Focus Stacking - It Really Works!
Exposure bracketing is a well known and widely used technique that many of us use to increase the dynamic range of an image over what can be done with a single exposure. For some time, I've been reading that you can use a similar technique with depth of field (DOF) by focus bracketing several images and then combining them into an image with greater DOF than would otherwise be possible. So … I finally decided to give it a try.
The techniques I used were outlined by the Digital Photography School in a post you can see HERE, so I won't go into the details. However, I was surprised at how easy it is - only about a 5 step process in Photoshop and I've read it's even easier with Photoshop Elements.
The top photo is the final result after taking 3 images, focusing on each bird in turn. Just for comparison, here is the first photo in the series:
Then, just for fun, a few days later I decided to try something a little wacky. I only took two photos, focusing first on an object close to the camera and then on another object further away. I purposely did not focus on a third object in between. I was wondering if the technique would work to do something a little more creative by having near and far in focus with something in the middle out of focus.
Yes, I understand that this is unusual in that our human eyes never see that way, but I thought there could be a time when, for creative purposes, it might work … and it DID!
The image below is the result of that unconventional experiment.
Keywords: CS6, Lightroom 4, Olympus, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Photoshop, blur, depth of field, dof, focus, focus bracketing, sharp, thrumikesviewfinder
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