Wildwater.tv's Blog

Video and Scientific Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Microscopy as art

Posted by wildwatertv on August 20, 2010

A friend of mine, Julian Barton, suggested that microscopy could be used to produce artistic as well as scientific images.  Sort of landscapes within the miniature world.  There is a good history of this, with Spike Walker being represented by the Wellcome Institute at an exhibition recently of his electron micrographs.  This is my first attempt.  Greenbottles (Lucilla Caesar) have an amazing irridescent quality when you see them, and it is just about possible to reproduce this photographically.  These two pics are of the abdomen and thorax of a greenbottle.  I think I like the first one best, due to its cartoon like quality, but comments are appreciated.  Julian, I hope this is what you meant.  Taken through a light microscope using a Nikon 10xDIC objective with reflected flash light.

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Greenfly giving birth

Posted by wildwatertv on June 15, 2010

Now this is a touching and tender scene for anyone who isn’t a gardener.  It’s a greenfly giving birth to one of many daughters on a rosebud. Within ten minutes there were several of these little beasts running around their mother.  She, meanwhile, just sat there eating throughout.  Taken using a zeiss luminar 25mm lens with the usual flash arrangement which picks up the colours being diffracted by the wings.  When I last looked, mother and daughter were doing well….

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House Fly’s mouth

Posted by wildwatertv on June 8, 2010

This creature is the common house fly, musca domestica. When you see them sitting on a piece of bread they are using that fearsome mouth to scrape and suck food from the bread, cheese, or anything else they might like…  It excretes a sort of liquid enzyme which digests the food on the surface before sucking the pre-digested liquid up though the tube.  These mouth-parts are always a bit grubby.  Pays to keep them off your food in the first place.  Now I’ve seen one up close I think I’ll be more careful.

Taken through a light microscope with a Nikon x10DIC .25 objective and stacked using a stack of thirty-four images.

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More eyes

Posted by wildwatertv on June 3, 2010


Sometimes you take a picture which makes you want to throw everything else you’ve ever done away and just simply admire the majesty of nature.  I’ve posted a blow-up of the central portion of this picture to show the perfection that exists on such a small scale.  Taken through a light microscope using a Nikon DI 10x objective and using a stack of fifty images, this is a different sort of hoverfly to the one below.  This one is called Eupeodes corollae.  One of the most common flies in the garden this time of year.  Wonderful creature!

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Hover Fly eyes

Posted by wildwatertv on May 28, 2010

This beast is the common hoverfly, Melascaeava cinctella.  It has excellent vision, and extremely well developed compound eyes.  This photograph also shows the three small simple eyes, or ocelli, arranged in a triangle between the two enormous compound eyes.  Photographic image stack using a Zeiss Luminar 25mm on a standard light microscope.

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Shield bug

Posted by wildwatertv on April 20, 2010

This fantastic creature is a Green shieldbug (Palomina Prasina), Order Hemiptera sub order Heteroptera Family Acanthosomidae. They have long sucking mouthparts but they also have a gland in their thorax between the first and second pair of legs which secretes a foul smelling liquid.  This gives them their other common name, stink bugs.

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Hairy footed flower bee

Posted by wildwatertv on April 14, 2010

I spent ages last week setting up the equipment to do high speed photography on bees in flight.  Finally, I got this one to play and it took its own picture.  It looked a little odd when it came to identifying it.  I first thought it was a bee-fly, but on further investigation it IS a bee called the hairy footed flower bee, or to give it its scientific name, Anthophora plumipes. They have very long tongues, which can get to the nectaries of pulmonaria.  They are hole dwellers and our house has holes made by mason bees in which they probably live.  the females are all black, but this is the male.  They are among the earliest of bees, and only fly until about May.

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Compound Eyes 3

Posted by wildwatertv on November 18, 2009

This is the closest I’ve got so far to anything.  Taken through a Swift Microscope with a Swift 10x objective and Nikon 2.5x Photo eyepiece, this is the same eye as in the post below but this time it’s plain that the structure of a wasp’s eye is made up of hexagonal elements.  the hexagons are not perfect, but the shape of the eye determines the shape they can be at any one point.  Lighting was achieved by the use of a tracing paper diffuser held around the objective with a rubber band and encircling the head of the wasp.  I’ve finally nearly got rid of chromatic aberrations at this magnification.

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Compound eyes 2

Posted by wildwatertv on November 9, 2009

waspeyeblog

This is the eye of a wasp.  Unlike bees they have clean compound eyes, very highly developed.  The structure is a honeycomb of hexagonal elements, which combine to form a rudimentary image.  They eyes cannot focus like human eyes, but they can see in most directions at the same time, which gives the insect a clear warning when anything approaches. Taken through a Swift Microscope with a 4x objective.

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Lyniphid spider in web

Posted by wildwatertv on November 3, 2009

Lyniphiablog

This is a Lyniphid spider.  They are often called money spiders and live under a sort of carpet of web rather than on a classic orb.  It looks upside down because it is, almost permanently.  Those huge jaws grab the prey from below when it falls onto the web carpet.  there are many different species of Lyniphia, so this is a difficult one to identify clearly.  They are all small and fast.  Photographed using flash at about 6x magnification with a Nikon D300 and Zeiss Luminar.  All spiders are miracles of evolution and each is perfectly adapted to its own style of hunting.  The eyes in this genus are not well developed because they use the vibrations in the web to locate their prey.

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