The Droplets

Last Thursday, I watched a YouTube video on focus stacking – where you take several pictures of an object and then stack them in a photo processing software, which then takes the sharpest edges of each picture and combines them.  I’ve tried focus stacking before, mostly in my snowflake picture Mittsu No Yuki.

This time, I wanted to try some warm weather stacking.

And it involved dandelions.

I found some dandelions on my front lawn, and misted some of them with a water bottle to get some droplets on the petals.

My Nikon Df was at the ready – I attached several extension tubes to the chassis, the extension tubes all leading to my Russian HELIOS-81 50mm f/2 lens.  We’re coming in close here.

A few pictures here and there, I had to rock my body forward and backward ever so slightly to get as much of the dandelion and the water droplets in focus.

And then … I combined the images in PhotoShop.

Here’s my first attempt.

Droplets 1. Nikon Df camera, HELIOS-81 50mm f/2 lens on extension tubes. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Wait a sec … did I get that?  Hell, you can see the water droplets and the tendrils of dandelion fiber behind the droplets.

Let’s try this again.  I found another sequence and focus stacked them.

Droplets 2. Nikon Df camera, HELIOS-81 50mm f/2 lens on extension tubes. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Better.  Sharper.  I’m feeling more comfortable with this.

Let’s try one more.  And this time … let’s throw it in black and white when we’re done.

Droplets 3. Nikon Df camera, HELIOS-81 50mm f/2 lens on extension tubes. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Even better.  I’m really liking how this is turning out.

in fact, let’s put one more in the mix.  I’ll get the shot, then I’ll flip it to black and white and …

After the Rain. Nikon Df camera, HELIOS-81 50mm f/2 lens on extension tubes. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

This.  This is the keeper.  I’ve got a nice framed light background for the dandelion head, and you can see the circles of the water droplets – and the reflections inside – as they pull down on the tiny fibers on the dandelion head.

I could call it “Droplets 4,” but I chose “After the Rain” instead.

And yes, it’s headed to the short pile.

Heck, it might even replace Mittsu No Yuki as my stacked macro photo for 2019.  Because, honestly, I know I can do better with those snowflake shots.

This image above may prove that theory. 😀