Back Modifications (3)
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By DinkyDoo
Captured this busy wee guy having lunch and another lunch and another on a beautiful day. Wondering how best to show hiim off and how best to compose the image. Any ideas?

Tags: Insects close up Wildlife and nature

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banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4231 Canada
22 Apr 2020 8:43PM
So youve done a lot right here, and one thing you need to change.

Your focus on the Bee is quite good; using shutter priority is a very good idea when the subject can move. So all thats good.

The shot as you can see is quite underexposed, and the reason for that is that you set ISO to 100. IF you can use Auto ISO then use it. How this causes the underexposure is that the cameras meter "sees" the scene and wants it brighter; it can do that only one of two ways since you are using Tv. It could open the aperture wider to let more light in, but, this is a "slow" lens meaning its already wide open and is not accessible to the cameras meter. What is accessible is ISO, only if you've allowed it by setting it to auto effectively letting the camera use ISO to allow a more exposed image by increasing ISO. The resulting shot will be brighter, though possibly at the risk of some noise, which you cant change,

The mod is quite a bit brighter, - so perhaps the camera might have chosen ISO 400 or 800.


dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1839 England
22 Apr 2020 10:36PM
Good stuff from Willie above: I want to second the idea of raising the ISO, because a smalelr aperture would have allowed you to have more of the bee and flower in focus, which I think is desirable.

Also, choosing a single AF point and placing it over the bee will ensure that it's sharp: here, the point of focus seems to be on the flower (but maybe the bee moved). It's also possible that you took the picture when the bee was closer to the camera than you minimum focus distance.

Whiel the bee is better exposed in Willie's mod, I love the dark, velvety look of the flower in your original!
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2403 United Kingdom
23 Apr 2020 1:12PM
Hi Ken, thanks for being so specific with your questions, I wish more people did that in the Critique Gallery!

You have loads of good advice above, I'll second the need to increase ISO. Apart from allowing a smaller aperture, say F8, it would allow greater leeway with shutter speed. You have got away with 1/200 second pretty well but I would regard that as the slowest possible for these critters, I would prefer to see 1/500 second.

Now I'll add a couple of further thoughts.

First of all, the Exif isn't showing up the time of day this was taken but I'm guessing it genuinely was around midday. Sun high in the sky, very high dynamic range from light to dark for the camera to deal with, not easy conditions. You will usually need to do some post processing for the light.

Secondly, you have mentioned composition. I like your use of square, but this is clearly a crop, could you upload the full frame please? You can add it under the blue Modifications button, I would like to look at alternative crops.
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 767 England
23 Apr 2020 2:41PM
Your approach is good, and will be improved withthe helpful advice above.

I don't know how steady you were or how much the flower and bee were moving, but 1/200 is not particularly fast when you're so close.

Add to that the very small depth of field, even if things are steady a small movement back or forth of you or the subject can result in the subject moving out of the plane of focus.
There's no magic bullet, it's just down to practice. Hopefully with decent weather forecast for the next week or so there'll be plenty of opportunity.
chase Plus
15 2.1k 562 England
23 Apr 2020 4:31PM
This looks as though the harsh light was against you here, not easy in the suns' glare.
Good advice above ref upping the ISO, you need a much faster shutter speed, these little critters move so fast when they are out doing what they do.
Would be good to see this pre-crop but as it is I would have been tempted with a crop from the top and a little more from the bottom, then there would be a much better chance of seeing the Bee on the upper right third of the frame.
23 Apr 2020 6:03PM
Thanks for all the positive advice and useful information. Ive uploaded the original image.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1839 England
23 Apr 2020 9:54PM
Thanks for the original image.

To continue the focus question - how was your AF set up for the shot?
23 Apr 2020 10:19PM
Hi - AF was set to single point, centre. The process was select the subject, focus, lock the focus, reset the frame and shoot. Sounds like a lot to do in a short period. Lots of missed and out of focus images.....
chase Plus
15 2.1k 562 England
23 Apr 2020 10:41PM
Thanks for uploading the original, you did a hefty crop from that !
I did a mod....
Cropped to put the twig and flowers on a diagonal as much as I could, I ended up with the Bee on the bottom left third.
Lightened the bee using a levels layer.
Added a touch of brightness/contrast in Photoshop.
Added a very subtle vignette to darken the edges thus showing off the Bee a little more.
Lots of OOF stuff in the frame which makes it difficult to isolate the Bee, a very busy place for him to land and difficult to focus. Autofocus is ok but when there is lots to see in a frame the AF gets a bit confused and it only takes him to move a couple of mm and the AF will be off.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2403 United Kingdom
24 Apr 2020 7:58AM
Thanks for adding the original, unfortunately I have a problem at the moment and cannot download it in a format that I can work on. I think you did the right thing in cropping, and I'm a sucker for a square crop so I approve! Your crop places the insect nicely off-centre and gives the impression of it about to move on upwards. Janet's alternative crop, placing it lower in the frame but again off-centre, has a more settled feel. Both work, differently.
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 767 England
24 Apr 2020 12:19PM
That's a big crop, not an issue per se but it will highlight any shortfalls in technique.

Quote:Lots of missed and out of focus images

Part of the territory I'm afraid. It's annoying how many are only just out.

My favoured technique is to use manual focus, setting the lens to a particular focus, let's say 1/3 life size to start with, and move back and forth to achieve sharp focus on the subject, thus maintainig a preferred composition and shooting with little delay.
Many people uise that method and it's worth a try to see if you can get on with it.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1839 England
24 Apr 2020 1:54PM
Thank you for the extra information about the focus.

And that tells me where the problem happened. With a subject like this, you have two problems: one is that everythign keeps moving: the otehr is that depth of field is tiny.

And... If you are handholding, reframing will inevitably be accompanied by slight backwards or forewards movement, so that you've lost focus when you actually shoot.

Two ways round this: use an off-centre focus spot, or use the centre spo, and do not reframe. Instead, shoot immediately, and crop to get the framing you want in processing.

Nature closeups are incredibly demanding: I admire those who can do this sort of thing immensely, as I know my technique isn't up to it!

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