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Calla Lily and Rain Drops - Extreme Macro!

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 6 March 2010 in Landscape & Rural.

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New Article on my Website: Focus on Singh-Ray Filters

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Please check out my article on Singh-Ray Filters Site

If any of you work with macro lenses and/or extenders, you are aware of the extreme limitation of depth-of-filed, even at the f/16-f/22 range. Tilt/Shift lenses are one way around this problem and I have one on order. The other way to extend depth-of-field is with specialized software such as Helicon Focus.

I was working in one of my favorite groves of calla lilies near Big Sur's Garrapata State Beach following a recent storm. In between sporadic cloud bursts, I was able to work with individual lilies. For some time now, I had been wanting to experiment with extending my depth-of-field with my 100mm macro lens. For this image, I simply bracketed the focus point for seven frames (from foreground to background, which for this image was just past the stamen) using a shutter speed of 1/250 at f/8. My first attempt at combining these images was to use Photoshop CS4's Auto-Blend command. My problem was there was slight movement from frame-to-frame due to a bit of a breeze. Each individual frame was sharp (thanks to the 1/250th shutter), but getting them to align, even using the Auto-Align Command was not cutting it with Photoshop.

Thus I downloaded the go-to software for these types of images, Helicon Focus. Mind you, this was my first attempt with using this stand-alone software, and it couldn't be more user-friendly. Within minutes, I had my 7 frames loaded onto the right-hand side of the interface and processing. My first result blew me away! Then, with the help of a few simple sliders, I fine-tuned the frame, and even touched out dust spots using the program's cloning tool. As you can see, the program auto-aligned all seven images seamlessly!

I have a full functioning program to play with for the next 30 days. There is a 3-D program that came with the download that looks interesting - stay tuned!

1/250 second F/8.0 ISO 200 100 mm

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