While out photographing in nature, we all occasionally find a subject that might be better photographed at another time of day for better lighting conditions. But to delay may result in losing the moment and a change in the subject. A caterpillar crawling by, a dragonfly visiting a patch of flowers, one thing eating another thing, all of these scenes will change in a few moments; never mind waiting until early light tomorrow morning. In the worst of circumstances I’ll make some captures just as a record shot to document I did see the event; however, I will try to alter the lighting conditions, by adding or taking away light if possible, to make a better image capture.
Using flash effectively is often a challenge for many photographers, likely due to the lack of knowledge of how to use it, and for some the belief that anything can be fixed in software. I believe it’s a matter of learning a few techniques and modifying them as needed to fit different situations. Some will question why I didn’t rely on HDR techniques. HDR is difficult to do well; at least well enough so that it is difficult to tell it’s been done. The capabilities of today’s software products to brighten the shadows and darken the highlights may have been possible but for me, it is more work than correcting problems in the camera.
What Works, What Doesn’t
To further understand focus stacking and to compare the good, bad and ugly of Photoshop auto-merge, Helicon Focus and potentially other focus stacking software, I set out to capture sets of images to challenge the technique. I also spent a lot of time attempting to reduce or eliminate the haloing problem on the rattlesnake orchid image stacks. I tried dividing the image sets into smaller groups for stacking then combining the stacked images into another stack. That didn’t improve the image at all. [Read more…]