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Multi-column Macro Panorama

I posted a photograph of two Purple Headed Gomphrenas a couple of days ago. I decided to clip one of the flowers and take it into my studio light box to photograph a high resolution, multi-column macro panorama, focus stack image. Macro photography has a very narrow depth of field. For this reason, it is necessary to use special software to control the camera and create an image with greater depth of field.

This type of process can be time consuming and difficult. Setting up the camera gear, subject, lights, computer connections and software involves a high level of knowledge and proficiency. Once the setup is complete then most of the work is done by the focus stacking software (in my case Helicon Remote). The process involves finding the near and far focus points and configuring them along with the camera’s aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings. The software captures a number of images that are then used to create an image with greater depth of field. For this photo, I captured 6 sets (2 across by 3 high) of 11 images each. I then combined each set of 11 images into one using focus stacking software (in my case Helicon Focus). Once the 6 images were completed I used Lightroom to combine these into a single image. The whole process took about 2 hours to complete.

One of the challenges of photographing flowers is the reflective nature of many plants, including the petals. You can see that in the photograph below.

Multi-column Macro Panorama
Purple Headed Gomphrena – Macropanorama

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 1/4th of a second and the ISO set at 100. This image is comprised of 6 sets of 11 focus stacked images captured in my light box using three LED lights. I used Helicon Focus to put together the 6 sets and Lightroom to stitch together the panorama. I then finished the image in Photoshop using Nik Color Efex Pro.

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T. Kahler Photography
© 2016 T. Kahler Photography

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3 thoughts on “Multi-column Macro Panorama”

  1. Nice stack! I’ve battled the reflection and glare problem for I don’t know how long and tried all sorts of diffusers. Very frustrating, and it’s compounded with focus stacking. For me, the thing that seems to work the best is a large Rogue Flashbender with diffuser. I place it as close to my subject as I can, but outside the frame. It puts out a large, soft light compared to a macro subject. Besides working well, the Rogue is real easy to deal with and not very expensive. If you do try it, let me know how it works for you!

    1. Thank you Linda! I’ll be sure to try your suggestion. I double-diffused the subject but it was still too reflective. Thanks again for the suggestion.

      1. I totally understand, Terry! What seems to be the key for me is having the large diffused light source very close to the small subject. Usually my flash is set to about 1/4 power. Good luck!

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