Focus Bracketing the Ponderosa Pines with the Canon EOS R5

A late May snowstorm left a dusting of snow at lower elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park. The ponderosa pines filtered the snow, leaving an interesting pattern of white among the trunks, which called for a photo. I always look for excuses to include these red-colored trunks in the frame, and the snow opportunity seemed a good one.

Thick clouds provided even lighting, but the bright white sky seemed to detract from this composition. Thus, keeping the sky out of the frame was a goal, and achieving that goal meant selecting a long enough focal length to exclude the white.

The three tree trunks positioned 1/3 into the frame worked well for the foreground, and the camera position was adjusted to optimize juxtaposition of the remaining trunks in the frame. A fully leveled camera kept the trunks as straight in the frame as possible.

With the desired composition established and locked down on a Really Right Stuff TVC-24L Mk2 Carbon Fiber Tripod and BH-40 Ball Head, the remaining issue was achieving the desired depth of field. For this image, I wanted everything in the frame to be sharp. Unfortunately, at 35mm, that was not happening at the still-sharp apertures (I seldom use an EOS R5 aperture narrower than f/11).

Fortunately, the Canon EOS R5's focus bracketing feature made capturing the motionless scene in sharp focus easy. Focused on the closest foreground in the frame with Focus Bracketing enabled, the camera automatically captured the set of photos necessary to cumulatively have the entire depth of the scene in sharp focus.

Selecting the stack of images and then the Depth Compositing Tools menu option in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) created the all-in-focus 16-bit TIFF file that was further edited in Photoshop. Primarily, spot sharpening some of the merged image seams in the image finalized the stacking task.


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