It’s spelt F-L-Y

The title is taken from The Cramps song “Human Fly” simply because that is the song that was going through my head when I was making these photographs and post processing them in Photoshop CS4. As an aside, I am actually quite partial to Nouvelle Vagues bossa nova styled cover of Human Fly. Very funky.

Back on topic, these images of a common green bottle fly (Lucilla sericata) were made with a Canon 1D MkIII camera connected to a Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x macro lens. This lens is unique in the macro world in that it is a manual focus lens that allows for full 1-5x magnification while avoiding the use of bellows. Technically it is a difficult lens to use as it requires a bit more time to set up, requires closer working distances to your subject matter and honestly, a focusing rail to get things *just right*.

Folks familiar with macro photography will note that these images have an extraordinarily deep depth of field. That is because while these images were shot at f/16, that is simply not enough aperture to encompass the entire animal in the focal plane. The subject matter here (a dead green bottle fly found in a spider web) could be kept still in my fly tying vise and a series of exposures were made at varying distances from the lens. The series of images were then imported into Adobe’s Photoshop CS4 as a stack, then combined into a focus stack that takes the optimal focus from each image and in a manner similar to high dynamic range photography combines the desired elements into a composite image that has an artificial depth of field. I’ve written about the focus stacking approach before and this is yet another rather successful implementation of Adobe’s approach to focus stacking.

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