I think there are two basic types of photographers: those that prefer making images and those that prefer optimizing their photos in the computer. I think I belong to the first type… at least most of the time!
We all know that depth of field control is critical in macro and close-up photography. A large aperture is useful for isolating a subject from the background, but this can make it hard to maintain enough sharpness in the subject’s important sections.
The advances in image-stacking software like Helicon Focus, Zerene Stacker and even Adobe Photoshop allow us to reach the compromise between having both enough depth of field and isolation from the background that optics alone cannot accomplish.
In recent months I have made a comeback to close-up photography as part of a project that will document plant life in some special habitats. When composing a photograph the first decision I have found myself making is whether I can get the image in one shot (which I prefer) or if I must resort to focus stacking. Shooting a sequence of images over several seconds is hard to do in the field due to wind or even changes in ambient lighting.
I want to share with you a few images that illustrate the two approaches. They are all fungi: the mushroom season in Costa Rica is roughly from May through October but climate varies a lot in different regions and you can find mushrooms year round if you know where to look for them.
By the way, if you could help me to name some of these species I will be very grateful!