Portrait of a beetle

Images made through a microscope. All subject types.

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gpmatthews
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Portrait of a beetle

Post by gpmatthews »

Image
Projectina Microscope
Objective: Projectina x10 macro
Ocular: Olympus P15
Diffuse epi illumination - Krebs method with old white bottle top as diffuser, not ping pong ball!
Backlit with transmitted light/blue filter
Sample from Warnham Reserve, Jan 2007
87 images/Helicon Focus

Image
Wild M8 Stereo Zoom Microscope
Diffuse epi illumination/paper reflector
Sample from Warnham Reserve, Jan 2007
8 images/Helicon Focus

The two images are of two different specimens but the same species.

If anyone can identify the beetle, I would be most grateful.
Graham

Though we lean upon the same balustrade, the colours of the mountain are different.

Walter Piorkowski
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Post by Walter Piorkowski »

Very impressive image Graham. I have not been able to retain the sharpness of my individual stacked images in my final image as you have here. I am hoping it is just the software I am using and that Helicon focus will improve this.

Walt

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Adephaga (Ground and Water Beetles)
Family Carabidae (Ground Beetles)
Something like this one but from the UK http://bugguide.net/node/view/41323
The bright light on the subject (and coming through the subject) is highlighting some interesting features like the segments of the lower antennae (the ball & socket look) and palps but I have to say the chrome look of the body takes away some of the contrast IMO. The stack looks perfect :wink:
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

MacroLuv
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Post by MacroLuv »

Nice! Here we have similar species Carabus coriaceus but this one looks more like Carabus gebleri. Hmmm shield pattern doesn't match well...
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 »

Graham,

Very nice images! The first one does seem to have lost some contrast, maybe due to flare, and the background is shockingly blue. But it shows great detail. I am puzzled by what look like scales on the inside of the background leg. It's an unusual structure, and I don't see the same thing in the second image. Can you clarify what it is that we're looking at?
Walter Piorkowski wrote:I am hoping it is just the software I am using and that Helicon focus will improve this.
Walt, have you tried CombineZ5 yet? For a subject like this, it should work about the same as Helicon Focus. (For stuff with more hair, Helicon Focus often does better. But not always. It's hard to predict. :? )

I can't remember how critical price is to you. CombineZ5 (CombineZM) is free, Helicon Focus licenses for some $$ but has free trial period.

--Rik

gpmatthews
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Post by gpmatthews »

There was a big problem trying to get the insect to look black - it was extremely glossy. Some car owners would be proud of the finish, and I agree it looks a bit chrome! - any suggestions on how to achieve a black polished boot appearance gratefully received. Non-diffuse light works, but the shadows are inky in the extreme.

The blue background was just for contrast - I tried a pastel green with a previous stack, but it just enhanced the haloes... so I decided to go for just being blatantly stark.

I was keen to try the Projectina microscope as I had experienced problems with other subjects using the Projectina with asymmetric chromatic abberation. At least that does not appear to be a problem with this image.

As for the leg - I think we are looking at the lower leg towards the foot, which is multi jointed and hairy and indeed was thinking of doing a leg shot for another post...
Graham

Though we lean upon the same balustrade, the colours of the mountain are different.

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

any suggestions on how to achieve a black polished boot appearance gratefully received. Non-diffuse light works, but the shadows are inky in the extreme.
Graham, I think your basic lighting approach is fine, you just need to adjust the light levels between shadow and highlight areas (preferably at shooting time). I know I should ask first but I took the liberty of slightly tweaking your image (if you would rather not have it reposted let me know and I'll take it right down)...

The top and mouth region was too "hot" so I pulled those values down a little. While the shadows are dark and relative to the highlights needed to have more light (perhaps a tiny reflector) you actually had no really deep black there, so I actually darkened the blacks a little but at the same time brightened the highlights (especially around the lower eye). Last I simply "color selected" the background and reduced it's saturation slightly... so it still looks colorful but commands less attention. Didn't take much but I think it portrays the "glossy jet black" idea a bit better.

