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Steve Scholnick, Contributor
Full name:
Steve Scholnick
City, state, country:
Rockville, MD

Please feel free to frass any of my images that aren't worth saving. I'd like to express my gratitude to the people who donate so much of their time and expertise to helping newbies like me on BugGuide.

photographic technique – not particularly high tech. Photographs of larger insects are taken using a run-of-the-mill 105mm macro lens, an APS-C/DX DSLR, and 2 "macro" flashes. If I've brought those insects indoors, they're confined to cheap glass spectrophotometer cuvettes from Amazon and the camera is tripod mounted on a screw-driven macro rail.

The "higher resolution" photos I post to BugGuide are focus stacks taken under an older, low magnification, microscope designed for documentation/photography. The stacking setup isn't motorized so the specimen is moved in the Z direction using a manual micrometer-driven linear translation stage (a used Newport UMR5.25). The camera is an older APS-C/DX DSLR and uses "direct projection" rather than a projection eyepiece. Illumination is provided by 2 macro flashes diffused by "hemispherical diffusers" made out of the plastic globes from LED light bulbs. The resulting images are stacked using Zerene Stacker.

There are automated, far less tedious, ways to collect the images, and other software packages that can be used for stacking. For instance, see any of Edward Ruden's BugGuide posts (for example:

Sizes are estimated using one of two "methods":
For outdoor photos and some taken indoors, I use a curve fitted to the data from reproduction ratio vs. distance table that came with the macro lens and the # of pixels covered by the bug. Tests against a ruler show that the estimates are ±10% with accuracy varying along the distance range.
For indoor photos where I remembered to measure the insect, they're photographed against a millimeter scale ruler. For photos taken under a microscope, I determine the number of pixels/mm and the length of the insect in pixels.

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