Charles Ginsburgh  

Pile of Salt by Charles Ginsburgh

May 2022 - Pile of Salt

May 2022 - Charles Ginsburgh


About the Image(s)

Canon EOS R5 on a tripod (natural light)

Canon 100 mm
f/2.8 macro lens, with 36 mms of extension tubes
1/15 sec
ISO 800

A stack 27 images stacked in Zerene Stacker and processed in Photoshop

Once again I am playing with small and common-place items, showing them in ways you might not normally see them. In this case, my subject was a pile of table-salt, arranged on a piece of black glass. In this case I used a common 100 mm f/2.8 macro lens with both a 12 and 24 mm extension tube mounted between the camera body and the lens. I used the in-body focus bracketing capability of this camera to capture 27 focus slices, and combined them into a single stacked image in Zerene Stacker. This captured most of what I wanted, but there was a lot of “other” stuff (hairs, dust, specs of salt fragments and some specular highlights) in the final stack image that required processing to eliminate (by the way this is quite common with “stacked” images). I have added a copy of the stacked image so that you can see what I started with. Finally I added a table surface, to avoid having the salt floating in a sea of black, similar to some of the discussing last month’s regarding Neal’s April image. “What do you all thing about this final version ?”

7 comments posted

Neal R. Thompson, M.D.   Neal R. Thompson, M.D.
Interesting subject. I'd like to try it. The background greatly enhances the subject. I agree that these small subjects really have a lot of "garbage" in the original. Do you usually remove this stuff by the "healing brush" or clone stamp tool?   Posted: 05/11/2022 16:16:03
Charles Ginsburgh   Charles Ginsburgh
I use the Photoshop clone tool predominantly, and a lot of patience. The healing brush tool (and spot healing brush) clones over new pixels and then blends the new pixels with the target pixels, and I can't always control the blend. There are times when the blending results in a better result, but in these cases I tend to go with the clone tool which gives me a bit more control.   Posted: 05/21/2022 10:48:02

Barbara Asacker   Barbara Asacker
Hi Charles,
Incredible image. You presentation of table salt resembles a pile of crystals or diamonds. You managed to capture sharp detail on tiny grains of salt. Impressive. The reflections on the tabletop add interest. You cleaned up the extra bits in the original image perfectly. Well done. Your tips and techniques have been very helpful. Thank you for sharing.   Posted: 05/12/2022 12:40:37

Murphy Hektner   Murphy Hektner
Hi Charles: An excellent example of what a macro photographer can accomplish with the focus stacking of 27 images. There is no way possible to obtain the sharpness necessary with 36mm of extension tubes at this magnification. Even at F/22 you would probably have at most 1/8 of an inch depth of field front to back. Your added table surface worked very well. KUDOS on a great job of photography and explaining the steps necessary to obtain the finished picture.   Posted: 05/12/2022 19:07:48
Charles Ginsburgh   Charles Ginsburgh
In this case the actual depth of field was around two to three grains of salt, and decreasing the aperture (to f/22, f/32 or smaller) has little impact. So, you are correct in that getting this image from a single shot was not possible. Here I was pushing the system trying to get as much magnification as possible using a 100 mm macro lens and the tubes, and not a using a more specialized lens (such as the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro lens).   Posted: 05/21/2022 10:55:26
Murphy Hektner   Murphy Hektner
Hi Charles: You mention Canon 65mm macro lens that will go from 1-5X magnification. Have a friend who has this lens and it is a very difficult lens to use in the field. As you mention a specialized lens for extreme close in work. Cheers, Murphy   Posted: 05/22/2022 11:25:01

Alane Shoemaker   Alane Shoemaker
Amazing capture of ordinary table salt! I have not heard of Zerene stacker.   Posted: 05/24/2022 20:32:28


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