2021—Last Blossom

I love macro photography. I love flowers. And the combination can be magical. My new Nikkor Z MC50mm Macro lens is tiny and light and lets me get in really close to the subject like this California Fuchsia flower. It was early morning and there was a heavy mist that left drops on some of the petals. At first I was concerned about the movement of the blossom from the light breeze but the breeze soon calmed down enough. I set the Nikon Z6II on a tripod and moved it so the camera and lens were the midst of the plant and inches from the subject. To start, I set the image size to square which is what I often do when I take photographs of flowers. I used focus shift shooting so that I could get as much of the flower in focus as possible but keep the background out of focus. For me it is really trial and error deciding how many images will create the desired effect and deciding the distance to move the focus point for each image. For this shot, I took 150 images but only used slightly more than half of them, selecting the first 88 images. My starting point of focus was the pistil which was the part of the subject closest to the lens. As the focus point moved, in the last half of the images, the background came more into focus. I thought this was a distraction since I didn’t want the background in focus so I did not use them to create the final image stack. I used HeliconFocus to assemble the stack and in Adobe Camera Raw, I darkened the background a little more. The California Fuchsia has been a wonderful addition to my garden and the hummingbirds have loved it. This is one of the few remaining blossoms on the plant. It will stop blooming soon. It’s been a fuel source for the hummers all summer. Now they’re transitioning to the Pineapple sage which will stay in bloom for a few months until the spring flowers bloom.

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