Moth Macro

I almost accidentally stepped on this moth, it was sitting on the ground outside my front door this morning, presenting itself as a perfect opportunity to strap on the 60mm macro and have a quick practice. I have no idea what type of moth it is but the rest of it’s body was fluffy white with the unusual orange part on it’s back which caught my eye.

Below is a cropped version at 1:1 pixel of the image above, you can click on it to zoom in to full resolution and see the eye in full detail.

Settings: 1/8th sec., F/6.3, ISO 200, 15 images with focus differential of 6, stacked in Olympus EM1 II.

The above are the slightly edited final jpeg from the camera. Given the high contrast, a better result could be achieved by editing the RAW files created to bring down the highlights and lift the shadows to increase detail, then stack them in Photoshop.

Due to time constraints and currently sitting in my lounge-room editing on a Surface Pro, I edited just a single RAW shown below from the stack to demonstrate two things.

Firstly, how narrow the depth of field is on the 60mm lens at it’s closest focus distance and thus, the reason for focus stacking (even the front eye isn’t fully in focus). Secondly, how much information or detail can be recovered from highlights and particularly shadows by editing a RAW file verses a Jpeg, effectively increasing the dynamic range.

Click images to enlarge

I often see many pro photographers suggesting you should “expose to the right” – slightly over-expose, blowing the highlights out to preserve the shadows. On all my previous camera’s (Sony, Nikon), I’ve taken the exact opposite approach to preserve the highlights, then bring up the shadows as there’s more recoverable detail in them than blown out highlights.

With the Olympus, I’ve found exposing the image correctly gives the best results and unless there is a huge amount of contrast as in the image above, you can usually get away with editing the jpeg rather than the RAW files.

2 thoughts on “Moth Macro

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