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There is a pot of begonias in the entry way to the house.  I was needing a subject to practice my macro skills and to use with the new light box that I had just built.  So, I plucked one of the begonias and set it up in the light box. I decided that this time I would setup the scene with a backlit subject.  That presents a whole new set of challenges with ghosting (blurry spots) and hitting the exposure just right.  Fortunately, it worked out fairly well but you can see that the right side of the image has a lot of those ghosting/blurry spots. This is a result of the focus stacking software not knowing what to do in resolving what is in focus and what is not.  It can be fixed with editing techniques but it’s very time consuming.

Begonia - Backlit at 3x Magnification
Begonia – Backlit at 3x Magnification

This image was taken with my  Canon EOS 5D Mark III using my MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro lens set on 3x magnification. The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/16, shutter speed at 1/2 second at ISO 100.  I took a total of 61 images and used the focus stacking technique using Helicon Focus stacking software.  I then finished cleaning things up in Photoshop.  There is a lot more work to do to get this “portfolio ready” but I thought it would be useful to show what happens and some of the challenges associated with my hobby.  So, I left a lot of the imperfections there.

I also thought I would show some of the “behind the scenes” action as well. The image below is my new light box with the LED lights, a background, the microscope stand (to control the subject movement up and down) and the camera setup. The camera setup includes a sturdy tripod, the camera body, my 5X macro lens, a motorized rail (to control the focusing and the in/out action) and a mechanical rail (which controls the left/right action).  You ask, why the rails?  Well, when you magnify something to these levels small movements result in big movements in the camera.  So, you have to use micro movements to align the subject in the viewfinder.   All of this is hooked up to one of my computers which controls all the photo-taking electronically.

Light Box In Action - Backlit Begonia
Light Box In Action – Backlit Begonia

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© 2015 T. Kahler Photography

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