February 2017

I was wrong when I thought that I could not use the focus stacking facility in the new Olympus camera I played with - you can indeed stack close-up images in Photoshop Elements 14 - but not automatically, and not neatly.The process involves using the panorama maker to throw up 3 to 5 separate images - the ones taken in the Olympus OM-D E-M1 mk II as a focus bracket sequence do very well. You then click the mask section of the layers and use a white brush to reveal the sharp section of each layer. It reveals the best of each and then the whole can be melded together at the end of the process. The full Photoshop program does this automatically, but the Photoshop Elements compels you to do the masking.There is also a Photomerge™ guided edit in PSE 14 that incorporates different versions of a group shot into an improved one. It also will do the trick, and does not require you to paint anything out.This means that you need not use a PRO lens in the...

I mentioned earlier in the week the unending quest for depth of field with studio tabletop illustration. In most cases of products or packs, we can shoot from such a distance that we avoid running out of depth of field. We select medium focal length lenses and stop down enough to get the thing sharp from the front of the product to the back. I do not know if anyone uses the facilities of the older monorail large format cameras to gain this sharpness - perhaps they would if there were an affordable digital sensor that you could slot into the back of the camera. But there isn't - no great new discovery of a 4 x 5 digital back has appeared.The pack shots take care of themselves - people also have the option for tilting and shifting if they use the larger full-frame cameras. For an amazing amount of money they can get tilt and shift lenses for their DSLR. Few give way to the need for amazement and many save their money...

One of the splendid perks of being a weblog writer is that you get the chance to try out new photographic equipment in your own time. It is altogether a different experience from that of reading Internet advertising or just hefting the gear in the retail shop. As a writer, however, you have to have something to say when you start typing - and the only way you can say it with authority is if you are going to do something with the gear that you know how to do.This last weekend I got to test-drive the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII camera with a variety of lenses - and the Olympus company were kind enough to match the optics to the tasks I normally do. It gave me a chance to exercise the camera in the studio and out covering a long distance subject. Every equipment test is, inevitably, a comparison with other systems  - so it is as well to subject the test gear to the same experiences as the normal rig.As the Olympus representative pointed out, however,...

And they were ably assisted by a bunch of the girls - last night was a special launch party for the Murray Street shop of Camera Electronic - and it featured a surprising number of the movers and shakers of Perth photographic retailing. Not that there was all much room to move or shake - people pretty well filled the floor. Still space for selfies.This sort of party report could easily dissolve into nothing but a series of shots of old employees and leave the average retail reader absolutely cold...