Sunday, 14 December 2014

"Agapanthus Dream" posted on 500px gallery

Whilst the sun is out, I continue my collection of flower macro shots, this time finding a bunch of agapanthus around the corner from where I live. Those purple flowers are beautiful, and form balls of flowers, contrasting with the green of the plant itself.

This one is a bit closer, and is taken this afternoon in natural light - quite a harsh sunlight, but creating a beautiful soft, dreamy effect.

"Agapanthus Dream" - (c) Gilles Royer 2014
The link to my +500px gallery is as follows, if you have time please come and visit: https://500px.com/photo/92579873/agapanthus-dream-by-gilles-royer

Thanks again for stopping by!

"A Flower's Genitals" posted on 500px gallery

Yesterday, I took a few shots of petunias in the garden. With summer here in Melbourne, the flowers my wife planted are in full bloom, and petunias of all colours are ready for me to take their portrait.

This one is a macro of the centre of the flower, showing the genitals of the petunia. That's what you call a nude portrait in flower photography, I guess! 

It was shot in full sunlight, about 4pm, and I also added the fill-in flash, so this gives to the surrounding petals a high key effect that I didn't mind at all, giving emphasis to the centre, yet showing the purple lines in the petals.

Let me know what you think...

"A Flower's Genitals" - (c) Gilles Royer 2014


And here is the link to the photo on +500px gallery: https://500px.com/photo/92502149/a-flower's-genitals-by-gilles-royer

Have a beautiful weekend!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

"Chrysanthemum Heart" posted

Went into the garden this afternoon, and shot this macro of the heart of a pink chrysanthemum. I cropped it to remove some of the background at the top, and focus on the yellow centre

"Chrysanthemum Heart" (c) Gilles Royer 2014

The link to this photo in my +500px gallery is here: https://500px.com/photo/91855361/chrysanthemum-heart-by-gilles-royer

Sunday, 30 November 2014

"Boats... an impression #3" posted on +500px

The third in the series, shot in Sandringham (Victoria, Australia) back in August. This series is inspired by the Impressionists, although this one is more after Georges Seurat because of its 'pointillism' feel - I know it's a far shot, but you get what I mean, I hope!

I edited a bit the photo in Aperture, to crop its format, and boost the light reflecting on the sea, and achieve more of a blue monochrome impression.

The photo is below, and I've also posted to my +500px gallery here: https://500px.com/photo/91272997

Boats... an impression #3 - (c) Gilles Royer 2014

For reference, this is my previous blog with the first 2 versions of the boats on the Port Phillip Bay. I think I prefer the B&W version. Let me know which one you prefer:
http://australianlightseeker.blogspot.com/2014/09/boats-impression-2-versions-posted-on.html

Thanks for your visit

Saturday, 15 November 2014

"Another Day at Work" posted on @500px

Here's another shot of the patch of daisies, that is situated near my house. I've taken quite a few photos of those, and posted them on my 500px gallery - they make for very nice spring images. 

This particular one was taken whilst a bee was busy pollenating, already with a nice crop - look closely at her 'ankles' and you'll see she has a nice collection of pollen ready to take back to the hive.

"Another Day at Work" (c) Gilles Royer 2014

Here's the link to my 500px gallery: https://500px.com/photo/89779663

Saturday, 11 October 2014

2 new photos in my gallery!

Today, I posted not only one, but 2 photos in my +500px gallery, both taken in the back garden this afternoon - a beautiful sunny spring day here in Melbourne.

First is a shot of a geranium, taken against the bright blue sky, from underneath - quite unconventional composition, but I'm happy with the high key effect, and the pastel tones in the petals

"The Back of a Geranium" (c) Gilles Royer 2014
The link to 500px is here -> https://500px.com/photo/86031959/the-back-of-a-geranium-by-gilles-royer

The second one is one from many shots of bees in the lavender - this one turned out quite sharp, with a nice glow of light reflecting on the shiny black parts of the body

"Afternoon Tea" (c) Gilles Royer 2014
The link to 500px is here -> https://500px.com/photo/86034809/afternoon-tea-by-gilles-royer?from=user_library

Happy spring!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

"Portrait of an Hoverfly" posted on 500px.com

Today I was playing outside with my daughter when I noticed a little bug on her. Coming closer, it was an hoverfly, that wouldn't move out. Upon closer examination, I quickly found that this was because of a broken wing.

