15th June – 2020 – Ken Payne – “Macro Photography at Home”

Members of Sodbury and Yate Photographic Club are involved with a group of inclusive enthusiasts who derive a huge range of enjoyment from basic photography to understanding the notion of exposure, depth of field, focus, composition and most importantly the effect of light. The more advanced concepts are where many of us aspire to and our Zoom meeting this week was hosted by an exponent of one of these techniques involving, in this case, the challenging task of flower photography at close quarters (macro photography).
The challenge is to photograph a bloom, individual flower or growing stem using (mostly) natural light and, ensuring that the nearest leaf to the most distant bud are all in perfect focus with a background that is both in keeping, but not distracting.

During this LockDown period Ken Payne has become a prolific practitioner of Macro Photography. He has taken this opportunity to significantly improve his art. Not just by taking a single shot, but by taking multiple shots through the depth of the specimen (stacking). Ken is also proficient in post processing the stacked images through Photoshop and/or Helicon Focus to produce a single sharp image.


Kens presentation was a combination of displaying quite superb Macro Images and a ‘live’ demonstration taking a series of stacked images through Lightroom (or Adobe Camera Raw), into Photoshop for editing and stacking or Helicon Focus (for just stacking).
One of Ken’s demonstrations was to walk us through a pink geranium as his subject, a series of images were created and using Photoshop, to tone down bright areas, make careful crops and constant reference to the histogram in order to make fine adjustments. As a final touch extra canvas was applied to create a subtle frame to “enclose” the image. Ken shoots in Raw to ensure every pixel is available to bring out fine detail. The skill of multiple shots is facilitated by the use of a stacking rail allowing controlled movement of the camera to focus through the depth of the flower in a method that would be more challenging refocusing the lens freehand. Each image (and there might be dozens of them) is then brought together in a stacking action within Photoshop. The final image was pin sharp throughout!


This technique also lends itself to insects, arachnids, lepidoptera and tiny garden beasties which often escape the naked eye. This style of photography would certainly capture the imagination of many of us and reveals a world within easy reach that is both fascinating and bewildering.

We look forward to Ken’s International success with a bee on a red geranium eyeing up a drosophila, taken at 1/11000 at f8 and an ISO of 1600 – stunning.


The final section of this evening of amazing sights included, yellow ladybirds, poppies, clematis, a range of fruit, photographed with skilful lighting, aliums, glass bottle tops with fabulous incident light, overhanging leaves from trees, dianthus, roses, nigella, puff ball, Fray Bentos tins, grapes, aphids, dandelions, tulips, acer, tomatoes, feathers, glass balls (splitting light), shells anenomes and, importantly, the same shot taken at different times of day revealing the importance to us of observing light.


The wonderful planet which we fleetingly live on, and which we seem to be doing our best to destroy, is the constant subject of Ken Payne’s intellectual interest and passionate task to record and reveal to us.
It should be compulsory to visit his web site at – http://www.kp-digital.co.uk/– truly revealing.

Grateful thanks Ken for an excellent evening it was both enjoyable and a learning experience.

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