Focus Stacking

by Stewart Marsden 


When it stopped raining that day, I went out into the garden to find water droplets on plants. I found an ideal subject and brought it inside, into a makeshift studio lit with natural light.

  

Kit - Pentax K311 - 35mmF2.8 Macro Ltd - Tripod - Cable release controller



When shooting macro so close the depth of field is going to be wafer thin, even at f8 or f16.
The leaf in this image is at most 1.5 mm wide.
The front of the lens is very close to the subject making for the composition you see here.


To begin, I calibrated my exposure in Manual mode, then set a manual white balance.

Using live view, peaking and manual focusing, I would start by focusing on the front most part of the subject.

With pixel shifting turned on, I would capture my first shot, then very carefully I would refocus through the subject, taking more pixel shifted shots until I reached the back of the subject.

This image is a composite of 37 individual images.


The images were loaded into Lightroom, and lens corrected with very minor exposure adjustments, the changes were made to one image, then synchronised across the collection for continuity.

The images were then exported to Photoshop as layers, aligned and then blended in Stack mode. Photoshop then looks at all the images and creates masks on all the layers revealing only the in focus parts of the image…

The image subsequently was flattened and returned to Lightroom for minor adjustments.

It’s a pain stacking time consuming process, but I think the result was worth it.

 

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