What, another fly photo?
Anyone that is very familiar with this blog will know that I love photographing flies. I have already posted twice about attracting flies to photograph by putting a salmon carcass out in the garden. And that was what I was doing last summer when I photographed the flesh fly in the picture above. I was sitting with my camera equipment waiting for insects to land on the salmon when this particular fly landed next to me on a bright blue plastic thingamabob*. I wasn’t particularly looking for photos of flies on thingamabobs, but it was posing so nicely that I couldn’t resist and I snapped a picture.
When I initially looked at the resulting photo (see below) I hated the blue background and dismissed the picture as junk. In the past, when I shot film, I would have thrown the in the trash. In this case I filed the image and forgot about it.
A few weeks ago I tripped across the picture when I was going through my files looking for something else. I took another look at it and decided that it was actually a pretty good shot of a fly—the exposure and contrast were good, and it was a nice pose. The only real problem was the terrible background, and I could change that with Photoshop.
Once I opened the picture in Photoshop Elements 8.0, the first thing to do was to crop out the black area in the upper left corner. The resulting image is below. It might not be how I would have preferred to crop the photo, but it works.
The next step was to remove the blue background. Luckily, the fly was essentially a black and white animal with a little yellow on its face and feet, and of course the beautiful blue eyes. There was no blue on its body. So for this photograph, removing the coloured background was simple. I clicked Enhance/Adjust color/Adjust Hue/Saturation and then selected Greens and moved the Saturation bar all the way to the left. Then I did the same for Blues and Cyans. Voila: the result was the photo at the top of the page—a coloured fly on a black and white background! Don’t those beautiful eyes stand out now?
In just a few steps I turned a “junk” photo into one of my favourite pictures of a fly. I love Photoshop…
*I honestly don’t remember what it was that the fly landed on, and there is nothing in the garden today that is that colour, so whatever it was is long gone.
The technical stuff:
Camera: Olympus E-620 digital SLR
Lens: Zuiko 35mm macro
Settings: manual exposure (F22 @ 1/125 sec)
Lighting: on-camera flash (full power)