A month's worth of wildflower focus stacking...

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Montanawildlives Contributing Member • Posts: 989
A month's worth of wildflower focus stacking...
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Wildflowers in Western Montana, mostly up Rattlesnake Creek, in MaClay Flats near Missoula or at the Bison Range (near Ronan/Ravali).  Most shot at f2/8 or f4, anywhere from 40 to 100 frames, shot jpeg, combined in Helicon, usually with either depth mapping (B) or pyramid (C).  All shot with the Fuji 60mm macro lens with or without the Fuji extension tubes on an Xh1 or Xt2.  Most have no retouching in Helicon, a few have a bit--no more than 3 or 4 minutes.  If it looks like it is going to take more than that, I consider why and move on.  Plenty of subsequent editing of the tif files in Lightroom.

A couple of things I've learned this month.  With focus stacking, to avoid the halos, simpler compositions are best (as is almost always true in photography!).

If you are going to have overlapping leaves/petals (usually unavoidable to some extent, but this is not having a simple composition), it seems to go better if they are close to each other in terms of distance from the sensor rather than, for example, a petal being in focus near the front of the stack and an intersecting leaf in focus near the back of the stack.  The border between those two things will halo and likely be unfixable (because there is a certain portion of the back leaf that is never in focus--having been obscured by the petal in front in the frame in which it WOULD HAVE been in focus) if that makes sense.

One trick once I got them back into Lightroom was to darken the background when appropriate  (makes a nice dramatic presentation IMHO, and cleans up a lot of potential artifacts).

The most difficult thing was the wind, as all of these were shot in the field.  I'm not sure why I'm a stickler for that, but this month I must have questioned this approach 100 times...it would be so much easier to bring a sample back to my house!

I'm not likely to print any--mostly they will be seen on my website.  I'm sure if viewed at 100% (equivalent to a print something like 4' x 6' on my WQHD monitor, viewed from 18"), artifacts will be visible for those who want to find them (and who doesn't?!?)--but I'm interested in how they look for you on dpreview but also if you went to my site.  On my site, you can see them as part of bi-monthly uploads on the main page, or if you click on one it will go full screen.

www.montanawildlives.com

I'd love to hear what you think about the pics in general but also how they look on my site when viewed how you usually view such things.

John

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