Image

gpmatthews
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Post by gpmatthews »

Looks good Charlie, I don't think my version is quite as successful, but here goes, anyway:

Image
Graham

Though we lean upon the same balustrade, the colours of the mountain are different.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Much improved! This one says "shiny black". The first one said "shiny gray".

Another interesting aspect to the lighting in this picture is that the antennae, palps, and a bright dot over the left mandible are all glowing red. In the second picture, we see just typical brown chitin.

I've gotten that glowing red appearance a few times when white light was getting transmitted and filtered through the chitin, typically from backlighting someplace out of frame.

Do you have any idea what's causing the red glow in this picture?

--Rik

gpmatthews
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Post by gpmatthews »

Rik, there were two sources of light. The main illumination was provided by a 100W microscope lamp shone onto the outside of a white bottle cap over the specimen resting on the stage. The bottle cap has a hole in the top which just allows the objective to enter the cap. It is a neat fit. The second light source was from below using light via the substage and a blue filter. The filter was placed over the substage light aperture and there was no condenser in place. I would guess that the main illumination is the source of the reddish chitin highlights, probably because there was fairly indiscriminate scattering and reflection around the inside of the bottle cap diffuser. 100W sounds very bright, but in fact each stack image was a 1 second exposure at F5/ISO 50, white balance set to tungsten filament. The show through is in fact quite useful in that it enables some of the joint detail to be seen in the antennae and palps etc.

The specimen was superglued onto a pin which was held in place with a small lump of Blu-Tak on the microscope stage.
Graham

Though we lean upon the same balustrade, the colours of the mountain are different.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Graham,

Thanks for the additional detail. I'm still not sure I understand the lighting, though.

One possibility is a white cylinder (the bottle cap) maybe 2 inches high, with the specimen sitting in the middle of it, an inch or so above the stage, glued to an elevated pin. From the standpoint of the specimen, the light would be coming from a band ranging from roughly 45 degrees below horizon to maybe 70 degrees above horizon (the remainder of the zenith being dark, where the objective is).

Another possibility has the specimen sitting essentially at stage level, glued to a horizontal pin. From the standpoint of the specimen, the light would be coming from a band starting near the horizon, and extending upward to maybe 70 degrees.

Is either of these correct?

I agree that some of this type lighting is very useful.

On a project I haven't shown you guys, I shot some interesting insect anatomy against both dark and light paper backgrounds. Identical geometry and lighting, only the background changed. Flash between the two and hey presto, absolutely no doubt about what's translucent, what's opaque.

--Rik

svalley
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Post by svalley »

Graham, very interesting images. My own personal preference is for a neutral gray background that has a tone (darker or lighter) that contrasts with the subject edges. I find that colored backgrounds often make it difficult for our eyes to interpret the color of the insect. Your technique certainly captures fine detail very well. With this type of photography it is all about the light, how it it is reflected from the subject to reveal surface texture, color, and shinyness to the viewer.

Well done on a very artistic rendition.
"You can't build a time machine without weird optics"
Steve Valley - Albany, Oregon

gpmatthews
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Post by gpmatthews »

On the principle that a picture speaks a thousand word, here is the setup:

Image

The top image shows the two lamps. The silver housing on the right is the 100W main illumination, the lower green housing provides the background illumination.

The lower image shows the diffuser in the raised position so you can see how the insect is mounted. The objective in the picture is in fact a x20 macro objective, but the x10 is similar, if shorter.

Steve - yes, for purely scientific/technical shots I agree that a neutral background is probably best. For more "arty" shots it's fun playing with different backgrounds, although this time the blue was rather intense!
Graham

Though we lean upon the same balustrade, the colours of the mountain are different.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Excellent. Thanks for the setup shots -- pictures definitely beat imagination.

--Rik

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