I went to get my camera - the fly still on my daughter, not scared at all by the "bebete" (French for little bug / insect) - and came back to take a few shots. This one is my preferred one, and one of the few with focus spot on on the eye:

"Portrait of an Hoverfly" (c) Gilles Royer 2014

I also posted it on my +500px gallery under the following link:
https://500px.com/photo/85330385/portrait-of-an-hoverfly-by-gilles-royer

This was a great opportunity to take a macro shot of that fly, otherwise, I don't know how to get those close-ups of flying insects - they don't stay very long on one spot!

If you have any tips on how to take insect macros, please share them!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Sunday, 28 September 2014

"Pink Camellia" photo posted

Spring has nicely settled in here in Melbourne, and flowers are blossoming in the garden. This was is a pink Camellia, shot under natural light.

"Pink Camellia" (c) Gilles Royer 2014
I have also posted it in my +500px gallery at the following link:

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 22 September 2014

"White Azalea" photo posted

This shot of a white azalea, taken in my front garden yesterday, under natural light, has been posted on my 500px gallery (http://500px.com/photo/84103847/white-azalea-by-gilles-royer) as well on the Kujaja.com site (http://www.kujaja.com/en/photo/39575)

Hope you enjoy. If you do, please leave me your comments / impressions

"White Azalea" (c) Gilles Royer 2014

Monday, 15 September 2014

"Spring Has Arrived!" photo posted

Down Under, in Melbourne, this is Spring time - perfect season to get a beautiful strong light, as well as heaps of flowers and blossoms. 

Below is an example of this - a blossoming tree, taken just around the corner from where I live. I love the pink colours and tones, contrasting with the blue sky.
"Spring Has Arrived!" (c) Gilles Royer 2014
I've also posted the photos in my 2 active galleries:



Please let me know your views

Monday, 8 September 2014

"Boats... An Impression" - 2 versions posted on 500px and Kujaja.com

Last weekend, with the arrival of Spring, I headed off to the beach, in Sandringham, with the family. The light was really strong around lunchtime, yet it was beautifully reflecting on the water. Sailing boats were out on a race on the horizon, and the whole scene reminded me of some impressionist paintings (think Monet or Seurat), given the quality of the light.

I tried to render that impression in the below shot:

"Boats... an impression" (c) Gilles Royer 2014

The link to my 500px gallery is as follows:
http://500px.com/photo/81716257/boats-an-impression-by-gilles-royer and is also on the Kujaja.com website: http://www.kujaja.com/en/photo/36783

I also tried a B&W edit of the same image, that further conveys the subtle tones and atmosphere of the scene:

"Boats... an impression - B&W edit" (c) Gilles Royer 2014

Respective links are as follows: http://500px.com/photo/81842781/boats-an-impression-b&w-edit-by-gilles-royer and http://www.kujaja.com/en/photo/36918

Please leave me a comment and let me know which photo you prefer. Thanks!

Monday, 25 August 2014

"Lost in Bokeh" uploaded on 500px gallery

This is shot over the weekend in the garden - Saturday was a beautiful sunny winter day (winter has been too long and cold this year in Melbourne, bring us spring!), so I ventured in the garden.

This was effectively a weed flower in one of the pot plants, but is still very beautiful, and the contrast of the yellow on the green background worked quite well.

"Lost in Bokeh" (c) Gilles Royer 2014
The more I use my Tamron macro lens (the 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro), the more I like it. It's an excellent package for a reasonable price, and produces very nice bokeh in backgrounds. 

And here is the link to the 500px gallery:
http://500px.com/photo/80905223/lost-in-bokeh-by-gilles-royer

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

"Ants and Kangaroo Paws" on @500px

Today was a beautiful day in Melbourne, very sunny, and a very welcome break to a long winter this year. That got me in the mood to get out and take a few shots in the garden.

