Continuing with my dead insect theme here is a large Eyed Click Beetle – Alaus oculatus who has joined my museum of dead bugs. No anthropomorphizing this insect with a name like Bob. I’ll call him Clicky because he used to click before he became dead. Camera Girl felt sad because he was going to meet his maker. But then I told her he was eating her vegetables. She said everybody’s got to eat but I think it put things in perspective.
Bob’s Back! And I mean that in both ways. Bob the beetle returns and we’re going to get a look at Bob’s back or dorsal side. Last night I showed Camera Girl my photo of Bob and she confirmed that his legs were orangey. But examining Bob in the chiton she revealed to me that his back was green! Now having no visual sensors for green in my eyes this fact, as usual, slightly annoyed me but soldiering on I now give you Bob’s Back!
For today’s experiment in photographing dead bugs here’s a beetle with brightly colored legs.
Part of the craft is arranging the dead bug so that he doesn’t look quite so much like road kill. Also the other part of the deal is first post processing all the input files in terms of exposure and light balance. But right now I’m just adjusting the merged file which is less flexible than the raw input files. But this is as much a learning exercise for me as anything else. So I’m taking some short cuts. The main thing is the merge does create photos with enormously wider areas of sharp focus.
This beetle is less than a half inch in length. I named him Bob.
In March of 2020 I assembled the software on my laptop to be able to do focus staking out in the field. It was cumbersome especially since the laptop I used was very large but I managed to get a few focus stacks done both outside and in. But soon after a crack developed on the screen of the laptop. Eventually I got it repaired but I shifted operation to asmaller laptop and abandoned the older one to a table in my home office. And up until now I’ve been so busy with other things that I haven’t had time to load up the software for stacking onto my new laptop.
Well, for the last week I’ve been dealing with software issues. Incompatibilities between the latest Microsoft C ++ version and the Sony remote control package gave me fits but I found a work around and finally was able to run it today. I’m just doing some still life test subjects indoors but I hope to have some interesting macro subjects soon.
This summer has been an unmitigated failure as a butterfly photographing season. Whenever I’ve gone out with my macro lens and monopod the butterflies have been non-existent. I think I’ve gotten a half dozen shots of a monarch or two. But other than that it’s been the tiny butterflies or nothing.
So today at about 4pm I went out without my camera just to get a snootful of air and wandering by a garden that was in the afternoon shade I see this tiger swallowtail in perfect condition. The wings are vividly colored and there are no tatters at all. And maybe because it’s in the shade it’s completely unconcerned with my presence. Usually butterflies constantly scan their surroundings and reposition to avoid threats or even leave suddenly if they feel threatened. This one is unphased by my presence and I’m standing there behind it looking at the perfect shot of the flat open wings, without a camera!
I head back to the house mumbling and swearing about my lousy luck and I grab my rig and head back out. And it’s still there. But sure enough, as soon as I get into range it takes off. More grumbling and swearing. Now we’re in the more typical situation with the butterfly playing ring around the rosy with me, always keeping a flower between me and it. Well, I had had enough. Instead of my usual magnified view trying to get the perfect focus I set the autofocus to continuous and the trigger mode to multiple-hi speed and I machine gunned my way through hundreds of files while I actively chased that stupid insect around the yard.
Was I successful? We’ll see. But it was satisfying to use modern technology to defeat the annoying strategies of a creature whose brain is about the size of a poppy seed.
“That’s one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind.”
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!”
“There agelong she had dwelt, an evil thing in spider-form, … and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness. … But none could rival her, Shelob the Great, last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world.”
I can’t stump you folks.
I’ve got to say, this photo stacking has amazing capability. The detail is impressive and the stitching is imperceptible. I tried stacking jpegs and then raw files. I thought the composite made from raw files looked very slightly better but it took an hour and a half to process. That’s more than double the jpeg time.
When is a dried flower better than live spider? When you’re doing a focus stack. When the subject doesn’t move it comes out a lot better.
The first three photos are three of the 136 photos that I stacked together. Notice depth of focus in each only comprises a small fraction of the total image.
Next is the photo stacked image followed by three magnified areas of it.
I think I’m getting the hang of this thing.
No this isn’t the next Alien movie.
I warned this spider not to move but he wanted to be a jerk.