Bumblebee mandible with golden hairs

Images taken in a controlled environment or with a posed subject. All subject types.

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rjlittlefield
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Bumblebee mandible with golden hairs

Post by rjlittlefield »

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This specimen came to me for identification. It had been killed the previous day, after stinging a bee-sensitive person. The person's bad reaction had resolved well, but for future reference they wanted to be sure what the beast was. I could understand their needing some help with ID, because at the time the specimen was totally black and dripping with bug spray. It looked like some sort of gigantic monstrous thing of uncertain ancestry. But with enough magnification and a technical key, I was able to say that yes, it really was a bumblebee.

Then came the question of what to do with the corpse. Other than looking like black slime, the specimen seemed to still be in good condition. I cleaned it up with some solvents followed by a sonic bath in detergent and water, then dried it and brushed out some of the hairs.

After drying, I looked it over to see if there was anything especially interesting to photograph. I was surprised to see that the shiny black mandibles are largely covered with fine hairs, which in certain light turned the most wonderful golden color. That's what you're seeing here.

For context, here is a crossed eye stereo pair of the head and thorax. The view is looking "up" at the underside of the head.

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Then working closer, shooting with a 10X objective...

A couple of crossed-eye stereo pairs...

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And finally, a non-stereo crop from the first image...

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All images except the whole head were made from a single stack, Nikon D800E in full-frame mode, 514 frames at 0.007 mm focus step, Mitutoyo 10X NA 0.28 M Plan Apo objective on Raynox DCR-150 tube lens so about 10.4X magnification. Illumination was with 3 Jansjö LEDs, diffused through two-ply Kleenex tissue. ISO 100, 2 seconds exposure. I actually shot 657 frames, but then truncated the stack in processing because I thought it looked better without some extraneous detail in far background. Slabbed using PMax, 25 frames per slab with 6 frames overlap, to simplify retouching and experiments. The finals shown here are also PMax, lightly retouched. There was too much overlapping structure, even with the slabbing, for DMap results to look good.

--Rik

Dassi
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Re: Bumblebee mandible with golden hairs

Post by Dassi »

Your shots are amazing! The level of detail that you are able to achieve is incredible. Nice work.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Bumblebee mandible with golden hairs

Post by rjlittlefield »


Thanks, Dassi.

Yes, detail is a strong part of what attracts me in this field.

When I started doing macro photography, over 50 years ago, I dreamed of making pictures like these but had no idea how to do it. Then I learned about the physical limits imposed by diffraction, and I feared that the task was not even possible. It was sometime in the late 1980's, now over 30 years ago, that I started seriously looking at focus stacking. But at that time the technology just wasn't ready -- the cameras were too low resolution (I played with digitized NTSC video) and the computers were ghastly slow (though that was partly compensated by low pixel counts). Fast forward to 2008, when I started writing Zerene Stacker, and the world looks way different! Better, I think, at least in regards to photography.

--Rik

Sumguy01
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Re: Bumblebee mandible with golden hairs

Post by Sumguy01 »

=D> Very nice.
Thanks for sharing.

brentbristol
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Location: Phoenix Arizona

Re: Bumblebee mandible with golden hairs

Post by brentbristol »

rjlittlefield wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:32 am

Thanks, Dassi.

Yes, detail is a strong part of what attracts me in this field.

When I started doing macro photography, over 50 years ago, I dreamed of making pictures like these but had no idea how to do it. Then I learned about the physical limits imposed by diffraction, and I feared that the task was not even possible. It was sometime in the late 1980's, now over 30 years ago, that I started seriously looking at focus stacking. But at that time the technology just wasn't ready -- the cameras were too low resolution (I played with digitized NTSC video) and the computers were ghastly slow (though that was partly compensated by low pixel counts). Fast forward to 2008, when I started writing Zerene Stacker, and the world looks way different! Better, I think, at least in regards to photography.

--Rik
Wonderful images Rik. Thank you for writing Zerene Stacker. My appreciation of it grows with each use.
The trouble with quick and dirty is that the dirty remains after the quick is gone.

rjlittlefield
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Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
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Re: Bumblebee mandible with golden hairs

Post by rjlittlefield »

Thanks, Brent. I get a lot of pleasure from seeing what other people do with it.

--Rik

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