I was shooting some "Kangaroo paws", when I noticed one, which had just started to flower, was covered in a multitude of curious and busy ants - a nice addition to a flower macro shot.

So here we go, that's the shot that I selected to post on 500px.com:

"Ants and Kangaroo Paws" by Gilles Royer, (c) 2014

You can also find it at the following link:
http://500px.com/photo/80673039/ants-and-kangaroo-paws-by-gilles-royer

Thanks for stopping by!

Check this blog about wine - GrapeObserver.com

My good friend Sean is passionate about wine, and publishes a great blog, in which he reviews wines, and write articles re Australian wine region. He also just got published in an international wine magazine, which is fantastic!

Check his blog here: http://www.grapeobserver.com

I've also added the link in my "Sites I like" page

Sunday, 17 August 2014

"Portrait of a Heron" posted on @500px gallery

I shot this image during my early mornings shootings around Melbourne City a few weekends ago (refer previous posts). This one was taken at the end of one session, as I was walking back to the car, near Swan Street Bridge. 

I saw this white-faced heron (or egretta novaehollandiae) on the banks of the Yarra, and took a few portrait shots. I really like this one, as the grass by the water gave a nice brown background, that I blurred with a wide aperture (f/2.8), leaving the profile of the Heron standing out.

"Portrait of a Heron"
The photo is also posted on my +500px gallery, at the following link:
http://500px.com/photo/79954861/portrait-of-a-heron-by-gilles-royer

I hope you like it, and please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Thanks for your visit!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

"La Spirale" posted on @500px gallery

A photo taken during last year's trip to France, a little flower (I don't know the species) taken in the garden of my parents' neighbours, under natural light.

"La Spirale"
Also posted in my 500px.com gallery under the following link:
http://500px.com/photo/79866689/la-spirale-by-gilles-royer

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Photos from Queenstown, New Zealand

I've posted a couple of older photos (August 2010), when I went on a ski trip to Queenstown, New Zealand.

If you haven't been, and if you like skiing, that's a fantastic destination - 4 ski resorts are nearby (Coronet Peak, the closest, The Remarkables, Cardrona, and Trebble Cone), which gives you many options re skiing, with different degrees of difficulty. But Queenstown itself, on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, is a beautiful town, and will keep you busy even if you don't go to the snow (or if the weather is too bad to ski that day). There are many things to do, such as cruises on the lake, driving around the lake (so many scenic routes, see below), visiting nearby towns, including Arrowtown, Wanaka. There is also a longer drive to the mighty Milford Sound (didn't get there on that trip, but it's on my to do list!)




Here are a few pictures, that I posted on my 500px gallery.

1. View from the top of Coronet Peak resort

The most striking thing when you ski in New Zealand (or at least in the Queenstown area) is that the mountains are bare - not a tree. Not only does this lowers the risk of you running into a tree whilst downhill skiing, it also provides great views to the surroundings, especially when you are on the Queenstown side of the mountain, and you get a great panoramic view of the lake.


"The Quickest Path to the Million Dollar"
Here's the link to the photo on my 500px gallery:
http://500px.com/photo/79129857/the-quickest-path-to-the-million-dollar-by-gilles-royer

2. An icon from Queenstown - the old steam boat "Earnslaw"

When you're in Queenstown, you can't miss this boat. It takes you on a ride to an animal farm of some sort, but is also such an emblem on the town.
"An Icon from Queenstown"
Here's the link to the photo on my 500px gallery:
http://500px.com/photo/78938271/an-icon-in-queenstown-by-gilles-royer

3. View from the drive to Glenorchy (on the northern point of Lake Wakatipu):

A drive from Queenstown around Lake Wakatipu is a must when you get there. The landscapes are surreal, contrasting the mountains in the back with the changing colours of the lake. The photo below is taken on the way to Glenorchy, and gives a hint of the scenery you can experience, especially at sunrise or sunset. 


