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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirror

When I sit down to edit photos, the actual editing is usually not the first step.  Chances are that I have been thinking about the photo for awhile. It is my habit to flip through my photos after I have downloaded them and then go and do something else before starting the process.  I find it helpful to be thinking about the photos before the actual editing starts:

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

I find that the first thing I think about is if I want the photo to mirror what I saw or if it will be some other interpretation of the scene.  In this case because what drew me to take the photo in the first place was the way that this insect was similar to the flower, I decided to edit keeping the photo true to the original. I cropped the photo, sharpened it, and put a vignette on it to darken the edges.  For comparison here is the original version:

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

ISO 400 50mm f/18 1/200

In my mind, this type of editing is for clarity.  It is my hope to bring out the details of what I saw in the scene, a reflection of the reality of that moment.  The steps I described above are the steps I usually take when clarity is my intent.

Do you have a set way of editing for a certain effect?  Do you think the steps I took helped clarify the image? Do they make the image more appealing to you?  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

When I see the word jubilant I think of bright colors, orange and yellow:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

I had been stalking these wildflowers most of this week, but rain has made it difficult to get a good shot.  I finally caught a break two days ago in the evening when the rain stopped and the sun made a brief appearance.  I took this photo with my point and shoot camera on the macro setting and set the ISO at 400.  There was a slight breeze, but at 200th of a second, this flower seems frozen in time.  I kept the editing to a minimum.  I cropped and sharpened a bit in Photoshop, then added a grain filter and vignette in Lightroom.

What do you think of the editing? Do you also associate certain words with colors?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration

It was a nice afternoon, so I went for a walk in our local park.  I found this wildflower blooming:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/250

ISO 400 4.3mm f/8.0 1/250

Pretty amazing when you consider that this was the same area that was the control burn at the beginning of March.  Here is what it looked like then:

ISO 160 170mm f/5.6 1/640

ISO 160 170mm f/5.6 1/640

I blogged about it here.  I couldn’t help but admire how fast things were growing back.  The photo from today was taken with my point and shoot.  I used the macro setting, which I think does a nice job of shooting flowers in particular.  In Photoshop I cropped the photo and sharpened it a bit.  The photo from the controlled burn was taken with my Canon 50D and was edited in Photoshop into an HDR image.

Pretty amazing how quickly the area changed isn’t it? Do you have a favorite place to go and shoot under different conditions or at different times of the year? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

 

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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, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

When image editing runs amuck

I took some photos last week of a beautiful backlit wildflower.  That was the quick and easy part.  I am currently taking a photoshop class, so I have been busy editing everything.  When I took the photo, I had split toning in mind. Sonel hosts a weekly split toning challenge and the theme this week was flowers.  Here is my final image:

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/125

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/125

The “problem” with Photoshop is that you could muck around with a photo pretty much forever.  I put problem in quotes because I am quite aware that is a user induced problem; the Photoshop program is also happy to sit idle on your machine.

But back to this image.  I liked the photos I had taken of this flower, but I was wondering if I could get a more detailed result by creating an HDR image.  So, I tried it and here is the result:

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/125

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/125

It is pretty, but I was really looking to bring out some detail in the center of the flower, so I considered this a partial success.  I then shifted my focus back to split toning.  I opened this HDR image in Bridge and converted it to greyscale.  Then I looked at my split toning options.  I decided to make the highlights red and the shadows yellow.  I still was not completely happy with the center of the flower. So, I opened my photo as a smart object in Photoshop.  Once I had done that, in the layers panel I clicked the make copy via smart object option.  I did this because I knew that I could then take my copy back into Camera Raw, adjust the exposure for the center of the flower, and then go back into Photoshop.  Then I made a mask and keep the center only of that version for my final version.  Once I had the flower looking the way I wanted, I cropped and sharpened the image.

That’s a lot of editing for a flower.  More than I really was thinking when I took the photo.  How about you, have you ever gone overboard with your editing?  What do you think of my final images? do you prefer one over the other? questions about my editing? Your comments are welcome below.

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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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