Photographing Cochlicopa lubrica

Recently I’ve been more interested in working the bugs out of photographing small snails. The great majority of Canadian snails are small, less than 5 mm. The major complication with photographing objects so small is problems with the depth of field. Through a microscope, depth of field is even more problematic.

Coolpix 950 connected to Russian microscope

Coolpix 950 connected to Russian microscope.

My setup uses a Russian-built microscope, model MBS-10, with a Nikon CoolPix 950 digital camera mounted on one of the microscope’s eyetubes with an adapter manufactured by Zarf Enterprises of Spokane, Washington.

With the camera set on “auto”, I set the focus manually to “landscape”, meaning that the camera’s focus is set to infinity. Beginning at the “top” of the object, I incrementally focus through the depth of the object, each time taking a photo. For the photo of Cochlicopa lubrica shown below, nine photos were taken, each with only a little bit of the shell in focus.

Using these nine photos, a single, more-or-less focused image was created using focus-staking (or image stacking) software. This one was made using Helcion Focus, although CombinZP does the same thing. (And I’m sure there are other options for software.) The result is pretty good. The shell is 5.2 mm high.

Cochlicopa lubrica

Cochlicopa lubrica