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Natural History award winner how?

davholla

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A Tale of Two Wasps | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum


Frank chose a wasp burrow out of direct sunshine so as not to let too much light into his camera. He then set up an infrared beam, which, when broken by a wasp, triggered a very fast shutter system. In this perfectly balanced composition, Frank captured not one, but two, of the small subjects – the wasp on the right measuring only six millimetres.

These two wasps have very different approaches to laying their eggs. The cuckoo wasp (right) lays its eggs in the burrows of solitary digger wasps. When its young hatch, they feed on their host’s egg or larva and then the food store. The redbanded sand wasp (left) lays eggs in its own burrow, supplying a caterpillar for each of its young to eat.


Although this website

says
Canon EOS 5D Mark II + 100mm f2.8 lens + close-up 250D lens + reverse-mounted lens; 5 sec at f13; ISO 160; customized high-speed shutter system; six wireless flashes + Fresnel lenses; Yongnuo wireless flash trigger; Keyence infrared sensor + Meder Reed relay + amplifier; Novoflex MagicBalance + home-made tripod.

This image of two wasps—a cuckoo wasp and a sand wasp—entering their neighboring nests in a sandy part of Normandy, France, was created on more than just a stroke of luck. Photographer Frank Deschandol built a high-speed shutter out of an old hard drive because his camera’s own shutter would have been too slow to capture the moment. The resulting composition, balanced with the larger sand wasp framing the vibrantly-colored cuckoo wasp in the center, could not have been captured without both luck and innovation
Check out the breathtaking winners of the 2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest

So if I understand correctly he made his camera into a camera trap for flying insects. Does anyone know how to do this? I.e something that is triggered.
I would love if others could easily do this and we start seeing lots of these.
 
"Photographer Frank Deschandol built a high-speed shutter out of an old hard drive because his camera’s own shutter would have been too slow to capture the moment."

I think there is something wrong with that statement.
A hard drive cannot replace a shutter ... I am suspecting that said Frank make an old hard drive into a high speed buffer to capture the images ... though I am not sure if that would be correct either ... SSD would be faster than an HD ???
 
Probably talking about the RPM of the hard drive platter, most spin at 7200 to 10,000 RPM’s. If he drilled out a hole and used the spinning disk as the shutter he could get, well a really fast shutter speed.
 
"Photographer Frank Deschandol built a high-speed shutter out of an old hard drive because his camera’s own shutter would have been too slow to capture the moment."

I think there is something wrong with that statement.
A hard drive cannot replace a shutter ... I am suspecting that said Frank make an old hard drive into a high speed buffer to capture the images ... though I am not sure if that would be correct either ... SSD would be faster than an HD ???

Nope its all about the shutter. Highspeed insect photography basically requires you to use a different kind of shutter setup than normal. First up you use a lot of flash light because that's being your primary light source, not quite sure why he needed 6 flashes with Fresnel attachments as when I've seen them used its typically with bird photography where you want to compress the light from a flash into a tighter beam so that when it travels further you get more at the target. Then again it might be that his flash units are much further away so as not to interrupt the scene too much.

Then instead of using the camera shutter you instead set it open and then use an external shutter which moves far faster than normal so that the window of light from the flash units really is a split second. Hard-drives have motors in them which are designed to move the head of the reading part of the drive super fast for reading data. So when modified you can make them into a unit that has a super fast open and close motion.

It's basically taking everything into the extremes. You then use a laser system to trip the whole setup and pre-focus the lens to the point where the laser beams cross (using at least two beams). Then all you need is some area/region for the insects to approach where you know they will have a good chance of crossing the beams and triggering the setup.

If you look at Cognisys you can see their high speed setup for inflight with a mobile rig - laser trips; flash holders and the all important high speed shutter assembly.
Insect Capture (High Speed) - Triggering Systems
 
Ok, now that makes sense now.

I was thinking of an HD as data storage ... not as in its mechanical properties.
 
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Also, something I forgot to mention is that whilst your camera can shoot very fast shutter speeds, once you go faster than 1/200sec or 1/250sec the two curtains that make up your camera shutter no longer keep the whole sensor open to the light at once. Instead one starts to close before the other has fully opened. If you're using flash for that lighting then you can get black bars on the photo which is where the shutter curtain is closing and blocking light from the flash. Some flashes have "highspeed" mode which allows you to use the flash with a higher than normal shutter speed, but the flash does this by pulsing the light, which creates blur on fast moving subject and also means that the flash has much less power because each "shot" is weaker so it can fire them in a burst.

So what the external shutter allows you to do is get super fast speeds, but with one super fast moving curtain. So you get that split second where the sensor is fully exposed to the light from the flash and then the curtain shuts super fast. All in one smooth motion.
 
Very cool photo! The technical jibbersh is over my head but the results cannot be denied.
 
That's what I would've done!

Don't know a thing about all that techie stuff but that's some awesome photography.
 

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