Ugly Hedgehog® - Photography Forum
Assassin Bug
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Sep 17, 2020 15:42:57   #
sippyjug104 Loc: Missouri
 
This could be the last face many insects ever see. It is an Assassin Bug from my preserved collection that I staged for a focus stacking session. They come in a variety of colors and this one was once a much brighter green before being preserved in denatured alcohol for over a year.

I have learned a bit about them and their most prominent feature is their pointed proboscis that they use to stab into their prey and inject venom and enzymes to dissolve its innards and suck them up...Egads!

I've also learned that for the most part these insects are harmless to humans, if a touch painful should they jab someone who touches them. A few species can actually be dangerous to humans, not from the bite itself but from the transmission of Chagas disease which can cause heart failure and damage to organs. This can sometimes be fatal to humans, and is spread when the insect bites it is wise not to handle them.


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Sep 18, 2020 08:55:05   #
raymondh Loc: Walker, MI
 
Superb!!

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Sep 18, 2020 09:43:29   #
sippyjug104 Loc: Missouri
 
raymondh wrote:
Superb!!


Thanks for viewing and it gives me pleasure to share what I see through the lens.

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Sep 18, 2020 10:10:24   #
JeffDavidson Loc: Originally Detroit Now Los Angeles
 
Excellent!

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Sep 18, 2020 10:38:26   #
tinusbum Loc: east texas
 
nice stack!

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Sep 18, 2020 11:33:37   #
sippyjug104 Loc: Missouri
 
JeffDavidson wrote:
Excellent!


Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate your viewing and reply.

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Sep 18, 2020 11:35:17   #
sippyjug104 Loc: Missouri
 
tinusbum wrote:
nice stack!


Thanks, Tinusbum. Our weather is taking a turn toward fall now with leaves starting to change and drop and a bit of a nip in the morning air so many specimens will soon be gone for the season here.

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Sep 18, 2020 14:46:58   #
Don, the 2nd son Loc: Crowded Florida
 
My efforts with LED lights seem all to be a bit too greenish and I have a bit of a challenge getting good color. Your colors are great, how do you do it?

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Sep 18, 2020 15:25:18   #
sippyjug104 Loc: Missouri
 
Don, the 2nd son wrote:
My efforts with LED lights seem all to be a bit too greenish and I have a bit of a challenge getting good color. Your colors are great, how do you do it?


Don, after an unimaginable amount of experiments I went back to something quite basic and it is working quite well for me.

I use two IKEA JANSJĂ– LED lamps and one flat head LED lamp. I scotch taped a piece of 1/4" packing foam directly on the IKEA lamp heads. I doubled up a sheet of the thin packing foam over the flat lamp head. These act as a means of diffusing the lights.

Now for the trick...I stage the specimen before the camera where I want it. Then I place the two IKEA lamps along side and in front of the lens as closely as I can without getting them in the picture.

I then place the flat head LED lamp right on top of those two and of course which is directly over the specimen. This creates a 'tunnel of light' that surrounds the specimen. The camera may be able to see past the specimen at times depending on its size so I either let the light fall off to create a black background or I place a sample paint swatch behind it to create a colored background.

If you are having color cast issues, try putting a neutral grey paint swatch behind your subject and then use your Curves Adjustment to color pick it as neutral grey and that will remove the color cast. The neutral grey can also be picked as a selection with the magic wand tool and you can then delete it and replace it with any color or background of your choice.

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Sep 18, 2020 15:37:18   #
Don, the 2nd son Loc: Crowded Florida
 
Thanks, I'll do that. I still have a KODAK Neutral grey card i can use.

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Sep 18, 2020 15:41:43   #
sippyjug104 Loc: Missouri
 
Don, the 2nd son wrote:
Thanks, I'll do that. I still have a KODAK Neutral grey card i can use.


Don, I'll take a picture of my lighting setup in a bit for you.

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Sep 18, 2020 15:54:36   #
Don, the 2nd son Loc: Crowded Florida
 
sippyjug104 wrote:
Don, I'll take a picture of my lighting setup in a bit for you.



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Sep 18, 2020 16:49:04   #
sippyjug104 Loc: Missouri
 
Don, the 2nd son wrote:


Don, this is the lighting setup that I am presently using. As I described earlier, I use three LED lamps with packing foam taped to them for diffusion and I place them very, very close to the subject. As close as I can without them showing in the view.

My rig is a little Fujifilm X-T20 mirrorless camera. I adapt the camera mount to Nikon F to which I am presently using an old Novoflex bellows. The lens that I have most recently been using is a Nikon TM (tool maker) 5X magnification microscope objective which you can see is quite large. This is a finite objective so no tube lens is required and the extension distance is 150mm from the camera sensor to the mounting shoulder of the objective. I use an assortment of other lenses in various configurations and extensions depending upon the size of the subject being staged including both finite and infinite microscope objectives. I also use Raynox DCR-150 magnifying lens as the tube lens and teleconverters as magnification increases at times.

The camera is mounted on a manual screw type focus rail which is mounted onto a digital motorized focus rail. This provides very fine forward and back adjustments to stage the focus point on the subject.

The subject is staged using an insect mounting pin (I use size #000). I place the mounted specimen into a pill bottle cap that I turn upside down and filled with plasticine modeling clay. I can move and rotate the specimen before the camera as I need. I use a laboratory scissor jack to raise and lower the specimen to align it vertically with the camera. I applied some black felt to the jack to avoid reflection which would cause hot spots of light on the subject. The laboratory jack is mounted on a slide table that moves forward and back as well as left and right. This combination provides X, Y, and Z axis adjustments of the specimen for the camera only moves forward and back.

I hope that you find this info useful in some way. - Sippy.


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Sep 19, 2020 05:18:33   #
Don, the 2nd son Loc: Crowded Florida
 
WOW! Thank you for all this effort and info. This will keep me occupied for infinity LOL! My next question was going to be how do you display the subject, you foresaw that and it's all here.

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Sep 19, 2020 10:06:38   #
sippyjug104 Loc: Missouri
 
Don, the 2nd son wrote:
WOW! Thank you for all this effort and info. This will keep me occupied for infinity LOL! My next question was going to be how do you display the subject, you foresaw that and it's all here.


Don, this is another (I enjoy experimenting) subject positioner that I made. The base is a roller bearing that fits a 1/2-inch shaft that I brought from the local hardware store. I placed a 3/4-inch ball bearing on top of it that I also got at the local hardware store. I then hot-glued a piece of packing foam on it to stick the insect mounting pin into.

This allowed for 360-degree rotation as well as rotation for pitch and yaw of the subject before the camera for fine positioning movements.

I have found that when magnification increases so does the slightest movement of the subject. Many of the Professionals use positioners that are controlled with dial micrometers (oh my those guys are serious).

My go-to way of staging now is the ever so simply pill bottle cap that I place upside down and fill with plasticine modeling clay (best stuff ever! get it from the craft store and it lasts forever). I stick the mounted specimen in it and I can mush the bit of clay around to get the specimen straight or tilted as I want. Then I can simply move it around on the platform of the jack as well as rotate the cap to get the view that I'm looking for as I look at the camera's live view screen.


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