Focus Stacking: Infinite depth of field and maximum sharpness without a tilt-shift lens
Focus-stacking is a technique that macro photographers have used for years to maximize depth of field in close-up images. You can apply the same technique to landscape photos, too. While dedicated focus-stacking software has been around for a long time, this tool is now built-in to Adobe Photoshop CC (you just have to know where to find it). That means if you have the Adobe Photography subscription package, you can start experimenting with focus-stacking right away.
Free Download: Focus Stacking Guide (PDF)
I’ve put together a FREE focus stacking guide (PDF eBook) that you can download for free. Simply add the item to your cart and proceed to free checkout. The file will be delivered to you via email.
My focus stacking guide will show you how to:
Process RAW images in Adobe Lightroom
Merge and mask the stacked images automatically in Photoshop CC
During yesterday’s “Mastering the Lightroom 5 Develop Module” online class, we took a look at the power of RAW editing by working on an image that might not have been too inspiring straight out of the camera:
What I liked about the shot, though, was the light hitting the peaks and the clouds. This image represents a typical set of challenges in outdoor photography. Wide dynamic range between the sky and the foreground, mixed lighting between the sky (daylight) and the hills (shade), and low contrast overall.
We used the full set of tools in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 to adjust the RAW image, and then we applied Skylight Filter and Pro Contrast in Color Efex Pro 4 to make the final image pop. The end result is far more spectacular, and captures the feeling we had when we were actually there shooting this on the Badlands Photo Safari.
The D7000, to me, has always been a “close but not quite” camera. By all accounts, its sensor is really good. However, the smaller form factor and diminished performance (AF, frame rate, bracketing limitations) dissuaded me from getting one as a D300s replacement. The biggest surprise to me when I read Nikon’s announcement was the subheadline:
Some of you may have noticed that I’ve recently been posting a lot of HDR photographs here and on my G+ page lately. Part of the reason is because I enjoy being creative, and HDR is one of my creative outlets. The other reason is that I’ve had the opportunity to test the latest version of Nik Software’s HDR tone-mapping software, HDR Efex Pro 2.0, which was formally announced today and is available now.
At first glance, version 2.0 might seem like a minor revision, with subtle improvements to the interface and control sliders. However, I can honestly say that after testing HDR Efex Pro 2.0 for the last few months, I will not be going back to version 1. My HDR images are consistently better across the board with version 2.0; they have better color, better sharpness, and superior tone-mapping effects.