Category Archives: Digital Imaging

Digital Group Meeting 24th Nov


Please find some notes from Ross following his tutorial to the Digital Group on 24th November

Subject: Photo For the Digital Group.

Basic setup.
Requires no high speed shutter.

Create a mini studio on a solid base.

Camera Setting:
Set camera to manual
Set Flash to Manual
Set camera timer to 10sec run out of the dimly light room.
Exposure 2sec and rear curtain flash synk (Reduces shutter vibration)
Adjust flash power and aperture for exposure.

More defusing (Kitchen Towel) on main flash heads will soften the shadows.
If you are stacking, this is achieved by sliding the camera along the Arca Swiss rail using the printed scale.
The final image was created with filters in Photoshop (background only) the butterfly was masked off and remains untouched.
Set one of the main flash heads 1-2 stops higher than the other to create shadowing and visual depth.

Use Arca Swiss comparable slides, supports camera plates and clamps.
Also Hejnar Photo
Articulated flash gun support arms
Backgrounds must be non resin coated paper.

19 copy

Ross Laney

Please find a piece from David Harris on Macro and Close-up photography. This is dated 2013 but is still relevant .I hope to get some notes from Ross following last weeks demonstration.


Macro and Close-up Photography

(notes by David Harris with thanks to John Humphries)

Definition We use the term ‘macro’ loosely and freely apply it to any close-up image, especially of wildlife subjects. Technically, however, macro photography is the production of images which range from life-size on film or sensor (1:1) to around 25 times magnification. The accepted parameters are

  • Close up 1:20 to 1:1
  • Macro 1:1    to 25:1
  • Photomicrography 25:1 to 100:1+

Key considerations

Movement At high magnification, the slightest movement of the camera or the subject will blur the image. If possible the camera should be mounted on a sturdy tripod or, if low down, on a bean bag or similar. If the camera is handheld or there is any wind to speak of, high shutter speeds will be needed.

Depth of field The depth of field in macro photography is often extremely limited, sometimes a fraction of a millimetre. To maximise depth of field it will usually be desirable to close down the aperture. (For 1:1, depth of field goes from 0.8mm at f5.6 to 2.1mm at f22.) It may also be necessary to compose the subject in such a way that the elements to be in focus fall, so far as possible, in the same plane.

Lighting   Good lighting is necessary both to show the subject to best advantage and also to allow the lens to be stopped down without resulting in an unacceptably slow shutter speed. However, the closeness of lens to the subject will probably exclude the use of on-camera flash.


Dedicated macro lens Specifically designed for close-up work. Generally come in three focal lengths ~ 50mm, ~100mm, and ~200mm. The longer the lens, the greater the stand-off distance (good) but also the greater the expense and weight (not good). Straightforward to use. Most macro lenses make excellent portrait lenses (but not the Canon MP-E65).

Supplementary lens Cheap alternative – a magnifying lens that screws onto the filter thread. Some loss of quality is normal.

Teleconverter Fits between the lens and the camera body, and relatively light and cheap. 1-2 stops loss of light.

Reversing ring An adaptor that enable the lens to be reversed with complications to manage!

Coupling ring Joins two lenses together, one reversed on to the other making the reversed lens a high power supplementary. Some challenges.

Extension tube Probably the favoured option, if a macro lens is not available. Often sold in sets of three, and best with relatively short lenses. An extension of 50mm enables 1:1 to be achieved with a normal 50mm lens.

Bellows Same principle as extension tubes but fully variable. Cumbersome, but can provide extremely high magnification ratios.

Macro flash Ring flash or twin units mounted on the front of the lens.

Focusing rail Fits between the camera and a tripod or other fixed mount and enables the camera to be moved very accurately forward and back and side to side. See section on Focus Stacking on next page.

Flexible clamps Invaluable for holding subjects in front of the lens in a pseudo studio setting or outside, and also for stabilising flowers etc. in breezy conditions.

Shooting close up and macro

Fieldwork (just my own thoughts)

  • The usual rules of thumb about composition apply, as do the requirements for the category of image you have in mind (wildlife/natural history, visual art, other). Think about what you are trying to portray.
  • Try to isolate your subject from all but the essential background elements.
  • Try using a printed out-of-focus background to screen off clutter and maintain light levels
  • Approach insects slowly, and learn by trial and error what they will tolerate.
  • Try using a gentle clamp attached to a tripod to fix the position of flowers and grasses wafting in the wind.
  • Use spot autofocus judiciously – it’s generally the eyes that have to be pin-sharp. Manual focus with controlled body-swaying through the focal plane may give you more control.
  • Bright direct sunlight can be very hard to manage: shadows, burnt-out reflections and colour washout being the most common snags. Direct flash (macro or other) can produce bright reflections on shiny insect wings and bodies. Ambient light on a bright but hazy day is best if you can balance the other parameters.

Focus stacking

A software enabled technique that combines a series of images and in which the software chooses the sharpest elements of each for merging into the final picture. The basic sequence is:

  • Take a series of pictures focused at different points, covering all areas that are required to be ion focus;
  • Combine the images into a single image file
  • Align the images
  • Use the software to blend the images

RPS expert John Humphries suggests 4 software options. I use Photoshop CS6 and cannot vouch for the others.

