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   Old Thread  #2377 14 Apr 2020 at 9.42am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2376
I've found the humble pringles tube to be as good as anything, even comes with its own diffuser and the snacks to keep you going
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   Old Thread  #2376 14 Apr 2020 at 9.36am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2375
No - me neither. The nearest I came to an idea was those soft silver foil/white reflectors on a wire frame that you can bend about.

If you could somehow mount that and bounce a top-mounted flash off it. Not much weight but still just too bulky.

What about a high CRI torch mounted?
That at least gets around the problem of the flash not keeping up with the burst rate!

I'm never going to get the sort of quality that you see with an MPE65, Cross polarisation and a dead or frozen subject though, so It's more about getting the most out of natural light and accepting the limitations of that.
I'm happy with what I'm getting at the moment anyway.
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   Old Thread  #2375 14 Apr 2020 at 9.23am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2373
Iíve not come across a way of avoiding the specular reflections from a ring light. The benefit of them is the even spread of the light because of the proximity of the source to the lens. For a more diffuse source the light has to be larger and would be blocked by the camera, lens and photographer. A longer focal length helps with lighting as you get more space. Maybe one of those little soft boxes you can get rigged up on a bracket close to the lens might work as a more natural looking reflection. I canít think of a way that isnít going to add bulk though.

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   Old Thread  #2374 14 Apr 2020 at 8.05am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2372
Try it on trial first and see how it does YEMV as they say. full version free for 30 days.


The only editing I've been doing before stacking is the RAW conversion to TIFF which just maximises the exposure and a small bit of NR and capture sharpening.
Some of the more "random" framings have needed aligning and cropping in PS before stacking in Helicon, the alignment algorithm in PS seems to catch what Helicon sometimes can't.

Having said that I really should dust spot the layers first to avoid dust trails in the merge!

Spent all day yesterday exploring it.

The retouching is brilliant too, you get a circular brush which appears on both the selected layer view on the left and the stacked merge on the right in the same position, so you literally just find and select the layer with the sharp bit you want and paint it into the merge on the right.

Easier done than said!
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   Old Thread  #2373 14 Apr 2020 at 8.04am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2370
I do love the slo-mo stuff but if I got into that I'd be bulk-buying hard-drives! I have enough Gb of back-up as it is just from RAWS
Liquid drops are the thing I'd go straight for if I did, they always look really cool.

Re: Ring flash, all the shots I've seen of wildlife seem to have this awful highlight circle in the eye which looks very unnatural to me, that's one of the reasons I've not invested.
The other being more bulk to carry around as mentioned.
Just out of curiosity is it possible to get the benefit of a ring flash without that hard ring of reflected light? Can you effectively diffuse a ring flash I guess is the question?
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   Old Thread  #2372 14 Apr 2020 at 8.00am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2371
I'm glad you said that before I tried it

Got some work this week but got a couple of ideas for some shots later in the week. One will need cross polarising but I can't find the filter or my stepping rings

When you do the focus stacks are you doing any editing before stacking?
I'm looking forward to trying it out but the comments on focus breathing may explain why it's been hit and miss in the past, I know my 60mm is quite bad for that, the in camera function only works with certain lenses so I suppose it uses a correction profile
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   Old Thread  #2371 14 Apr 2020 at 7.35am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Worth bearing in mind is how much disc space Helicon Focus uses.
I did a big back-up to clear what I thought was plenty of space - about 42GB free.

While manipulating a stack of about 20 I got a disc warning - 2Gb left
I did have PS open at the same time with layers as well but it turned out Helicon was using something like 25Gb +

Possibly when you have multiple renders to compare, it makes lots of copies of the TIFF layers too.
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   Old Thread  #2370 13 Apr 2020 at 5.08pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2369
I had to dust off the cobwebs a while ago on the macro stuff. Wife wanted some iris shots of the family for some reason, probably a biometric scam or a picture for the loo maybe. Anyway, I used to do a lot of macro stuff in college and as a medical photographer. I really missed having a 200mm or a 120mm medical but got some reasonable pics with a Sigma 105mm on the D500 with a Metz ring flash. I had a Z 6 and a Nikon 60mm Micro on hand as well but the specular highlights were contained in the pupil and easy to edit out when using the D500 and the 105.

