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Butterfly Wings through a Dissection Scope

 
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DougCraft



Joined: 26 Nov 2018
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Location: Northern Colorado

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:11 pm    Post subject: Butterfly Wings through a Dissection Scope Reply with quote

These were shot using an Olympus SZH-10 dissection microscope, incident light, and an integrated Nikon FG film camera and Fuji Provia slide film. The butterflies were part of colleague S. Mark Nelson's collection.







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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May I offer a suggestion? White balance your light source. This is harder with film than with digital sensors but you still have to do it. The colors of these look way off. You could try to balance the digital scans in Photoshop.
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DougCraft



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lou Jost wrote:
May I offer a suggestion? White balance your light source. This is harder with film than with digital sensors but you still have to do it. The colors of these look way off. You could try to balance the digital scans in Photoshop.


White balance the incident light for film images? Really? I think you have your media mixed up. I used a Spyder to calibrate my monitor when I scanned these slides, and they were originally saved using Adobe RGB color (not s-RGB as required by the forum).

I assume you are referring to the blue morpho images? How are they "way off"? Red shifted? Cyan shifted? Why not show me what you are talking about? I assume you have photoshop available. Why not "fix" the morpho images tell me what you did to to correct the colors?

That would be helpful, and welcome critique.
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you use daylight-balanced film, you must filter your light source so that it has the same spectral distribution as daylight. Your pictures look like they were illuminated by a much warmer light source, like incandescent light. The normal thing to do would have been to put a color-correction filter on the camera or light source so the incident light spectral distribution would match what the film expects. Then, white objects will appear as white.

The mismatch is obvious in your photos, especially in the last three. Probably the diagonal band of lighter scales across that image just to the left of the eyespot are more nearly white. Likewise in the third-last photos I will bet you that those light spots are white, not yellow-orange. Everything has the classic orange tint of a photo taken under a light source whose color temperature is mismatched to the film. This was a common problem back in the days of film. I don't miss those days.

I think these are so far out of balance that I cannot fix them from here. I can make them a bit closer to their correct appearance, though. Here would be my attempt to get closer to reality for the eyespot photo:


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Last edited by Lou Jost on Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:29 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We can check the colors if you can tell us the species of butterfly which has that eyespot.
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I looked at your Youtube video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN8PKrpi9R0
and recognized a Luna moth eyespot (4:30) and later, what is probably a Cecropia wing (5:12). Both have an overpowering orange tint. All the subtle colors of the Cecropia are lost. See here for a Cecropia moth with correct color balance:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyalophora_cecropia#/media/File:Hyalophora_cecropia1.jpg
Note especially the white band, which is bright orange-yellow in your picture.
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DougCraft



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lou - thanks for the comments and critique. I understand what you are saying and now see your comments were addressing correct and accurate color rendition of a biological specimen.

My intention in shooting these images, however, was to obtain natural abstracts as backgrounds for my collages or as subjects for abstract paintings. I am not a technical photographer or scientific illustrator, so correct rendition was not a goal. My focus has always been artistic form and composition, not accurately rendering nature.

So, I will not be "fixing" any of these images. They are as they are...
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My focus has always been artistic form and composition, not accurately rendering nature.


That's a completely legitimate goal, of course.

Even so, you might want to try to match your film to your light source, not necessarily for accuracy but to have a wider palette. It gives you more to play with in order to achieve your goals. You can always turn everything orange in post-production if you want, but you can never get back the subtle colors and patterns that were on the wings originally, and it might have been these patterns that first caught your eye.
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DougCraft



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lou Jost wrote:
Quote:
My focus has always been artistic form and composition, not accurately rendering nature.


That's a completely legitimate goal, of course.

Even so, you might want to try to match your film to your light source, not necessarily for accuracy but to have a wider palette. It gives you more to play with in order to achieve your goals. You can always turn everything orange in post-production if you want, but you can never get back the subtle colors and patterns that were on the wings originally, and it might have been these patterns that first caught your eye.


Thanks, Lou! You make good sense for film photography. I am shooting digital exclusively, however, so the issue of light source/temperature is pretty much handled by the camera with Auto white balance.
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, that's one of the best things about digital photography!
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DougCraft wrote:
I am shooting digital exclusively, however, so the issue of light source/temperature is pretty much handled by the camera with Auto white balance.

Be aware that auto white balance is prone to fail badly for subjects like this.

The reason is that auto white balance tries to make sense of the colors that it sees in the frame. When the entire frame is full of color, the camera really has no idea what the correct white balance should be, so it's reduced to guessing. Is that a yellowish brown subject illuminated by daylight, or a gray subject illuminated by incandescent? There's no way to tell just by looking at the light that hits the sensor, so the camera will arbitrarily choose one or the other or something else.

If you did care about accurate colors, then the right thing to do would be to shoot a gray or white card using the same illumination and optics as your brightly colored subjects, and set a manual white balance from the gray/white card. If you're shooting in raw then you can make the adjustment later in raw processing instead of during the shoot, but still you need that image of the gray/white card shot using the same setup as your subjects, to calibrate the white balance.

--Rik
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MarkSturtevant



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that would be fun to try with the morpho wings is to add a source of transmitted light from underneath the wings. If this light source is stronger than the light coming down from above, it pretty much wipes out the iridescent blue structural color, leaving only the washed out brown pigment that characterizes the underside of the wings.
Then, by turning down this light and turning up the light from above, you can find an area of balance where you start to see the brown pigment from underneath the wings plus the blue structural color from the upper wing surface. The effect is rather interesting and 'arty'. I accidentally discovered this in a public butterfly house with a blue morpho some years ago, when one was perched up high against the sunlit roof. It was transformed into a dull, brownish butterfly. But then the camera flash brought up the blue color and the effect was interesting. This is shown here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/87421607@N04/28037198726/in/dateposted-public/lightbox/

To see what I am really getting at, zoom in on an area of the wings where both brown and blue colors interplay in close proximity. I bet under a microscope the effect will be rather mesmorizing. I also see that you maybe have some of it in the first picture.
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark, my local Morpho species, M sulkowskyi, is translucent, with a yellow patterned underside and a silvery blue sheen on the top that often disappears in flight. This is one of my favorite butterflies in the entire world. They are like fluttering half-silvered mirrors. Every once in a while I even see these in my yard!! Maybe once every five years.

Here are some links to photos of this species that others have posted on the internet:

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/201202/r893359_8995696.jpg

https://www.theinsectcollector.com/acatalog/info-14954.html

They are eaten by birds which knock the wings off, and I sometimes find these wings. I also have some reared specimens. I will try to photograph them one of these days...

I took a poor video of one of these crossing a mountain pass along a road in Peru...maybe I can extract something from that one of these days. A video is the only way to appreciate the translucence properly.
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