Tuesday, September 15, 2009

LeeAnn's Garden Revisited

After my first visit to LeeAnn's flower garden I had some ideas I wanted to try out. This of usually the case for me wanting to return to the same place to try out something new. During my first visit I wanted to do very selective focusing with a small f-stop, a large aperture. This makes the depth of field very narrow throwing a good portion of the image out of focus and giving the image a soft abstract impression.

But for this trip I wanted the entire flower to be in focus but have the background out of focus. Normally one stops down the lens, higher f-stop smaller aperture, to extend the depth of field. However when doing macro this has the side effect of not only bringing the flower into better focus but also the background. Turns out this effect is impossible to make without some special digital darkroom techniques.

To make these images I set the f-stop to f/4 giving me a slightly, and I mean slightly, greater depth of field over the largest aperture of the camera f/2.8. I then focused the lens, which is on manual focus, at the closest part of the flower. Then I began making exposures and with each succeeding frame changing the focus point to be slightly behind the previous. This created slices of the flower that is in focus while the rest of the image is out of focus. I probably took about a dozen images of each flower.

Back in the digital darkroom each image was studied for the parts of the flower in focus from the very closest part to the very last petal. Turns out for each of these flowers the number of images with parts of the flower in focus was 8. These 8 images were read into a program called Helicon Focus. This is a specialized program that takes the sharpest parts of an image and blends them together. After a little touch-up, blurring some background that god a little to sharp you get what you have here.

This is a very neat effect and one that results in some striking images.


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