Ashland Daily Photo
Ashland Daily Photo - A picture a day from beautiful Ashland, Southern Oregon USA in the Rogue Valley
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Posts tagged focus stack auto blend layers

Keeping it all in focus

photomerge stack layers mount mcloughlin wildflowers lower table rock

Focus stacked Mount McLoughlin and wildflowers from Lower Table Rock

I tried another focus stack from a couple of photos I took this past weekend on Lower Table Rock. The results are better than my first attempt on Upper Table Rock earlier this year.

Fairy Ponds in Lithia Park

photomerge focus stack fairy ponds lithia park ashland oregon

Fairy Ponds in Ashland’s Lithia Park

Spring is a good time to photograph Ashland Creek in Lithia Park as the water levels tend to be higher, the rocks extra mossy, and you can even find an occasional spot with flowers.

My first (not entirely successful) focus stack

This past weekend I was hiking on Upper Table Rock. The ground was covered with wildflowers and snow-covered Mt. McLoughlin looked splendid in the distance. So I took this photo of the wildflowers.

foreground focus

foreground focus

But I wanted a photo with Mount McLoughlin in focus so I took another one.

distant focus

distant focus

When I got home I was a bit disappointed in each photo.

My photography and Photoshop skills are completely self taught. I have never taken a class, had a tutor/mentor, or even read a book on either subject. I’ve learned merely by trial and error with my camera and trying different things in Photoshop.

So what I wanted to do was combine the above two photos. I did so by using Photomerge (under File/Automate) in Photoshop and unchecking the “Blend Images Together” option. Hit F7 to see the layers if your layers box isn’t already open. Select both images, and use Auto-Blend Layers (under Edit) to stack the images. The result is below.

photomerge focus stack upper table rock mt mclaughlin

Photomerged focus stack

It’s not perfect, but now I have a new option at my fingertips in the future. Two things I need to do differently:
1) Take more than two photos. Notice how the finished result is out of focus in the middle. Had I taken three or four photos, each with a different focus point, the entire stacked photo could have been in focus.
2) Maintain the same, or nearly the same, composition (and camera settings–shutter speed, ISO, aperture). I recomposed the scene a bit after taking the first image which doesn’t make for the best stacking conditions later in post.

A more recent focus stack of a similar scene can now be found here.

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