Focus Stacked Macro images of a Bumble Bee on a Pink Zinnia Flower. Fuji recently released a firmware update for the Fuji X-T2 and X-H1 mirrorless cameras that allow the camera to take a series of focus bracketed images. The camera starts with a user selected near focus point, then for each subsequent image changes the focus point an increment further away (toward infinity). The bracketing settings are number of frames (2-999), step (1-10), and interval (seconds). Each of images below are focus stacked composites of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec) with a step of 10, and interval of 0 seconds. I used the Helicon Focus program to process the focus bracketed images to create the focus stacked composite. The result is an image with a depth of field much greater than could be obtained with a single image even with narrow aperture. Note the tiny mites on the back of the bee.
As noted above, I used a setting of 25 images, step size 10, and interval 0 seconds. I chose 25 images because that is about the number of images that can be taken (raw + jpg fine) in a burst before the buffer fills and the interval between images becomes longer. This allowed me to take the images hand-held (without using a tripod). I am not sure what the interval represents, and if it is different with each lens. The setting of 25 images and step size of 10 gives me a about half an inch of “in focus” range at a close focusing distance. Saving only jpg images would permit more images to be taken (deeper depth of field) and/or a smaller step size (greater resolution). I still have a lot to learn about using the focus stacking capability with this camera. Lots of trial and error. I am glade that digital memory is cheap, although processing lots of images takes time.
Bumble Bee on Ragweed Bloom. Assignment One – Part One
This week Thom Hogan is posting some photography assignments. Assignment One: “Here’s your first shooting assignment: pick the absolutely worst lens you own and go out and take pictures using it. Not just any pictures, but the best possible pictures you can. Learn to use whatever liability that lens has to advantage.”
I decided to do a variation of this. Instead of going back to the Sourland Mountain Preserve with a big telephoto lens, tripod, and 36 MP camera, I decided to go light, but still wanting to take close-up images of butterflies and other wildlife. I took a Nikon 1 V1 camera with the FT1 adapter with the 70-300 mm VR lens. This kit is almost 20 pounds lighter than the high end kit I was going to take. The following is one of the first images I took — a Bumble Bee in a Ragweed bloom.
Bottom line, I did get some good images and was able to hike a lot farther from the trailhead. I was not able to get an image of a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth, although I saw at least four during the day. One problem with this light-weight kit is that it is not as fast to compose, focus, and then shoot the image. Another problem with this kit is that with the FT1 adapter, the VR is on continuously — draining the battery, and you can only focus with the center focus position. I will be adding more images in the near future.
Images of Bumble and Carpenter Bees taken in my backyard this afternoon with a macro lens. The Bumble Bees were working the fast fading Rhododendron flowers for any remaining pollen. The male Carpenter Bees appeared to be flying stationary guarding territory — only moving when challenged by another male. The down side of the Carpenter Bees is the large holes that they drill into the wood around the house for their nests.