David Terao  


Milkweed by David Terao

October 2021 - Milkweed

October 2021 - David Terao

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About the Image(s)

This month, I found a particularly interesting milkweed pod in our garden that was partially open with half its seeds intact and half being released. I cut the pod and photographed it inside my house to eliminate the wind and keep the fluff totally still. I used a continuous tungsten light source and a white reflector with a black background. Shot with a Canon EOS R5 camera and Zeiss 100mm f/2.0 lens on a tripod using a 3-image focus stack processed in Helicon Focus. Exposure was 0.6 sec @ f/16 and ISO 200.


7 comments posted




Cindy Lynch   Cindy Lynch
I have always wanted to get a good photo of a milkweed. I wish this were mine! You have such wonderful clarity and focus. I love the details and black background, which really makes the pod stand out. The diagonal makes a wonderful composition. Nice job! I wouldn't change a thing.   Posted: 10/04/2021 10:49:28
David Terao   David Terao
Thank you, Cindy. I wish I could tell you which variety of milkweed this was that I planted in my garden this year. I liked the uniform pattern formed by the seeds in the narrow pod. Most milkweed pods I find in the wild are the fat, spiky variety.   Posted: 10/04/2021 11:31:31



Charlie Yang   Charlie Yang
nice, clean image! If this plant bloom in color of orange, then it'd be butterfly milkweed, just a guess.
My milkweed pods still not open yet, and I haven't thought about take it down and bring it inside the house and open it. Duh, would try that next. :)
The image is great, sharp and uniform, love it.
Since you mentioned Helicon Focus, did you compare and decide and have you try it with LR/PS focus stacking? Just wonder if you would comment on the plus/minus of Helicon, thanks
  Posted: 10/05/2021 11:41:14
David Terao   David Terao
I previously used the focus-stacking feature in Photoshop. I don't believe Lightroom has a focus-stacking feature. PS is not bad for stacking a few images. But, when you stack 10 or more images, Helicon Focus works flawlessly. There are several packages available when buying Helicon Focus. I bought the Pro package (the middle package). But, I've found that I never use the extra features above those in the Lite package. I also bought the Lifetime version, but the prices seemed to have gone way up since then.   Posted: 10/05/2021 12:00:14
David Terao   David Terao
You're right! This is a Butterfly Weed milkweed variety.   Posted: 10/05/2021 12:03:08



Ray Henrikson   Ray Henrikson
You have high-end gear and technique and use both well. Your image belongs in a botany publication.   Posted: 10/06/2021 21:21:14
David Terao   David Terao
I was hoping for more than just a record shot in a botany publication. And, it's not just a result of using high-end gear and technique. I also took this same image using an Olympus OMD EM1 Mk II with an old, adapted OM Zuiko 135mm f/4.5 macro lens without using focus stacking. I don't recall the aperture, and it's not recorded because there are no electronic contacts between the lens and camera body.   Posted: 10/07/2021 07:39:20
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