When Stacking Goes Wrong

There are times when one just have to laugh at technology. Currently, our car is one instance with its irritating “BONG!” every time we turn it off even though everything is just dandy … everything except the monitoring system, that is. [Incidentally, Francine’s brother has christened it Zebedee. Inventive, I thought.]

The technology in my new OM-D E-M1 camera can go wrong, of course, too. It has the potentially very useful in-camera focus stacking that can produce excellent results. It has already produced good results on dragonflies which, when perched, sit largely still. If one is steady enough, it produces a successful result even hand-held which, over a period of ½ second, is pretty good – it speaks volumes for the in-body image stabilization (so-called IBIS). I’m perfectly happy with the fact that if one wobbles a little too much it fails to line-up the eight images successfully and comes up with a “stacking error”. Fair enough.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI tried stacking on a butterfly behind our property. Actually, this was unintentional – I had forgotten that stacking was activated. My butterfly was quite active, flitting wings frequently and crawling around a head of Red Valerian (Centranthus ruberso) so, having seen the stacking process begin, I was more than a little surprised not to get an error message. What I did get was what I can only describe as an error image. 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARealizing my mistake, I reset the camera functions and tried again. This is what the critter, a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), should look like. Actually, if you can catch a butterfly with its wings open there’s no benefit from a focus stack. Some species, though, tend to sit with their wings just half open, at 45°; then a stack could well be advantageous.

Flowers flapping about in breezy conditions would be a problem, too, of course.

How nice it is to be able to see such creatures towards the end of December, though.

Posted in 2018-2019 Winter

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