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black snout beetle (weevil maybe)

hand held short stack (4 or 5 images stacked)



Photo Information for black snout beetle (weevil maybe)


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I absolutely love this one! I need to learn how to do focus stacking myself. Any suggestions on where to begin? I have a macro tube extension, I presume I need a tripod for focus stacking to work? Do you just layer them in photoshop and carefully mask out the focused portions?

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Photoshop makes it totally easy - it does all the masking for you, though you may find that you need to (and can) go in and fine tune small areas. You get all the images into layers in one file, first use the "auto align layers" then "auto blend layers"  - there's a little turorial here":https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-focus-stack-macro-images-using-photoshop/  The alignment function is super precise - much better than anything I could ever do adjusting by hand.  The auto blend is not usually absolutely perfect right off the bat, but it's pretty darn good. Things that move like bug legs or antenna might need some attention in the final stack.

This stack was hand held - as long as you are fairly steady it's possible, though it will only be a few images, rather than the 10's-100's that you can achieve with a stationary subject and camera on a tripod/focusing rail rig. When I hand hold stacks I usually get 4 or 5 shots in the stack.

As an interesting side note... long ago, I learned a similar technique with real film. The difference was that you created a thin band of light and used a moving stage to pass your subject through it in front of your film.. digital makes it far easier and possible to use in natural settings/lighting and with live subjects, unlike the film way, which required a totally dark room and a subject that couldn't move. At the time it was a pretty freaky technique though - the original for this one is on 4x5 E-6.

fly.jpg

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I assume the difficult part is keeping the camera completely fixed, and moving the focus distance in tiny increments to allow the stacking. Do you use rails or similar, or do by hand?

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I've only ever done it (digitally) by hand with live subjects in their natural environment. You can get a rail rig and create hundreds images, some even come with a little computer controller, but it comes with same caveats as the old analog method - the subject cannot be allowed to move during the process, so most any insect you see done with 100's of images is by necessity dead - flowers etc moved to a wind free environment... I usually take around 4-6 images, hand holding the camera - focus fixed to it's closest range and move the camera by small amounts to create the different "slices" that get combined into the final image. As long as you are fairly steady and only move on one axis -  don't tilt the camera between shots, Photoshop can match them up quite nicely.

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On ‎13‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 4:15 PM, morpheme said:

I've only ever done it (digitally) by hand with live subjects in their natural environment. You can get a rail rig and create hundreds images, some even come with a little computer controller, but it comes with same caveats as the old analog method - the subject cannot be allowed to move during the process, so most any insect you see done with 100's of images is by necessity dead - flowers etc moved to a wind free environment... I usually take around 4-6 images, hand holding the camera - focus fixed to it's closest range and move the camera by small amounts to create the different "slices" that get combined into the final image. As long as you are fairly steady and only move on one axis -  don't tilt the camera between shots, Photoshop can match them up quite nicely.

Interesting, thanks.

By chance, I started to watch a video of a "Photographer" (I use the term loosely) who was photographing in Iceland.  To my surprise and horror he just held his SLR out in live view and snapped away pointing the camera in different directions as he said he wanted to make a composite of the images... and there was me thinking you needed to have the camera on a tripod, movement needed to be exactly around the sensor plane, you needed to carefully compose to make sure you got enough overlap between shots... but no... just hold the camera at arms length and snap away.  I stopped watching the video at that point, because clearly there were better ways to use my time...

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Lol- it's amazing how forgiving digital can be... but that does sound haphazard. Perhaps he meant collage and not composite?

I will say - while you *can* do this without mounting the camera on a tripod, you do need a steady hand and an idea of the concept... just snapping away won't yield good results unless you are really lucky...

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2 hours ago, morpheme said:

Lol- it's amazing how forgiving digital can be... but that does sound haphazard. Perhaps he meant collage and not composite?

I will say - while you *can* do this without mounting the camera on a tripod, you do need a steady hand and an idea of the concept... just snapping away won't yield good results unless you are really lucky...

I think it was a result of the "democratising" nature of the Internet - everyone can make a video about something, even if they don't have the knowledge, skill or experience to make anything meaningful.  He definitely meant composite as he zoomed in to take a photo of a particular focal point as he wanted lots of detail of that part.... errrr... yeah.  Of course he didn't show that either someone else's software sorted out his mess, or he had to spend hours sorting it out himself, when a bit of rigour and care at the time of capture would have made the  whole process rather easier in the end.

Not suggesting you work this way, just reminded me...

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