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Archive 2013 · Almond Beauty
  
 
Jo Dilbeck
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p.1 #1 · Almond Beauty


One more from the orchard yesterday. Had a beautiful overcast sky creating such lovely light even in the middle of the day. Spent 2 hours in one location that was in full bloom! This one is a composite of two separately focused images so I could maintain the bokeh in the background. First time I've blended two separately focused images, I hope it looks ok! 5D3 w/70-200 F2.8.

Jo




  Canon EOS 5D Mark III    EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens    200mm    f/2.8    1/125s    100 ISO    -0.3 EV  




Mar 03, 2013 at 07:59 PM
MikeW
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p.1 #2 · Almond Beauty


I think you'd get a better result stopping down at MFD. There is 'ghosting'/poor brush work where you have blended the images which ruin this image.

If you are going to blend using a brush you need to pixel peep (400+ zoom in PS)



Mar 03, 2013 at 08:23 PM
JimFox
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p.1 #3 · Almond Beauty


Hey Jo,

I like the look of this the pinks with the gray background compliment well. There is some haloing around some flowers though as Mike mentioned. I do disagree about having to pixel peep at 400% if you use a brush. You don't need to edit the photo pixel by pixel to use a layer mask.

A couple of thoughts. You blended because you wanted to keep the bokeh of the background. With shots like these when I think the same thing, I will often take the shot at several fstops to see where I get the best blend with a single shot of focus and bokeh. But as to blending, you can use the Quick Selection tool sometimes to select in this case the flowers and branch from the background. Other wise just use the Lasso tool and draw around the flowers, etc.. Zoom in close to draw accurately, say 66% or 100%. Then when feathering use a small feather amount with a shot like this, maybe 1.5 to 2 pixels.

Atleast... that's how I do it...

Jim



Mar 03, 2013 at 10:19 PM
rick2906
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p.1 #4 · Almond Beauty


there is some halo around the flower but it can contribute to the dreamy look in some way, I like it!


Mar 03, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Jo Dilbeck
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p.1 #5 · Almond Beauty


Thanks for the comments, I appreciate them. However, I do disagree with you Mike, while there is some haloing, I dont believe the picture is "ruined". Could it have been done better? Yes, of course, but since it's my first attempt, I'm ok with how it turned out. I'm with Rick, I prefer the "dreamy" look to perfectly sharp edge to edge flowers.

Thanks for the little tutorial Jim, I'll see what I can do with your suggestions.

And I apologize for placing this one in the landscape forum, meant to go to Nature after I posted my orchard picture. If someone can move it, that would be great.

Jo




Mar 03, 2013 at 11:33 PM
 

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dsjtecserv
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p.1 #6 · Almond Beauty


Jo, in addition to Jim's suggestions, I'd offer one more. When you change focus (either by adjusting the lens focus or moving the camera) the magnification of the subject changes, even if ever so slightly. That means that two differently-focused images won't align perfectly. You can, however, layer them in a stack and then run "Align Layers" in Photoshop. While not perfect, this will both resize and adjust the positioning of the layers so they are better aligned. You can then do your focus blending with less risk of halos.

Note that there is a different source of halos -- with a very deep focus stack where the out of focus edges of the the subject in some layers are still better focused than the background -- that is nearly impossible to eliminate without detailed pixel surgery, and that is probably what Mike was referring to. But for a two-image stack where the focus depth isn't very deep, it is probably just alignment that is the source of the halos.

Dave



Mar 04, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Jo Dilbeck
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p.1 #7 · Almond Beauty


I definitely noticed the shift when I changed focus, and I did do an alignment of the layers in PS. my editing after that did leave a little to be desired, but I'm learning


Mar 04, 2013 at 02:13 AM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #8 · Almond Beauty


Jo, sorry, didn't mean to sound presumptuous. Manual blending is difficult and while not perfect, I think your first effort has the desired effect.

You might also try a focus blending program. Photoshop can do that, but I don't think it does it as well as external programs. For the money, TuFuse Pro (http://www.tawbaware.com/tufusepro.htm) does very well. It is (perpetually) in beta (which works fine), so while you can pay in advance for the eventual licensed version, you can also download the beta for free. It also does exposure blending, or even both at once. Alas, it doesn't do alignment, so you still need to do that in Photoshop or somewhere else, export the results to TuFuse, and the result of that back to PS for final editing.

Dave



Mar 04, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Justin Grimm
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p.1 #9 · Almond Beauty


Ignoring the ghosting, I still donít understand your reasoning for focus stacking this particular shot. What did you want the main subject to be, or was this shot mainly just for practice? At least for me, the main subject should have been the lower right flower grouping. For focus staking to have been beneficial, I think the composition needs to be altered slightly, and the flowers to the right should have been much closer to camera then the ones on the left. This way you could have focused stacked the closest flowers without bringing in bits of focus from the other group. I agree with your reasoning for using a large aperture to blur out the background, but this idea should have also been applied to the left flower grouping to isolate your subject better.

Since you donít have much experience focus blending, I would suggest setting up a static subject indoors just to practice the technique, as well as the post processing side of things. These flowers on a long thin branch are very difficult to stack correctly, even with the lightest breeze. I would be surprised if many people could make a perfect stack of the same thing.

And as others have said, Photoshop does not do as good of a job compared to specialized focus stacking programs. If you use a PC, try CombineZM or CombineZP. They are both free and work great. If you want to get into serious stacking in the future, Helicon Focus or Zerene are the best and cost around 100-150$.

Keep practicing! It doesnt take long before you are capturing perfect +10 shot stacks in under a few seconds.



Mar 04, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Jo Dilbeck
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p.1 #10 · Almond Beauty


Justin - my rationale for focus stacking was that the branch was angling backward from lower right to upper left. I was unable to move to have the branch entirely parallel to the sensor as there was another small branch on the left that I was trying to avoid. And yes, I guess it was for practice, and according to some, was a bit of a failure. However, I am relatively happy with the shot as it is, but will make another attempt at editing to see if I can remove the halos.

Jo



Mar 04, 2013 at 05:21 PM





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