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Hyperaspidius wolcotti

Hyperaspidius wolcotti
Agassiz dunes, Polk County, Minnesota, USA
August 1, 1995
Size: 2.5 mm
Specimen imaged with Canon MP-E 65 Macro, using to two images for Helicon Focus to chew on. Interested to hear comments as this is the first image I have done with this lens

New image
This is an improved attempt at imaging this species,I think we got it better this time. it is 12 images montaged in Helicon Focus. Those that have been commenting please do so again.

Looks nice
I didn't save the previous image locally for direct comparison, but this looks better than what I remember.

Would it be possible to broaden your light source a bit? Doing something simple like what I described here:

will soften the light by spreading the glare across the subject. Overall color detail will suffer slightly, but surface detail will really pop and your subjects will appear much more three-dimensional.

These little shiny bugs (or in my case, shiny bug body parts) are a challenge to illuminate.

Light spots
dont bother me very much, I tried the little film canister method with poor results, so what I have are two sheets of paper over each of my flash units, I'm still experimenting with different lighting, I'll give the method you show here a try.

The canister
gives me the same poor results, too much flash hitting the lens and causing a washed-out image. I overexpose intentionally, fix somewhat during RAW conversion, then touch-up in Photoshop.

I posted another shot today using a flash setup similar to yours.

I think did pretty well to maintain contrast this time by moving the background away from the subject, and also at an angle to avoid any mirror-like flash reflections. But there's still this huge illumation "hole" in the front, where no light was able to reflect back to the lens from the shiny subject.

There has to be a practical way to do this.

About your shots, I was just being picky. What you've got now is already a great improvement and looks better than 99% of anything else posted here. Better lighting (more even coverage) might be a pain in the rear that's just not worth the effort.

Seems like it could be a bit sharper, though there's probably not much more detail that needs to be resolved for this critter. What aperture did you use? At 5X that lens starts losing sharpness at apertures smaller than f/4.

The cat flea I recently posted was about the same size as your beetle.

Ill repost a new attempt
THis particular one was shot at 1/60 sec at F11. I am using two big external flashes, but no ring light for focusing, so its a bit dark during setup. I took a few others today and am quickly getting the hang of it, I will reshoot this one, as this one was a complete test for a baseline comparison.

thing I can see to improve would be the lighting - probably tough with that lens though. What working distance did you have to play with?

thats the tough one, working distance is less than 2 inches. I have new lights on order

They're way better than mine.
They're way better than mine... :( Then again, I've been using you as a benchmark... stop improving so fast. This is an excellent shot, though I agree that the sharpness isn't as good as it could be. However, with a specimen this small, it will be very hard to do the minute focus adjustments to get a sharp image. You might consider building a rail mount with a fine focus mechanism, kind of like a dissecting microscope. Otherwise, it's great!

got that done
We just finished setting up our copy stand with a fine focus bench jack, my student shot a specimen with 12 images montaged, and it looks pretty good, It is now posted

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