110 layers

Nigella damascena "Persian Jewels"
Nigella damascena “Persian Jewels”

In the field, stacked focus close-up photography is iffy. Sometimes you get good results, but usually there’s too much wind, the light is constantly changing, or it’s impossible to control the lens with sufficient accuracy to get a workable stack of a botanical subject.

It’s much easier to do indoors, where there is no wind, you can control the light and background, and you have a focusing rail handy. The picture of the very three-dimensional Nigella damascena above was assembled in Helicon Focus from 110 separate f/11 images and has a total depth of field of roughly three inches — not bad for a macro. (Click the image to see it larger; right-click and open in a new window to see it at full size.)

If 110 slices at f/11 sounds excessive, you’re right. Here’s another picture of the same flower composed from a stack of 31 images:

Nigella 31

Continue reading “110 layers”

Testing, testing

One way to display a panorama without using 360Cities:

Treehouse

Clicking on the picture (if you’re using an older version of Safari) or the title in the lower left will take you to its Flickr page, where you should see it at a much larger size.

Click here for another way.

Update: This panorama is now an “Editor’s Pick” at 360Cities. Here it is using their embed code:


Treehouse in the kids’ garden

You can see another, rather different one of my panoramas at the bottom of their homepage.

More Kansas weather scheduled

We had a brown Christmas here this past winter. We’re going to make up for that with a white Easter tomorrow, or so the weatherman says, with one to three inches of anthropogenic global warming falling after midnight.

Weeping crab

Today was the first time in nearly three weeks that the wind wasn’t furiously howling all day long. I was finally able to get out to the botanical garden to take some pictures.

Continue reading “More Kansas weather scheduled”

Sakura, sakura

Okame cherry

Here’s a handy schedule of expected cherry blossom bloom times, in case you should be heading to Japan during the next few months. If you can’t go to Japan, you can visit the botanical garden in Wichita, where the Okame cherry, above, has just started flowering.

The Japanese apricot is in full bloom now. Thanks to new construction and landscaping, it is no longer possible to get close to tree, but you don’t need to get close to appreciate its powerful fragrance.

Prunus mume

Blue and black

Blue Diamond 1

I spent the evening photographing a tech rehearsal for a dance program. Here are three of the pictures. There are about 1600 more to go through. The dress rehearsal is Thursday, and I’ll probably take at least as many more then.

Blue Diamond 2

Elastic bands

Fuzzy details

Miscanthus

I did some preliminary spring cleaning in the tiny garden out front, and kept one of the plumes from the clump of ornamental grass (Miscanthus sinensis?) to give Helicon Focus a workout. The picture above was composed from 48 slices and has a depth of field of about three inches.

Show me to the fainting couch

While going through my archives, I came across an egregious example of cultural appropriation, recorded several years ago at a performance by a local ballet troupe. Be sure you’re sitting down before you view the horror, lest the shock stagger you.

Eye protection advised

How culturally insensitive can you get?

Blatantly offensive

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Unsurprisingly, a search online for “peter pan cultural appropriation” turns up many exposés and testimonies, from The Smithsonian on down.

It’s not just Native Americans who are victimized in Peter Pan. Pirate culture is treated without utterly without respect. An otherkin is labeled a “fairy” and reduced to an object of moe. This toxic tale in its various forms has warped the sensibilities of innumerable impressionable children for generations.

It gets worse

Victimizing pirates

Not to mention fairies

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76 pictures of Miku

Group portrait

More fun with Helicon Focus. The picture of Hatsune Miku below the fold was composed from a stack of 76 f/5.6 slices. The figurine is eight inches tall, including the base.

I recently discovered that LED light bulbs are available in “daylight” varieties, with a color temperature of 5000 K. I used them in taking these pictures, and I didn’t need to do any color correction. Previously, when I did series of pictures indoors, I had the choice of using flash and waiting increasingly long periods as the flash recycled between shots, or using incandescent lights and fixing the colors in Photoshop.

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Details, details

Paphiopedilum "Tokyo Black Knight"

Saturday was the fall orchid show at the botanical garden. Although it was Halloween, Dracula vampira 1 was missing. However, there were plenty of others to photograph, some spectacular, some bizarre.

The show gave me an opportunity to test Helicon Focus, another focus-stacking application. The picture above was compiled from four slices using the default settings, the one below from five.

Holcoglossum wrangii

I also ran a stack of images that Photoshop had trouble with through Helicon. It did much better, though the result could be just a tad sharper. The lack of resolution might be due to the particular settings, and once I figure everything out I might be able to get better results. (The same set processed by Zerene Stacker can be seen here.)

Bidens bipinnata