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A few ultra-close shots of tiny tachinids!

It’s not often that you get this close to the very rare and tiny Microsoma exiguum (3mm), Cinochira atra (2mm) & Catharosia pygmaea (4-5mm). I have been playing around with a Schneider Componon 35mm f4 lens – a new acquisition from eBay for £16 posted. When reversed on bellows and racked out to about 90mm it generates about 4:1 magnification – that’s 4x life size, on the sensor!

The most difficult part is to move the camera in small enough steps that no parts are left unfocused … at magnifications above 2x it gets very difficult indeed. The illumination was made using an old SunPak ring-flash on the left and holding a YN560 above and in front of the specimen – the specimen sits in a polystyrene cup, which acts as both a diffuser and reflector, with a piece of grey card stuck to the back to act as a background.

The stacking has been done using Zerene Stacker – mostly the PMax method but one using DMap … the DMap method tends to produce nicer stacks when it works but it is very hard to configure it to work when the specimen has a lot of bristles.

  1. November 9th, 2011 at 19:00 | #1

    Fabulous photos Chris! I notice a lot of damage to the eyes I wonder how that affects the flies vision in life?

  2. November 10th, 2011 at 00:22 | #2

    @Larry Shone
    Hi Larry

    I think the damage to most of the specimens is post-mortem so in life they would have been fine … as you suggest, if they had that kind of damage they probably wouldn’t have flown very well and I probably wouldn’t have caught them in the first place ;o) When they die the eye often delaminates behind the chitinous facets and you occasionally get some eyes developing concavities but usually this is only a problem with material taken out of alcohol … because it dehydrates everything massively.

    Cheers
    Chris R.

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