Members, along with guests from a number of local clubs were stacked up on Zoom to spend the evening with Ken Payne. Ken enjoys taking close-up images of flowers from his garden using various focus-stacking and image processing techniques.
Ken explained that whilst a macro lens is very useful for this type of photography it is not essential, you can easily get quality results by combining your lenses with extension tubes to shorten their focal length. We were also shown how excellent results can be achieved using a compact camera and some practice.
The key is to take many shots of the same subject and changing the focus plane each time. This is often done by mounting the camera on a rail which allows it to be moved closer to the subject for each shot or more often these days using functionality built into the camera.
Ken’s usual setup is to use a material backdrop in the kitchen with natural light reflected from white card or more recently he uses panel lights for a more consistent and controllable approach.
The images are taken into Lightroom where there are then ‘focus stacked’, this can be done with Photoshop or more specialist solutions like software from HeliconSoft. The resulting stacked image will then be processed to taste using a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop, often replacing or tidying the background to achieve the desired effect.
The first part of the evening was very practical, with Ken showing a number of different examples of his technique then for the second half we saw many examples of Ken’s excellent work as he talked through a slideshow.
It was a fun practical evening with some excellent images for which Ken was thanked enthusiastically. During a question and answer session Ken mentioned that he does a lot of work with Infra Red and invited members to join any of their Zoom circles. Ken has also produced a number of tutorial videos or is happy to help people learn the techniques, you can contact him to find our more over on his website.