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Thread: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

  1. #1
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    The focus stacking madness continues! I can't stop it. Here I have some old seashells that I've had in a box for years. I set up a "poor man's studio" if you will, using white paper, a light therapy lamp, some tin foil reflectors, a white trash bag, etc I don't know what you guys think of the sharpness or contrast, but I tried to go a bit dramatic on them to emphasize textures and patterns. The last one unfortunately shows some halos around the various items due to exposure and shadow differences. I didn't want to spend the time (yet) cutting the shells out to remove that. I also went extra contrasty on that one for impact. Let me know what you guys think, and thanks for looking and commenting.

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    Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    One word - WOW!

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Shame on you for posting such nice images in such a small size. You make me want to see much larger images!

    It will be well worth your time to get rid of the halos that you mentioned in the last one.

    In the first one, notice that the shell itself (as opposed to the hole in the middle) has less contrast than the image of the same shell in the last one. I like the additional contrast. Also notice in the first one, the shadow helps define the object. If you want to have more of an abstract look (you may not), you could eliminate the shadow either by how you light the subject or how you post-process the image.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 12th January 2013 at 12:35 PM.

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    +1 to what Mike said.

    Matt, you're really improving

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Impressive shots. Makes me afraid to dig out my old shells

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Matt,
    they all work for me; but I like No.2 the best.
    Thanks for sharing.
    John

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Terrific images. All that madness is paying off!

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    One word - WOW!
    My goodness, that was an unexpected but awesome reaction! Thank you so much

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Shame on you for posting such nice images in such a small size. You make me want to see much larger images!

    It will be well worth your time to get rid of the halos that you mentioned in the last one.

    In the first one, notice that the shell itself (as opposed to the hole in the middle) has less contrast than the image of the same shell in the last one. I like the additional contrast. Also notice in the first one, the shadow helps define the object. If you want to have more of an abstract look (you may not), you could eliminate the shadow either by how you light the subject or how you post-process the image.
    Mike, thank you for the kind words.

    I will probably do up another version of the urchin with more contrast and post it here soon, as I agree that the one in the last image looks quite nice. I may even make them all a bit larger, just for you

    I also agree that removing those halos will be worth it...it's just so much work since the wand and other quick tools get confused by the close tones of the shells themselves. I almost always prefer and use the pen tool to trace a path for my selections whenever possible, but when the subject has tons of edge shapes and detail it can take hours to trace. It's a sacrifice I'll have to make to get the much nicer image as a result

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    +1 to what Mike said.

    Matt, you're really improving
    Dave, you're too kind, thank you very much. I owe a lot of the credit for my improvements to you good folks on this forum. I'm thankful to have found and joined such a superb community here. Let the fun continue!

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Quote Originally Posted by plumcrak View Post
    Impressive shots. Makes me afraid to dig out my old shells
    You should dig 'em out! I'm always interested to see how other photographers treat a subject that I'm also shooting. Thank you for the comments.

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
    Matt,
    they all work for me; but I like No.2 the best.
    Thanks for sharing.
    John

    Thank you for looking and commenting, John

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Curtis View Post
    Terrific images. All that madness is paying off!
    Ken, thank you for the comments! I plan to continue the madness

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Matt,

    If I were to get rid of the halos, I would use a much different and less time-consuming method than you describe if I understand you correctly. I would use a soft brush to paint most of the area with the halo. I would paint using the adjacent color in the tabletop. I would use a very small hard brush only in the area that is adjacent to the subject to ensure that I don't encroach on the subject.

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    And I wonder, how would they look on a black background?

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Nicely done, Matt. I will agree with the edits mentioned above, but really a nice bit of work.

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Matt,

    If I were to get rid of the halos, I would use a much different and less time-consuming method than you describe if I understand you correctly. I would use a soft brush to paint most of the area with the halo. I would paint using the adjacent color in the tabletop. I would use a very small hard brush only in the area that is adjacent to the subject to ensure that I don't encroach on the subject.
    Sorry for the delay. Work and life have me busy, which I suppose is a good thing.

    So just checking to make sure I understand your method- you would actually be painting over the halo with the bg color?

    If so...my concern there is that I am then stuck with that same color, unless I paint over that again. Basically, I prefer to spend more time getting a precise path/selection so I have the ability to extract the subject perfectly out and then instantly and repeatedly change the background within mere seconds(or move the subject into another photo, etc).

    Anyway, that's just my personal opinion/method, but I can appreciate the ease and quickness of your method and would probably use it in some instances. Thanks for the tip.

    I am trying to get these new versions done up with the halos removed, and larger versions, some with black bg's, etc. It might be a while, but I'll do my best. Thanks as always

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Quote Originally Posted by rawill View Post
    And I wonder, how would they look on a black background?
    Thanks Robin, as mentioned I am trying to get some new versions up sometime in the near future

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Nicely done, Matt. I will agree with the edits mentioned above, but really a nice bit of work.
    Thank you, Paul!

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    Re: Dramatic Seashell Series - B&W Focus Stacked

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingSquirrel View Post
    you would actually be painting over the halo with the bg color? If so...my concern there is that I am then stuck with that same color
    Correct.

    I prefer to spend more time getting a precise path/selection so I have the ability to extract the subject perfectly out and then instantly and repeatedly change the background within mere seconds
    That makes sense too.

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