Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sometimes The Insects Just Ignore You

You almost couldn’t not shoot some of the swarming insects on the flowers this past weekend. They did have their favorites and walking on the Bridge of Flowers does put you past every group of flowers, bugs, inserts and tourists. There were half again as many tourists as there were insects, or so it seemed. The flowers must have been full of very tasty pollen. They, basically, had no interest in the hundreds of people walking past, literarily sticking their noses in the blooms to take in the aromas. Today’s image was taken within minutes of Monday’s image. Today we have two insects clamoring over one blossom and none on the Monday image. That was the way it was. Some flowers must have been at their peak and others either before or after the pinnacle of their attraction. The insects in today’s image were as busy as their cousins the bees. Even with the bright sunlight of the early afternoon it would have been nearly impossible to freeze the motion of these quick movers. This image employs some hand held high speed flash work. According to the EXIF data that goes along with this image the lens was racked out to 200mm (300mm 35mm equivalent) at 600mm (~23”) distance. It also includes a fairly minor crop. Something to consider is that the camera was in one hand and the flashes (two) were in the other hand. Shooting one handed is a sure fire way to get some camera movement in a shot, unless you’re using something other than the shutter to freeze the action. 1/800 of a second at f 14 (F 14??? I hate in between F-stop numbers) using Auto FP High Speed Sync allowed the flash duration to absolutely stop the little critters in the tracks. But, this is a Photoshop oriented blog. To find out what was done in Adobe Photoshop CS5, hit the “read more”.
Other than cropping, the only thing done in Photoshop was partially done in ACR. The leaves were pretty hot and needed to be brought down by about a stop. The detail was there, but even cranking the Recovery slider up to 100% wasn’t enough to avoid them being a distraction. The flower, the stem, the insects and the background didn’t need to be deepened, just the leaves. A quick Channel Mask made short work of selecting only the leaves. A Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer gave complete control over the tone of the offending spears.

Again, like Monday, none of the typical Adjustment Layers (individual Hue/Saturation or Curves or Threshold Adjustment Layers) were needed to improve the colors. I will admit to making a second Alpha Channel of the wing of the black insect. When the vignette was applied the wing got a little lost in the darkness and softness of the vignette. To bring it back a Layer Mask of the wing Alpha Channel was applied. Other than that, it’s another pretty straight image. Total time to finish today’s image was far less than the time needed to write this post.


Levonne said...

I like when the insects ignore us! Nice adjustments and final print.