"Lake Wakatipu"
Here's the link to the photo on my 500px gallery:
http://500px.com/photo/6024110/lake-wakatipu-by-gilles-royer

Thanks for your visit!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

"Gouttes de Neige" posted on @500px gallery

Yesterday, I took the family to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort so that Elodie could see her first snow. I had never been there, but the weather was perfect - it had snowed the last couple of nights, yet, the day was nice and sunny.

The drive from Melbourne is very nice, going through the Black Spur windy road with its majestic trees. But the last bit, from Marysville to the resort, suddenly came to a near-stop - like driving to the City at peak hour, with an accident on the road! But I took this opportunity to take a few shots, with the iPhone (the camera was packed in the boot).

This one is through the glass roof of the car, where a few flakes of snow had fallen, then very quickly melted, forming some random patterns, through which I could still see the trees and the sky behind.

Thought it was a nice abstract shot, and again, I am amazed at the quality of the iPhone 5 camera - it gets the exposure spot-on every time.


The photo is also posted on my 500px gallery at the following link: http://500px.com/photo/78418675/gouttes-de-neige-by-gilles-royer

And finally, if you haven't guessed, the title means "Snow Drops"

Thanks for your visit!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

"Portrait of a Daisy" posted on @500px

Here's a simple photo of a daisy, taken outside, in natural light (although the weather was very grey / cloudy). Posted also on my @500px gallery here: 
http://500px.com/photo/77719385/portrait-of-a-daisy-by-gilles-royer



Thanks for your visit!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

"Morning in Melbourne" posted on my @500px gallery

The series "Morning in..." continues with this shot from Melbourne CBD. Amazing what motivation can do to me - waking up at 6am for a morning photo shoot seems easy that the same on the Monday morning to go to work. Go figure....

When I got the car out of the garage, I also noticed that it as a beautiful full moon, and once again, a perfect crisp clear sky, typical winter morning. So I headed off closer to the city this time (see my previous posts in St Kilda, Bolte Bridge, and Swan St Bridge), precisely on the St Kilda road bridge.

I set up my tripod, went to Aperture priority mode to get long exposure (I wanted that smooth/mirror effect on the water), and the remote control, and started to shoot, fine tuning to get the best angle and composition. First shots are a bit too dark, not enough light yet, but I got this one at about 7.05am, so technically, just before the first lights. The moon was full, and on her path to disappearing behind the foot brings you can spot in the background.

I was soon joined by a few other photographers and iPhone snappers, so it must have been a good spot!

Here's the shot I selected to post on 500px gallery (http://500px.com/photo/76655195/morning-in-melbourne-by-gilles-royer):



As the sun rose behind me, a hot air balloon appear on the left, in the background, soon joined by a couple more, and they made their way towards the Rialto towers (those 2 towers with an electric blue light at the top - quite a landmark in Melbourne), but it was hard to get both a long enough exposure, and the hot air balloons sharp enough.



Anyway, it was worth fighting the cold (must have been one of the coldest mornings so far) to get a decent shot

Thanks again for visiting!



Saturday, 12 July 2014

"La Mouette au Soleil" - New photo on @500px gallery

Today I posted a photo taken a few weeks back, on the same morning I tool the photos for the OMOE 2014 (One Minute On Earth - check the www.kujaja.com website if you haven't yet).

It was taken one my way back from the shooting session, going back to the car park from the St Kilda Pier. I saw this seagull looping around, then landing on one post, obviously enjoying a rest as well as the warm rays of the rising sun:


The link to the 500px gallery is below:
http://500px.com/photo/76325917/la-mouette-au-soleil-by-gilles-royer

What I liked in this shot is the beautiful warm light (arriving from the right hand side, where the sun has just come above the horizon), highlighting the details in the feathers. You can even see through the nostril on the beak if you look closely! 

Hope you enjoy, and thanks for your visit!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Not one but 2 prizes received!

I entered the "Architecture" competition on kujaja.com website, and got 2 prizes, which I'm quite exited about!

