Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Lazarus Shoot

In the previous post I used the excuse of a dull New Mexico day to do a single image macro of a Darkling beetle on a Damascus cauliflower. Because of the very narrow (mm size) depth of field, the resultant image was only acceptably sharp where I focused, ie on the beetle.

Today’s weather provided another excuse to work indoors, ie cold with hints of snow. However, as soon as I tried to recreate the previous post’s scene, I had the first problem: no beetle. It seemed to have just vanished. I was sure it was dead, but it seems to have simply got up and walked away!

So I was just left with my fractal cauliflower, which by now was showing some brown spots and damage.

Although I have several ways of taking macro focus stacks, my go to approach is the Promote Control:

I put my Canon 100mm F/2.8L on F/16, ISO 100 and a shutter speed of about 3s, set by Magic Lantern’s ETTR function. The depth of field being just over a 1mm.

The Promote Control allowed me to take about 25 (overlapped) images for focus stacking, by simply pressing the PC’s start button.

After ingesting into Lightroom, adjusting a few sliders on one image and syncing to the rest, I exported the images as PS layers and used the PS Auto Blend option, which pulled out the sharp areas of each layer.

A tweak with Fixel Contrastica 2 and a return to LR for a final ‘polish’.

Bottom line: macro photography is a great way to occupy a dull day. Although there are alternatives, I find myself going to Promote Control, as my sturdy workhorse. Although I didn’t use bracketing on this image, I could have: all automatically.

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