Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Indoor Flowers and Focus Bracketing

While the beautiful colors of outdoor flowers are hard to find mid-winter in New England, there are still indoor flowers to delight. Here are a few quick samples.

You are probably familiar with HDR, high dynamic range photos, where photos of different exposure get merged. Most cameras and many cell phones have this capability. In contrast to that, my camera also has a new focus bracketing capability, as explained below.

The orchid below is shown three ways: in a single "best" photo, as a focus bracketed stacked photo, and as one of the photos in the stack. My Olympus camera's new focus bracketing/stacking feature in the latest firmware allows me to take several identical photos (in this case, ten, though one could stack a few hundred if one wanted to!) at slightly different focus distances from one another and merge them together into a single photo with a much higher depth of field (area in focus) than any of the original photos individually. While the camera takes the bracketed set of photos, I actually merge them later in Photoshop. Focus bracketing is a pretty neat feature and I've had some fun experimenting with it. I still enjoy the soft "bokeh" of the out of focus areas in the single photos, so I'm hard pressed to decide which version I prefer. Which do you prefer?

Here's the orchid at its best in a single normal photo using my 60mm macro lens:


Next is a focus stacked version of the same orchid. Notice how more of the orchid is in focus. Note that the above non-stacked photo is actually not one of the ten used to create this focus stacked picture, but was actually taken a few moments later, as I preferred its lighting and composition to any of the ten.

Focus Stacked Orchid

For reference, here's one of the ten photos used in the above focus stacked composition. You'll note that it is uncropped, and I hadn't yet magically removed the dark lines of the orchid's support.

Orchid - Uncropped

We have other indoor plants as well. Here's an African Violet (not focus stacked). See how its textured surface sparkles.

African Violet

All photos © 2016, all rights reserved.  Contact me for licensing or to order prints.

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