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Aquatic Larvae Photo Setup

Aquatic Larvae Photo Setup
Delaware, USA
These are some of the glass boxes I use. The large boxes are made of 4" x 5" microscope slides (available online from Ted Pella, Inc. []). The smaller boxes are 2" x 3" slides (available online from Ward's Natural Science []. I recommend that you use 2" x 3" slides, rather than the more commonly available 1" x 3" slides (with the larger slides, there's no need to remove waterlines from your images with processing software). I also use boxes that measure 1" from front glass to back glass, as well as boxes that measure about 1/2 inch from front glass to back glass. These "slim Jim" boxes are useful for smaller animals that require higher magnification rates (and with the higher mag. rates, the diminishing working distance and depth of focus). I glue the slides together using aquarium sealant/adhesive. For water, I use filtered tap water. For substrate, I use aquarium gravel. (Natural substrates are generally too bright in color; plant matter puts too much debris into the water.) I'm very careful about what color gravel I use. As a general rule of thumb, dark-colored gravel works better than light-colored gravel, especially for high-contrast images. Lately I've been using more of a mix of light- and dark pebbles. For backdrops, I use monotone 4" x 6" photographs.

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Aquatic Larvae Photo Setup Aquatic Larvae Photo Setup Aquatic Larvae Photo Setup Aquatic Larvae Photo Setup

Thanks Catfish,
these are great! Macrophotographers and Insect collecters truly must be some of the most inovative people on the planet. This gives me hope for some underwater beetle shots next year. And I never knew slides came in such large sizes. I've been looking for "photo glass" that I could use over top of some containers when shooting live (and very active) beetles, and this could be the answer.
Thanks again!

Glad to be of help. BTW, here
Glad to be of help. BTW, here's a little tip I discovered one day while shooting tiger beetles -- if you collect a tiger beetle on a sunny summer day and put the beetle in a glass box with sand in it and then put a glass slide overtop that box and let the covered glass box sit in the sun for a minute or two, the temperature in the box will start to rise. To escape the heat, the beetle will then start to burrow into the sand. As soon as it begins to burrow, you can then take off the glass slide that's covering the box and photograph the beetle at high magnification while it's in the act of burrowing. You will then have one of the world's few high-magnification photographs of a tiger beetle caught in the act of burrowing. Good luck with your shooting -- Catfish

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