rhododendron in rain

June 16, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

A light rain fell, and I wandered my backyard with a hotel shower cap over my camera (a perfect DSLR rain-jacket, but lift it off before shooting!). Spring gold had given way to summer green. Not terribly photogenic. However, the rhododendron was just beginning to blossom, and the light rain made for lovely droplets on the petals and stamens. 

DSC03794-Editrhododendron in the rainA portrait of stamens in the rain.

Being as close in as we are, depth of field is a major problem. I could get at most two stamens in focus at a time if I wanted the flower itself to be a blur of color. And of course that's exactly what I wanted. In my mind's eye, I saw the stamens rising out of a pink and orange fog. A very small aperture (say f/22) might have given me all of the stamens in focus, but then the blossom would have been in focus as well. Not what I had in mind. I wanted a focused foreground and a blur of a background.

So I used focus stacking. The final image as you see it here is composed of half a dozen shots, each taken with a different point of focus. The shots are then blended through the magic of Photoshop, which is able to select the in-focus portions of each shot and blend them into one image. Back in the day of film, I don't think this would have been possible, or if it was it would have been brutally difficult. But today's cameras are essentially computers attached to lenses. They open doors to focus stacking, exposure blending, color manipulation, cloning, and many other techniques that allow today's photographer to get closer and closer to that perfect image that lives only in the imagination. 


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