Photoshop – CS4 onwards

Helicon Focus

Zerene Stacker

CombineZP (freeware)


  • The subject must be completely stationary during the image sequence. A tripod and mount for the subject are recommended.
  • Focusing adjustments can be made using the focus ring of the camera, or by moving the camera on a focusing rail which can give very fine control. Focusing rails come in a range of sizes, starting at around £45. Fancy computer-controlled tracks will cost £100s.
  • Be aware of the slight change in perspective and the relative positions of the elements in your picture as the point of focus progresses.
  • Even powerful software has its limitations – complex, deeply separated, sculpted or filamentous 3D shapes can change in perspective between each step of the stack and give the programme mapping conflicts that are impossible to resolve. Don’t expect miracles of blending.
  • Focus stacking is processor intensive and stacks of complex images or large numbers of images may well take a while to process. I have blended over 40 images at a time, but this is rare – typically, I combine 15-25 images.

It is possible to use focus stacking in ‘normal’ (e.g. landscape) photography, but use of a tripod or other mount is well-advised.


(David’s) Procedure for Focus Stacking using CS6

(with prep work done in Raw Converter)

  1. In Bridge (or LiteRoom) select the set of raw images you wish to combine.
  2. Right click on one of the selected images and select Open in Camera Raw
  3. Above the thumbnails on the left, click Select All
  4. Make any adjustments you wish to the Basic, Tone Curve, Detail etc sliders on the right panel. Changes to these will be automatically synchronised across the entire image set.
  5. Make any further adjustments using the tools on the horizontal toolbar to any individual images. If you want the same adjustment on all images, click Select All, click Synchronise and in the new window click on ‘local adjustments’ at the bottom of the list, then click OK.
  6. Make sure all images are selected and click Open Images.
  7. In Photoshop, wait for the images to open.
  8. Click on File menu, click on Scripts, select Load Files into Stack, then
  9. Click on Add Open Files (they are listed in the window), then click OK. Photoshop opens a new Untitled file and places a copy of each image as a separate layer within it.
  10. Select all the layers (highlight the top one then Shift+Click on the bottom layer).
  11. In the Edit Menu, select Auto-Align Layers, select Auto in the window and click OK.
  12. Wait for alignment to be completed. There may be some repositioning and stretching/squishing done to optimise alignment.
  13. In Edit Menu, select Auto-Blend Layers, select Stack Images and click OK.
  14. Wait for blending to complete – it can take many minutes depending on the oomph of your computer processor and the challenge presented to Photoshop.
  15. When the blend is complete, the parts of each layer used are whited out on the stack on the right.
  16. The combined image is a .psb type. It will need to be ‘merge layers’ managed and cropped – there may be some weird effects round the edges from the alignment stage.
  17. The blended image can be ‘mended’ by cutting and pasting bits from individual images if you feel you can do better than Photoshop!



Good luck.





David Harris

Chichester Camera Club

22 October 2013

023 9247 5259

Digital group Meeting 27th October

Lorna Brown

An Introduction to Composite Image Making with Layers and masks

Ann McDonald

Ann will give a tutorial showing how to draw the best out of an image and guide the viewers eye to the important part of the image.

Ann has asked for images for her to use for demonstration purposes. If you have an image which you think is “almost there” but just needs that extra something please send the file as an attachment to Ann by Sunday 25th at the latest.


Digital Imaging Group

The aim of the group is to further knowledge of Post Processing Techniques and caters for members of all skill levels from absolute beginner to advanced. The most commonly demonstrated editing programmes are Photoshop and Lightroom.

The group is open to all members of Chichester Camera Club. New members of the club will be especially welcome, as will visitors and those on the club waiting list.

Meetings are held on the evening of the 4th Tuesday of the month in the small hall at Tangmere Village Centre and start at 7.30. The charge for members of the club is £3.00 with £4.00 for non-members. Mid-evening refreshments are included in the cost.

The usual format for the evening is for two speakers to demonstrate skills on particular subjects for approximately 40 to 45 minutes each with a break for refreshments between each tutorial. The meetings are informal and both questions and discussion are encouraged. Notes on the tutorials are made available following the meetings.

Tuesday 22nd September

The group will meet for the first time this season and the theme of the evening will be the conversion of RAW colour images to Black and White.

Sheila Tester will demonstrate the conversion of a RAW colour image to Black and White in Lightroom CC.

Dave Abbott will then demonstrate the conversion of a RAW colour image to Black and White using a Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in with Lightroom CC.

Tuesday 27th October

Ann McDonald “Look at This”

Ann will give a tutorial on how to manipulate your image so as to draw the attention of the viewer to the most important part of it.

Lorna Brown “An introduction to Composite Image Making with layers and masks”

Lorna will give a tutorial showing how to use layers and masks to make up simple composite images

Tuesday 24th November

David Harris and Ross Laney  “Getting in Close. Preparing and Taking the Shot”

David and Ross join together to demonstrate close-up and macro work with particular emphasis on preparation, equipment and securing close-up images.

Tuesday 22nd December

No meeting. Merry Christmas

Tuesday 26th January 2016

The first part of the evening is still to be arranged. probably a tutorial on how to effect difficult “cut outs”.

Keith Sawyer “My Way with Composites”

Keith will give a tutorial on the methods he uses to produce his composite images.

Tuesday 23rd February

Richard Curtis, Principal Solutions Consultant, Adobe, Europe.

Following his very successful visit to us in November 2014, Richard will demonstrate some of the latest additions to Photoshop and Lightroom and will speak on a number of other topics we have submitted to him. The meeting will be held in the Main Hall.

Tuesday 22nd March

Janey Devine “Its all Quite Easy Really”

Janey will reveal some of the secrets of obtaining multiple images in one exposure and ways to produce other mystical effects. Members are asked to bring their efforts on these matters to widen the discussion.

The second part of the evening has yet to be finalised.

There will also be meetings on 26th April and 24th May and the programme for these evenings will be announced shortly.