Elaine Hoffman  

Red Flower by Elaine Hoffman

August 2019 - Red Flower

About the Image(s)

This is a red echinacea flower center. Shot at 100 ISO, F 4. at 1/2 a second for each of the 30 slices. Focus stacked using PhotoShop and then pulled into Lightroom to crop and adjust.

I really like the detail on most of the photo, however, there are still a few spots that didn't layer correctly and I'm not sure what to do to fix this. I read something on PS that you can adjust the layers, but the article didn't give any indication of the steps. I'll be doing some more research into that in the future. I was inspired by the PSA Macro webinar that Charles Needle did a couple of weeks ago and tried mylar and some weird backing stuff, but none of those turned out very well. Again, more practice!

2 comments posted

Lynne Hollingsworth   Lynne Hollingsworth
You have some really good detail in the echinacea flower. I do see where the stacking had some challenges. I've had the same issue here and there so if you find out how to adjust the layers, let me know! I would take down the brightness in the dots in the center and the upper right as I find them distracting. There are some on the left lower corner, but they don't bother me as much. The green and red colors with the little hairs are a good capture.   Posted: 08/10/2019 17:50:05

Charles Ginsburgh   Charles Ginsburgh
Neat Image. Although there is a lot going on in this image the brighter tones and colors in the middle does serve to draw our eye in, and to be comfortable in viewing the image.

With regard to editing separate images with a Photoshop generated stack …

What Photoshop does is to first add all "focus slices" into a single file as individual layers, scale and align the images within the layers , mathematically determine what part of each layer are sharp (and this is where the "magic" happens) and then to mask out the parts of the layers that are not sharp.

This is the same process that the other focus stacking applications (Helicon Focus, Zerene Stacker) do as well but they give you one final image were the stacks have been collapsed into one layer.

Photoshop uses one set of mathematical algorithms to establish what is sharp, while the other focus stacking applications gives you the choice of 3-4 algorithms (with adjustment sliders associated with many of the methods). Do you need to know which algorithm does what, NO, just pick that one that works best for your image.

However, no one mathematical algorithm works best all the time and for each image, and at times one mathematical algorithm works best for a part of an image while another mathematical algorithm may be best for other parts of the same image. So if you use Photoshop you have one option to use while you may have more options with the focus stacking specific applications.

If things don't quite work out in Photoshop, you do have the option of trying to determine which layer has the part of the image in question and to manually try to edit that layer to get a different result. This may or may not be successful, dependent upon the nature of the issue you are trying to address, and your personal Photoshop editing skills.

In many of the focus stacking specific applications, you have the option of trying a different stacking "method" (mathematical algorithm) and even to try several methods and to select the best part of each method into a single result (a process often referred to as "retouching").

So in this discussion we quickly have highlighted a potential limitation of using a "one app fixes all" approach (i.e. Photoshop) vs. a focus stacking specific application with often offers more flexibility.

That being said, if you do not collect enough information for the application to work on (i.e. you don't collect enough focus slices or place too much distance between each focus slice) all of the options discussed above may have difficulty.

Just some thoughts to consider in regard to this issue …
  Posted: 08/16/2019 14:59:43


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