Feather on Path

As I was leaving a local Nature Area, I noticed this feather on the path. I took a series of images to try a new technique a friend showed me. This technique helps eliminate noise and helps the fine details stand out. I opened them in Adobe Camera Raw, made my adjustments, then opened them in Photoshop, in layers and Auto-Aligned them. In Layers Panel, converted them to Smart Objects. Then chose Layer>Smart Objects>Stack Mode > Median. You can experiment with other stack modes also, but Median seems to work best. Your Photoshop version must be an extended version or a Creative Cloud version. Then flatten your image and you will see the noise is reduced drastically and to me seems a hair sharper. Maybe from just the noise reduction. I tried it in the studio with ISO 6400 and it made a huge difference. This image was at ISO 400.

Feather on Path v2 detail_43G4365

Tight Detail Crop from original file – 300 mm, 1.4X Series III Teleconverter,  f/16, 1/15 sec, ISO 400. About 8 feet away.

Feather on Path v3 detail_43G4365

Tighter Detail Crop from original file – 300 mm, 1.4X Series III Teleconverter, f/16, 1/15 sec, ISO 400. About 8 feet away.

4 Comments on “Feather on Path

    • Hi Steve, There are two ways to use this. 2 different methods for 2 different effects. One is to shoot, preferably on a tripod with long lenses, shoot a series of 6-12 images at say f/11 or 16. Even on a tripod there is a slight movement. Then basically stack the images in Photoshop, align the layers and then blend the layers. This method is basically more to remove noise and enhances fine detail and helps sharpness .
      The other method is to shoot a series of images maybe at f/5.6 to f/8 at different focus points from front to back of your image. Then again load them into Photoshop, auto-align them, then auto blend them to make an image that is sharp from front to back. You can also use the last method for landscapes with more detail in the foreground. Just takes practice. I am working on a series of worksheets that can be downloaded from the blog. I use this method a lot in my commercial studio. With digital we do not use view cameras any more, so instead of using swings & tilts on a view camera for depth of field, we use a series of images at different focus points to combine to get the final image.

      • Thanks for your detailed explanations. I’ve heard of the second method (and know some people who use it a lot) but not the first.

  1. The first helps a lot especially if printing large or for fine detail. Also works if it is lousy light and using high ISO’s.

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