I thought that David did a splendid job with the other bee (see August 22). I like this shot better. It it a harder shot to obtain because the focusing is critical. See the wings. The high shutter speed captures the wings in mid beat. Depth of field is narrow. Now for the hard part, get this shot head on with the compound eyes in focus. Hey, I’d be just tickled to have this shot or the other. Either way it was a great technical accomplishment. David got his desired effect in that he wanted the wings to be in focus and stopped by the flash.
Now we’re cooking. This is another image stack by cousin David. The subject is focused. The composition is good. It is suitable for framing. I would have to say that my efforts at shooting flowers have been surpassed by the experiments and efforts of my cousin. The only thing to say about this is that the interior of the flower is slightly underexposed. Maybe you could back light one image to make the petals glow. But if you don’t do anything else, this is a fine image.
Another stacked image of a succulent, this is perfectly exposed and softly lit. The composition is fine. The background is not distracting. The center of the flower is at the intersecting ‘rule of thirds.’ This is a fine image.
This is another technical masterpiece by cousin David. He stacked his images and used flash. The result is great. No criticism here. I might add that the short duration of the flash would help with any motion of the subject. All in all it’s a pretty good effort to get the exposure and account for the motion of the subject. It’s very good software to accomplish this final image.
This is a great shot. It is set up to ensure that the background is blurred nicely. Once again a tripod and focusing 1mm at time to stack a set of images and obtain sharp focus throughout. I must admit that this is my cousin David’s work, which I am referencing. Well done.
Cousin David wrote, “I tried focus stacking yesterday. Lens was 60 mm set at F2.8 to minimize depth-of-field. According to an online calculator, DOF = ~2 mm. Software was CZM and result came out a bit artificial, probably because I was overzealous and had a bigger than necessary stack of photos (1 photo per mm forward). Barcode looking strips on the left and top are artifacts from stacking. Since I moved a total of 10 cm forward, I find this freeware rather remarkable. I should have taken a reference shot at F16 (2 stops faster than F32?) for comparison.” David
David, you’re beyond my technical ability now. What a nice photo! The focus on the flower is hard to appreciate till you look at the leaf on the right. With shallow depth of field the whole leaf would not be in focus. Bar code is not noticeable in the image that I see. You should try HDR (high dynamic range). For landscape and buildings, this is very interesting. Since you are so patient and are willing to do more with a tripod this would be a natural progression. I seem to recall that we talked about a good tripod. I believe that you have a solid one and should stick with it. I also saw that Barnes and Noble sold a pinhole camera book/kit. I would have sent it to you, but it uses film. And who knows what that is any more?
The king around the feeder for me is the cardinal. Its red color is majestic. The blue jay and the cardinal were most skittish. They would land for a moment and be gone almost before I could react. I began to keep an eye on the nearby trees. The bird would sit among the cover and get courage to fly to the open feeder. I began to anticipate when they would swoop in. Voila! I got a cardinal in mid swoop. The feeder was in the open because the squirrels would climb and/or leap from any nearby branch to cling to the feeder and clean it out in minutes. There was even a cover on the post to prevent the squirrels access by climbing up the post.
Timing is everything. This is a female snowy woodpecker. It has no red on the back of its head. I got her landing, not too bad. And, five frames later, she flew away. I really missed the critical moment of hovering. I admit I did have my finger on the motor drive. In five frames the beginning and end were ok but not great. I will also say that I was not sitting behind the camera for hours. I was editing images and would look up to catch the action. The birds were not active every moment. There seemed to be periods early in the morning and at around 4PM when there was a lot of action. During the afternoon and around lunchtime there was sporadic activity but not continuous. With the tripod and the camera pre focused it only took a moment to try to dial in critical focus. Some of the shots were just made as I saw the activity pick up. Once more I make the point that the motor drive is helpful but not always.
I want to make a couple of points here – color and focal length. The day is grey. The subtle brown tones don’t add much contrast. So the purple finches red heads add a spot of color. (Yes, I know I said red. The guidebook identifies them as purple finches.) The focal length is medium at 150mm. I would have tried 400mm but this would have been too much work. You can’t anticipate movement and motion well. By the time you swing the camera around you have missed the action. By the way, I am on manual focus and shutter priority. VR is turned off on the tripod. If you don’t turn off VR the motor in the lens will hunt and kill your battery life. Here is where custom settings are necessary.
Go away! I have spoken of the problems of weather, light, and shooting through window glass. Motion. The slow shutter speed gave motion blur to the wings beating. And the bird in motion is too much for 1/250 to capture sharply even though the birds are roughly in the same plane of focus. The action is the point not detail in the feathers. I immediately set this image aside. Technically it has its faults.