28 November 2010
I am nearing the end of my first semester in grad school so things have been a bit busy. However, I took a break from studying and writing papers to work on the blog at least a little. As promised I found and used a focus stacking software to produce some better pictures of Amphicrossus ciliatus and a couple of other cool beetles. A quick search of the blogosphere turned up some pretty high praise for a program called CombineZP. This is my favorite kind of program... its FREE! This software has a very simple interface but it does a great job of stacking photos and again it is FREE! The software really is amazingly easy to use. To produce these pictures I set my specimen up and focused at the very highest point and took a photograph. I then just turned the fine focus knob 1/4 turn and took another photograph until I had the lowest point on the specimen in focus. Next just batch load these into CombineZP and choose your method from the drop down menu. (I picked "All Methods") The program then putters away on your images for a minute or two eventually spitting out a finished product that you can save.
I decided to play a little more and produced the picture below of a tiger beetle. I have included small versions of each of the photos that were combined to create the stacked photo just so you can get an idea of how this works.
This will be my last post for a week or two. I have to finish up some presentations and projects so wish me luck!
21 November 2010
I do not have the equipment or skills to take macro photos the way that so many of the nature bloggers do. However, the lab that I am in has a great microscope with a camera hooked up to it. So I have started experimenting with it and teaching myself how to use it. I haven't gotten a stacked image to work the way that it should but this beetle was too cool not to share.
When you look at him with a loop it looks like he has two little hard spikes on his elytra however under greater magnification you can see that it is actually a bundle of hairs. I can think of a lot of explanations for this morphology but I have not observed them alive so who knows. I am going to try and get a good stacked photo uploaded later this week until then cheers
18 November 2010
Oncideres rhodosticta) has been found in huge numbers for the last several years through out the southwest. Her post explains some of the reasons for these mass occurrences.
Calligrapha vicina. This will open the full size version and they are really amazing works of art.
Chrysina gloriosa and a Dynastes granti that were attracted to her light on her first night in Arizona. What a treat! Best of luck on your schooling!
Lacon rorulenta check out this post. You will also find some nice shots of the red fir grove and the surrounding landscape where the beetle was found.
Polyphylla diffracta. He doesn't come to a final decision, but at least he has a literature list so you can explore it more fully if you wish.
No AIF issue would be complete without a post that featured tiger beetles. For that we go to THE tiger beetle blog Beetles in the Bush.
Cicindela pulchra is a mixture of metallic reds and blues that are truly awesome. Ted's article as always includes a lot more than just pretty pictures. He also includes descriptions and pictures of the habitat, and larvae burrows.
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