  • Curator's choice - for "ArtScience Museum in B&W"



Note I have previously commented on this photo on this blog: http://australianlightseeker.blogspot.com/2014/06/new-post-artscience-museum-in-b.html

  • Special mention - for "NY Sculpture", being a close-up shot of the Red Cube sculpture by Isamu Noguchi in New York


Check those photos, as well as other winning entries, at the following link: http://www.kujaja.com/en/photo-competitions/winner/Photographic-Competition-architecture-21-6-14

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

"Morning in Docklands" photo posted on @500px

Another photo from the series "Morning in..."

Winter is cold down here, and quite wet, but this is also a great time of year to get out early and catch the first lights, whilst the air is very clear and crisp. I went last weekend around Docklands (check the other post from the Bolte Bridge: http://australianlightseeker.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/new-post-on-500px-gallery-morning-at.html), and made my way along the river towards the city. 

By the time I arrived in Docklands, the sun was up, which gave me a beautiful warm light. I took this shot of the marina near Webb Bridge, and opted for a long exposure (6 seconds) to enhance that calm mood, and get the smooth effect you can see on the water:


I've also posted it on my 500px gallery, at the following link: http://500px.com/photo/76077427/morning-in-docklands-by-gilles-royer

Thanks for your visit!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

New photo on @500px gallery - "Morning by the Yarra"

Following my new series of morning shot, this morning I woke up early to capture the lights on the Melbourne CBD, starting from Swan Street Bridge / Henley Landing. Direct link to the 500px gallery  is here.


Thanks for your visit!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

New Post on @500px gallery - "Morning at the Bolte"

Inspired by the One Minute On Earth 2014 challenge a couple of weeks ago (please check kujaja.com for more information on OMOE 2014, and here or here for photos taken during that photo shoot), I decided to wake up early again today, and head towards Docklands, to get a view at the City from the West and at the Bolte Bridge (below).

This time of year (it's winter here in Melbourne) is great, as first lights are not too early, and the mornings are very crisp (which also means very cold, but those things I do to get a photo!), which lends itself very well to this type of landscape photography.

So here is the shot I posted on my 500px gallery (http://500px.com/photo/75673433/morning-by-the-bolte-by-gilles-royer) - I decided to go for a B&W edit, to enhance the mood and highlight the lights on the bridge.



Below is the actual original shot in colour


This is obviously a long exposure shot (5s). I also tried to use a new ND filter (+4), but the images above are shot without it, as I'm not yet 100% of the result. But I have a variable ND filter in the post, due any days now, so I'll give that one a try and keep you posted.

Let me know which version of the image above you prefer, and thanks for your visit

Monday, 30 June 2014

Special mention received!

I'm delighted I've received a Special Mention in the Monthly (June) Flower competition, on the (newly joined) Kujaja.com website (see the "Photo Sites I Like" page on my blog for more information).

The shot was "La Tulipe", that can be seen below. The winning entry is at the following link: http://www.kujaja.com/en/photo-competitions/winner/Photographic-Competition-Flowers-2014-5-20, and was also posted a few months ago in my 500px gallery (http://500px.com/photo/48290842)


Sunday, 29 June 2014

New post @500px - The Seagull and The Light

Following my shooting last weekend for One Minute On Earth project (see the great www.kujaja.com website), when I went early morning on the St Kilda Pier, I've now posted this shot of a  seagull (you can also see it in my 500px gallery: http://500px.com/photo/75113065):


This was taken about 7.50am, so 15mins or so after the sunrise, when the rays of the sun strike the water almost horizontally.

I was trying to take shots of the seagulls in full flight (quite tricky to get a sharp image, VR stabilisation or not on the lens!), and only got a few good ones. This one was shot against the water, with the sun light coming from beneath the body of the seagull, making the feather glow with a warm orange light

I also really enjoy the effect of the light on the water, which was very still that morning.

Hope you also  like it, and thanks for your visit!

New "Signs" Photobook competition - my entry

Hi

Another great photo book opportunity from the Kujaja.com website (see in "Photo Sites I Like" on this blog for more details ), this one called "Signs".

