In a response to a comment on my last macro post I alluded to the fact that I was being coaxed and coached towards trying ‘stacking’ or as Scott Kelby calls it, Depth of Field extension.
Steve Gingold, a fine photographer from Massachusetts, explained the broad principles to me and the actual keystrokes I checked in Kelby’s book, The Adobe Photoshop CS4 book for digital photographers. It’s a pretty snappy title but it got me over the line. Essentially I wanted to maximize the DoF on my subject and leave the background out of focus. Using a small aperture risks having the background in focus too, thus losing the ‘pop’ of the subject.
Well, here are 2 examples of what I managed:
As I said to Steve, “I am frankly amazed at the upper shot – 7 images combined and shot in a very light breeze. It may not be perfect but it is far better than I could have done with 1 frame.
The lower one was comparatively easy as the log didn’t move but I only used 4 and I think I needed a fifth for the very top rim.”
So still some work to do but a whole lot better than last time and streets ahead of my original ham-fisted efforts. I also learned today that it is easy to get carried away and over use this technique.
Look at this image:
I took about 7 frames of this but finally decided that a single frame was better than the stacked one. Note the clean background rendering my efforts superfluous. Doh! I also wasted ten minutes trying to think of a snappy title for this and as I was at my wit’s end I settled on Winter’s End.
Each of these others is a single frame.
This is presumably a Graphina lichen but I don’t know which species. It could also be a message in hieroglyphs left by the ancient Egyptians when they visited Sai Kung thousands of years ago. However this is unrecorded in the history of the town so it is a very long shot. It might also be a sketch for an early Lowry. The Sai Kung matchstick men. Anyway, I like it.
The great thing about macro photography is that it leads you to look at things differently. I am now looking not just at the whole but at the parts, trying in my mind to isolate something that will be aesthetically pleasing out of context. It also forces you to work at a different pace. Slow is not my normal speed in life. Shooting these frames gives me time to reflect, try out different angles, explore the depth of the picture and to visualize a finished image. Heavy stuff, eh?
Anyway, I must finish as I have another few frames to stack before bedtime. Toodle pip.