DOF and High dynamic range

Hi. I was wondering what other people do with images that have a high dynamic range requiring bracketed images and also a wide DOF requiring focus stacking. Which images do you capture first the bracketed images or the focus stack images.

This is indeed a difficult problem that I haven’t solved. To take both exposure bracketed images and focus stacked images creates so many photos that my 71 year old brain gets overwhelmed in post. Mostly I continue to exposure bracket and just try to increase DOF focus by using a small aperture, ie, 16 or 22, and don’t worry about diffraction.

Thanks Tony. My brain is only a few years younger than yours but still struggles. I have tended to use the same approach as you do but one of my Covid related resolutions was to try and incorporate both focus and exposure blending in one image.

If you’re talking about landsapes then I would say do the foreground as all one exposure and focus stack that, this is where the focus stacking is needed. For the brighter sky just focus on the distant subject and take a few different exposures for the sky. Then in post focus stack the foreground, open the result in Ps, then bring in your sky images to blend the sky with the focus stacked shot. It’s really not all that more challenging. That is unless you have reflections mixed in with your foreground, then all bets are off :crazy_face:

Thanks David. That very helpful and that process makes sense. Just to be clear

  1. Set an exposure for the foreground
  2. Take 3-4 images to use for focus stacking the foreground
  3. Focus for the background/infinity and take several exposure shots for the background
  4. Bring the foreground images into PS and focus stacking them
  5. Bring the best background shot into PS and do exposure blending with the foreground.

Thanks David, that’s a brilliant solution. Can’t believe I never thought of it.

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Yes, that’s it more or less John! I prefer Helicon Focus for the focus stacking part, but otherwise yes :+1:t2: