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Posted January 31st, 2016

Tiny Frosty Landscape

The tiny remnants of last season’s plant life poke through a thin cover of snow atop a barren hillside, and all is coated with hoarfrost. The scale of this scene is miniature enough that my macro lens was mere inches from the subject while I lay on the snow photographing it. The depth of sharp focus is very thin in such close-up situations, especially with the lens set at the wide aperture I wanted to use to produce a pleasant background with circular out-of-focus highlights. The solution was to take multiple frames, varying the focus point to cover the range of focus I wanted to capture, and combine them by focus stacking in Photoshop. At this very close distance and without my tripod, the easiest way to change focus is not with the focus ring but rather by moving the camera relative to the subject. Starting with the closest parts of the subject in sharp focus, I slowly rocked forward, pivoting on my elbow which was supporting me on the ground, while shooting in continuous drive mode until I was confident I had covered the full range of sharpness I needed. Only bits of these shots were sharp, but 8 of them combined to produce the image you see above.
Pentax K-5, Sigma AF 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro @ f/3.5