Untamed Images Blog

    Adventures in Nature Photography

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    Superb Slug


    A Chromodoris hintuanensis nudibranch, a type of sea slug, traverses the dark sands just offshore in Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia.

    Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM at 100 mm, 1/200 sec at f/16, ISO 100

    Here is one of my favorite nudibranch pictures from my trip to Indonesia last autumn. Before I started scuba diving I had no idea that slugs (of all things) could be the wellspring of so much beauty.

    Nudibranch species are so numerous that English-language common names are eschewed to prevent confusion. Thus, for sea slugs Latin names (or binomial names) are relied upon exclusively. The species shown here is Chromodoris hintuanensis, which for me is both a challenge to remember, and to pronounce!

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    I photographed this Butterfly Orchid (Psychopsis papilio) in a makeshift indoor studio set up in my living room.

    Several months ago Alison and I were browsing in a shop specializing in orchids when we noticed one particular plant featuring a spectacular single flower. Unfortunately, the flower was past its prime and was showing some minor flaws that would be unacceptable in a photograph. The florist promised that the plant would generate additional flowers, so we bought the plant and since then I have been waiting anxiously for another flower to materialize, knowing a fresh flower would make a beautiful macro photograph.

    This type of orchid has a great deal of front-to-back depth which presented a challenge. I wanted to capture all the flower’s detail, but even using a very small aperture (such as f/22) would not provide sufficient depth-of-field to contain the entire flower. The solution to the problem was to take a series of images, varying the focus of the lens on each image, and then to combine the images in post-processing to preserve as much detail as possible. The photograph above is a composite of seven individual images, focused in regular increments from the “lip” in the front to the stalk in the back.

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