26JUN2021 – Photography – Focus Stack – Eyed Click Beetle

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.

25JUN2021 – Photography – Focus Stack – Bob’s Back

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!





24JUN2021 – Photography – Focus Stack – Beetle

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.





23JUN2021 – OCF Update – Focus Stacking Experiments Resume

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.

Abstract Macro

So you might be saying to yourself, “Boy, that’s a weird looking one.  What was he thinking putting that up?”

I’ll make a story out of it.  Why not?  It was a sort of an oddball day.

As I’ve noted, we’re in the silly season and I couldn’t bear to read about Joe Burden telling us about how he rassled with Vlad the Impaler and forced him to raise the price of oil to a thousand dollars a barrel to save the world from green house gasification.

So I spent today outside digging some weeds and planting some seeds and playing around with the camera.  In fact I spent so much time that I lost track and actually filled up the 64 Gbyte memory card I had in the camera.  Now it wasn’t empty when I started, far from it, but I got so wrapped up taking photos of bugs and flowers and mosses and mushrooms that I definitely took way too many shots.  And that’s why someday I will have to do a massive purge of bad and mediocre images.  I have something like a million files and I could easily get rid of 75% of them if I had the heart to face that task.

Believe it or not I have images many times worse than the ones I put up on the photo of the day!  So I had to stop and empty out the files onto the desktop.  But then I got distracted.  I started looking through the images and I started liking some of them.  And then I got playing around with them.  I’d crop them mercilessly to see some tiny corner or center that had some geometric or pattern thing going on.  And before I knew it the day had disappeared.  But it was fun.  So I figured I’d share the reverse order of what I was doing today.





So as you can see even weeding has its moments.



11APR2021 – OCF Update – Vultures, Ringnecks and Hellebores (Redux)

I spent a little time today going over some recent photos.  Nothing in the news has grabbed me lately as all that interesting so a little photography is fun for me as an alternative.


My snake tin (copper actually) flipped a ringneck last week.

They are interesting looking little buggers with their glossy scales and their eponymous color pattern.  They eat earthworms I believe and there is a fellow who studies them and believes that the venom that they use to subdue worms would be a threat to humans if the snake was a hundred times bigger.  In the American west they have ringnecks that are considerably larger but even these could barely get their fangs into your pinkie finger and even then you’d have to help it get a purchase on you.  But wildlife scientists are always trying to make some ridiculous point about “dangerous snakes.”


We had seven black vultures in a tree on the edge of the property last week.  Unfortunately they were back lit by the setting sun so the photos stink but it was interesting to see them there.  They’re pretty ugly looking creatures but I guess they serve a useful purpose and I’m sure God loves them anyway.


I have two or three kinds of hellebores in the gardens and they are an early flowering perennial.

The ancient Greeks and Romans thought hellebore was a medicine to cure the insane.  It also is a poison I believe so maybe they thought death was a good treatment for crazy people.  We may have to revisit that thought someday ourselves.

Here’s an oddball plant.


I discovered growing near the house that I transplanted a garden last year.  I’m not sure what it is but I like it.  It forms long thin stalks like vines.



And here are some yellow flowers because I like yellow.

A little photography to add some interest to my day.  And now I return you to the apocalypse already in progress.

24FEB2021 – OCF Update – Something Constructive

I decided today was a good day to do some fiction writing.  I’ve been neglecting it during the run up to the Dementia Joe inauguration and since there wasn’t anything really compelling in the news I figured I’d wait until later to put up a post.  I have a post in progress for the end of the hummingbird Photo of the Day series but I’ll attach something interesting from the archive just to make this worthwhile.


American Museum of Natural History, New York City, Sony NEX 5N, Sony 24mm F\1.8 APSC lens


20FEB2021 – Photography – Conclusion to A Study in Magnification

In the last four days of the “Photo of the Day” I used the original photo and the three progressively more extreme crops of the photo to highlight the question of when is something close enough  Below I provide those four photos again and discuss what makes the correct magnification for a photo.

(As an aid for those using small screens you should be able to click on each photo and have it “fit” to your screen in a lightbox display.  Then you can close that lightbox and move onto the next photo to repeat that process to get a full view of each photo on your screen.)



A Study in Magnification – Photo 1

The first picture is the whole frame that I shot in the yard.  The flower is floating in a background that inclues other flowers some more and some less in focus with the blurred view of the foliage and the ground as the distant background.  This gives an effect somewhat akin to an impressionistic painting.  The detail of the flower is only slightly visible.



A Study in Magnification – Photo 2

In the first crop of the original I’ve isolated the flower with only some out of focus bright and shadow outlines to be seen behind it.  Now it is clear that the flower has a lot of fine structure that includes what look like fuzz and small filaments of some type.



A Study in Magnification – Photo 3

In the second crop of the original the flower fills the screen.  Now the flower is seen to be more akin to some kind of burr with separate pistils and covered in spiky filaments and the filaments covered with finer filaments or hairs.



A Study in Magnification – Photo 4

In the third and final crop we get an extreme magnification of the detail of the components of the flower.  The surface of the pistils and the structure of the filaments is clear.  The quality of the photo is decidedly poor due to pixilation of the image at such extreme magnification.




Okay, so which is the “correct” magnification?  And of course there is no correct answer although we may be able to agree that he final crop is is the wrong answer.  Cropping to an extreme magnification reveals the limits of the picture file.  The number of pixels being used is very small and so a crude image results.  This type of photo would only be appropriate for informational purposes such as a scientific paper discussing the structure of the plant.

So what about the first three photos?

Well, the first photo, the full frame originally taken, might appeal to some people because of the composition.  The arrangement of the flowers and the background blur might be seen as soothing.  So this photo is a viable choice.

The second photo is a little odd.  The flower as I said above begins to show its spiky and complex structure while the background still exhibits the creamy softness of the blurred foliage.  I sort of like it.  There is some tension to the image.  I find it interesting.

The third photo is a macro shot.  I like macro.  I like seeing the complexity of small living things.  All the structure and detail interests me.  I think this shot is the best magnification for my tatste.

The fourth shot as a mentioned above is technically poor.  Maybe it could be used in a cheap monster movie.  Now with a higher magnification lens like a 2X or a 3X macro and with the correct lighting and stage a really quality higher magnification image could be made of this plant’s fine structure.  But I was in the yard and even the slightest wind would make that photo impossible.

So as you see there is no right answer, only preference or application.  What you like or what you need.  But just to show I appreciate everyone going through the exercise I’ll provide a survey below.  You pick the magnification you think is best.


Which Magnification Is Best?

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