This one came out infinitely better than my original attempt. It still isn’t perfect, but it is a whole lot cleaner than the first one.
There are so many pieces to doing one of these well, as I’m learning. If you have all those pieces done correctly, then it is a somewhat simple process. If you don’t, you can end up with some odd gaps in your finished image that don’t fit or blend into the rest.
One of the most critical that I’ve run across so far is having a solidly stable tripod and a really still day. Any movement can really mess this up.
Unfortunately, I’ve also discovered that I don’t have a very stable tripod. It has this slight play and wiggle range that any bump at all shifts my camera just enough to throw things out of alignment.
I was still able to work with it, but guess what just went on my “camera goodies” wish list near the top of the priority order?
Something that I’ve seen and have been wanting to try lately is focus stacking. This is essentially when you have multiple photos taken with each having a different focal point and then blending those images into one to give you a photo that allows a viewer to see a photo much like they would experience looking at the actual object or scene because our eyes automatically focus on multiple points.
Focus stacking is something that is often done in macro photography because there is such a small focal range. It is used in a lot of different areas as well, but it is the application in macro photography that caught my attention.
The image above is straight out of the camera and you can see that a very small portion of the image is crisply in focus while the rest is either soft or really blurry. It has long be a frustration of mine that I struggle to get the pieces of a subject in focus the way I expect them to.
While I’m still very much a purist when it comes to photography and normally prefer my images to stand on their own right out of the camera, there are times when a little manipulation (or a lot depending on what you are wanting) can still be exciting. Especially if your goal is to showcase a lot of detail or an artistic twist.
This attempt was mostly just to see if I could even pull it off and to find out how difficult it is. It is quick and dirty and not completely clean as there are areas that stick out as not really fitting with the rest of the image. I’m still really impressed with how it all works and that I managed to get it to turn out even that good.
It is a fun concept that I’d like to try and play with again in the future. Especially for the macro aspects, but also because that process and concept is what the majority of astrophotographers use to get those stunning star and comet images. And yes, I have a batch of comet photos I fully intend to test this out on.
Even with all the imperfections, I’m pleased with how it came out. It was fun to play with and I learned quite a bit. Enough to build on anyway.