Focus stacking macro


Experimenting with new techniques is always fun and having obtained a cheap set of extension tubes I wanted to see what was possible. As in all macro photography the depth of field is very small and, particular outdoors is a real challenge as even the slightest breeze can move the subject out of the focal plane. However such shallow depth of field really allows one to isolate the image.

One way round this is 'focus stacking' a technique whereby you take several images and move the manual focus a little bit between each shot and then combine them in post production. Not having my tripod with me when I saw these tiny blue flowers in the local park meant I needed to think of an alternative way of doing it. So a fast shutter speed, high speed burst mode, handheld, and move the camera slightly forward and back gave me plenty of images to work with.

Then select half a dozen images that had slightly different parts in focus, send them to photoshop, align the layers, and then blend the layers and you end up with this image. A nicely isolated small flower stem with foreground and background colours that help draw out the subject and suggestions of multiple other flowers in the background.  Just shows that unconventional techniques can produce pleasing images but it always helps if you have some idea beforehand how you want it to appear in the final image.


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