Richard Matheny  

Bee by Richard Matheny

September 2023 - Bee

September 2023 - Richard Matheny


September 2023 - Richard Matheny

Original 3

About the Image(s)

I was visiting one of my favorite wildlife spots for some birds with no luck at all. The birds had taken the day off so I had to settle for bugs and flowers which is always fun as well. I came upon a field of yellow flowers with the common name bladderpods, rattle boxes or Rattlepods, the real name is a Cleomella Arborea. It is a perennial shrub that the bees and butterflies love. I thought I would give the Honey bees a try with the long lens setup. Using a 300mm and 1-4 teleconverter on a sand bag worked pretty well I think. Wanted to see what you guys thought. A big crop for sure. Settings were F11, 1/500 sec and ISO 2000 and the equivalent of 630mm focal length using that lens setup.
In post processing I used Topaz Photo AI to cancel any noise. Using a Lightroom mask I increased the exposure on the Bee and Plant a small amount and raised the temp. to warm them up a little. I added some Texture, clarity and dehaze to the Bee. A little sharpness to the bee as well +23. In the background I increased the exposure and warmed it up some. The last adjustment was a gradient mask on the bee to increase the exposure and used the temp. slider to warm it a little. Looking back at my settings maybe I could have used a little more shutter speed to stop the wing motion more but I kind of like the look of the motion.Like I said earlier let me know what you think.

11 comments posted

David Kepley   David Kepley
Incredible shot of the difficult subject! The lighting on the bee and the flower are spot on! After looking at the original, I'm surprised you had enought pixels to get this image! The bee's body s tack sharp! The wings are blurred indicating motion. the other way to try it is to shoot at a very high shutter speed to freeze the wings. I tried that at 1/8000 sec and it is still hard to freeze those little wings. You might run the wings of the bee through topaz denoise, otherwise I do not have much in the way of suggestions! Great image!!   Posted: 09/08/2023 14:29:26
Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
Thanks David, for the comments. Everything seemed to line up in my favor that day. The was a large field of these flowers and there were hundreds of them. I have tried to completely stop the motion and it very seldom works for me. I don't mind a little wing motion, like you said it shows motion. My main thing was the Bee in flight. I had a competition coming up with the theme of flight. I felt sure there would be a lot of bird and airplane photography but not many bees. There was only one and that was me. I won 1st place in the expert level.   Posted: 09/13/2023 17:43:22

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
This is wonderful. It is something I just want to sit back and enjoy. The colors are so soft and comforting. The bee is one of the best photos of a bee I've seen in quite a while. It is delightfully sharp, and the slight blur to the wings just adds motion. This is the perfect plant for this as it add purpose for the bee and does not detract. It just fits the scene. Just do one little thing to this.Clone off that detached piece of pant on the bottom edge to the left of the main plant. Then frame this.   Posted: 09/10/2023 13:21:57
Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
Thanks Larry. I entered this last night in a local contest with the theme of flight. I knew there would birds and planes, so I chose a bee. I was a winning bee, 1st place in the expert level, and I had taken out the small piece of vegetation at the bottom that you. noticed.   Posted: 09/13/2023 17:47:59
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
WOO HOO!!!!!!!! Way to go!!!!! That is a well deserved honor!!

Thanks for sharing the news.   Posted: 09/13/2023 17:57:29

Cindy Marple   Cindy Marple
So my first comment is to tell you that this image inspired me this morning to photograph some carpenter bees that were buzzing around creosote bushes and blooms. I'd have overlooked it without this inspiration in mind.
I love the simplicity of this image, the soft colors and light. The motion of the bee's wings add, sort of like the propellers on an airplane, to the idea that it's moving. The DoF let you get both the bee and the plant sharp- something that I missed in some of my efforts this morning.
I like this simple composition as you've chosen it. I also see other options in your original to include more of the plant- it would make it less about the bee and more about the scene though.
  Posted: 09/10/2023 14:23:05
Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
Thank you, Cindy, for the comments. I am thrilled that I inspired someone with my work. You could be the first person ever. I needed the wings blurred to show some motion. I entered into a contest with the theme of flight last night, so I needed those wings moving. My bee was a winner and took home a first-place ribbon. The judge made some of the comments that you guys are making, Bee Sharp with the wings blurred to show the motion, soft bokeh and the good DOF. You guys could have been the judge. Thanks   Posted: 09/13/2023 18:00:28
Cindy Marple   Cindy Marple
Congratulations on the win! Well deserved.   Posted: 09/13/2023 22:16:56

Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
I agree this is a great shot. Wonderful sharpness. There is also an opportunity to make a nice image from your original. Crop 1x1 and include more of the plant with those beautiful yellow flowers and flower buds. Might not be more beautiful but adds interest and environment.   Posted: 09/10/2023 19:39:26
Comment Image
Cindy Marple   Cindy Marple
This is almost exactly the alternate crop I had in mind!   Posted: 09/12/2023 14:17:25
Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
Thanks Michael. I could have done that. I thought about different ways to present the image and may do something like the 1+1 at some point. I like what you done because it would bring in the environment a lot more. I presented this image in a contest with the theme of flight. Last night in fact. Anyway, I needed the photo to be all about the Bee in Flight. It worked; My Honeybee won first place.   Posted: 09/13/2023 18:09:05


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