Ant Portrait

Atta cephalotes All around the world ants are a very successfull and diverse group of insects. Their extremely various lifestyles often manifest themselves in their faces: The mandibles are specialised on different tasks, e.g. to carry, to kill, to cut, to grasp. Sometimes even the outer shape of the head is telltale, as it may help the ant to glide down through the air or block an entrance. Solvin used the technique of focus stacking to show the details of their faces. This is a digital image processing technique which combines multiple images taken at different focus distances to give a resulting image with a greater depth of field (DOF) than any of the individual source images. The final image consists of 25 to 70 single “layer” pictures, each one of which showing only a narrow section of the head really sharp. Only after replacing the blurry parts with photo data from the other shots the ant becomes recognisable. Solvin Zankl uses focus stacking only in macro photography and optical microscopy where individual images have a very shallow depth of field. For this images the focus stacking software ‘Helicon Focus’ is used.

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