Mushrooms and Help

So I got a used 105mm Nikon and jumped into Macro for fun.
I shot this today, just some neighborhood mushrooms.
I did pull some grass in front and moved some leaves around.
I started with 10 image stack, went to 14 and finally this is 27 images which seems kind of crazy…
Did I just pick a hard first subject or is there a better way?
I have been looking a Macro images, is there a book or blog anyone can recommend?

27 images @ f3.5, Nikon D610, iso200, 105mm
Processed in PS.
I did some fairly quick and sloppy cloning and bluring in the BG.
I used my bike light laying on the ground for a bit of sidelight.

What technical feedback would you like if any?


What artistic feedback would you like if any?


You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

There are tons of books on macro out there, Dan, but I haven’t looked at one since focus stacking became popular, so I’m not sure if there’s one on that subject. I suspect you did pick a tough subject. It looks like you have a lot of depth that you’re trying to cover and in Macro, that means a lot of slices. If your background was physically separated from you might be able to use a smaller aperture. You can use the depth of field preview to check to see if the background becomes objectionable, but for most macro I’ve tried, f/8 still has a relatively narrow depth and blurs most background adequately.

By the way, this is a very good image. I like the composition and I only see what look like stacking artifacts in a few places that aren’t really that noticeable (inside the cups of the mushrooms).

Dan, with a thick, complex subject like this, it takes many slices to get front to back sharpness in the subject, 27 seems reasonable. The details in the shroom and it’s separation from the background look great. Those two items are what stacking is all about and watching them through the viewfinder as you adjust the aperture is a critical element in setting up a stack. Several years ago, I did extensive testing comparing PS 6 stacking (with Helicon Focus and Zerene Stacker) and found that PS 6 always leaves some soft areas in the middle of sharp areas. You need to go to 1:1 to see them. As Dennis points out, the softness behind the edge of the top mushroom is a stacking artifact that needs to be fixed (cloned) in post or you need enough dof in the shot to get both the lip and the area behind it sharp in the same slice (which is often impossible). A macro stack like this often takes a ton of post processing if you’re going for perfection, but the results can be worth the effort.

Dan: I can’t offer you any help re a book. I do very much like your image. The dof is excellent as are the detail and textures that you’ve captured. Richard