Morpho sulkowski - Part One

Images taken in a controlled environment or with a posed subject. All subject types.

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augusthouse
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Morpho sulkowski - Part One

Post by augusthouse »

I thought I would upload this as it may be of interest (I found it interesting).

The image looks as though it is over-sharpened and noisy, but there has been no undue sharpening applied and ISO was set at 200. There was also no 'diffuser' used to take the images for the stack as I needed the intensity of raw light to make the scales 'sing'.

This butterfly - Morpho sulkowski (Peru) was always going to be a challenge. If you are familiar with this guy you will understand what I mean. It has a mother-of-pearl iridescence - extraordinary.

So, when this particular shot appeared in the viewfinder I wanted to record it. It has helped me understand, somewhat, just how the scales individually manipulate/interact with light.

It appears that each scale can be either 'on' or 'off' and the same applies for the secondary layers allowing various configerations to be displayed. At certain angles all upper-surface scales can be 'off' allowing the underside to show-through.

The images for the stack were taken of an area of 'damage' which exposed the 'layers' of scales.

Can you see what is going on here (or what I think is going on)? Those scales that are apparently 'transparent' would not appear so if the light had hit them from a different angle and those maroon scales also tell part of the story. The 'dark' area is also transparent when backlit; but appears dense in this shot.

It's not a photographic masterpiece - still working on that....

Image
Nikon D100, Nikon CF M 10x objective on bellows at 210 extension, CZM, 12 images in stack, flash down 2 fiber optic cables - positioned at top of frame

Craig
Last edited by augusthouse on Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

augusthouse
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Post by augusthouse »

Here's another one.

A third fiber optic cable was applied beneath the stage for the backlighting.

Image

Nikon D100, Nikon CF M 10x objective on bellows at 210 extension, CZP, 7 images in stack, flash down 3 fiber optic cables - 2 positioned at top of frame / 1 underneath stage
Last edited by augusthouse on Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

dmillard
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Post by dmillard »

Craig -

Those are very interesting images, although I still haven't quite deciphered
what is occurring.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Ah, excellent demonstration! :D

This second picture helps a lot. Nice work, Craig!

As I see this, what's happening is that there are three main kinds of objects in this scene.
1) An overall membrane that weakly reflects toplight but passes backlight freely.
2) Brown scales that reflect a little toplight and block most backlight.
3) Translucent iridescent scales that reflect quite a bit of toplight and pass quite a bit of backlight.

I've seen similar effects, but localized, on moth wings. The "Y" marking on the Silver Y moths, for example, consists of many layers of essentially transparent scales. See here for illustration.

--Rik

augusthouse
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Post by augusthouse »

Rik wrote:
1) An overall membrane that weakly reflects toplight but passes backlight freely.
That is interesting isn't it?

The thing that interests me most about this butterfly is the incredible iridescence and the indefinable colour and variations of those iridescent qualities. The burgundy scales are positioned below the 'top' scales and are separated by an air pocket. I didn't know they were there until I saw them in the viewfinder and they somewhat explain the various shades displayed in the silky, shimmering iridescence. You really have to see one of these guys in person to fully appreciate them.

I will upload a picture tomorrow showing the full butterfly with one set of forewing and hind wing 'off' and the other set 'on'.

Craig
Last edited by augusthouse on Mon Jul 07, 2008 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

augusthouse
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Location: New South Wales Australia

Post by augusthouse »

Here is a shot of the butterfly from 1 angle.

Image
(Morpho sulkowski (M) photographed through glass) 1 fluoro desklamp to the right of 'frame'. D100, Nikon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5D IF AF

The butterfly in this post is safely framed under glass and has held a place-of-honour since I set and framed it 4 years ago. I have some other wings that I am working with for the photographs.

I've been taking more images of this guy. Playing around with a 20X CF - not sure how the actual stacks will turn out yet.

Also want to take a shot with the underside 'up' and some images of 'isolated' scales that I have dusted onto a microscope slide. So, bear with me as I indulge my fascination.

.............................................................

Again, this is not a demonstration of photographic excellence; but some interesting details none-the-less.

It is a 'shallow stack' and I would have liked to have done a better treatment of this shot, but do you think I can find it in the viewfinder again... Another lesson learnt.

However, it does show the layer of secondary scales which are directly attached to the wing membrane.

Would look good with some film stock effects applied and treated as an abstract; but this is how it came out of HF plus some standard adjustments in Photoshop.

Another factor to consider here is that the objective used was a Nikon CF Plan 20x/.46 ∞/0 EP. I also believe I have some vibration somewhere in my setup, which is not unexpected, as the stage is really just 'floating' at the moment and needs to be 'tweaked'.

Nikon CF Plan 20x/.46 ∞/0 EP, WD 3.1, D100 on bellows.


Image


Craig
Last edited by augusthouse on Fri Jul 18, 2008 4:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Craig,

I'm not sure what you're calling "secondary scales". And it's always hard to tell from a photo exactly what's going on. But...

