Wednesday, August 22, 2012
DARWIN'S ORCHIDS AND GOING HYPER-FOCAL
When chance and knowledge come together, things happen. I was asked to cover a social event at a local botanical garden in Caracas, Venezuela. As I walked the beat looking for new natural events, a group of white orchids stood out in the orchid exhibit. They had very long spurs dangling down from their flowers. The orchids triggered a small event in my studies on plant animal interactions, Darwin's Prediction, this was a classical event that occurred between the british naturalist and a Madagascar orchid. As a keen naturalist and observer of nature, when Darwing saw the flower, he predicted that its pollinator would have a long proboscis, and if you look at the flowers, it may be an obvious deduction. However, finding a Star Orchid or Darwin Orchid in bloom in Venezuela was not in the program.
I knew, that this was a life time opportunity, and I had to have the picture. So I placed my tripod on the ground and decided to do a pre-stacking sequence (Focus Stacking) on the flowers. What this means is, that one has to make a series of pictures of the same frame at different focal points as to to cover every detail you want on your subject. The best way to do this is using LIVE VIEW to maintain the frame in place and manual focusing the entire frame until your goal is achieved. One has to keep all the same light measurements throughout the sequence, and the best way to do so, is to place the camera in Manual Mode "M" and keep it that way until you finish your shot.
Then, after running your series in Camera Raw, one turns into Bridge-Tools-Photoshop-Load files into Photoshop Layers. Then, while in Photoshop, you go to the Edit drop-down menu-Automatic align layers-Automatic blend layers-Choose stack layers-and crop as desired. This will render a perfect DOF single image. The results are great. You can apply this technique to anything your imagination desires (Macro, Micro and Landscape Photography). In fact, you may use it in all of your photography, specially, if you want to get many HOW IN HELL DID YOU DO THAT? reactions from your peers.
As I do not have 40 years to see this happen again, I took the pictures and now I am sharing them with you. What can you get from all of this: Well, it is the fact that one should never stop studying, pay great attention to you favorite nature places, look into changes and details as they will surprise you, use digital techniques to improve you work and share your knowledge with others, they will be grateful you did.
LOOK AT THIS VIDEO CLIP:
The clip is part of the work of the american biologist and researcher Dr. Phillip J DeVries. What you see, is not even half of what is involved to record a moth
in the field. This work clearly shows, that in order to get incredible images, one has to endure incredible challenges, know what you are after, and have some luck, such as having, the right moment when the flowers and the moths will be there for you, to capture the special moment.Hats off Dr. DeVries!
ENJOY, I KNOW I DID.
Leopoldo "Leo" García