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Macroscopic Images


Macroscopy is ultra-close-up photography using special techniques to achive exciting images in this very difficult size range. For my purposes, it is more about the approach than the size range, although the images are often10 times the size of the subject or more. Photomacrographs are frequently eye-catching because they reveal detail that most people have never seen before as they are introduced into the new world of the Liliputians.

In this craft, one makes images by careful control of light and motion, often building devices to exact the necessary control. One of the most unusual procedures is "scanning photomacrography" in which the subject is in motion during the exposure and depth of field encompases the entire subject. The image of the moth below is an example of an image produced in this manner.

Scanning Photomacrograph of a Polyphemus Moth (mag = 2-3X)
This image prints well to 22 x 22"

Polyphemus Moth
(Antheraea polyphemus)

There is something diabolical about this moth.   Of course there isn't - it's just a moth that has no likelihood of connection to demons, but the fact that we see it that way is loaded with significance.  

Polyphemus is a common moth in much of the Eastern US and he uses those enormous antennae to find females at night.   He is about impossible to photograph as a whole, without a scanning system.

The forward projection of the antennae takes them well out of the conventional focal plane.

Scanning Photomacrograph of a gastropod (mag = 2-3X)
This image prints well to 22 x 22"

This is a story of birth, vigorous growth with the accumulation of the dings of life, aging and death.   A rhythm in itself.   An embryonic snail begins with about the first half turn of the spiral and grows by adding new layers of shell material around the "mouth" of the shell, where he and she keep his and her foot.   Snails are hermaphrodites.  

The increase in diameter of each successive layer is regulated by a simple algorithm that increases the size of the opening by a fixed proportion with each successive layer, like a bricklayer making a vase.