Edwin Jones Photography | Hairy Spotted Orchid Focus Stacking

Hairy Spotted Orchid Focus Stacking

September 10, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

HairySpotted Orchid FinalHairySpotted Orchid FinalFinal

This shot was taken at West Dean Gardens, Nr Chichester, West Sussex. The real name of this Orchid is Kohleria Jester. In this picture the flower looks quite big. Actually the flower part is no more than an inch long. It is in one of the greenhouses. I immediately recognized  it from a picture taken last year, better than this one, by Camera Club friend and Flickr contact Roger Crocombe.  Although Photoshop can align images to be used for focus stacking it helps if the flower does not blow about too much so being in a greenhouse helped.

The camera used was a Sony A550 with a Sigma 28-80 zoom with a macro function at 80mm. Taken on a Tripod.


The 20 images were taken using manual focusing and small adjustments of the focus ring.


I took RAW images and converted them to Tiff using automate and batch and a Photoshop action.

The next step was in Photoshop to go to file – Automate – Photomerge. In the next window I browsed to the folder where I stored all  the images. On the defaults I left it on Auto but deselected blend images together and made sure all the options at the bottom of the window were deselected. Click OK and when Photoshop is done all the images will be open as separate layers. Next select all the layers Control plus A or Command plus A on Mac. Next go to Edit and select Auto Blend Layers and from the window select Stack Images. Photoshop then proceeds to select  and stack images using the sharpest part of each image and creating layer masks for each image layer.

If there is more movement it might be necessary to crop a fair bit but there was very little in this case. I did though crop for better composition.

A little extra detail with Topaz Adjust Clarity preset with adjustments to cut down the effect. I used a mask of the flower created with the quick selection tool to apply the edit to the flower only.

Tip – for these sorts of edits create the selection. If you will use it again go to Select and save selection and name it. For future edits of the same picture go to Select and Load Selection. To create a mask from the selection first if you have a blank mask on the layer or adjustment layer remove that mask. To create a mask so that edits will only affect the selected area click the icon in the layers area to create a mask. Your mask will appear as white where the selection was on and black everywhere else. To create a mask where adjustments will be made to everything outside the selected area hold down alt while clicking to create a new mask. Note- using masks instead of editing directly with selections gives much more flexibility to change the area the edits apply to later

Topaz DeNoise to remove a small amount of noise.

Levels used to reduce overbright areas away from the flower using a mask to exclude the flower .


Below are the Before and After images. First the original being one of the 20 images. Then the final focus stacked image.


HairySpotted Orchid OriginalHairy Spotted Orchid OriginalOriginal

Final focus stacked Image

HairySpotted Orchid FinalHairySpotted Orchid Final

For licenses and prints see Hairy Spotted Orchid

Edwin Jones


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