© Adam Cooper, RBP, FBCA

Adam Cooper's image, "Broccoli" won a Judges Choice award and an Image of Merit award in the Natural Science category of the BioImages 2022 Salon.

As I move ahead and am employed outside of a medical/scientific facility, the skills and processes learned throughout my career and with the BCA, can be applied in a creative way. I am now working with a national vegetable grower, Pero Family Farms. I have many opportunities to bring ideas and creative projects to the team.

This project was a self directed photo project to document the details of many different vegetables. I photographed the mini sweet peppers, the broccolini and the standard broccoli.

The idea was for a social media post for curious people of all ages in order to guess the vegetable from an extreme close up photograph. The other purpose of these photos is to adorn the walls of the corporate office. It helps morale and is very interesting to view. The images are also a conversation starter for people who may not get the chance to interact on a daily basis. It helps with corporate morale and collaboration in other areas throughout the company.

In order to get the best images available, I used my multi-clip tool to hold the broccoli and to get the texture quality with the lighting I used a small LED light from the left side and a small reflector card on the right.

The Nikon D780 coupled with the Nikon 60mm micro-Nikkor lens produces very shallow depth of field. The D780 can be setup to automatically produce a series of focus bracketing images. Using a sturdy tripod, the photographer sets the variation as well as number of frames. I chose to go with only 10 frames in order to let the focus fall off towards the back of the image to give a more natural appearance. The first photo focus point must be set closest to the lens. The camera then took 10 images, each one with the focus point moved slightly further away.

The next step is to bring the all of the images into Photoshop. The images are set up top to bottom in the Layers pallet. Under the Edit menu, choose Auto-Align Layers. Then again, under the Edit menu, choose Auto-Blend Layers. This will combine all of the layers with Photoshop automatically selecting the sharpest portion of the image from each layer. Now all that’s left is to check your color and exposure and output your file.

This technique is not new. The technology has advanced to allow the photographer to quickly produce images using this technique.

The BioCommunications Association has, over the years, presented me with this information in many ways. Now, with the new cameras and technology, I present this way back to the group to help everyone trying to produce similar images. If anyone needs further clarification or assistance in your project, let me know. I’m happy to help you.