I love coral macro. But the more I've been doing it, the more I realized how much I miss the perception of volume and depth on still images. That's why I decided to try 3d photography. Stereoscopic photography, to be more precise, which is quite easy to do with focus stacking.
A focus stack is an image composed out of photos taken at different focus distances to increase the depth of field. Each photo has in-focus and out-of-focus parts. That means that technically a set of images will have three-dimensional information. Stacking software can recognize the in-focus parts (X,Y coordinates) and normally it copies them to the images where the corresponding areas are out of focus. So, Z axis here corresponds to different images in a stack, each one having different in-focus X,Y. However, while the stacking process occurs, the software can also offset the in-focus layers for a certain distance. Instead of putting the next in-focus layer at exactly the same location where it was on the previous image, the layer is, for example, shifted 5 pixels to the right or left. As a result, an offset will make the stacked object appear to be photographed from a different angle.
Unfortunately, though, stereoscopic screens are not very common yet. The good news is that glass-free display are on their way. A few smartphones have been available for a while, and this year has brought 3 or 4 tablets that show a 3d image without glasses at any angle. And this technology is advancing fast. For example, the mentioned tablets are just a hundred dollars more expensive than their regular alternatives. I believe in 5 years or so most of laptops will have a stereoscopic screen and stereo photography will take more visible position. For now, it's just a gimmick, but one that allows to experience images in the way that they are meant to be seen with our brains that are designed to work in stereoscopic format.
If you happen to have a 3d display of any kind, you are welcome to take a look at my new 3d gallery here: http://phereo.com/Starshade
If you don't you still can use such poor method as anaglyph or, in the worst case, wiggle.
The animation below is a macro of an acropora coral made out of a single stack. Sorry for some artifacts around the closest branch--I didn't have enough time to clean everything. Such issues do not appear in stereoscopic images. #sciencesunday +ScienceSunday
(+Robby Bowles +Allison Sekuler +Rajini Rao +Chad Haney +Buddhini Samarasinghe
) #macro4all #underwaterphotography #macro4all
(+Macro4All +Bill Urwin +Chris Levers +Mark O'Callaghan +Walter Soestbergen