Rodney Campbell's Blog

Phalaenopsis Orchid – Stacks of Focus…

by on Oct.29, 2012, under Life, Photography

I noticed that my neighbour had this absolutely lovely Phalaenopsis orchid so I decided to “borrow” her plant for a little while whilst I tried some more experiments with the technique of focus stacking.

This particular plant had quite small delicate flowers (probably not much more than one and a half centimetres across) and all of the buds looked to be almost perfectly formed without many noticeable bad bits.

I took it outside so I could photograph the flowers with some nice swashes of blurred background colour (grass, sky, etc) and also have some late afternoon sun behind the flowers. I shot all of these using the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR 1:1 macro and my Nikon D600 locked down on a tripod.

Note: These images (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

To see how little depth of field you might get when shooting semi macro images and why focus stacking is useful in these situations…

First up the result of focus stacking 35 images taken at 1/200 sec @ f/4 and ISO 200

NIKON D600 + 105.0 mm f/2.8 @ 105 mm, 1/200 sec at f/4, ISO 200

secondly here is one of the single frames taken at f/4 and you can see that the depth of field doesn’t even cover a single petal let alone the whole bud or the set of buds…

NIKON D600 + 105.0 mm f/2.8 @ 105 mm, 1/200 sec at f/4, ISO 200

lastly here is a shot of the same composition stopped down to f/16; you can see I’ve obtained a reasonable depth of field which almost covers the major portions of a single flower but it’s still really not sharp and the rest of the composition falls out of focus…

NIKON D600 + 105.0 mm f/2.8 @ 105 mm, 1/15 sec at f/16, ISO 200

Another result of focus stacking 40 images taken at 1/125 sec @ f/4 and ISO 160

NIKON D600 + 105.0 mm f/2.8 @ 105 mm, 1/125 sec at f/4, ISO 160

and the comparison shot stopped down to f/16 – here you can even begin to see the texture of the closer background grass and the bokeh isn’t all that nice…

NIKON D600 + 105.0 mm f/2.8 @ 105 mm, 1/25 sec at f/16, ISO 400

Finally a single bud, the result of focus stacking 22 images taken at 1/125 sec @ f/4 and ISO 100

NIKON D600 + 105.0 mm f/2.8 @ 105 mm, 1/125 sec at f/4, ISO 100


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