Archive for the ‘Godox X2TC’ Category

Swift River Cruiser exuvia (face-head)

November 20, 2020

The following image is a focus-stacked composite of three photos, focused on the left eye, right eye, and both eyes respectively.

27 May 2017 | Riverbend Park | Swift River Cruiser (exuvia, face-head)

Tech Tips

The dragonfly exuvia was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

Several photos were taken using my Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital camera, a Kenko 12mm extension tube, and Laowa 25mm Ultra Macro Lens, set for f/4.0 (the sweet spot for this lens) at ~3.0x magnification.

Godox TT685C external flash was used to backlight the background (a piece of translucent white plastic) and a Godox TT685F external flash was used as a key light on the right side of the subject. The flash was triggered wirelessly by a Godox X2TC.

Check the EXIF/IPTC info for the photograph for complete details regarding photo gear and camera settings.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to create a focus-stacked composite image that was edited using Apple Aperture.

The Backstory

Swift River Cruiser dragonfly (Macromia illinoiensisexuvia was collected on 27 May 2017 along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

When is close too close?

October 14, 2020

Swift River Cruiser dragonfly (Macromia illinoiensisexuvia was collected on 27 May 2017 along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female. The prominent horn on the head — a key field mark for exuviae from Family Macromiidae (Cruisers) — is noticeable in the following photo, although maybe not recognizable.

This photo is one of several test shots using “The Macroscope,” my nickname for the Laowa 25mm Ultra Macro Lens. The Laowa lens was mounted on my Canon 5D Mark II digital camera with a 12mm Kenko extension tube between the lens and camera body.

My new Laowa LED Ring Light was mounted on the front of the lens, powered by an Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W battery. The Laowa LED Ring Light was used to light the subject. A Sunpak LED-160 Video Light was used as a focusing aid. A Godox TT685C external flash was used to backlight a translucent white plastic background, using the “Meet Your Neighbours” technique. The flash was triggered wirelessly by a Godox X2TC.

The image is full-frame (5616 by 3744 pixels), that is, uncropped. The lens was set for f/4 (the “sweet spot” for the lens) at 4x magification. The camera was set for single point focus and spot metering, centered on the right eye of the exuvia.

Look closely at a full-size version of the image. At this magnification, the depth of field is very shallow: remnant ommatidia are clearly in focus; most of the image is out of focus.

In order to provide some context for what is shown in the first photo, the last photo shows the entire specimen. The photo gear used to take the shot is specified in a previous blog post.

When is close too close?

Close is too close when most of the subject is unrecognizable. At 4x magnification, it’s essential to use focus stacking to create a composite image.

The bigger take-away from this test shot is the Laowa LED Ring Light seems to work fairly well, albeit a sample size of one.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Neurocordulia yamaskanensis exuvia

April 13, 2020

A Stygian Shadowdragon dragonfly (Neurocordulia yamaskanensis) exuvia was collected by Freda van den Broek on 10 June 2019 along the St. Croix River in Interstate Park, Polk County, Wisconsin USA.

A two-step process was used to verify the genus and species of the exuvia.

  1. Determine the family.
  2. Determine the genus and species.

Step 1. Family

First, determine the family of the specimen. For reference, watch the excellent Vimeo video, Identifying dragonfly larva to family (8:06). Here’s the decision tree used to identify the exuvia as a member of the Family Corduliidae (Emeralds).

  • The specimen has a mask-like labium (prementum) that covers the face, as shown in Image No. 1, characteristic of four families of odonates: Cordulegastridae (Spiketails); Corduliidae (Emeralds); Libellulidae (Skimmers); and Macromiidae (Cruisers).
  • There is no horn on the face-head, characteristic of Macromiidae, so it’s not a cruiser.
  • Cordulegastridae has angular, jagged crenulations on its labium, so it’s not a spiketail. The crenulations for Corduliidae and Libellulidae can look similar.
  • Look at the anal pyramid to differentiate Corduliidae and Libellulidae: It’s probably Corduliidae if the cerci are at least half as long as the paraprocts. [Editor’s Note: It’s probably Libellulidae if the cerci are less than half the length of the paraprocts.]

In summary, the exuvia has a mask-like labium, and no horn on its face-head. The deeply-scalloped crenulations along the margins of the palpal lobes are a characteristic field mark for Genus Neurocordulia (Shadowdragons) in the Family Corduliidae (Emeralds), according to Kevin Hemeon, member of the “Odonate Larvae and Exuviae” Facebook group.

