Feb 27, 2018 Session

Close-up and Macro Photography. Focus Stacking

This page is now open for comments and submissions.

This session will be about Close-up and Macro Photography. It is also about getting more depth of field through focus stacking in editing software. It is going to be about photographing small objects, with a macro lens or a standard lens with extension tubes. Note: This session might not be suitable for those participants with bridge cameras that have non-removable zoom lenses.

Question: (asked at Feb 27 meeting) Does Photoshop Elements have an automatic stacking feature.

Answer: There is a partial stacking routine available in Photoshop Elements, under “Guided” – “Photomerge” – “Photomerge-scene cleaner” This utility is not fully automatic, but works well with a little bit of effort. Click here to be redirected to the new PE tutorial.


Macro lens and extension tubes

This is an experiment to demonstrate the maximum amplification limits of the Canon 100 mm Macro lens. I took a series of pictures of an intricate Christmas ornament. Turned the lens to the closest it can focus at, in this case 31 cm from the camera body to the object. Then added succesive Kenko extension tubes, first 12 mm then added a 20mm for an extension length of 32 mm then added the 36 mm extension for a total length of 68 mm. I used the smallest aperture available on this lens at f/32.

Here is the overview of the Christmas ornament.

Canon 100 mm Macro – No extension tube – subject at min distance, f/32, ISO 200, 10 sec

Canon 100 mm Macro – 12 mm extension tube – subject at min distance, f/32, ISO 200, 15 sec

Canon 100 mm Macro – 32 mm extension tube – subject at min distance, f/32, ISO 200, 30 sec

Canon 100 mm Macro – 68 mm extension tube – subject at min distance, f/32, ISO 400, 30 sec

Macro Lens with Extension Tubes – Depth of Field

The following shots were shot with a 100 mm Macro Lens outfitted with a 68 mm Extension Tube. This is a demonstration of the extremely shallow depth of filed and the effect aperture has.

Very shallow DoF with aperture set at 2.8 on a 100 mm Macro with 68 mm Extension Tube

Same as above image but now at f/8

Same as above but shot with aperture of f/16

shot with the smallest aperture available at f/32

100 mm macro at f/11 , taken with tripod, from 30 cm distance, stacked from 7 images
Click to enlarge, use Browser Back Button to return here.

I recently purchased a collection of plastic bugs from the dollar store, for us to practice focus stacking. The idea is very similar as the blending exercise we did on the Feb 13. The difference is that it now will take several overlaying images.

This meeting Feb 27, I will provide a set of extension tubes for Canon lens mounts for the practice session.  Below are a set of images that can be edited in Photoshop, Gimp, Photoshop Elements and maybe Lightroom (I have to try this out yet) This is intended as a practice software editing project and will build on what we learned last session on Layer Blending.

Focus stacking is a bit of a specialty area of photography. It is used extensively in product and scientific photography. However it can be used to build fantastic landscapes.

Below 7 practice files with a tape measure. The object of the exercise is to blend the bug and maybe the tape measure as well. It is there for reference to see the depth of field in the component pictures.

Weevil-01 Link
Weevil-02 Link
Weevil-03 Link
Weevil-04 Link
Weevil-05 Link
Weevil-06 Link
Weevil-07 Link

Result stacking and blending with Photoshop

Stacked, aligned and blended in Photoshop proper


7 Responses to Feb 27, 2018 Session

  1. Della says:

    my attempt at focus stacking using photoshop

  2. Ron says:

    Here’s mine using GIMP

  3. Della says:

    I combined 3 images by stack focusing and then cloned out the blue line

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *