Signs of the traveler

Mealy pixie cup lichen and some mosses cling to the side of a boulder on the edge of the Prairie river. That line of spider silk let go part way through my bracketing session and that whole bit of moss with the red behind it fell down to its natural resting spot instead of being suspended like it is here. Funny. This is about a 25-image stack.

Also check out my stupid tripod tricks!


Specific Feedback Requested

Anything to improve is welcome. Too saturated? Wet lichen is naturally pretty colorful. I should have used my collapsible diffuser, but forgot and so the leading edges of the cups are a bit hot.

Technical Details

Tripod and CPL
Auto bracketing using the 0/-/+ method and probably 5 step increments. With no distant background to keep softly OOF, I chose f/10 for more DOF with each shot which gave me lots of overlap to keep things from getting goopy and OOF between. The 0/-/+ method moves the area of focus to the front and to the rear of the first location chosen, so I usually will go with something in the middle that will get me everything in focus in front and behind it. I find with this method I often need to get more images in the field than with 0/+. Make sense?


Lr for RAW adjustments including white balance, clarity, contrast, sharpening & nr. Tamed some of the green in Calibration. The usual tonal adjustments, but not a ton since I’d need to do more to the image when it came from Zerene. Synched Lr settings across 25 images from 2 different bracketing sessions and then Zerene for the stack and some retouching. I think this is a Pmax image. Lr again for a bit of a crop to emphasize the diagonal lines and improve contrast.

Kris, I appreciate you sharing your setup for this. Pretty neat. It helps too to realize just how tiny the scene is that you photographed. You have the patience of Job to do 25 images and then all of that post processing to reach this final product. Looks like all of your efforts paid off. I love all the different shades of green in the image.

Thanks @Shirley_Freeman - it sounds like more work than it is. The most time consuming part is checking the photos for areas of sharpness and then selecting them to work on as a group. I export directly from Lightroom to Zerene and none of the tiffs sent to Zerene are kept, just the final image. IRL this little bunch is probably an inch across. Lichen fascinates me.

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Hey Kris, this is a wonderful, intimate scene. I know I would never have noticed this microcosm if I had been walking by. You have a great eye for these things.

Well done with the taking, the stacking, the processing.

Thanks @David_Bostock - macro has been a major part of my work for over a decade so it’s second nature for me to see and exclaim over little scenes like this. Even in winter I’ve got an eye for the tiny bits of life and I love showing what can be found in the nooks and crannies. Stacking has opened this little world even more and I learned quite a bit from my time with this shot and some others on the same rock.