Although the anal pyramid isn’t shown clearly in any of the photos in this field guide, careful examination of photos of the teneral adult that emerged from the exuvia (see The Backstory, below) confirmed the dragonfly is a Stygian Shadowdragon. Stygian is the only species of Neurocordulia (Shadowdragons) within range of Wisconsin.

A face-head view of the exuvia is shown in Image No. 1, magnified approximately two and one-half times life size (~2.5x). Notice the mask-like labium that covers the face of the exuvia, including deeply-scalloped crenulations with bundles of bristles (setae) located along the margins of the palpal lobes.

No. 1 | Neurocordulia yamaskanensis | exuvia (face-head)

Step 2. Genus and species

Dichotomous keys from Identification Keys to Northeastern Anisoptera Larvae, compiled by Ken Soltesz, were used to verify the genus and species of the exuvia. Field marks that match this specimen are highlighted in boldface green text.

Key to the Genera of the Family Corduliidae, p. 28.

1a. Pair of small tubercles on top of head; Lateral lobe of labium with 4 or 5 setae (except sometimes 6 or 7 in Neurocordulia). (2)

2a. Strong lateral spines of abdominal segment 8 very divergent and as strong as parallel spines of [S]9. (Neurocordulia)

Alternate Key to the Genera of the Family Corduliidae, p. 29.

1a. Dorsal hooks present and well developed on some of the abdominal segments. (2)

2a. Lateral spines present on segment 8. (3)

3a. Crenulations on distal margin of labial palpi nearly semicircular or even more deeply cut; Lateral spines on segment 8 divergent. (Neurocordulia)

Key to the Species of the Genus Neurocordulia, p. 31.

1b. Lateral spines of 9 about 30 to 50 percent of the length of segment 9, not extending beyond the tips of the caudal appendages; Dorsal hooks of segments 7 to 9 reduced to scarcely more than a short ridge; Length 22 – 24.5 mm. (yamaskanensis)

The following annotated focus-stacked composite images illustrate key field marks described in Soltesz’s dichotomous keys.

Notice the specimen has stubby mid-dorsal hooks along the length of its abdomen, as shown in Image No. 2.

Lateral spines are present on abdominal segments eight and nine (S8-S9): the lateral spines on S8 are divergent; the ones on S9 are parallel.

The exuvia is ~2.4 cm (~0.95 in) in length — the longest shadowdragon larva/exuvia in the genus Neurocordulia. Notice the lateral spines on abdominal segment nine (S9) don’t extend beyond the tips of the caudal appendages (terminal appendages), as shown below.

The Backstory

The following narrative was provided by Freda van den Broeck.

On the last morning of the Wisconsin Dragonfly Society Annual Meeting weekend — Sunday, June 10th 2019 — I made my way to the boat landing in Interstate Park, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin USA.

The previous morning I’d photographed Mustached Clubtail emerging there (with Alon Coppens). We also saw several teneral Rapids Clubtails. One didn’t have to look hard to find exuviae — they were most easily seen on the rocks, just a couple of feet above the water line. I was really hoping to find a Snaketail emerging, but had no such luck.

Photo of St. Croix river used with permission from Freda van den Broek.

Just as I was about to head back to the car, I spotted a teneral, that had crawled up the rock face higher than I would have expected. At that point, I thought it was “just another baskettail” — we’d seen many of them on Friday afternoon and Saturday. But it was pretty and shiny, so I had to take a few pictures, even though I was late for breakfast. (It was around 8:20 am.)

It was several days later before I realized that it wasn’t a baskettail, but a Shadowdragon, and that a few of the exuviae I’d collected there were Stygian Shadowdragons. Source Credit: Freda van den Broek.

Photo used with permission from Freda van den Broek.

Tenerals are usually tough to identify, but you’ll notice in both photos that the [small yellow] spot on [side of] the thorax is clearly visible. Source Credit: Freda van den Broek.

Photo used with permission from Freda van den Broek.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

MYN – N. yamaskanensis exuvia (face-head)

April 10, 2020

The following annotated focus-stacked composite image shows a Stygian Shadowdragon dragonfly (Neurocordulia yamaskanensis) exuvia collected by Freda van den Broek on 10 June 2019 along the St. Croix River in Interstate Park, Polk County, Wisconsin USA.

