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ABSTRACT MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS – Creating Stunning Feather Photos Plus Focus Stacking – Viral Trends

ABSTRACT MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS – Creating Stunning Feather Photos Plus Focus Stacking

In his latest macro photography tips and tricks tutorial Ray Scott demonstrates how to create amazing photos of feathers with and without water. The proper use of lighting is crucial in order to bring out texture and definition to the feather. Ray’s preferred method is side lighting as this allows for shadows that can almost render a 3D effect. Also, the use of a tripod is essential for clear crisp images because long exposures are the norm since Ray is using a low ISO and small aperture values making for long shutter speeds. Of course, a macro lens really helps to get you nice and close. In the second part of this two part tutorial, Ray Scott shows you how to do focus stacking in Photoshop CC which when done properly allows for accurate focus from front to back of your picture. He uses the latest versions of Lightroom and Photoshop to achieve his goals. Ray also shows some photos in black and white as a way of highlighting the feather and water drop.

When in studio or in the field Ray uses Canon gear. This is a choice he made years ago knowing that he was buying into a system that he could grow into. His go to camera is the Canon EOS 6D with the second camera being a Canon 5D. Lenses used are all L series f/4 except for the 50mm macro with extender. 16-35mm f/4L, 24-105mm f/4L, and 70-200mm f/4L round out the kit which is carried about with either a Lowepro Urban Reporter 250 messenger bag for city shooting or a Lowepro Sling Bag for landscape field work. While Ray does more camera handholding than before due to the image stabilization capabilities of his various lenses, he still is a believer in using his Manfrotto carbon fibre tripod. It’s light and it is sturdy.

Ray is a firm believer in exposing himself to as much photography and its history as possible. By looking at other people’s photos, he has gained a big appreciation of what this medium has to offer. Ray doesn’t think that “copying” someone else’s style is a good thing but rather feels that exposing oneself to others work can work as a teaching and inspirational tool. With this in mind, Ray has amassed a list of favorite photographers that he uses for inspiration. Some of these artistic photographers are Galen Rowell, Ansel Adams, Frans Lanting, Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Freeman Patterson, William Neill and Richard Avedon.

One of the playlists on this channel is called “neighbourhood photographer” which covers tutorials shot in urban and suburban areas. It’s always a challenge to see different things of interest when you’ve been to an area many times yet this is the best way to create good images. You need to return to familiar locations many times. To do so, Ray often drives by car to an area but when he really wants to cover ground yet see things more clearly, he uses his bicycle…bike…and explores the given place.

Whether shooting landscape, macro, portrait or abstract images, Ray always tries to be aware of his surroundings to capture the best pictures possible. Part of this workflow means he is very aware of composition and uses various tips, such as the rule of thirds, as a good starting point in composing. He also likes to break rules from time to time to add new effects to his photos. Being aware of angles, shadows, shapes, lines, textures, patterns and colours goes a long way to making good pictures. He is also a big believer in “getting out there” and shooting as much as possible as it is the only way to improve and flex one’s imagination. His message is it doesn’t matter if you do your photography in the city, suburbs country, mountains or by the sea, just make sure you do it and follow your artistic passion.

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Comments 25

  1. Hi Ray, it's my first time seeing one of your videos. I have to say on first impression, you brought me back to the days of watching Bob Ross on PBS. Hopefully you won't take that as an insult, but as a complement instead. Great presentation, thank you for taking the time to produce the video and sharing your knowledge.

  2. Ray, another fantastic video! Thank you! This is something I've been wanting to try. I can see that image of the feather enlarged & on a wall. It's gorgeous. You are always an inspiration for me! Thank you again!

  3. Thank you very much, Ray! It is great as usual! Your wonderful tips are always creative and I adore your enthusiastic style of presenting the material in part one and your clear explanations of stacking focus of images in part two! Your videos are remarkable and inspiring!

  4. I got my notification this time thankfully, because I would have hated to miss this one. A few of those images together would make a great set, and I totally agree that sometimes it’s nice to have the light source in the image, especially octas with that wonderful shape. Do you use a macro rail at all please Ray? I admit I prefer them when focus stacking, along with a remote, I’m more than a little clumsy so try to avoid touching the camera as much as possible. I'm hopefully off photographing birds this weekend, I’ll keep an eye out for feathers. Another brilliant video, and I really liked all the images and could easily imagine a few of them hanging on a wall, thank you.

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