I photographed this Heartleaf Hibiscus at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center a few minutes after I photographed the Wild Poinsettia that I posted last week. As I mentioned in that post, I went out to the Center with a friend to work on my manual focusing rail skills. The calm winds and overcast skies were ideal for the manual outdoor photo stacking technique. This photograph is one of my best technical results so practice does help. It was also helpful to have someone assisting. I found it hard to keep track of the number of turns on the rail (4.5 turns per image) and the number of images captured (17 in this case). We also discussed composition and teamed up on how to best frame the image.
The Heartleaf Hibiscus (Hibiscus martianus, aka Tulipan del Monte or Heartleaf Rosemallow) is a beautiful crimson flower that begins blooming in the early summer and does so until late fall. The plant is native to central and southern Texas. This particular specimen had multiple blooms occurring on the same plant. You can see that the one in the foreground is about to open while the one in the background is on full display. Although the plant was wet there were no significant raindrops to make it an even more attractive subject.
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 1/100th of a second and the ISO set at 800. I did not use a flash to light the subject. I used the Kirk FR-2 Focusing Rail to capture 17 images, I brought them together using Helicon Focus (Method C – Pyramid). I used Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik Color Efex Pro to finalize the image.
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