10 JUN 2019 | Polk County, WI | Stygian Shadowdragon (exuvia)

Notice the unusual shape of the crenulations between the palpal lobes of its mask-like labium. Is this field mark unique to N. yamaskanensis or common to all species of the genus Neurocordulia (Shadowdragons)? Enquiring minds want to know!

Tech Tips

Laowa 25mm Ultra Macro lens, set for 2.5x magnification, and Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSPLR was used to photograph the subject against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) following the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

24 photos were used to create the composite image, including 23 photos taken using an aperture of f/5.6 and one photo taken at f/16.

If you look closely at the full-size version of the image, then you will notice some areas that indicate the final image is a few layers short of a perfect focus stack. But hey, not bad for a new lens and a manual focus rail that I used for the first time!

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

MYN – Focus-stacked composite image

April 3, 2020

The following focus-stacked composite image shows a Stygian Shadowdragon dragonfly (Neurocordulia yamaskanensisexuvia collected by Freda van den Broek on 10 June 2019 along the St. Croix River in Interstate Park, Polk County, Wisconsin USA.

10 JUN 2019 | Polk County, WI | Stygian Shadowdragon (exuvia)

Related Resources

Tech Tips

This subject was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

24 photos were used to create the composite image, including 23 photos taken using an aperture of f/5.6 and one photo taken at f/16.

If you look closely at the full-size version of the image, then you will notice some areas that indicate the final image is a few layers short of a perfect focus stack. But hey, not bad for a new lens and a manual focus rail that I used for the first time!

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

MYN – Stygian Shadowdragon exuvia

March 30, 2020

A Stygian Shadowdragon dragonfly (Neurocordulia yamaskanensis) exuvia was collected by Freda van den Broek on 10 June 2019 along the St. Croix River in Interstate Park, Polk County, Wisconsin USA.

Stygian is the only species of Neurocordulia (Shadowdragons) within range of Wisconsin.

10 JUN 2019 | Polk County, WI | Stygian Shadowdragon (exuvia)

Notice the interesting crenulations on the labium (face mask) of the exuvia, including bundles of bristles (setae) along the margins of the palpal lobes.

Tech Tips

This subject was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

I set the Laowa 25mm Ultra Macro lens for 2.5x magnification and an aperture of f/5.6, then took some test shots of the subject. Next I shot 23 photos for a focus-stacked composite image showing the face-head-dorsal view of this specimen.

Finally I shot a few photos at f/16, focused manually on the face mask. At the time of this writing, it was too late to create the focus stack so here’s one of the shots at f/16. An aperture of either f/5.6 or f/8 is the “sweet spot” for this lens, according to video reviews I watched. The net result — some image sharpness was sacrificed in favor of more depth of field.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Laowa 25mm Ultra Macro (Canon mount)

March 23, 2020

Canon EF & RF, Nikon F & Z, Pentax K & Sony FE mounts are available. Source Credit: Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro, Venus Optics.

I bought the Canon mount plus the Canon EF lens to Fujifilm X mount camera adapter for use with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR and Fujifilm X-Series mirrorless digital cameras.

My Canon 5DM2 features a “full-frame” digital sensor; both my Fujifilm X-T1 and X-T3 cameras feature an APS-C digital sensor.

The following photo is an un-cropped, full size image from the full-frame digital sensor in my Canon 5DM2. Notice how much smaller the subject appears to be in this photo, in contrast with one of the un-cropped, full size images of the same specimen taken with my Fujifilm X-T1.

25mm (2.5x magnification) | ISO 100 | f/8 | 1/200 s | 0 ev

The Fujifilm X-T1 has a crop factor of 1.5x. In addition, the Canon-to-Fujifilm adapter (~1.25″ thick) increases magnification like the net effect of adding one or more extension tubes between the lens and focal plane of the digital image sensor.

The same photo was rotated slightly and cropped for better composition. Pretty good for a one-off shot at an aperture of f/8! Or was it f/5.6? I can’t remember and the EXIF info says f/0 because there aren’t any electronic contacts between the lens and camera body, so no help there.

25mm (2.5x magnification) | ISO 100 | f/8 | 1/200 s | 0 ev

Related Resources

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

MYN – Anisoptera exuvia (dorsal view)

March 16, 2020

An Anisoptera exuvia (species unknown) was collected by Mike Powell, my good friend and photowalking buddy. Although the exact date and location are unknown, we know the specimen was collected sometime during 2019 somewhere in Northern Virginia.

