Saturday, 27 November 2010

Photo Stacking

I've blogged about this before, but I am still impressed by the photo stacking software available from Helicon Focus. I originally came across it on Chris Nevards blog and tried the "free" version which gives you a limited time to use the software. With my recent return to a smaller scale I found the challenge of taking photos that are all in focus hard, my compact camera has manual settings but even so I can only adjust the F stop to a maximum of F7.6

The basic principal of photo staking is to take several pictures of the same subject with as near as possible the same centre point but different focal points. The more pictures you take the more depth you can achieve.

These 2 pictures illustrate the point.. In the first the camera was focused on the loco, with the view finder square having its top left corner corner lined up with the top front of the cab.

Note how the loco is in focus but the weeds in the foreground are not. In the next picture taken straight after , I rotated the camera and selected the weeds as the centre of focus,half depressing the shutter button and keeping it depressed I rotated back so the view finder square having its top left corner corner lined up with the top front of the cab. Fully depressing the shutter then takes the picture. Note now the weeds are in focus but the loco is not.

Finally the two pictures are loaded onto the laptop and Helicon Focus is opened, import the 2 pictures and hit the "run button" this is the fascinating bit, without any help it s process's both images and picks the in focus bits to combine into one picture, giving this .....

Now much more is in focus, giving in my opinion a more realistic picture. The weeds on the right are still a bit blurred, I could have took a 3rd picture with them as the centre of focus and "stacked" the 3 of them which would have cured this.

Along with playing with the computer I have also been working on the foreground of this side of the layout, in an escape from my norm i have gone for something big in the foreground, it makes taking pictures harder but I want the railway to look like its "in" the scenery rather than in front of it.


Gene said...

That is very cool software!

Duckie. said...

Will have to try that system John


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