While photographing in Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains, I did a lot of shooting for focus-stacking, a technique I’ve been playing around with lately. Focus-stacking is the process of making many images of the subject, using a very shallow depth of field (DOF), and varying the focusing point. Once a set of images has been captured, they are all combined into a single image, rendering the subject in sharp focus at a greater depth than any of the single images, but still maintaining the background out of focus.
I’m not sure where I sit on shooting focus-stacked images vs. single, shallow DOF images. In many ways I love the stacked-focus look, particularly for capturing good images for subject identification. But I’m still enamored with the normal, shallow DOF image. Which style do you like best?
Here are a couple of focus-stacked images I created with Spiderwort wildflowers in the Wichita Mountains:
The first image (above) is a compilation of18x images, while the last image was made from 12 images. In the last image, there are some “squiggles” in the background. I believe these are due to movement in the background … it was pretty windy the day these images were captured, and by combining multiple images, this movement shows up quite readily. This is one of the difficulties in shooting wildflowers … many times it is very difficult to find a quiet day to shoot them! With a little work, the background of this image can be blended to remove the squigglies … just another computer job!
Photographic Equipment Used:
- Canon 1D Mark 3 body
- Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
- Gitzo 1258-LVL, carbon fiber tripod, with Kirk Ent. HD ballhead
- ISO 250 (all)
- Aperture f/3.5 (all)
- Shutter 1/320 sec. (top image) and 1/500 sec. (bottom image)