The specimen is definitely a dragonfly, probably from either Family Corduliidae (Emeralds) or Family Libellulidae (Skimmers), as indicated by its mask-like labium and thin antennae. Notice the row of mid-dorsal hooks located along several abdominal segments.

2019 | Anisoptera exuvia (dorsal view)

Related Resource: MYN – Anisoptera exuvia (species unknown). [Face-head-dorsal view of the same specimen featured in this blog post.]

Tech Tips

This subject was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

Three photos were used to create a composite image: one photo focused on the head; another focused on the mid-abdomen; and a third focused on abdominal segment 10 (S10).

For what it’s worth, the following camera settings were used to shoot all three photos: 100mm; ISO 100; f/8; 1/200 s; 0 ev. The power ratios for an array of four external flash units were as follows: Group A = 1/2 +0.3 (primary backlight); Group B = off (secondary backlight); Group C = 1/4 (subject, stage right); Group D = 1/16 (subject, handheld stage left).

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

MYN – Anisoptera exuvia (species unknown)

March 13, 2020

An Anisoptera exuvia (species unknown) was collected by Mike Powell, my good friend and photowalking buddy. Although the exact date and location are unknown, we know the specimen was collected sometime during 2019 somewhere in Northern Virginia.

The specimen is definitely a dragonfly, probably from either Family Corduliidae (Emeralds) or Family Libellulidae (Skimmers), as indicated by its mask-like labium and thin antennae.

2019 | Anisoptera exuvia (face-head-dorsal)

Related Resource: MYN – Anisoptera exuvia (dorsal view). [Dorsal view of the same specimen featured in this blog post.]

Tech Tips

This subject was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

Three photos were used to create a composite image: two photos focused on the head; and another photo focused on the prementum. I must say I’m fairly pleased by the way the final image turned out, best appreciated by viewing the full-size version of the composite.

My Canon EOS 5D Mark II is a full-frame DSLR digital camera. RAW images are 5616 × 3744 pixels. The dimensions of the composite image are 5385 × 3657 pixels, that is, slightly smaller than full-frame. It’s usually necessary to crop composite images, at least a little, because the individual photos used to create the composite don’t align perfectly, even when the camera is mounted on a tripod (as it was in this case).

For what it’s worth, the following camera settings were used to shoot all three photos: 100mm; ISO 100; f/8; 1/200 s; 0 ev. The power ratios for an array of four external flash units were as follows: Group A = 1/16 (primary backlight); Group B = 1/32 (secondary backlight); Group C = 1/4 (subject, stage right); Group D = 1/8 (subject, handheld stage left).

I’m still searching for the “sweet spot” for this camera/lens combo. The white background was slightly under-exposed by approximately 1.5 stops, so I need to increase the flash power ratios for Group A and B. The subject was exposed almost perfectly, so Group C and D are close to spot on. Trial and error is the MYN way!

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

MYN – Anisoptera exuvia (species unknown)

March 11, 2020

An Anisoptera exuvia (species unknown) was collected near a small pond at Occoquan Regional Park (ORP), Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

This individual probably is a member of the Family Libellulidae (Skimmers), as indicated by its anal pyramid. The small pond where the specimen was collected is perfect habitat for skimmers.

01 JUN 2019 | ORP | Anisoptera exuvia (dorsallateral view)

Related Resource: Another unknown species of odonate exuvia – a blog post by Walter Sanford featuring a “one-off” photo (that is, not a composite image) of the same specimen.

Tech Tips

This subject was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

Two photos were used to create a composite image: one photo focused on the head; and another photo focused on abdominal segments seven (S7) through nine (S9).

My Canon EOS 5D Mark II is a full-frame DSLR digital camera. RAW images are 5616 × 3744 pixels. The dimensions of the composite image are 5589 × 3743 pixels, that is, essentially full-frame. It’s usually necessary to crop composite images, at least a little, because the individual photos used to create the composite don’t align perfectly, even when the camera is mounted on a tripod (as it was in this case).

For what it’s worth, the following camera settings were used to shoot both photos: 100mm; ISO 100; f/8; 1/200 s; 0 ev. I need to tweak the settings a little in order to find the “sweet spot” for this camera/lens combo: the white background was slightly over-exposed; and the subject was slightly under-exposed. Of course that means I need to tweak the flash power for the backlights and add one or more additional external flash units for more fill flash. Overall, I’m fairly satisfied with the results of my first attempt using the MYN technique with this camera rig.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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