Focus Stacking Bees & Wasps

July 15, 2016

The longer that I've worked on the farm the more that I've noticed all of the tiny creatures from bees to spiders, to beetles. Some creatures are beautiful and some look like aliens but either way I don't think people really get to see the true detail of these tiny animals. One of the ways I like to show off the details of bugs is using a technique called focus stacking. Focus stacking is the process of combining multiple photos that are shot at different distances to the subject. Then the photos are stitched together making a wide depth of field that wouldn't otherwise be possible. It wasn't until I began using this technique that I realized just how much fur bees tend to have.


While I was at Langara College, I had the opportunity to learn how to focus stack. I also had access to all of the school's amazing equipment which I'm currently missing...a lot. But it just means that I have to get a bit more creative with my lighting.


Instead of having numerous flashes I now have one to work with.  I use a flash over top of the subject (the bee) that is between 2 white pieces of paper. The white papers at the sides of the bee bounce the light back on to the sides of the bee and it's pretty much like I have 3 flashes instead of one. After taking all of the photos I use either Photoshop or HeliconFocus to combine the photographs into a single image.


The images that I've created have been made using anywhere from 9-28  photos. But as with most things in life some people like to take things to the extreme. A photographer in London by the name of Levon Biss created a whole gallery amazing macro photography of bugs. Each image in the gallery is made up with 8000 t0 10 000 photos! His photos are absolutely stunning and shed light on just how beautiful bugs can be. You can check out the gallery here.



















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