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Thread: Bumble bee

  1. #1

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    Bumble bee

    Bumble bee

    I was out earlier today taking some photos of a few flowers in my yard, and the bees seemed to love these particular purple ones. Not sure which variety they are (not lavender).

    Few things I noticed that I need to work on from this particular photo... depth of field. The bee and a bit of the flower are in focus but the top / bottom halves are not. D'oh!

    For PP I didn't do a whole lot. Upped the exposure a bit since it was too dark in ACR. Added vignetting (perhaps too much), and played with the levels / curves.

    Does anyone have any other critique that they'd be willing to share?

    Sean

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Bumble bee

    Hi Sean,

    Some of this advice is possible in PP and some not (until "next time") and even that which is possible now will be better next time

    My apologies if this sounds harsh, but you did ask and I am aiming to be constructive.

    I think you need to decide what the subject is; bee or flower.
    You have framed this, and vignetted, for a flower shot, but as you say, limited DoF means the top and bottom are not in focus. Also, the bottom, being a bit short of purple in places, isn't particularly attractive, so it doesn't really 'work'

    You could crop to just show the middle; then you'd have a sharp flower, but again, as you've already spotted, the bee isn't all in focus either. So that won't look good

    To get a more pleasing composition, you could crop the bottom 25% off, putting the bee on a lower third vertically. Then I'd also take 25% off the left hand side too. I would demonstrate, but the vignette will then be wildly off centre and spoil it, so you can really only do this if you back to the original image (w/o vignette).

    For "next time";
    I see from the EXIF this was 1/350s @ f5.6 at 250mm at 100ISO.

    You've done well at that shutter speed to keep it sharp (at that focal length), but as you know, a narrower aperture would have brought much more Dof, going to f16 would need a 3 stop increase in ISO to compensate, do-able, especially if you use something like Neat Image in PP.

    I took some bee shots this w/e, I'll see if I can find one for you to critique

    Hope that helps,

  3. #3

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    Re: Bumble bee

    It is very difficult, and usually impossible, to get everything in sharp focus with macro photography, particularly in the field where the slightest breeze moves your subject into and out of focus.

    Some heavy cropping is frequently necessary.

    Some subjects like bees tend to move faster than I can manually focus but it can be problematic to ensure that auto focus actually focus on a soft bodied insect instead of a hard sharp twig just behind it. Sometimes it works out OK but I have a lot of auto focus failures.

    Correct lightling is another potential nightmare. Your bee looks just a fraction overexposed to me. I normally use spot metering plus a bit of exposure compensation where necessary. I find that it is better to slightly underexpose then recover brightness during processing; although dark insects require a touch of over exposure.

    Shooting RAW gives you the best chance for a second go at problem photos.

    During processing, selective adjustment of brightness, saturation and sharpness can help. I usually do this on a duplicate layer.

    So all in all, I would say that as you can't get all the flower in focus, concentrate on the bee and crop a bit tighter

  4. #4

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    Re: Bumble bee

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Sean,

    Some of this advice is possible in PP and some not (until "next time") and even that which is possible now will be better next time

    My apologies if this sounds harsh, but you did ask and I am aiming to be constructive.

    I think you need to decide what the subject is; bee or flower.
    You have framed this, and vignetted, for a flower shot, but as you say, limited DoF means the top and bottom are not in focus. Also, the bottom, being a bit short of purple in places, isn't particularly attractive, so it doesn't really 'work'

    You could crop to just show the middle; then you'd have a sharp flower, but again, as you've already spotted, the bee isn't all in focus either. So that won't look good

    To get a more pleasing composition, you could crop the bottom 25% off, putting the bee on a lower third vertically. Then I'd also take 25% off the left hand side too. I would demonstrate, but the vignette will then be wildly off centre and spoil it, so you can really only do this if you back to the original image (w/o vignette).

    For "next time";
    I see from the EXIF this was 1/350s @ f5.6 at 250mm at 100ISO.

    You've done well at that shutter speed to keep it sharp (at that focal length), but as you know, a narrower aperture would have brought much more Dof, going to f16 would need a 3 stop increase in ISO to compensate, do-able, especially if you use something like Neat Image in PP.

