Stephen Johnson Tutorials: Depth of Field Expansion

Depth of Field Expansion

On my Mono Lake workshops last fall (2009) there were many instances where challenges created great opportunities for teaching demos. One such situation occurred staring through the old General Store window in the ghost town of Bodie. The depth of field demands of the image were challenging, so I decided to make three tripod-based photographs each carefully focused deeper into the scene. I then assembled the images in Photoshop CS4 from the three different focus points photographs, by opening them into Load Files into Photoshop Layers via Adobe Bridge into Photoshop, all Layers selected, then Auto-Aligned, cropping away any missing edges of the set down to where all images overlap, then Auto-Blending them into an integrated view where Photoshop creates masks allowing through only the focused areas. Lightroom also works to hand off the images to Photoshop. The results are not perfect, but very impressive.



Another simple example arose just in the last few days as I've been conducting a private workshop at White Sands National Monument. The Yucca were starting to bloom, and the moon was nearing full. One blossom head caught my eye as the moon came into view nearly aligned with it. A quick two shot focus on the flowers, then on the moon, made a nearly impossible depth of field challenge simple. The images blended quite nicely but really needed the Auto-Align as they were hand-held.


click images to enlarge

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