Care to share a photo of a bug?

Test image of easter tiger swallowtail (a butterfly) hind wing, at high magnification, from the UT imaging system. Credit: Flickr

Yes, today's it is April fools' day, but trust me, I am not pulling your leg!

I stumble onto a news published by DpReview, one of my favourite photo-news sites, about a crowdsourcing project launched by the University of Texas to harvest high quality photos on insects. 

Aptly named "Insects Unlock" the project aims at making available to anybody, with no copyright strings attached insects photos.

The project has started with a crowdfunding campaign to raise 8,000$ that will be used by the university entomologists team to take photos of insects (in Texas) and to make them available for free on a website. The photos will be taken by students that will be professionally trained in macro-photography.

There are now hundreds of thousands of amateur macro-photographers whose work can be au-pair with the ones of professionals. 

Why don't participate in the project and send, copyright free, your very best photos of insects? These will eventually result in a growing world wide data base of amazing photos, never seen before.

Thanks to software it is now possibile to take photos that go beyond the constrains of optics. When you take a photo the optic geometry of the lens will result in a certain "depth of field" an area where objects are sharp. Outside of this area the images gets more and more blurred, out of focus. As you capture object in the near field, that is macro-photography, the depth of field shrinks to less than a mm and most of the insect will be out of focus. Here comes software in rescue.

What you can do is to take tens, hundreds of photos each one focussing at a slightly different depth. Then using "stacking software" like Helicon you can blend the photos into a single one with the insect completely in focus. It looks like magic! Video clip Maximilian Weinzierl.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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