First images with our new photography station

2013-10-15dPart of our budget from the Fossil Insect Collaborative NSF grant was to purchase equipment to set up a photography station. This is a challenging exercise for insects from the Solite Quarry, which are almost universally tiny and difficult to see at all without proper lighting. After getting lots of valuable advice at the iDigBio workshop and TCN meeting at New Haven last month (especially from Dave Grimaldi at AMNH, who has described many of the Solite insects), Christina and I returned to VMNH and started selecting the equipment we needed.The key item is a Canon 6D digital SLR camera, with a macro lens for closeup work. We also needed a high quality, stable camera stand, ring lights, and a miniature scale bar with 0.1 mm increments. We’re going to be adding a step motor and software for taking stacked images for greater depth of field, but some of that equipment is back-ordered (and fortunately, most of the Solite insects are so flat that depth of field isn’t an issue). Finally, we got a new iMac and a massive external hard drive to control and store everything. Christina is still working on getting ideal camera settings, and we have a lot of workflow issues to address, but the setup is now largely complete (above) and we’ve started getting our first photos:

2013-10-15a

 

This is a partial specimen of Leehermania prorova, a rove beetle (Family Staphylinidae). The small increments on the scale are 0.1 mm, so the preserved portion of the beetle is only about 2 mm long.

We have other small critters besides insects at Solite. Below is the locality’s only known spider, Argyrarachne solitus.

2013-10-15b

To see how much of an improvement our new setup offers, compare this closeup of the legs (note the hairs) to the images I included in my 2009 blog post on this specimen:

2013-10-15e

Finally, you can’t keep me away from the vertebrates! Here’s the juvenile specimen of Tanytrachelos ahynis we collected in 2009:

2013-10-15c

 

As we get further into this project, we’ll be posting a lot more photos of Solite insects, as well as other critters from various sites.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Paleontological techniques, Solite Quarry. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to First images with our new photography station

  1. Aydin says:

    Where did you get the scale bar from?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s