Remember that a butterfly wing consists of a membrane with scales fastened to both the upper and lower faces.

To my eye, this last picture strongly suggests seeing both sets of scales simultaneously, one set on either side of the membrane.

I notice that the iridescent scales have bases (the pegs) that are crisply defined, while the non-iridescent scales have bases that are not so well defined. I also notice that the spacing between the rows of iridescent scales is a little less than the spacing between rows of the non-iridescent ones. (At the bottom of the picture, all of the pegs are aligned in a single row, but toward the top of the photo the rows of pegs of the non-iridescent scales are located farther and farther away from the corresponding rows of pegs for the iridescent scales. ) Looking again at the earlier photos, I now see the same pattern there.

Putting all this together, I suspect that the iridescent scales are the ones on the lens side of the membrane, and the non-iridescent scales are the ones on the other side of the membrane.

Does this morpho have a dull underside, by any chance?

If you have a fairly high power stereo scope, the structure should be easy to figure out by probing with a fine needle. I'd be interested to know, if you can figure out for sure what it is.

--Rik

augusthouse
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Post by augusthouse »

Hi Rik,
I understand it is difficult to tell from the photograph. I will address the points you mentioned in more detail later; but just a summary for now.

Regarding the 'secondary scales'. All the scales visible in the images are on top of the wing membrane. There are 'layers' in there.

The underside is also very interesting and has its own arrangement of 'brown' and iridescent scales and that mysterious transparency.

Morpho aurora aurora (Bolivia) has similar characteristics and to a lesser degree so too does Morpho godarti godarti (Bolivia) - not to be confused with Morpho godarti assarpai (Peru) whose iridescence tends to move back toward the 'blue' of Morpho didius (Peru).

* The article that Charlie provided a link to in his post "Morpho sulkowski... another look" is MAGNIFICENT!
www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5281

Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

augusthouse
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Post by augusthouse »

Here is an image that is a bit easier on the eyes. It is one image taken from a stack of 84 (too many and not yet stacked).

There was a diffuser used in the setup for this image. I applied white-balance adjustment, levels and minor sharpening in PS.

It's rather smooth - but in a very good way to my eye. The use of a diffuser doesn't fully explain the 'smoothness'. The scales are iridescent - but not 'noisy', and the finer details are clearly present. :-k

The objective used was the infinity-corrected Nikon CF 20x EPI. It appears this objective does have 'certain qualities' and it should be good for poking at things. Whatever I'm doing wrong to achieve this type of image I intend to do it more often.....

The objective I have has a working distance of 3.1mm; but Nikon made another with the same specs that has an ELWD of 11mm. I would be interested in working with that one; especially with this subject. Ultimately though, I'm looking for a 20X and 40x ELWD or SLWD Nikon CF 'finite' M Plan.

*later note: just purchased a Nikon M Plan 20 / 0.4 ELWD / 210/0

Image
Single image. Nikon CF Plan 20x/.46 ∞/0 EP, WD 3.1, D100 on bellows, 170mm from objective shoulder to sensor (Nikon indicate tube length of 100 to 200mm when used on a scope).

Pixel crops from the above image:

Image
Nikon CF Plan 20x/.46 ∞/0 EP, WD 3.1, D100 on bellows. Pixel crops from image above.

Craig
Last edited by augusthouse on Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

Looks interesting! It's hard to say from here whether the 'softness' around the edge is due to the shape of the wing, or if that's the lens, I suspect the former.. I'll be interested to see how the stacks come out from that lens! :)

If you manage to find anyone with more than one of those lenses esp if one of the LWD models, give me a shout! :D

augusthouse
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Post by augusthouse »

Laurie,
I took 84 images in preparation for the stack. This is one of those images; other images are sharp in the edge area; the objective provides a typical 'Plan' result with sharp detail from edge to edge.

84 images is most likely way too many for the required stack depth for this subject (I should have used Rik's DOF calculator), so I will need to select the most important images and use those in the stack. That area over the diffused background is proving to be the most difficult - as you would expect.

Illumination was flash with the main diffuser wrapped around the actual objective. There were 3 fiber optic cables used overhead for this one and a fourth was used sub-stage via a mirror-housing and diffused.

Regarding the infinity-corrected objective. I set out to explore its potential for stacking and used the subject in the most recent images above. I was side-tracked when I noticed, first of all, that it was possible to achieve an image on the sensor and secondly, by the 'certain qualities' of that image. I'm still determining just what those 'qualities' are; but they certainly should not be dismissed. It seems to have an ordered 3D aspect to it's output. I want to try it out on a line-engraved stamp or ink mark on paper; but the WD makes it difficult to get light onto the subject from a suitable direction.

As I mentioned earlier - Ultimately I'm looking for a 20x and 40x ELWD or SLWD Nikon CF 'finite' M Plan. When I swap-out the infinity-corrected objective with a finite objective it becomes immediately apparent which one is the most suitable for the type of focus-stacking most of us are currently undertaking- 'finite'.

Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

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