Making “The First Flower” with Kuuvik Capture

As I told you in the introduction of Kuuvik Capture, I used the software yesterday for shooting quasi-macros with the Canon 135 f/2. In this post I’ll give a detailed description how it helped me creating The First Flower.

Checking sharpness and histogram. Click the image for a larger version.

The final optimized image. Click the image for a larger version.

The biggest challenge was keeping the appropriate depth of field, without the softening effect of diffraction. I would like to expose the image at f/11 or wider, so I focused on the flower and checked the image in 5x magnification to see whether all the thorns are in focus. Unfortunately they weren’t. So I placed a marker on the flower, and another one on the lower left part of the image and entered split view. Split view can show you two or three 5x magnified parts of the image simultaneously with the 5D Mark III.

Why just 5x and not 10x? Simply because 10x is an “empty magnification” in Canons, that is you do not get more detail in 10x. This is because the 10x magnification is simply the 5x image blown up in software!

Seeing both parts at once I was able to see how much more should I stop down. I used depth of field preview and focus pulling to optimize sharpness for the thorns. I ended up shooting the first preview at f/14. Critical focus check at 100% revealed just a tiny bit of softness at the base of the thorns on the lower left, so I stopped down to f/16 and took another preview. It was good at this time.

Then came exposure optimization. I started out at +1 during the live view part, and seeing the raw histogram I knew that I have some more headroom to lighten the image, thus keep more data. At +1 2/3 stops the image became overexposed, so I lowered the exposure to +1 1/3.

Deleted the markers and turned off focus peaking to see the image in its entirety, it was what I was after (this is what you can see on the above screenshot). I marked it final. This step removed all four preview images I made during the optimization – both from the computer and from the camera’s memory card. In the studio I didn’t have to go through the selection process as I just had a single, final, optimized image.