I have been thinking about a blog post to showcase the macro-photo equipment I use for photographing asiloid flies for a while. Here it is in images and short captions.
- Camera + lens: Micro 4/3 Olympus OM-D E-M5 (see dpreview.com for details), 60 mm f2.8 Macro (see Olympus web-site, 120 mm in 35 mm photography).
- Stand: base, stand, and StackShot from Visionary Digital Passport II system.
- Dome light: Falcon FLDM-i250-W.
- Settings camera + lens: manual focus, manual program, f/8, RAW image, low ISO (= 100), auto White Balance, depending on size of fly 1:2, 1:1.3, or 1:1 magnification.
- Settings StackShot: for dorsal and lateral view 15 steps, for head in anterior view 7 steps, automatic step mode.
- Software: Adobe Lightroom 5, HeliconFocus Pro 6. The workflow below is entirely RAW-based - RAW-in-DNG-out.
1. Simple specimen holders made of plastozote and cut DGK grey card (DGK Color Tools Digital Grey Kard), which are not glued together.
2. The macro-photography set-up with specimen labels ready to be photographed.
3. Labels just photographed.
4. Fly, here Apiocera braunsi Melander, 1907, ready to be photographed in dorsal view.
5. Fly positioned with evenly grey background.
6. Fly photographed.
7. Fly positioned for lateral view (1).
8. Fly positioned for lateral view (2).
9. One of the resulting images on the camera screen.
10. Lens set to photograph at 1:1.3 magnification (fly would not fit on screen when 1:1 would be selected).
11. Other side of lens where different distance settings can be pre-selected.
12. Camera writing one of the many images to the card.
13. StackShot triggering the camera to take image 10 of 15.
14. Fly positioned for photographing head in anterior view (1).
15. Fly positioned for photographing head in anterior view (2).
16. Look inside the currently switched off, but super bright Falcon dome light.
17. Images get imported into Adobe Lightroom 5 as native .orf RAW files. A secondary copy is made as a back-up to my RAID.
18. The original images get rotated, meta-data adjusted (e.g., the copyright holder changed), and renamed.
19. Keywords get allocated that indicate the magnification at which the images were taken. Important if one would want to re-do the scale bar.
20. Images get exported in native .orf RAW to HeliconFocus for stacking.
21. In HeliconFocus, Method C is used for stacking into a single Digital Negative .dng file.
22. HeliconFocus stacking in progress.
23. HeliconFocus stacking finished - left = one of the original images, right = final stacked image.
24. Scale line of 5 mm is applied to image (here 23% of the automatically inserted scale). I calculated the scale line following the guidelines provided by HeliconFocus. Basically taking an image with the macro-photography set-up of a microscopic slide with a scale.
25. Stacked image saved as Digital Negative (.dng) file and added to Lightroom catalog. White Balance is always correct as images are taken with the same Falcon Dome Light and grey background.
26. In Lightroom, image can be edited just as any other .dng file and I adjust the exposure here slightly.
27. The final 4 .dng images. A new keyword (scale=5mm) is assigned so that I remember that this scale is 5 mm long. From here, the images can be exported for different uses such as Twitter, Morphbank, or our institutional database KE EMu.
Here are the 4 final images of Apiocera braunsi:
Posted by Torsten Dikow
update 2016-03-16: The wrong grey card was listed above for the specimen holder. Instead of WhiBal G7 grey card it should read DGK Color Tools Digital Grey Kard, which is very sturdy and has an almost smooth surface.