Let sleeping dogs lie

My first photo was of my two puppies asleep.  Although they are very young, they have become a big part of my life.  I first saw this in my head, when as puppies, they were having some quiet time.  Any movement is enough to wake them and get them moving at 100mph, so catching them asleep is a rare treat.  I had my camera to hand, but no tripod.  It was a shot that was there and then or nothing at all.  The area where they were was a bit junked up, but there was nothing I could do without disturbing them and losing the shot.  It was early in the morning and the only light was a small wall light.  I wanted a clear shot at low ISO, so set my camera to ISO 100.  This setting made my picture extremely dark, so I had to set my aperture to F4.  I still found it was too dark and the shutter was two seconds.  The picture was too yellow in auto white balance, so I went through all the available settings, until I found the one that was closest to reality.  With no tripod and hand holding the camera for 2 seconds, I had to brace my knees together, and wedge my camera in the gap in my legs.  I took the first photo, and although it came out quite clear, I wasn’t happy with it as F4 had given me too much depth of field so one of the puppies was blurred.  To get around this, I set my camera to use he back display, and set the focus point on one of the puppies’ heads and took the photo.  Then using the arrows on the camera, I moved the focus position to another part of the dog and took the second picture.  I repeated this process, making sure all the dogs’ bodies were taken, fourteen photographs in all.  Finally, I loaded all fourteen photos into photoshop as separate layers and used the software to first auto align the layers, and then auto blend the layers.  The result was a nice clear shot in low light, fully focused.  Then I simply cleared up the image with the heal tool to get rid of muck and dog hairs etc.  The junk that was behind them, looked silly but removing it made it look silly, so I chose to add a vignette to disguise it slightly.  The resulting photo could have been better with a tripod, but being hand held I was happy with the end result.  The overall photo composition is as shot with no cropping needed.

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