Imaging the Small – Aquatic Setup I

When it came to actually photographing the crustacean species caught at Attenborough Nature Reserve (the project is explained here), I immediately knew, how I wanted to proceed with the larger specimens. However, looking at the Daphnia and alike, I wasn’t too sure how to approach it. In the end, I decided to use two approaches – firstly, using a macro lens; secondly, using microscopy (which I will write about next).

My macro lens-setup was compiled out of two flash guns, a tripod, petri dishes, glutack and a lot of paper towels to wipe up the watery mess I made. The idea was to build miniature aquariums out of the petri dishes and glutack and to image the animals swimming around in these.

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Setup for photographing small aquatic crustaceans

High shutter speed, small aperture and alcohol to try to keep the petri dishes clean (even if keeping them scratch free seemed impossible from the start) were the key.

These images already showed more detail, than I would have expected. It was the first time I had used a 40 mm macro lens to photograph such small and rapidly moving objects. And the petri dish-aquariums did their job as well – I’ll surely be using them again.

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A female Hemimysis anomala carrying eggs

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