I've entered a photo taken a few years back (on film, hence the grain on the photo, as I had to scan it to post it) when I was riding my bike around Ile de Re in France. Follow the link to this entry: http://www.kujaja.com/en/photo/29439

Please visit the Kujaja.com site and vote for your favourite. Remember, those books are done to raise funds for charities, so every contribution is welcome


Note this photo was also posted on my 500px gallery a couple of years ago: http://500px.com/photo/6621380/

Photographically yours!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

My entry for One Minute On Earth 2014

If you haven't heard of it (and I hadn't before this year!) please go and check the www.kujaja.com website. It is a group of photographers who are running photo competitions, but also books for dedicated charities. One of their key book is the "One Minute On Earth" (OMOE) where photographers from all over the world all take a shot at the same time - this year it was at 9pm UTC on Saturday 21st June.

I decided to enter, because the photographers running it are so passionate, and it is such a great cause. For the Eastern coast of Australia, it meant it was Sunday 22nd June at 7am that I'd have to click, which is a great time to capture the first lights before the sun rises.

After a bit of to and fro, I decided to go for a shot in an iconic location, being the view of the Melbourne CBD, from the St Kilda Pier.

I put my alarm clock early enough, to have time to wake up, drive there, and set up before 7am (the photo must be taken between 7am and 7.01am). But... alarm went off, I snoozed, and I went back to sleep, only to look again at the clock to see 6.20am!!! I can tell you I've never been ready so fast, and the drive, luckily, was quick at that time of the morning (lucky - no cops either, I might have sped a tiny bit!!!), and I parked at 6.50am, with only 10 mins to walk the length of the pier, set up the tripod, and do a few tests shot. 

But apart from that, I must say it was weather perfect conditions for such a shot - although very cold (not to self - bring gloves next time!) - the air was very crisp, which made for a very sharp shot. Also, no rain, no wind, and at 7 am, the first lights are about to arrive (official first lights were at 7.10am, with sunrise at 7.35am).

Anyway, here's my entry for this year's OMOE 2014 photo book:
http://www.kujaja.com/en/photo/29362

Also, please have a look at all the entries posted on that website (http://www.kujaja.com/en/photobooks/photos/one-minute-on-earth-2014), the level of quality is really great, and the initiative is really fantastic - imaging a virtual community of photographers, all clicking at the same time around the world, unified for a common cause. Great work Gido and Francisco for organising it!

I also stayed a bit later than 7am, waiting for the sunrise, and posted one on my 500px gallery:
http://500px.com/photo/75013109


Saturday, 14 June 2014

New post - White Chrysanthemum @500px

A new post (the second today, I'm on a roll!) on my 500px gallery (http://500px.com/photo/73650851/white-chrysanthemum-by-gilles-royer):




This is another example of macro using the focus stacking technique. For further information and a worked example of this technique, refer my previous post http://australianlightseeker.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/focus-stacking-worked-example.html

The Story Behind... Portrait of a Giraffe @500px

Just posted a new photo in my 500px gallery (http://500px.com/photo/73635573/portrait-of-a-giraffe-by-gilles-royer)



Although I wish I had taken this one in Serengiti reserve in South Africa, I must admit this is a photo taken at a zoo - I know a few hard core animal photographers believe taking animal photos in zoo and parks is cheating, but that's only their opinion!

This particular one was taken in Singapore Zoological gardens, which I visited with my wife and daughter during a recent trip. This zoo is fantastic - big, clean (you're in Singapore after all), a train is running all around if you get tired, and they even have a polar bear in there - not bad when outside temperature is 30 degrees+ and humidity probably over 80%

One of the highlights was actually to go and feed the giraffes - you make your way to a raised platform, buy a plate of cut veggies /fruits for 5 Singapore dollars (it's a donation), and wait your turn to get 2 or 3 giraffes popping their head over the platform's balustrade, and display a very curly tongue to grab some pieces of fruit - I'm sure they are well fed at any time, yet this must be a treat for them! 

If you have a chance to get there, this is a highly recommended family activity - plus the photographer in you will be spoilt!

