Blurry Sharpness

Five years ago, I grafted a white lilac branch given by a friend and it has decided to grace us with beautiful white flowers this year.

However, photographing Miss Lilac White close up is no easy task. There just isn’t enough depth of field even when the lens is fully stopped down to cover more than two flowers, let alone a group of them. Luckily with digital imaging, we can post-process using a technique called focus stacking. All you need is a tripod and a software capable of fusing all the images. So I succumbed to the seduction of another digital temptation. As I already have Hugin, a free software for doing panoramic stitches, I decided to stick with that and run the processing the old school according to this tutorial. It doesn’t use a graphical interface as the panorama stitcher does but it sure gets the job done, my first focus stacked image.

As with all experimentation, we sometimes got more than what we bargained for. This particular shot had a misty look because unlike the common rule of shooting with a small aperture to get maximum sharpness throughout the range, I shot wide open on my macro lens. The reason being that I shot it just before night fall and the intermittent soft breeze ruled out the possibility of long shutter speed (I wanted to preserve low ISO). Since each slice of the focus stack has a lot of blur in the out of focus zone, they resulted in a soft focus effect throughout in the final fused image. I stacked 11 photos in this picture but one can get away with just two, like in my lily of the valley post a few days ago.

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4 thoughts on “Blurry Sharpness

  1. Actually, I had planned to compliment you on the first image, which appeared when I opened your website, and tell you that, in my opinion, it needed no further DOF enhancement. But then I saw where you were going, and the interest grew. I am impressed with your perseverance, your dedication to explore the possibilities, and your results. Very nice work, indeed! -Gary

    1. Thanks Gary 🙂 It was my first venture and this was the lucky trial that came out of the multiple sets I collected for that evening. It did give me new ideas how to use focus stacking besides increasing DOF 🙂

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