First attempt at focus stacking…

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Had a bit of spare time so tried my hand at a bit of macro focus stacking on the flowers I bought my long suffering wife for our wedding anniversary..

Using a 100mm macro lens I got in close to one of the flower heads (don’t ask what it was… I just buy flowers based on what kinda looks nice lol)… even at f16 the depth of field is really shallow this close to the subject so the technique involves taking a number of shots focusing front to back in steps… I took 10 images in total…

You then do basic editing in Lightroom, select the images and then you can add them as layers to Photoshop by right clicking on the selected images…

Once in Photoshop you then go to Edit > Auto Align Layers (select Auto)… then Edit > Auto Blend Layers (select Stack)

This will process all the images (layers) by applying layer masks as required and blend all the focused areas of the layers together… once saved the final TIFF ends up in Lightroom for final editing..

Here is the result..

First attempt at focus stacking...

Happy with that… will try it on some other stuff soon πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>

Where has all the time gone!!

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So it would appear that I haven’t posted for some time… to be honest there has not been a load to post about as I have not taken many pictures and been busy fixing cars and work related fun and games…

As mentioned in “Last post of 2016” the S3 was broken… turns out it wasn’t the rear diff/haldex after all but the centre CV of the prop… the cage had shattered and it was pretty much carnage in there..

Where has all the time gone!

Joys of owing a car with power… didn’t help as the trusty daily A2 developed a fuel leak from the tandem pump and made all the coolant hoses swell and leak… so ended up with two broken cars at the same time!!

Both are now fixed and working as they should… for now at least lol..

Inspired by borrowing my dads old Nikon film camera I grabbed a cheap Canon AE-1 from eBay… came with a couple of lenses and needed a proper clean so the detailer in me got to work… pleased with the results of what is essentially a 37 year old camera

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Have loaded some Ilford HP5 B&W film in and will post the results when I have finished the roll… the main downside of actual film photography is the whole end to end process of taking pictures to getting the final images can be so protracted for casual use…

I recently managed to acquire a cheap tracking mount… I have been looking at these for some time now but they are generally too expensive to justify the amount of use I time to give it at the moment.

The Sky Watcher Star Adventurer comes as a kit of everything you are likely to need to get started… I won’t go into detail in this post but you can have a read of Phil Harts review here…. I will do a write up at a later date when I have had a chance to produce some results… It will warrant a post of its own as tracked astro photography can get quite involved.

I did a quick test at the weekend to get my head around polar alignment and the basics of setting it all up… The moon is up at the moment so wide field stuff was off the table for now plus the Milkyway’s core is visible at around 3am this time of year… not much chance of that happening on a school night.

The velux in my loft office is north facing so meant I could do a test setup in relative comfort.. using a combination of Stellarium and a Polar Finder app on the phone I got the mount polar aligned (hopefully)

I tried a variety of settings and exposure times… not quite hit the sweet spot yet I feel but its close and will of course be largely dependant on conditions on the night of shooting…

I used my 6D body and the 70-200f2.8 for the test… typical exposure time for this using the 500 rule would be around 2.5 seconds before star trailing would potentially start to creep in… the shot below was taken over 2 minutes on the tracker!!

Where has all the time gone!

Some more editing would have gotten rid of the glow but tbh it was more to push exposure times and validate polar alignment… 2 minute exposures would be the extreme to be honest as DSLR sensors heat up on long exposures causing noise…

The mount also had a lunar setting so had to try that too… with lunar tracking engaged it appeared to keep the moon in frame pretty much all the time… this is ideal as it gives you more chance of getting focus spot on…

Took 5 shots using the intervolmeter as the trigger… all were in the same spot in frame and all sharp.

Where has all the time gone!

I have some time off work soon so plan to explore getting a Moon rise, Milkyway and a DSO (deep sky object) shot of the Andromeda galaxy…

Thats about it for now… I should be updating a little more regularly now the weather is getting better… I will feel more like getting out shooting… plus I need to use up the B&W films and get them developed…

Here are a few pics I have taken over the past couple of months though… nothing spectacular but I like them πŸ™‚

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

<tuffty/>

Last post of 2016…

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Last post of 2016...

Been a funny old year… relatively uneventful from my perspective I guess other than my nan passing on but the lasting thought of 2016 has got to be the number of celebrity deaths…

Lets hope 2017 is a little better in that respect :/

Anyhoo… not posted for a little while so bit of an all in one update type thang…

Managed to break the S3… something is not happy at the back and shakes the car fairly badly when I go over 15mph… I have bought a replacement diff/haldex/controller for not a lot of money so will just chuck that in (after painting it of course)

Last post of 2016...

