View Full Version : Scondola Sunset - focus stacking

03-11-2013, 08:44 AM
After talking with Marko about focus stacking last week, I went to process another photo I had taken on Corsica last year. I thought I'd show it here as another example.

In the podcast the question was raised, how focus stacking works with moving subjects. My answer was it can be a real pain but somehow it can be done.

Movement was also one of the reasons why I waited so long to process this photo and for sure it was a pain to blend.


The bushes you see in the fg were moving a lot because of constant wind. Also the light was fading very fast. During the shoot I did the following

- I went to f/8 which was the largest apperture that would give me at least a bit of dof to work with. The problem is the transition between the fg bushes and the background. The bushes were very close and the hills far away. There was no way to get both in perfect sharpness with one shot but f/8 at least gave me a bit of sharpness for the hills too - this was important for the blending at the transition. Also I went to ISO 400 to get short enough exposures so the bushes were frozen.
- There was no way though to get all focussed shots between those gusts of wind. There was always some wind. So I took many photos for the foreground, also many for the middleground and background to gather enough source material for the blending at home. I was hoping that it would be enough and fortunately it was
- Finally I also took a shot for the background at f/16 which gave me this nice sunstar effect. I also had to blend this in

Postprocessing started with 15 shots ( I only focussed to 3 different points but for each focus I took many shots to make sure I have at least one withough moving bushes for each) and took nearly 2 hours for the blending. I think no automatic software could have done this cleanly because of the constant movement.

The good thing is by taking so many photos I had enough source material to put together a sharp photo, which shows no movement at all. Would it have been easier with a tse lense -> sure, because I could have worked with a better dof. But then again, only the canon 16-35mm lense produces such a clean sunstar. In the end it's always a compromise it seems :-)


03-11-2013, 10:55 AM
Wonderful image - Great work Michael and thanks for sharing your technique.

03-11-2013, 08:52 PM
Great image that demonstrates well the strength of the process.

I am looking forward to playing with this technique myself.

Thanks for sharing your expertise in the above post, but also in the podcast. I think you have generated some real interest in the technique among the community.

Doug L
03-11-2013, 11:19 PM
Beautiful image! Definitely will check out that podcast. Thanks.

03-12-2013, 01:10 PM
Really nicely done! Can't wait to try this out.

Matt K.
03-12-2013, 08:59 PM
Well done, Michael. Love the colours and the sharpness achieved. I think i might have to give this a try ...

03-13-2013, 01:59 AM
Wow! Just incredible. Thank you for sharing your experience with this technique.
Did you ever try mixing this with HDR? I assume may not be needed as you could adjust exposure for each layer being stacked.
Danke und gruß

03-13-2013, 10:08 AM
Fantastic, thanks for sharing, I had never heard of focus stacking before.

03-15-2013, 08:46 AM
@ewaizel: I often do multiple exposures for different focused frames through simple bracketing. I did this for the sun here. But I never do HDR techniques, also for the dri I use manual blending. This step I do before the focus stacking most of the time but sometimes it's a mixed process.


03-15-2013, 01:56 PM
That is an amazing shot with the technique, and pp you have done. Love the depth in this one with that super clarity. Thanks for sharing this with us. Both this wonderful image, and the technique used.

03-25-2013, 06:41 PM
Love that technique. This may force me to learn photoshop.