It has been raining quite a bit here so it’s too soggy to go out and photograph. The rains are supposed to subside today so I will have a chance to go out this week and do some more bird and wildflower photography. In the meantime, I decided to cut one of the many Calla Lily flowers that are growing in a planter in the front porch planter and take it into my studio to do a detailed focus stack. Many of you are new subscribers and I don’t think I have done a focus stack image for quite some time. An explanation of this technique is in order.
Depth of Field (DOF) is a two-edged sword for photographers. On one hand one can make a great image with a nice, soft background. On the other hand, it’s sometimes hard to capture the entire subject in focus. This is where focus stacking comes in. Using special software (e.g. Helicon Remote), one captures many images, each at a different focus point. Then, using additional special software (e.g. Helicon Focus), you can stitch these images together to create a 100% focused image. There are some issues that may occur in the process that must be remedied either in the stacking software or in other editing tools like Photoshop. I created a slider previously that shows a before and after image. Click here to see how an image looks before the stacking and after.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III using my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens. The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/8, shutter speed at 1/20th of a second and the ISO set at 100. This image was taken in my studio using my light box. I lit the subject with three LED lights. One from the rear to backlight the subject, one from the upper-right-hand corner to serve as the main light and one from the lower-left-corner to counteract the shaded areas. I used Helicon Remote to capture 18 images and used Helicon Focus to stack them all into the image above. I then used Photoshop to cleanup some of the imperfections and final touchups. Total time from capture to final product is about an hour but this was my fourth take. It takes a while to get it right.
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