On lockdown Iíve been doing some poor-mans Slo-mo Guys stuff with the RX100 iv, some moon shots with a Nikon P1000 and turning one of the bedrooms into a camera obscura, it has kept the kids occupied anyway. Pinhole camera next.
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   Old Thread  #2369 13 Apr 2020 at 4.14pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2368
Same here - you may remember donkeys years ago I think it was the Daily Mirror used to do a "what is it" competition. An oblique, usually close up photo of some everyday object that you had to guess.

Always fascinated me.
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   Old Thread  #2368 13 Apr 2020 at 3.35pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2367
I've always been interested in macro, just the way everyday objects become surreal or insects becoming the stuff of nightmares. When I started getting into using flash, macro was one of the most demanding and critical uses I could think of. If you can get the light you want for macro, portrait lighting is a piece of cake. Shiny insects throw another spanner in the works with all those reflections throwing specular highlights where you don't want them. Cross polarisation is my macro equivalent of slapping inch thick makeup on a model to get a nice specular highlight in the eyes but not on the skin

Cinema 3d glasses work well as Flash filters, and my family go mad for pringles, so I had the diy materials to hand as soon as I'd been given the idea
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   Old Thread  #2367 13 Apr 2020 at 2.45pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2365
Loading in files is the same as PS and appears as a stack of layers on the right.
No masks though.

Split screen view with highlighted layer and rendered composite either side by side or top/bottom.

There is a choice of 3 Methods A, B & C all have a smoothing slider, and 2 have radius as well.

So you load in your files, choose a Method and hit render.

An output file is created in the split screen and a thumbnail for it at the bottom.
You can create a bunch of different renders to compare via the thumbnails, taking layers in and out of the mix as you like.
Easy to to add and remove images to the stack and also just to temporarily remove (untick) them from the render.
In PS this was a nightmare as you had to reload the images and start again every change!

Thereís editing (retouching) for each layer in another tab that I havenít explored yet, it seems brush based.
So far just messing with the 3 preset methods with their adjustments already produces much nicer results than PS.

Pretty powerful stuff.


Cross polarisation! bugger that for a game of soldier ants, I'm already experimenting way beyond my normal shooting.
I'll always be a field shooter so things like tripods and flashes and junk just weighs me down too much.

I just want to wander - see - get the best I can on the spot.
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   Old Thread  #2366 13 Apr 2020 at 12.21pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2365
Sure - I can only compare it to PS at the moment though. I think I'll probably pay for it.
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   Old Thread  #2365 13 Apr 2020 at 12.06pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2364
Would you mind doing a quick write up on helicon focus when you get used to it , I'm interested in that program and deep sky stacker but I think I'll need a more powerful computer, I need one with a better screen anyway

Your getting towards the cross polarised light stage now
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   Old Thread  #2364 13 Apr 2020 at 11.53am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2363
Hiya Nine

Well my accidental and unscientific method for live insects in the field was basically that, the slight(!) movements as I try to hold still causes variations in focus. Framing can be an issue and after aligning all the frames I have to step through and remove any obvious stragglers before blending..

For tripod static, and the seemingly "correct" way of doing it which is what I've been playing with this morning, the focus breathing is a more obvious issue.
I am using quite a large subject (dead bee fly) and getting it as close to the lens as possible, using 20-30 shots depending on f-stop.
Probably the worst case scenario but it's good to test the boundaries of what I have.
Basically it tells me when not to bother if I have to go past any particular setting in the field.

I'm unlikely to use a tripod with any regularity so a rail would be even less likely.

Just downloaded Helicon for trial as well and straight away the results far exceed Photoshop.
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   Old Thread  #2363 13 Apr 2020 at 11.13am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2362
Have you tried moving the camera for focussing? Either hand held or using a rail if you move the camera to acquire focus it avoids any issues with focus breathing which I would imagine would screw with focus stacking.
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