A Gimpy Bee (Photo)

honeybee covered in pollen hovering near white petals

A honeybee covered in pollen hovers around the white petals of a hibiscus flower.

A bee in flight, even when it is just hovering from hibiscus flowers sitting closely together, is a tough subject to photograph (dare I say especially so with a reverse lens set up). But when it is strikingly covered with a heavy layer of pollen granules, it is hard to resist. So I went for it, and I was pretty close – close enough to see if I could fix it up in post-processing. The movement produced some blurry streaks along the front-facing edges (the bee was moving backwards at this point); but that didn’t bother me too much. The main problem was the overall sharpness of the bee, which was, if I can say it this way, on the cusp of sharpness. So off to the GIMP cave! The abdomen had the hint of actual sharpness, but I more or less isolated the bee as a whole in a duplicate layer and beefed up the sharpening using the Wavelet Sharpen filter. Naturally, the noise was also beefed up; I played with the Despeckle filter which did seem to help remove noise without too much damage otherwise. (In another duplicate layer, I also denoised the background masking out the bee and the big flower petal so that they were unaffected.)

The verdict: a little chunky and clunky on the sharpening. Smaller sizes of the image will probably look good, but at full size it lacks the clarity and tack sharpness I usually look for. I had fun working it out, though, and it’s always good to practice. You never know what you might end up with.

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2 thoughts on “A Gimpy Bee (Photo)

    1. I have to say, with a reverse lens getting in flight shots is prohibitive. The working distance is so minimal it’s mostly a fool’s errand, but when they hang around, keep coming back, I’d feel a bit foolish if I didn’t fire off a few shots. Hover flies on the other hand will do just what their name suggests, so while in flight there bodies are mostly stationary which makes shooting them feasible, and I have taken some pretty sharp photos of those at very close range. Bees apparently have too much to do to sit in the air for a photographer, however.

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