Sunday, 4 November 2012

Transparent water flea

   Most of small and microscopic invertebrates are transparent and sometimes make you feel that they are made out of glass. That fact makes taking pictures very difficult. In  case of this water flea, which happens to be Simocephalus vetulus, I spent 4 days by Photoshop manually stacking and stitching images and cursing all classes, orders, and families of crustaceans I could recall. No automatic software is capable of accomplishing this insane task. I find the combination of dark backgrounds and polarized light very spectacular for transparent animals in general, and though that at least one object deserved such attention. Hope it was worth it.

   While most of my animals are transparent, I need to select the right magnification to make the effect visible. The magnification is too high--good bye transparency.

   Simocephalus is a bigger water flea than Ceriodaphnia. Yet this individual still was about 0.5-0.7 mm in the longest direction, excluding antennae. It also "kindly" allowed me to take 15 exposures for a portrait - frontal view. However, it was reluctant to let me finish the shell on top (middle of the pic):

  The portrait was easy to assemble with stacking. But the first picture was a nightmare. This water flea made me reconsider the term "pixel hunt." Although it came from old computer games, where sometimes you had to click on every pixel of the screen to find an object in a given location, it still is a good term. I had a 9000+ px high image, where I was making sure I find every usable pixel out of 80 24+ megapixel exposures of the water flea to preserve all details of its shell and internal structure. Wish I'll never have to do that again.

  My setup included Sony NEX-7, Zeiss Axioscope A1, 5x Pol Achromat lens, and 2.5x connector.

   This image belongs to my latest set that I made in September. It's the last images that I made in the European part of Asia. I hope I will have time to continue my hobby in Brisbane and show some Australian microscopic biodiversity.

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