THIS PAGE: The final
image, created through
focus stacking (above);
Versace's simple setup
at home with a single
light source and his
case, however, he used the technique to
combine images with a greater depth of field
(i.e. more in focus) with those with a shallower
depth of field.
Versace shot the scene using Nikon’s new
D850 DSLR and the Nano-coated AF-S NIKKOR
105mm f/1.4E ED lens, which Versace say
produces the most beautiful bokeh he’s seen.
Versace believes that lenses are the
“brushes of photography” so your choice here
is critical, especially as you push into higher-megapixel camera bodies like the D850, where
older lenses without specialized coatings—like
Nikon’s Nano coating—can’t resolve all the
details, Versace says. For fine art and still lifes
intended to be printed large, this resolution
and sharpness matters.
His choice of lighting was much more
modest: a small constant-output light source
on a tabletop tripod with some overhead oven
light for fill. “You don’t always need fancy and
elaborate setups to do fancy and elaborate
things,” he says.
In-Camera Focus Shifting
Versace took advantage of the D850’s new
Focus Shift shooting mode to compile 900
images of the berries at various focal points
and apertures. In Focus Shift mode, you can
select how much you want the focus distance
to change with each shot (called the “focus-step
width”) and how many images you want the
camera to capture (it will capture up to 300).
Rather than try and guess which focus
points would work best, Versace had the D850
shoot the entire focus-step range. “This way
I can sit back on my 32-inch Adobe RGB 4K
monitor and see what images work best,” For
the first step, he found the minimum focus
distance of the lens to the subject (the berries
closest to him), positioned the camera slightly
farther back than that and racked the lens
so that it was out of focus before the D850
automatically began to focus and shoot.