Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Want to Get Published and Paid?

Tom Stack, of Tom Stack and Ass. (the agency that manages my portfolio) has been given a large list of images that are needed for an upcoming book. Tom is the reason that I've been getting paid for images by McGraw Hill for the past two years, so this is a really good opportunity! Tom's email address is tomstack(at) (replace the (at) with the @ symbol of course -I wrote it that way to keep his email addy from getting picked up by spam bots).

Here's is the list of photos that Tom is looking for. The customer wants North American species, but it doesn't matter what side of the pond you took the photo on (some exist everywhere):

Title: Dragonflies Deadline May 3rd

Cover (vert) & Title Page (horiz): striking closeup of a dragonfly (US only)

Chapter 1: Flying Jewels

P5 Kid looking at dragonfly

P5a Dragonfly wingspan

P5b Dragonfly life cycle- egg, larva, adult

P5c Dragonfly dipping tip of abdomen in water

P6 Closeup of needle like body

P6a Dragonfly larva or nymph & its metamorphosis

P7 Closeup of its mandibles/jaws or carrying prey

P7a Mocha Emerald or Prince Baskettail- especially show green eyes

P7b Adult dragonfly for labeling of body parts

P8 Dragon fly hovering

P8a Dragon flies migrating or in Mexico or Caribbean

Chapter 2: You are the Explorer

P9 Kids exploring in pond area or looking through binoculars

P10 Damselflies- show them holding wings up

P11 Dragonfly perched in garden or near water

P11 Elfin Skimmer

P11a Giant Darner- showing its bright color- perched on grasses or near water

P13, 15 Common Whitetail (male) (on a rock near flowers if poss)

Chapter 3: A Guide to Dragonflies

P14 Kid looking at dragonfly

P15a Skimmers: Common Whitetail, Blue Dasher, Widow Skimmer, Four-spotted Skimmer, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Flame Skimmer, Halloween Pennant, Calico Pennant, Black Saddlebags, Yellow-legged Meadowhawk, Wandering Glider, Spot-Winged Glider

P15b Darners: Common Green Darner, Shadow Darner, Blue-eyed Darner, Variable Darner

P15c Emeralds: Mocha Emerald, Prince Baskettail, American Emerald, Common Baskettail

P15d Clubtails: Cobra Clubtail, Common Sanddragon, Russet-tipped Clubtail, Eastern Ringtail

Chapter 4: Try This! Projects You Can Do

P17 Dragonfly with mosquito prey

P17a Hine’s Emerald dragonfly

P18 Kids/person making a dragonfly pond or flower garden

P19 Dragonflies on flowers or these flowers: aster, black-eyed Susan, coneflower, daisy, lavender, fountain grass

P19a Male Calico Pennant- showing red heart-shaped marks on abdomen

P19b Dragonflies perched on tops of tall grasses or stems- or child placing sticks in garden for perches

Upcoming book titles: Beetles, Grasshoppers, Ants, Snails/Slugs & Worms

Good luck folks!!



Monday, April 25, 2011

Working in a Wallflower Deconstruction

Working in a Wallflower
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
If you're familiar with my other deconstructions then there isn't too much to add here: I baited this honeybee by injecting honey into some Wallflowers and waited for them to start feeding so I could get close. Then it's just a matter of holding onto the flower she's on with my left hand, brace the camera on that same hand, and take the shot. But for this image I took a short video of the "field studio" that I used -just a cheap trick to keep the background from being black.

There's no natural light in that image -it's all flash.

Update 27 Apr 2011:

I didn't go into a lot of detail on this image deconstruction since for me the way I focus the scene is routine. But I was asked about the depth in the shot and this is how I did it: Looking at that frame the curve from the proboscis all the way to the back of the eye has to be in focus, as well as that leading antenna. If any of those elements are noticeably out of focus then the shot won't work. To add insult to injury even if I did focus stack (I never stack) the honeybee is in constant motion so I have to get all of those elements in focus in a single frame. To pull it off I focused on the end of the proboscis and then locked that lower right hand corner in place. I can spin that corner on its axis, but I can't allow any vertical or horizontal movement and still keep that part of the frame in focus, or the framing where I need it to be.

With the lower right corner locked I twisted the camera so that the upper left and right corners went a little deeper into the frame. The end effect is the area of acceptable focus is over the curve that runs from the proboscis to the eye, but it's also intersecting the antenna getting everything in focus that needs to be. But because I've locked that lower right corner and twisted the camera it looks like I'm shooting parallel to the honeybee, creating the illusion that there is a lot of depth in the image when there actually isn't.

Monday, April 18, 2011

MT-24EX Diffuser Redesign

Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
A short and sweet video on my new diffuser design. You can see a sample of the light quality I'm getting with in the specular highlights and the texture detail in this Ladybug's shell.

Note: I originally cut the front of the Sto-Fen out because I was concerned about light loss. Since I'm relying on the flash duration to freeze as much motion as possible (to get sharp images at high Fstops) I didn't want to lose two full stops to the diffuser. But after a lot of experimentation with different diffuser plastics I am now using the whole Sto-Fen.