Using Lasers To Take Insane 3D Macro Photographs Of Flying Insects

fotoopa_D100_0871 macro 3D high speed setup

If taking high end macro shots of insects strikes you as hard, how about upping the level by taking the pictures while insects are in buzzing around mid-flight. Too easy you say. Let do this 3D.

Photographer and designer Frans Fotoopa (photo grandpa) built a monster futuristic camera rig that does just that. Taking 3D images of fast flying insects in mid air.

fotoopa 20100729_7802 Landkaartje - Araschnia levana

This unique camera system uses a few ingenious ideas. Instead of finding an insect, placing the camera and then slowly focusing, the camera has two built in IR laser pointers and the place they meet marks the focus point.

However, no one has to hit the shutter once the insect is in focus, a lens equipped with a photo-diode picks up the reflected laser and triggers the shutter.

And just to make this a little be easier on the Frans, bright green lasers mark the pint of intersection. So basically all Frans has to do is place the insect on the green x and a photo is taken. (Well, all that he has to do aside building the rig).

Well, the shutter is not your average shutter too, it is a dedicated Uniblitz VS14 shutter that reduces the oh-so-long 53 milliseconds lag of a regular shutter to mere 3.3 milliseconds. Those 50 milliseconds are crucial in when you are photographing a fast flying insect from that close.

Two camera are used a D200 and a D300 mounted so the two AF105/2.8D micro lenses are facing sliding mirrors that are aimed at the focus point.

fotoopa_D100_0868 macro 3D high speed setup

And just so the lighting is right, two strobes are attached to the rig to provide better lighting.

The build instructions are here and here, if you dare make one yourself.

[Fotoopa’s How to take insects in-flight]