsh light and shadows were a problem.  Having said that though, the reality is that I was there when I could be there, so I did the best I could.

At the bottom of this post I will put the original photo, just so you can see what I was up against.  I was thinking that I would use HDR to get a better end result.  So, I tried bracketing my photos, but didn’t really get a great result.  What you see in the above photo is a bit of a false HDR.  It is made from one single image.  In Aperture I made two additional copies of the original.  Then I changed the exposure to -1 on one and -2 on another.  The original I left at 0. These three I merged into HDR using Photomatix.  I ended up liking the version you see above which is using a “painterly” setting.  Then in Photoshop I sharpened and cropped the image.  That’s a bit of fixing for just one image, but here is the original:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/60

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/60

So, that was a bit of work for one photo, but I do like the HDR image better.  What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

A very happy 4th of July to my American readers.

Cheers!

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