Posted on June 28, 2022
I was going through my some of my back-up drives to clear up space for newer images. I am trying not to add even more drives that I have to deal with! As I was clearing up space I was finding interesting images that I have not posted here. These 2 images are of a Twelve-Spotted Skimmer dragonfly that was visiting my pond at my old home years ago. Both images are a series of 5 images focused at different points along the wings, tail & head. I used to use this technique when I could not get closer to my subject Dragonflies because they were out in the middle of my pond. I lowered my camera to look a little more up and to get a more colorful background on the Featured Image. I was using a Canon 7D with a 400mm DO lens with a Canon Flash with a Better Beamer Flash Extender to fill in more details on the Dragonfly. I was also using stacked Teleconverters with extension tubes in between so I only had a limited in-focus window. Arranging the Teleconverters & Extension Tubes in different orders or different size Extension Tubes gives you different zones of focus. So it takes a little practice to get used to using this technique for predictable results! The Dragonfly was 15.4 feet away (according to the Raw Data). The focused-stacked images were loaded into a Photoshop file and auto-aligned & auto-blended for the final images. The images of the Camera Setup showing the Extension Tubes & Teleconverters placement were on a Canon 1D MkIV. I did not have an image showing the 7D with this setup!
Category: Blog, Canon 1.4X Teleconverter, Canon 1D MkIV, Canon 7D, Closeup Photography, Dragonflies, dragonfly, Equipment, Favorite Locations, Focus Stacking, Focus Stacking Images, Image Stacking, Panorama & Stacked Images, Uncategorized, yard & pond Tagged: Better Beamer Flash Extender, Canon 1D MkIV, Canon Teleconverters Canon Extension Tubes, dragonfly, Dragonfly closeups, dragonfly photography, extension tubes, fill flash, image blending, image focus stacking, Image Stacking, image stacking with photoshop, Stacking Teleconverters, Twelve-spotted Skimmer
Posted on March 24, 2022
It was a nice sunny day yesterday so we ventured out to take a walk at the Audubon Plainsboro Preserve near us. It is 1,000 acres with with diverse habitats and wildlife & one of the largest lakes in the area, Lake McCormack. We concentrated walking on the White Trail straightaway because of the nest building of Canada Geese further down the path. We heard & saw the Canada Geese attacking walkers getting too close to their nesting areas. The Featured Image of Lake McCormack is a 12 image Panorama taken @ 14mm with an Olympus OMD & blended together in Photoshop.
Category: Audubon Plainsboro Preserve, Blog, Equipment, Favorite Locations, Lake McCormack, Landscapes, Nature Still Lifes, Panorama & Stacked Images, Panoramas, Plainsboro Preserve Tagged: Audubon Plainsboro Preserve, Image Stacking, Lake McCormack, Multi-image panorama, Olympus OM D Mk I, Olympus OM-D, Panasonic 14-140mm lens, Plainsboro Preserve
Posted on August 24, 2020
I was looking in our gardens for Praying Mantises to photograph. I found 2 fairly large ones on two different plants. The featured image is 7 images, focus stacked in Photoshop. I was using a 300mm lens with a 2x teleconverter. When doing focus stacking with live subjects you have to photograph your series of images quickly, because you can touch-up slight movement of your subject, but if there is a lot of movement it makes the blending of images much harder.
Posted on August 14, 2020
When doing a multi-image focus stack for more depth of field on a dragonfly image, I usually set my f/stop to f/11 or f/16 when using a 300mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. This way I do not need as many shots for the full focus series of images. Many times a dragonfly will fly off or change position before I finish the series for a stack so I cannot use it and have to start over. This dragonfly seemed to be very still & cooperative. So I managed to do a focus stack from head to tail, including wingtip to wingtip. This series was 12 images, shot at f/8 for a smooth clean background. For a focus stack with a large number of images, I also use a tripod. After flattening the layered file, you might have a minor touch up here or there.
