Monday, October 27, 2014

Shadow Witch Orchid

Between my boat tours Sunday morning, I photographed this 14-inch tall Shadow Witch Orchid next to the nature trail at Wakulla Springs.

Optionally click on the image for a larger view.

Details: I walked the trail to the location where Charlie Baisden told me where I could find the plants. I spread a sheet of Tyvek as a ground cloth to lie down on, then set up a tripod with the bottom section of the center column removed and the legs spread maximally to be able to mount the camera at a very low height above the ground. The camera (Canon 6D) and lens (Sigma 50mm macro) were mounted on the tripod and carefully positioned so that the plane of the camera sensor was parallel with the vertical stem of the plant. I activated live view and zoomed for maximum view magnification to increase focusing accuracy while manually focusing. Focusing on different flower parts from the nearest to the farthest, I took eight photos. At home this morning, I opened the photos as layers in Photoshop CS6 and manually blended the photos, creating masks to reveal the portions of the flower in each photo of the series in sharp focus. After several iterations of this "focus stacking", I flattened and saved the final image. Most all parts of the orchid are in focus in the final image, and the pleasant blur of the forest helps to isolate the plant from the background. Although a shutter speed of 1/25 second at an ISO of 800 was not quite fast enough to completely freeze movement of the plant by a gentle breeze, I am fairly pleased with the resulting image.

I discarded another image taken with a smaller aperture (F22), because the depth of field was too shallow to get all of the orchid in focus and the background was not sufficiently blurred.

No comments:

Post a Comment