Gloria Grandolini  

Zodiac’s Eight by Gloria Grandolini

July 2024 - Zodiac’s Eight

About the Image(s)

I took this shot on my deck in the Pacific Coast of Mexico. This is a scorpion of the type Centruroides Noxius, it is the one with the most lethal venom. We managed to place it in a box with a white paper underneath and I tried several shots - I also tried focus bracketing, but movement did not help. I was also a bit nervous. I tried to focus on the face and the stinger which was ready to attack. I never managed to get sharpness in the whole body - maybe you have suggestions on how best to position myself if I have another chance with an insect of the same shape - hopefully it won’t be a scorpion.

Shot with Canon R5 with tripod.
1/60 sec at f/16 ISO 100
100 mm (RF 100 f/2.8 L IS USM)

In Lightroom I applied 50% Denoise, and I adjusted a bit exposure and whites and blacks.

7 comments posted

Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
Yuk! I hate scorpions. I went to Kenya in the Rift Valley once and they loved to crawl into your shoes at night. Keep your socks in your shoes!! At least they don't jump.

As always, the best chance of a fully sharp macro image without focus stacking comes from getting the subject in one plane and with that plane perpendicular to the lens axis. In practice, that might be good for butterflies, but not for more 3D objects, so do this as much as possible and reduce the aperture. Some say f16 and smaller degrades the image due to diffraction, which is true, but I've seen macros at f45 which were sharp and you've never have guessed the aperture used. Having said that, most lenses don't go that small - mine stop at f22, although at 1:1 this actually means f45. I think only Nikon macro lenses show the effect of magnification on effective aperture - Tom had one.

Clearly it was a sunny day, and the contrast is a bit high I think. The box would have given some reflected light to help, but a white sheet held nearby (if you could get a helper with nerves of steel....!) would also help.

  Posted: 07/08/2024 03:10:48
Gloria Grandolini   Gloria Grandolini
Thanks Stuart, useful comments for the future.   Posted: 07/08/2024 10:00:07

Margaret West
I bought a 50mm prime lens for portraits and found it does better than my other lenses with DOF. Of course you would be further from your subject so have to crop more. I used to use my macro lens and stack for light board flower photos but now can do it with one photo with this prime lens. You did a good job with this. Not my favorite subject either!   Posted: 07/08/2024 06:05:24
Gloria Grandolini   Gloria Grandolini
Margaret, thanks for the tip. I do have a 50mm prime lens, will try it and compare results next time.   Posted: 07/08/2024 10:01:17
Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
It's strange but true, you get more depth of field with a longer focal length taken from a further distance, and then crop it. It doesn't seem logical to me, but it seems to be true. The snag is that cropping causes different compromises, ie reduced pixels. But we know that even 1600x1200 pixels, the standard PDI dimensions, give a good image when projected, so it's worth experimenting with. I've found that my 100-400 mm zoom (micro 4/3) with a couple of extension tubes can give good close-ups from a distance (ideal for scorpion pics!), which can then be cropped if needed.   Posted: 07/08/2024 14:39:29

Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Gloria, I have to say that I get the creepy-crawlies just looking at this image, which is a testament to how well you captured it! I agree with Stuart about the focus-stacking on this. However, it is beautiful image--sharp in the details, good coloring throughout. Your lighting is nice, without any lack of detail or blown out areas on the subject. I like the angle and the crop; the shadow works really well for it. If you don't like the white background, you can always add a very subtle texture. Good job!   Posted: 07/09/2024 10:33:41

Keith Au   Keith Au
Hi Gloria, a very good try and nice result. Amazing you can have the scorpion lying on its back. Yes, I think focus stacking should have given you a better result than focus bracketing..   Posted: 07/10/2024 09:19:11


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