a number of posts on focus stacking, check out some of those results too!
These first shots were actually taken a month ago in March after the little rain we got. The plant is Desert Globemallow, a native plant to the local desert that while considered a weed in most yards, I let it grow in our pea-gravel front yard... I give the plants a squirt of water when I think of it, otherwise just leave it along and it gives a bit of color even with it as dry as it has been. It was also a month ago that I went chasing after it with the macro lens and tripod, and even though it was a windy day, got a couple decent shots.
Now in April we're approaching cactus flower
season, and my neighbor Susan's prickly pear are covered with buds about to pop. I had a few minutes before heading in for an afternoon shift at work, so again got out the macro and tripod for some focus stacking. Wind was substantial, but affected the prickly pear less than wildflowers, so didn't have any issues. With focus stacking, you don't need to stop way down to increase the depth of field, in fact, doing that increases diffraction which decreases overall resolution. Keeping it at a moderate f-stop, in this case, F/8, taking several shots at different focal positions to get everything in focus, then combining them in Photoshop gives some excellent results! At left is shown one of the subframes, and you can see the 2nd bud from the right is in focus, but the others are less sharp. Loading all 6 frames and following the workflow (I follow the YouTube tutorial by Tony Northrup), only the sharpest part of each frame is combined into the final image, shown at right. I didn't go too extreme and get the background parts of the cactus in focus, but all the buds along the pad shown here are shown in sharpest focus.
I continue to be amazed with the technique, and once learned, comes second nature - easy to both take the exposures as well as run them through the software. I can't wait to continue to apply what I've learned to my macro imaging!
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