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Friday, June 10, 2011

A bug's life: Photographer captures flies in exquisite detail by snapping each one 687 times through a microscope

By Daily Mail Reporter
From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

If you are scared of creepy crawlies you might want to look away now.

These are the remarkable close-up photographs of flies composed by stitching together up to 687 separate images taken through a microscope.

Tomas Rak photographs a tiny area of the fly under a microscope before moving it a mere five hundredth of a millimetre and taking another snap.

It can take a staggering 687 movements and 'micro-photographs' to capture every part of the fly in such stunning detail.


Close up: The head of Anoplotrupes Stercorosus. It's entire body is only 10mm long
Brilliant lustre: Astonishing colours gleam on the head of a dung beetle, Anoplotrupes Stercorosus. Its entire body is only 10mm long

Flying head-on: The photos are the result of an ingenious photography technique using a microscope. Pictured is the head of a Vespula Vulgaris
Fuzzy-face: The whiskery head of a Vespula Vulgaris, the common wasp. The photographs are the result of an ingenious photography technique using a microscope

Are you looking at me? The Ichneumon wasp which is just 3mm long. Most of it appears to be made of bulging eyes
Are you looking at me? The Ichneumon wasp which is just 3mm long. Most of it appears to be made of bulging eyes
He then uploads the images to a computer and 'stitches' them together to create a larger whole.
They show the furry insects' bizarre facial expressions, bright colours and bulging eyes in an extraordinary new way.

Mr Rak, from Wandsworth, south-west London, said: 'I put the flies on a special microslider which can be moved as little as one five hundredth of a millimetre.

'I then place this under a camera and microscope and take a photo.

'I get a really sharp picture but over a small area so I move the microslider across a tiny bit and take another shot.

Golden glow: The delicate hairs and amber-like pincer of a sawfly which also has a body size of just 3mm
Golden glow: The delicate hairs and amber-like pincer of the tiny sawfly which is just 3mm long

Zoom in: A metallic wasp, measuring just 2mm. The insect can be seen in exquisite detail in the close up shot
Jewel-like: The shimmering and exquisite head of a wasp, measuring just 2mm. Even the hairs on its antennae are clear

High definition: Drosophilia Melanogaster showing it's actual size. The ruler is in millimetres, so this tiny insect measures just three mm in lengthThe Athalia Rosae to show it's actual size....beside a normal match head.
In miniature: A common fruit fly, left, showing its actual size, just three mm in length. Right, a tiny sawfly beside a normal match head

'This has to be repeated many times before I have photographed the whole fly. My record is 687 shots to make up a single insect.

'I look for insects everywhere, I always have a pot with me in case I see something interesting.

'Most of my insect are not larger than 3mm so I have to look very carefully for small black "dots" on walls.'


Mr Rak, 29, added: 'Microphotography can teach other people what these insects really look like.

'My photos are pretty artistic. I particularly like to take shots of insects because I like their shape and they have so many invisible details which you don't usually see.


'I have had a very positive reaction to these images. People who see them keep asking me how photos on a scale such as this could even be possible!'


The vivid backgrounds in the images are real flowers which are then carefully boosted by the editing software.

Mr Rak has only been practising microphotography for eight months.

He had previously become a dab hand at macrophotography, a technique which also examines the smallest of objects, but not to a microscopic level.


He said: 'Microphotography is more difficult and more time consuming than macrophotography because with such huge magnifications, the depth of field has to be very small.


'It is actually the computer editing which is the most time consuming part.'




Side view: The Drosophilia Melanogaster. Photographer Tomas Rak uploads the images to a computer and 'stitches' them together to create a larger whole
Bad case of red eye: The Drosophilia Melanogaster, or common fuit fly. Photographer Tomas Rak uploads the images to a computer and 'stitches' them together to create a whole


Wide eyed: A front view of the fruit fly. Mr Rak said it can take 687 movements and 'microphotographs' to capture every part of the fly in such stunning detail
Wide eyed: A front view of the fruit fly. Mr Rak said it can take 687 movements and 'microphotographs' to capture every part of the fly in such stunning detail

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