Friday, 24 February 2017

The Dance of Love

Sminthurides malmgreni


Mr Sminthurides malmgreni (on the left) is 0.3mm long. Mrs Sminthurides malmgreni (on the right) is 0.5mm long. They are making love on water. Normally I wouldn't post a picture as crap as this but there's a problem. I can't actually see the males with my naked eye. I can just about make out the females but the only things I can see clearly are the couples in flagrante delicto. At that size, I can mange to scoop them up with a spoon and deposit them on a brimming vessel so that I can focus on them with the MP-E 65mm. It doesn't put them off, they just carry on doing what springtails do in the springtime...


Sminthurides malmgreni.
Sony ILCE-6000
Canon MP-E 65mm F2.8 G SSM
f8 1/200 ISO 2500

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Holly Speckle

Holly Speckle


This fungus forms a distinct, fine, dark speckling on dead holly leaves. It occurs on the upper side of the leaf only. The speckles (spore-producing structures) are first closed, and then open by a lid to expose the olive spore-mass, and finally appear as dry black, shiny depressions in the leaf, with a slightly raised lip.


Holly Speckle, Trochila ilicina.
Sony DSC-HX20V
4.5-89.0 mm f/3.2-5.8
f3.2 4.5 mm 1/125 ISO 100

5X:
Holly Speckle

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Springtime

Folsomia candida


I think these ~1.5mm springtails have been in every bag of commercial compost I have ever bought. This cosmopolitan species is arguably the commonest Springtail in the world.


Folsomia candida.
Sony ILCE-6000
Canon MP-E 65mm F2.8 G SSM
f8 1/200 ISO 200.
5X magnification.

Phwoar, look at the furcula* on that:

Folsomia candida


*The forked appendage under the abdomen of a springtail which the animal uses to jump.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Capillary Thread-moss

Capillary Thread-moss


Sorry about all the crap, I just grabbed the first thing that came to hand for a test shoot on the new macro rig lit by two diffused Jansjös.


Capillary Thread-moss, Bryum capillare.

Sony ILCE-6000
Canon MP-E 65mm F2.8 G SSM
f6.3 5s ISO 100
3 image focus stack, 3X magnification.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Jansjö

Jansjö


There's only one thing better than a Jansjö.
Two Jansjös.


Sony ILCE-6000
E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
f6.3 50mm 1/10 ISO 400

Monday, 6 February 2017

Cheesespotting

Cheesespotting


Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing sprit-crushing game shows, stuffing junk food into your mouth. Choose your future. Choose cheese...

String Cheese, the heroin of cheeses.

Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f9 1/160 ISO 400

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Abstraction

Abstraction


iPhone 5s f2.2 4.2mm 1/25 ISO 320

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

My Grandfather's Clock

My Grandfathers Clock


Has stood forty years on the shelf. And desperately needs dusting.

Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f16 1/5 ISO 100

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Vertagopus arboreus

Vertagopus arboreus


This is the first usable field image I have managed to produce with the Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens. The Fotodiox Pro converter works very well on this manual lens, no need for the expensive Metabones. (Hmm, there's a bit of a cheapskate theme developing here...) Some thoughts:

The problem with this lens is twofold. As with all macro lenses it has a very shallow depth of field. No seriously, very shallow. At 5x magnification and f2.8 (wide open), the d.o.f. is approximately 0.2mm. So obviously, you stop down to f16. And that's when the problem starts. You can just about get away with f16 at 1x magnification, but at 5x by the time the light hits the sensor, you've magnified the diffraction to the point where the image is unusable. Workable combinations are something like:

1x: f11-16
2x: f8-11
3x: f6.3-8
4x: f5.6-6.3
5x: f4-5.6

That means that at higher magnifications, you're working with tiny d.o.f. No problem - focus stacking! Yes, for dead specimens in a studio - good luck with that for live springtails in the field. "Oh, he's just complaining again. Whack it on f5.6, no problem." F5.6 is a fine aperture, one of my personal favourites. A nice landscape shot, half the frame filled with sky, no problem. But there's no point in pointing the MP-E 65mm at the sky - the furthest it can focus is a few inches away from the front element. And with macro, we're not pointing at the sky anyway, but grubbing around in hedge bottoms, pointing the lens downwards. Even without all this the MP-E 65mm seems to be a rather light-hungry lens, i.e. compared with the results from the same aperture on a wide angle lens. So we need a lot of light. Direct sunlight would do the trick, but when you're only an inch away from a frisky insect, you'll be blocking ambient light most of the time. So my next step is to build a lighting rig for this lens in the field. I'm too tight to shell out £800 for the Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite Flash and I don't know if it would work on the Sony anyway. So it's DIY - the parts are on order from eBay.


Vertagopus arboreus, ~1.7mm long.
Sony ILCE-6000
Conon MP-E 65mm F2.8 G SSM
f2.8 1/100 ISO 3200