Looks like a theatrical mask... (2nd picture added)

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MacroLuv
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Post by MacroLuv »

Isn't time for another hint? :-k
A caterpillar of some sort?
The meaning of beauty is in sharing with others.

P.S.
Noticing of my "a" and "the" and other grammar
errors are welcome. :D

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Well, I don't know if it's a hint or not Nikola, but I can safely say that there is no caterpillar anywhere near this mask, nor were any caterpillars harmed or even annoyed as part of its creation. O:) :D

--Rik

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Image

For what it's worth, here's a different view of the same subject.

--Rik

augusthouse
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Post by augusthouse »

Nice lighting Rik - details please.

Are we in Odonata territory?

Craig

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Image

Here's the "How It Was Done" setup shot. I'm sorry it's difficult to figure out exactly how everything was positioned in this shot, but things were at pretty strange angles when I finally got the subject positioned the way I wanted.

Lighting was the now-traditional dual-head fiber illuminator with ping-pong ball diffuser, here seen exactly from the side. I have the fiber illumination cranked way down in this shot, otherwise you couldn't see much besides the pingpong ball and balsa board.

Background for shooting was a uniform card, printed and illuminated to be light gray in the image. The light gray was then pushed to pure white by post-processing in Photoshop, using a mask constructed mostly by Photoshop's "magic wand" tool, then tweaked by painting.

38mm f/2.8 Olympus bellows macro lens at f/4, stacked at 0.001".

Notice that what you're seeing in the pictures is essentially the entire structure of the subject. It is suspended in "mid-air" by being super-glued to a headless insect pin with the tip ground to match the bevel of the subject. From the standpoint of the camera, enough of the pin is behind the subject that what's visible is very OOF and faint enough to be masked. The subject is extremely light. I don't want to tell you how many times I blew it away by breathing before I gave up and hauled out the superglue -- then how many more times until I actually succeeded in restraining it well enough to complete the glue job.

Nope, it's not Odonata, sorry.

Re-read the thread, folks. Think hard, and remember your childhood lessons about insect anatomy and life histories. :D

--Rik

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

Some type of beetle grub (larva)???

MacroLuv
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Post by MacroLuv »

rjlittlefield wrote:... Re-read the thread, folks. Think hard, and remember your childhood lessons about insect anatomy and life histories. :D

--Rik
Now I know! :idea: It is from the sea! :D :wink: :smt003
The meaning of beauty is in sharing with others.

P.S.
Noticing of my "a" and "the" and other grammar
errors are welcome. :D

Planapo
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Post by Planapo »

Awesome, superbly lit photos, Rik!

You know it isn´t that easy to ID insect larvae from the head only, without having a look at the rest of the body!

But yes, I think Charlie is right, beetle larva, that is what I´d say too.

--Betty

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Thanks for the compliments, everybody! :D Also for the many excellent guesses (and one great pun :roll: ).

This subject comes from a butterfly caterpillar, one of the fritillaries in genus Speyeria that are native to the mountains of southeastern Washington.

What may be particularly interesting about this subject is hinted by the words "comes from". As I told Nikola, no caterpillar was harmed or even annoyed to get these pictures. In fact the caterpillar seemed very content with its role in the whole affair.

What you're looking at is a head capsule that was shed by the caterpillar as part of the normal process of growth and molting.

The elaborate structure you see here is used for only a few days while the caterpillar grows as big as it can in its current skin. When it's time to molt, the caterpillar becomes quiescent for a few days while it literally grows a new head, inside the old skin and behind the old capsule. Finally the old skin splits behind the head and the caterpillar crawls out. The old skin gets left behind like a crumpled sock, while the old head capsule gets popped off the front and drops down into the ground litter, or in this case, into the bottom of a plastic rearing container.

This particular head capsule is the largest of the set of five (I think it's five) produced by these caterpillars as they grow. The smallest of them come from the first-instar caterpillars that hatch directly from the butterfly's eggs. I have the full set, but the small ones are kind of difficult to handle and so far I have not been able to get decent pictures of them.

--Rik

Planapo
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Post by Planapo »

Oi! Rik :smt026 , I bet Charles and Nikola too, and I for sure, have thought that the Lepidoptera were ruled out from

"but I can safely say that there is no caterpillar anywhere near this mask, nor were any caterpillars harmed or even annoyed as part of its creation. O:) :D "
Now, that´s not O:) at all! No, that is very, very :twisted: !

Wait, we will be much more careful next time, you nifty feller! :wink: :lol:

Cheers,
Betty :D

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Planapo wrote:
"but I can safely say that there is no caterpillar anywhere near this mask, nor were any caterpillars harmed or even annoyed as part of its creation. O:) :D "
Now, that´s not O:) at all! No, that is very, very :twisted: !
Oh, gee, I'm sorry. :wink: :lol:

The halo was only because I felt so virtuous about being able to get this picture without having to resort to my usual violence or chemistry. :roll:

--Rik

MacroLuv
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Post by MacroLuv »

Planapo wrote: Now, that´s not O:) at all! No, that is very, very :twisted: !
Well Betty, you should know that Rik's and mine usage of this emoticon is very sophisticated. It actually means little cute angel with small hidden horns. :lol:
The meaning of beauty is in sharing with others.

P.S.
Noticing of my "a" and "the" and other grammar
errors are welcome. :D

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

I'm with Betty! :smt026
My initial impression was a caterpillar (really :wink: )

But, I ruled it out because...
nor were any caterpillars harmed or even annoyed as part of its creation
If you outgrew your skin five times and your face popped off and fell to the ground... well I think you might be mildly annoyed.... :shock:

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Charles Krebs wrote:If you outgrew your skin five times and your face popped off and fell to the ground... well I think you might be mildly annoyed.... :shock:
Gee, I dunno, Charlie. I mean, yeah, it kinda sounds that way, but on the other hand I can think of several human events that seem quite gross when clinically described, but are eagerly pursued by prospective participants... 8) *
rjlittlefield wrote:I have the full set [of head capsules], but the small ones are kind of difficult to handle and so far I have not been able to get decent pictures of them.
For the hopelessly curious, I did finally photograph one of the smallest. That was strictly a brightfield microscopy effort, so it's posted over in the micro forum.

--Rik

* "The neural circuits in your brain begin to reverberate. Chemical and electrical impulses start flowing rapidly through your body. The pitutiary gland is stimulated; hormones and endorphins race through your blood. Your body temperature rises half a degree, your pulse rate and blood pressure increase, your arteries and thoracic muscles contract, your vocal chords quiver, and your face contorts. Pressure builds in your lungs. Your lower jaw suddenly becomes uncontrollable, and breath bursts from your mouth at nearly 70 miles an hour."

This is a clinical description of laughter. It sounds like a disease, but it describes a person who is sold on listening. By getting laughter from your listeners, you have activated them for influence.


From "Making Humor Work: Take Your Job Seriously and Yourself Lightly", by Terry L. Paulson, 1989, ISBN 0931961610, page 20. O:)

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