Posted on July 31, 2020
I was looking for dragonflies in our gardens when I found this praying mantis with it’s bug meal. I was setup for dragonflies with a Canon 300mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. So I shot a series of images, handheld, to do a stacked multi-row panorama. I ended up with 7 images for my pano. 2 rows of 3 images and an extra shot for the center. The centered shot sometimes helps for a smoother blended area in the center of the composite layered Photoshop file. I loaded all files into 1 layered PSD file and let Photoshop align the files. Then I use auto-blend to blend all the layers and combine elements for the final file which goes to the top layer. I also save the Master Layered file (just in case I need to go back for a tweak here or there). I then flatten the file for the final image. At this point if I wanted, I would run the flattened file through Nik’s Detail Extractor, then use dFine to smooth out any added noise from the Detail Extactor.
Posted on July 19, 2020
Here are two different Blue Dasher focus stacks. The featured image is made with 3 images. First image is focused on the head, then fore wings & then front of the hind wings. I was using a 300mm f/4 lens on a Canon 7D with a 1.4x teleconverter. I loaded each image into a layered Photoshop file and let a Photoshop align & blend the sharpest areas. The second image I wanted to mainly focus on the face but the plant was in the same focus plane as the face. I thought that might reinforce the roundness of the dragonfly head because of the roundness of the plant. I was shooting @ f/ 5.6 for a shallow depth of field. I then focused on the fore wing because I wanted a sharp edge on the fore wing and let the rest go softer into the darker background.
Category: Blog, Closeup Photography, Dragonflies, Favorite Locations, Focus Stacking, Image Stacking, Insects, Nature Still Lifes, Panorama & Stacked Images, Panoramas, yard & pond Tagged: Blue Dasher Dragonfly, canon 300mm f/4 lens IS, Canon 7D, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, Image Stacking, image stacking with photoshop
Posted on June 18, 2020
This Damselfly image is made from 12 handheld images, focused at 12 different points along the body of a Female Lily Pad Forktail Damselfly. Images shot with a Sigma 150mm macro lens @ f/4 to keep the background smooth and uncluttered looking. I loaded the 12 images into one layered Photoshop and let Photoshop blend the sharpest elements from each layer together for the final image.
Category: Blog, Damselflies, Favorite Locations, Focus Stacking, Image Stacking, Uncategorized, yard & pond Tagged: Female Damselfly, female Lily Pad Forktail Damselfly, Focus Stacking, image focus stacking, Image Stacking, photoshop focus stacking, photoshop tips, Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro, using wide open apertures for smooth backgrounds
Posted on June 11, 2020
When I was photographing this Damselfly, I decided to shoot with the aperture wide open. I wanted a very smooth background to highlight the Damselfly and the water drops and keep a smooth background. So I shot a series of 8 images focusing on the Damselfly and the water drop covered stem. I shot a series focused on 8 different focus points, going from left to right. I was using a Sigma 150mm Macro with a 2x teleconverter. With the 2x teleconverter on my 150mm f/2.8 lens, my maximum (Aperture) f/stop was f/5.6 wide open. (With a 2x teleconverter you loose 2 stops). I loaded the 8 images into 1 Photoshop layered file and used Photoshop to automatically align the 8 layers in the file. Next I used Photoshop to automatically pick the the sharpest areas & soft background areas in each layer for the final image. I saved that file in case I need to make minor touch ups here or there. After that I flattened the layers for my final image.
Posted on April 18, 2020
Since we are following stay at home guidelines these were taken on a photo walk at Plainsboro Preserve last year to look for dragonflies. We only saw a few dragonflies and most were very worn looking. But then we saw quite a few Red-Spotted Purple Butterflies. I was shooting @ 600mm and for closeups I did a series of different focus points and then let Photoshop align and combine the sharpest areas into the final image. The featured image was 3 shots, the one below was only 2 before it flew off.
Posted on April 17, 2020
Another Focus-Stacked Damselfly Image. This time I tried shooting stopped down to f/22. I usually do not stop down that far for stacked images, but I thought I would give it a try just to see what happens. For this image the out of focus background was further away from the subject damselfly which helped because of the f/22 f/stop giving a larger depth of field for that focal length. At f/22 with 22 images, it was probably overkill for this image, but if I needed them, I would have them. Better than needing them and not having them. Again I used a Sigma 150mm macro lens with a Canon 1.4X Teleconverter giving me a focal length of 210mm. This Damselfly and Water Drops did not have as much depth to the leaves & water drops so I did not need as many as my previous post especially with the f/22 f/stop.