Thanks for your visit and ongoing support

Saturday, 7 June 2014

New Post on my @500px gallery

I've just uploaded on 500px (http://500px.com/photo/72917479) another view of the ArtScience museum in Marina Bay, Singapore:


I'm really fascinated by this architecture, and I remember first discovering it years ago on the Megastructure TV show, which was documenting the building of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the associated area. It is actually a technical prowess to build a building in such a shape, and it looks really beautiful from any angle

Thanks for your visit!

Friday, 6 June 2014

I made it to the Trending Profiles @500px

I've quite excited I've made it to the new "Trending Profiles" page in 500px, under "Macro" category. Direct link here -> http://500px.com/profiles?categories=Macro

Just thought I'd let you know :-)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

New post - ArtScience Museum in B&W

Just posted a new photo in my 500px gallery, titled "ArtScience Museum in B&W". You can see it here http://500px.com/photo/72633735



This is obviously a photo from the iconic ArtScience museum in Singapore, in the Marina Bay Sands area. This is an amazing architecture, shaped as a lotus, and is an engineering prowess too.


Saturday, 17 May 2014

Focus Stacking - a worked example / tutorial

Over the last couple of years, I've developed a great interest in macro photography, partly because of the birth of my daughter (limiting the opportunities to travel the wold as much), and partly because of the incredible diversity of our environment, where even small bugs and flowers can reveal beauty,

Whilst posting flower macros on my portfolio on 500px.com, a very nice follower suggested I tried focus stacking technique. I hadn't heard much of it, but a quick Google search revealed that this allows, a bit like HDR processing for exposure, to combine multiple images with different focus areas into one image with a deeper depth of field.


By its very nature, macro lenses (and shots) have a very shallow depth of field, the closer you get to the subject. This of course allows for beautiful separation of subject against its background, as well as nice bokeh effects, etc. but this means that 1) the subject has to be parallel to the plane of the sensor and 2) only part of the subject (if very close) can be in focus. 

Whilst this creates a nice creative effect, that I don't mind in a shot such as this one: http://500px.com/photo/60868800/dew-on-agapanthus-by-gilles-royer, it was worth having a try at this new technique. 

I'm very happy with the results I got, and here are some very basic steps to achieve it:
1. Get your tripod out! 
Whilst I usually try to keep my shots handheld for most images, for focus stacking, you need at least 4 images (and I've gone up to 12 photos) to merge together, so tripod is a must, so you get consistent framing and exposure (note that the framing slightly changes across your shots as you modify the focus, but the stacking process takes care of this)

2. Set your camera to manual focus
This is imperative, as you are going to change, on the same photo, the area of focus, so the best is to do this manually (some more advanced options involve macro rails and live view, but I don't have either!!)

3. Set your scene 
In this example, I've got an area of my garage set as a temporary studio - one sheet of black cloth as background, a double garden light (thank you Bunnings!) with 500W bulbs, and something to hold a flower (that's where your creativity is also tested)

4. Frame your shot
Set your tripod to the right distance, your lens to the desired distance (if not a fixed lens), and check your exposure (I prefer to use an aperture-priority mode, with an aperture at 5.6 or whereabout)

5. Take shots and vary the focus as you go
There are no rules, but I prefer to start with the very first area of the subject (here, the front petal of the flower) in focus, then manually move the focus area (I do this with the view finder, but if you have a camera with live view, that's probably easier), shoot, move the focus, shoot again, and repeat until the further away area is in focus

Here are the 10 images I shot for this example - you can see the change in focus area as you scroll down












6. Get to your computer
Now that you have all your photos (and downloaded), you need a software to merge (stack) them - once again, a quick Google search pointed me to a few options, and I tried ZereneStacker. 

7. Let the magic happen
Once in ZereneStacker, simply drop all your files into the drop area, and select Stack > Align & Stack All option. There are 2 options available, PMax and DMap - I haven't yet worked out the exact differences, so I run both and then select the best outcome. In this example, this was the PMax version I kept

And here is the result (also posted on 500px: http://500px.com/photo/70665337/chrysanthemum-in-focus-by-gilles-royer)


Hope you found this tutorial useful. Happy to have your comments, and suggestions re other software / how to improve this technique