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My First Photar Stack: Aeonium Flower

 
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 3:54 am    Post subject: My First Photar Stack: Aeonium Flower Reply with quote

This is the best single shot result I could acheive, at about f16 (not labelled below f11) and ISO 400, hand-held. The flower is about 17mm across the petal tips. Leitz Photar 50mm 2.8* on 43mm of extension, including the adapter, crop factor X2, working distance 90mm:

[]

It seemed pretty clear to me that a stack was called for. Also, the lens was not doing its best at such a small aperture and the ISO was not optimal. So I shot a stack of 8 (increments of ca 1mm) at f5.6 and ISO 100. I used a Manfrotto 454 focusing rack on a tripod, with 8 sec anti-shock.

Zerene Stacker Pmax gave this result, image slightly cropped for composition:



Topaz Interior Strong Detail lets us see through the green mist but the image is not so aesthetically pleasing:



The two images were shot on different days, under similar but different lighting (conservatory, diffused sunlight). I think each has its own appeal.

This is the inflorescence, shot indoors with light from a window facing south. Lens Leitz Elmarit 60mm macro (at f8?):



*There is no focusing mechanism on the Photar, such that the support has to be moved, the tripod for coarse positioning and the rack for the stack series.

The species is probably Aeonium tabuliforme, so-called becase the leaves are nearly all in one horzontal plain, suggesting a small table top:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeonium_tabuliforme

Harold
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Last edited by Harold Gough on Sat May 12, 2012 7:40 am; edited 4 times in total
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BugEZ



Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 806
Location: Loves Park Illinois

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I especially like the last shot. Very nicely composed.

My wife occasionally complains that I spend too much time photographing creepy bugs and almost no time photographing flowers or other colorful flora. Your photos may inspire me to fight my buggy proclivities.

Thanks for sharing!

Keith
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BugEZ wrote:
I especially like the last shot. Very nicely composed.

My wife occasionally complains that I spend too much time photographing creepy bugs and almost no time photographing flowers or other colorful flora. Your photos may inspire me to fight my buggy proclivities.

Thanks for sharing!

Thanks, Keith

I have added a reworked version of the second image.

My interest in macro started (mid 1960s) when I wanted to record images of my cactus flowers. We are going on a holiday, next month, to be the first one timed to coincide with the peak flowering season at our destination. On the other hand, I had some 35 years of professional interest in insects.

"Wife complain"? - unheard of in this household Liar

The lens is optimised for higher magnifications than this, so I must see what the Elmarit 60mm macro with do with a stack of the flowers.

Harold
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conkar



Joined: 18 Dec 2010
Posts: 200
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harold, I think you have to edit your footer Smile It seems like you agree better than good with your E-P2.

I like the third picture in your post.

If you have the opportunity to do another shot with that flower, it would be nice to see how it would work out with a black background.

Regards,

Conny
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

conkar wrote:
Harold, I think you have to edit your footer Smile It seems like you agree better than good with your E-P2.

I like the third picture in your post.

If you have the opportunity to do another shot with that flower, it would be nice to see how it would work out with a black background.

Thanks, Conny

The E-P2 does a great job when it does what I want it too. What you don't see is the large number of rejects due to "knocked" settings. Someone in the specialist forum has just obtained an E-P2 and is having similar problems.

It is great on a tripod but hand-held, in the open, where frequent repositioning through all angles in three dimensions is required, the right thumb and index finger can do naugthy things while the subject in the viewfinder needs constant attention.

That said, I picked the ISO and let the camera sort the shutter speed for these posts. I have great hopes for working with flash, now that my experimentation with OM T-series guns is nearing completion. I do, however, prefer natural light where possible.

To the very limited extent that I am a botanist, I also prefer the third image, due to the revelation and texture of the bases of the stamens. On the other hand, the anthers look a bit over-sharpened.

Here is a blend of the two via Zerene Stacker, which I think is a good compromise, if not the best:



I intend to try again with my Elmarit 60mm macro. I subjued the whitish background by placing a dark green watering can in the background but black would look good, although it would have blocked the light from the previous session! It may not be today (I will be out photographing wild green orchids) but the flowers are opening sequentialy each day.

Harold
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rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 20654
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harold, I'm glad to see further progress with this troublesome equipment.

In the stacked images just above here, I'm seeing some obvious halos around the big petals that would be easy to eliminate using DMap and retouching. If you're interested in that procedure, see the Zerene Stacker tutorials on How To Use DMap and Advanced Retouching. The trick is to adjust the DMap slider so that all the OOF background goes black in preview. That will give clean edges against high contrast background, which you can then merge with the PMax results that are likely to be better in low-contrast areas of the image.

--Rik
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik,

Thanks. I've rerun the stack through Zerene PMax, and this time also through Dmax, the latter with the contrast adjustment.




I then ran TopzDetail 2 and Fine Detail Contrast ()forty something)followed by NR by DeNoise to produce these images.




Regretfully, I lack the manual dexterity to retouch in Dmax.

Harold
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BugEZ wrote:

My wife occasionally complains that I spend too much time photographing creepy bugs and almost no time photographing flowers or other colorful flora. Your photos may inspire me to fight my buggy proclivities.

If you liked the Aeonium you may love this:

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=108607#108607

Your local nursery is a great source of prime subject material.

Harold
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BugEZ



Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 806
Location: Loves Park Illinois

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the lotus maculatus are lovely.

Very nicely composed.

K
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