Scorpion fly (male) - now includes noise reduced image

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Bruce Williams
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Scorpion fly (male) - now includes noise reduced image

Post by Bruce Williams »

Hi folks,

Saw a couple of these chaps while out walking my dog. Initially thought they were some type of miniature moth (because of the mother-of-pearl sheen from their wings). Anyway, as I shaped up to take a pic it was immediately obvious that it was actually more like a lacewing than a moth. A quick check in my Collins field Guide identified it as a male scorpion fly (probably a Panorpa sp.)

It's very obvious why they are called scorpion flies although only the males have the upturned abdomen. I have no idea what the purpose of the "sting-like" tail is. Apparently they are partly carnivorous but are quite harmless to humans.

It's quite small ~14mm according to various reference works.

Both pics hand-held Minolta A2 ISO 64, pic1 1/80 at f/3.5 (2 pics manually merged in CS2) and I used flash on pic2 only.

Bruce

Image

Image
Last edited by Bruce Williams on Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PhilH
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Post by PhilH »

No.1 is superb, very sharp and clear. I find the background 'noise' in no.2 a little off putting but the subject is still clear.
Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday... and all's well!

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

Thanks for your comments Phil.

Yes I agree the background is surprisingly noisy on shot2. As I used an ISO of 64 it would be tempting to blame sharpening but in this instance I used a technique that applied only a small amount of USM to the insect only leaving the background unchanged. Also exposure was pretty accurate so I did not need to lighten the image particularly?

It was however taken using flash which might be a factor?

Bruce :D

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

WOW Bruce, that is a beautiful looking fly. The first picture has a certain "hand drawn" look.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Doug wrote:
The first picture has a certain "hand drawn" look.
Hmm.... :-k Digital graphics editing monitor :?: Pretty pricey stuff there though. :roll:

I like number one. I have never seen a blue scorpion fly and I am jealouse, I want one too. :lol: These are great Bruce! :D

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Bruce Williams wrote:It was however taken using flash which might be a factor?
I have not heard of this as being an issue, but anything's possible. Seems like it should be easy to check with a few test shots?

About the scorpionfly, I'm jealous too. I don't believe that I've ever seen one of them first-hand.

--Rik

Mike B in OKlahoma
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Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

First one in particular is excellent!

In Oklahoma we have a rather attractive red-and-black one that I've seen and photographed only twice, never seen any other type (if we have any other varieties, I'm not sure we do). This is well done.
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
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Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

So far all the scorpion flies I have seen around here have been brown and the tail resembling the stinger of a scorpion is not quite as evident, most of the time on them, as what is shown in these photos. :D

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

Thanks for your comments guys.

One of the great things about our "hobby" is that we get to see and photograph amazing wildlife that would otherwise go totally unnoticed.

Bruce

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

Thought I'd try running pic2 through Neat Image using the auto/default settings.

Although not exactly surprising, an added bonus (beyond noise reduction) was a significant drop in file size. The original ex CS2 image (jpg level 10) was 256Kb. This file was then reduced by XAT-Optimiser to 184Kb (my original post). I used the original ex CS2 256Kb file as input to Neat. The ex Neat Image file was 178Kb so no need for XAT-Optimiser as already within 200Kb forum limits.

Bruce

Image

karl-m
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Post by karl-m »

Very nice indeed....i'll have see if i can come across these on one of my bug hunts, unless they're only in certain parts of the UK..??
Believe when you see it, the camera never lies...

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Bruce Williams wrote:Thought I'd try running pic2 through Neat Image using the auto/default settings.
Very interesting! I layered the two versions in Photoshop, the better to see what Neat Image had done. It seems to have systematically smoothed and darkened all of the image except for the scorpionfly and a significant chunk of background in front of its face and between its legs.

Could you give a look and tell me if that's what you see too?

--Rik

Mike B in OKlahoma
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Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

rjlittlefield wrote:
Bruce Williams wrote:Thought I'd try running pic2 through Neat Image using the auto/default settings.
Very interesting! I layered the two versions in Photoshop, the better to see what Neat Image had done. It seems to have systematically smoothed and darkened all of the image except for the scorpionfly and a significant chunk of background in front of its face and between its legs.

Could you give a look and tell me if that's what you see too?

--Rik
To me, a significant portion of the bg just above the grass blade and in front of the insect's head looks darker. There is some noise reduction there, but not nearly as much as in other areas. I"m just working off the web-sized version, of course.
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

Rik and Mike - Thanks for your comments.

Yes I ran the levels-palet toggle test and I agree with your findings. The reason for the noise in front of face and under legs is that I quickly cloned back some of the original detail on face and legs. Unfortunately (as it turned out) without taking sufficient care or time as I wasn't expecting the close "toggle" examination by Messrs Holmes and Watson :oops:

I congratulate you both on your excellent detective work and my apologies for overlooking to mention in the first place. :lol:

Bruce :D

ps - Other differences prob due to the fact that posting1 started with a 256Kb ex CS2 image which was then processed via XAT Image Optimiser to reduce below 200Kb. Posting2 started with same 256Kb image run thru Neat Image and head and legs cloned back in CS2 (actually to be fair to Neat, this last stage prob wasn't necessary - just that I was doing the same toggle test you guys did prior to posting and I was in CS2 so....). B

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