Will deal with that in the new year…

My dad lent me the use of one of his cameras… not just any camera but a film camera… been a while since I have used film so looking forward to playing with it… couldn’t see the point in doing colour images with film as there is nothing it really offers over digital for hold any interest to me but black & white is a different matter…
Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

The Nikon F-501 is a little more advanced than ye-olde film cameras having a built in light meter and AF (albeit very rudimentary) but I love the feel of the camera and that you have to think a little harder about taking a shot… its a little frustrating waiting to see the results and I am about half way through the roll of film but hopefully I will have some decent results from it..

Looking forward to trying to up my game with motorcross shots in the new year… 70-200 f2.8 should hopefully net me some decent captures assuming I can get into a decent position… I like the subject isolation f2.8 can provide so will be hopefully getting some nice candid shots from it…

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Had a nice two week break over Christmas so rebuilt the drip rig to try and make it more stable and easier to setup…
Last post of 2016...

Should make results more consistent and now have triple splash capability… that side of it needs work though as I need to play with the valve positioning to ensure they all hit at the same time… in the mean time I took a few images to get the rig dialled in on one valve..
Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Another little project I played with over Christmas was flower macro’s… as always with things like this I tend to learn loads from the exercise and this time it was to go to a florist rather than Tesco for flowers…

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

As I mentioned before my Nan passed away… she was two weeks off her 100th birthday so we celebrated it anyway…
Last post of 2016...

Was nice to meet up with family I hadn’t seen for a while and decided to capture an image to help me remember her by… We have always told our children that when someone dies they become a star in the night sky so I waited for a clear night and took a picture I call ‘Chatting with Nan’…
Last post of 2016...

To finish up, here are a few random pics I have taken since my last post…
Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Happy new year πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

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Been a little while since I have posted so here we go πŸ™‚

Been playing with macro and the drip kit for most of the month, I also went to another race meet… so in no particular order here are a few select images from the month..

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

This image has been shortlisted to be in a photography magazine… not heard if it will be included but the recognition is welcome even if it doesn’t
Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

A few macro shots….
Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

A few of the racing…
Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Finally the kittens first day in the garden…
Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

Random post out the nowhere! (the sequel)

I have been praying for a clear night seeing as the sun is getting lower and the nights are drawing in… looking forward to getting back into nightscapes…

<tuffty/>

Fun with macro

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I have had a macro lens for a while but haven’t really used it much… with the weather being a bit rubbish and the sun being too high at this time of year to make sun rise/set pics or astro pics realistic on a ‘school night’ I thought I’d dust it off…

I am not an insect person… not really keen on them at all and hate spiders in general… most macro photography seems to be insect related though which made finding inspiration a little difficult at first but thankfully there is a thread on POTN that is dedicated to none insect macro which is an interesting read.

Here are a couple of my initial shots…

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

This one was particularly tricky… working with a shallow DOF and a lively cat with manual focus…
Fun with macro

Fun with macro

This one needs some work on the technical aspect but the premice is to get a background object reflecting through the drop in sharp focus… the object in question was a box of Walkers crisps… nearly worked πŸ™‚
Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

I then had a quick go at water drops… this is trickier than it looks…
Fun with macro

The water drops stuff really caught my interest and after a bit of reading up it seems there is some nifty kit available to facilitate this type of photography… most of it is relatively expensive, more money than I was prepared to spend just to take pics of splashes so I do what I normally do in situations like this and improvised πŸ™‚

Tried using a small plastic bag filled with water then pricked a hole in it using a needle… this worked ok and I used my intervolometer to take a series of shots…
Fun with macro

The results were ok… there will inevitably be quite a few that you chuck away too of course
Fun with macro

Changed the white balance in post to alter the colour of this one…
Fun with macro

Fun with macro

All seemed a bit hit and miss and also had a play with the camera settings a bit too… I then changed the configuration a bit and just used a bit of tube as a pipette and manually timed the shots… this proved a little more successful but was quite awkward non the less
Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

Fun with macro

So… next thing I want to try is to improve on the rig… I found the paint roller tray a little on the awkward side due to its shape, I think I will look into something a little shallower with less features that cast shadows etc as the step in the roller tray would sometimes cast a shadow in the pics…

I need a more hands off dripper system… the bag was ok but wasn’t flow rate or drop size controllable but it did at least land drops more or less in the same place… using a ‘pipette’ had better control but was a little inconsistent where the drop landed as I was holding it at different angles each time I was taking the shot, the changes were minute but in macro its enough to move the result well out of frame

I am going to try an irrigation dripper valve… these are cheap (Β£3 for three valves on eBay) so all I have to do is rig up a reservoir for the water and use a bit of silicon vacuum hose to plumb it all up… that should give me more controllable and consistent results (I hope)

Until next time πŸ™‚

Links:
POTN – Non Insect Macro thread

The comprehensive water drop photography guide

How to Photograph Water Drops with One Speedlight

<tuffty/>