Focus Stacking with a Raspberry Pi – Mould Macro Photography Project

    image 10mm x 10mm sample mold growing on sliver beet root - six days old.
    image  coverage 10mm x 10mm; mold growing on sliver beetroot – six days old.

    In the search for interesting things to photograph on a macro scale using my focus stacker, it was suggested to me by Sara that mould might be worth looking at – well, it is!

    I started off with a 10mm sliver of beetroot less than a week ago and it is already producing lots of mould growth. I placed the piece of beetroot on a small polystyrene foam-board tray in a sealed plastic container and put that in a cupboard where it would be in the dark and stay warm. Within three days I had a few circles of white mould with one starting a grey centre.

    Three days later the surface was covered in interlocking circles of mould – all grey except one which is very yellow. The white/grey mould is like little flowers and the yellow mould is like small pom-poms. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

    I have reproduced some of the images from my focus stacker here. I have some other food items in my test lab waiting to see what will happen to them.

    The image above was taken at a magnification of approximately 0.5 and cropped to show a 10mm sample width – taken with a Tamron 90mm SP lens without extension. Low magnification images were taken with a  Nikkor 50mm enlarger lens at f 5.6 reversed onto 135mm Minolta MD lens at f 3.5 giving a magnification of 2.7 – focus increment of 100microns – varying numbers of images. Higher Magnification images were taken with a Componon 28mm enlarger lens at f4.8 reversed onto a 200mm Minolta MC lens at f8 giving a magnification of 7.1 – focus increment of 20 microns – varying numbers of images. Images were all stacked in Zerene Stacker.

    Click on any image for a slide show of the hidden world of mould (I never thought I would be typing that!)

    Componon 28mm reversed onto Minolta 200mm lens. Focus increment 20 microns, 251 images. Day 3 of mould growth.
    Componon 28mm reversed onto Minolta 200mm lens. Focus increment 20 microns, 251 images. Day 3 of mould growth. No yellow mould apparent yet. Lots of beetroot still showing.

     

    Nikkor 50mm reversed onto Minolta 135mm lens. Focus increment 100 microns, 164 images. Day 6 of mould growth.
    Nikkor 50mm reversed onto Minolta 135mm lens. Focus increment 100 microns, 164 images. Day 6 of mould growth. Yellow mould apparent. No surface of the beetroot showing.
    Componon 28mm reversed onto Minolta 200mm lens. Focus increment 20 microns, 88 images. Day 6 of mould growth.
    Componon 28mm reversed onto Minolta 200mm lens. Focus increment 20 microns, 88 images. Day 6 of mould growth.
    Nikkor 50mm reversed onto Minolta 135mm lens. Focus increment 100 microns, 57 images. Day 6 of mould growth.
    Nikkor 50mm reversed onto Minolta 135mm lens. Focus increment 100 microns, 57 images. Day 6 of mould growth.
    Componon 28mm reversed onto Minolta 200mm lens. Focus increment 20 microns, 133 images. Day 6 of mould growth.
    Componon 28mm reversed onto Minolta 200mm lens. Focus increment 20 microns, 133 images. Day 6 of mould growth.
    Componon 28mm reversed onto Minolta 200mm lens. Focus increment 20 microns, 283 images. Day 6 of mould growth.
    Componon 28mm reversed onto Minolta 200mm lens. Focus increment 20 microns, 283 images. Day 6 of mould growth.
    Nikkor 50mm reversed onto Minolta 135mm lens. Focus increment 100 microns, 100 images. Day 6 of mould growth.
    Nikkor 50mm reversed onto Minolta 135mm lens. Focus increment 100 microns, 100 images. Day 6 of mould growth.

     

     

    Beetroot Mould Componon 28mm reversed onto Minolta 200mm lens. Focus increment 20 microns, 189 images. Day 3 of mould growth.
    Beetroot Mould Componon 28mm reversed onto Minolta 200mm lens. Focus increment 20 microns, 189 images. Day 3 of mould growth.

    Focus Stacking with a Raspberry Pi – One year On

    It is more or less a year since I got my focus stacker working, and there have been many developments and changes to the set-up during this time.

    What’s good?

    • Interfacing with the RPi using a laptop running MobaXterm is straightforward and the built in editor is really handy
    • The concept of moving the specimen and not the camera works well – the moving parts are very light weight with hardly any inertia, and vibration is not an issue.
    • The Componon 28mm lens is a dream – so sharp
    • Continuous lighting using a light box lit from below is a simple solution to provide even diffused lighting
    • The whole focus stacker rig works, and produces very acceptable extreme macro images
    • It has kindled an interest in entomology and insect anatomy

    What’s not so good?

    • Getting real time into the RPi automatically – should be easy!
    • Setting up the specimen is still fiddly – but not as difficult as it was before the jack and the rack
    • Cleaning and mounting the specimens – and there is nothing that can be done about that other than doing it!

    What next?

    • Fix RPi real time – somehow DONE
    • Build a bigger light box to give more room around the specimen for adjustment DONE
    • Take more stacks
    • Improve my insect identification and understanding of  insect anatomy

    And then? 

    • A  3-axis (of spin) specimen mount – motorized – remote controlled – ha ha!

What’s it all about?

Here are my jottings about my photographic projects and activities. I have been working on a focus stacking macro photography rig. There are quite a few posts about that. In addition I write about other photographic activities as and when!

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