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Close-up Photography

Focus Stacking


Image Created Using Focus Stacking

I decided to try focus stacking. Focus stacking is when you take a series of images and you focus on one section of the image at a time, then save them as PSD images. The key is to have your camera on a tripod so you do not change position.

Open the images then go to File>Scripts>Load Files into Stacks. After you stack the files you go to Edit>Auto-Blend-Layers.

The image will be in focus throughout.

This was fun to try. I will have to try it again sometime.


Refraction of Light in Photography

I saw a Facebook post on group site I participate in about refraction of light.  The images were very interesting. I decided to put together a few items for our camera club to use at a future meeting.

If you google refraction of light you come back with a lot of scientific information. However when you google refraction of light in photography a lot of nice images appear!

With help from a friend of mine, I put together several backgrounds; some had color some were black and white. I purchased scrapbooking paper and used double stick tape and old scrap mats to mount the paper to so they would not bend.

Using a pole lamp with 3 lights to light my subject, I put up my backgrounds and filling glasses with water. I also laid some of the backgrounds flat and used them as a base; the patterns then reflected on top of the water.

My camera settings (Nikon D800E) ISO 640, f/14 – 16, shutter speed ranged from 1/5, 1/3, 1/13 sec depending on which background was being used.

This is a fun winter project as you do not need a lot of supplies, just clear glasses, vases, bowls, water (distilled is recommended because tap water bubbles), and paper or fabric with a design. You can make your own designs using Photoshop and printing the off of you printer.

Have fun experimenting!

Nature’s Imperfections

When photographing nature we encounter imperfect subjects.  It takes a little patience and imagination to make corrections to an image after it’s captured.

While looking through images that were photographed this summer, this one was intriguing. The bug on the coneflower was lost in the shadows and was very much in focus.


Bug lost in the shadows

The shadow slider in Lightroom opened the area and other adjustments were made to the image. Then the gap on the left kept screaming! Cropping did not help, so the image was edited in Photoshop (Photoshop is used as a plug-in to Lightroom). The magic brush tool was used to capture a piece of the adjacent area and a layer was created of that selection. The petal was turned and transformed, then a layer mask was applied so the petal could be blended in with the rest of the flower.


A petal was added to the left to fill the gap

Then the space on the right was an attention grabber. The same technique was applied. After the second petal was added the image was saved in Lightroom and the radial filter and adjustment brush was used to make sure the bug was the central focus of the image.


The gap on the right was filled with data captured from the adjacent area

Nature is imperfect and as the old margarine commercial says, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!” there are those who believe that you capture the image “as is” and make no changes. Making changes to an image that is imperfect has it’s merit. The photographer has to make the decision if the risk of “fooling Mother Nature” is worth taking!


Creativity: Where does it start?

We are all familiar with the chicken and egg concept…which came first?  In photography we are faced with a similar dilemma, do our creative ideas come when the photograph is taken or afterwards in post-processing?

There are times when an image is photographed with an end result in mind. Then there are times during post-processing when an idea emerges on how to create a special image.

Take this palm leaf for example:


Palm leaf as shot

It is a nice image, but it is not “special”.  How about if the perspective is changed?


Changing the perspective of an image can give more interest

A diagonal line forces the eye to move up through the photograph. While it is an acceptable image, what else can be done to make it more interesting?


Colorization and the addition of textures

By changing the color and adding textures to the image it changed the look all the way around. A tilt-shift was added on a diagonal to give a soft blur to the edges. On1 Effects is an easy way to make these changes. After the changes were made and tweaked, the images were then saved back into Lightroom.


After a few changes in Lightroom

Once the image was imported back into Lightroom, the Trey Ratcliff HDR Romance Soft  pre-set was applied and the image was cropped.

Using Lightroom and On1 together is simple. If On1 is set up as a plug-in program to Lightroom, you right click on your image and choose <Edit in> and select the module you need.  It will save a copy in Lightroom with your initial edits and then when you are finished in On1 it will save those changes in Lightroom so you can make additional edits if necessary.

Enjoy being creative!

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