    I took some bee shots this w/e, I'll see if I can find one for you to critique

    Hope that helps,

    Thanks for the tips Dave. This was shot with my older 55-250mm f4.0-f5.6 lens, so I'm surprised it came out as clear as it did. (I really need to get a macro lens.)

    I'll play around with the original image again later, or maybe see if I can get some more shots of the bees later today when I have more time and see if I can improve upon it.

    Thanks for the critique!

    Sean

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Bumble bee

    Hi Sean,

    Well, here's me not following my own advice!

    Bumble bee

    This really is a triumph of quick and (very) dirty PP over content.
    EXIF = 1/2000s @ (only) f8!, ISO400 at 250mm.

    As such, and because of AF error (as Geoff says), the beastie wasn't really sharp; what you see is several wipes over with a sharpening brush on the body and individual legs and wings, then it looked so horrid and pixelated, I reduced the image size by nearly half to hide it!

    Also, the keen eyed will have spotted it's a wasp, not a bee
    (and it wasn't this w/e but the one before)

    This was the best of almost 30 exposures
    and the 40 odd bee shots were worse!

    Awful, I know,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 19th August 2009 at 08:37 PM.

  6. #6

    Re: Bumble bee

    Some subjects like bees tend to move faster than I can manually focus
    Tortoises tend to move faster than I can manually focus. Having said that I seem to have it in my head I should be able to take these kind of shots. Its an odd thing because I tend to skip over them in forums since they just don't do anything for me personally. As a result I have a lot of these in my "don't call us, we'll call you folder".

    All that said I think you have done very well to get the sharpness you have with that lens. The only thing I can add is that bees in particular do not provide a sharp point of focus since they are fuzzy to start with. I think these shots are better with the more spikey probe endowed type of insect.

    My old P&S rendered much better results than my present DSLR in this field. This was taken with a FinePix S7000

    Bumble bee

  7. #7

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    Re: Bumble bee

    Sure enough, my buzzing friends are still out there working on the same plants.

    Is this any better?

    Bumble bee

    F16, 1/320, ISO 1600.


    Sean

  8. #8
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Bumble bee

    Hi Sean,
    I can't add to the critique of your 1st shot.Your second...really good! You're getting very good results with that lens.
    Regards,
    Jim

  9. #9
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Bumble bee

    Yup, the second is much better, the bee is beautifully sharp.

    f16 at 1/320 at ISO1600, but with well controlled noise in the pic here, well done, a quick learner, impressive.

    The only thing I'd critique it on now is that compositionally, it is, due to the background flowers, very "top heavy" with purple.

    Cheers,

  10. #10

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    Re: Bumble bee

    Thank you both, Jim and Dave.

    Dave, I defiantly agree with you on the composition. It's hard to isolate one of those purple flowers by themselves without having four or five more in the background.

    Thanks again for the critique and tips!

    Sean

  11. #11
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Bumble bee

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    It's hard to isolate one of those purple flowers by themselves without having four or five more in the background.
    As its your garden, can you stake and/or tie most of them back slightly, temporarily, just leaving one bloom isolated against a "sympathetic"/plain background?

  12. #12

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    Re: Bumble bee

    If you are able to bend the flower stems to give a more pleasing background then wait for a passing bee you may find this bit of high tech kit useful.

    Bumble bee

  13. #13
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Bumble bee

    Neat device Geoff

  14. #14

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    Re: Bumble bee

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    If you are able to bend the flower stems to give a more pleasing background then wait for a passing bee you may find this bit of high tech kit useful.

    Bumble bee


    That's a very high tech device Geoff, I'll have to spend the weekend trying to make one myself.

    That's a good idea though, I think I'll try it out sometime soon if I can get a break from the weather. Thanks!

    Sean

  15. #15

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    Re: Bumble bee

    That is the Mk 2 which has a slight production modification. File, or scrape away a slight notch in the pegs before tying so the thin nylon string binding can't slip sideways.

    There is also a Mk3 which is fully adjustable and only has one upright support, but this version requires a touch of screw thread cutting and welding.

  16. #16

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    Re: Bumble bee

    Can't wait for mark 4

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