Moth antenna photographed by Ron Neumeyer

Image of the month
Ron Neumeyer 1997

This is a magnified section of a moth, or "Lepidoptera" antenna. The commercially made slide does not identify the moth. However, it is typical of moth antenna - a main stem supporting an array of smaller branches, each one bristling with sensory hairs. For the moth, and many other insect groups, the antenna provides important information about its immediate environment, everything from air movement to chemical "odour" (i.e., chemoreceptors).

The image, illuminated by a tungsten lamp, was recorded on Kodak Ektachrome 200. A blue "daylight" filter was used to ensure that image colour closely matched the original (a tungsten bulb produces too much red light for daylight film - unfiltered images will tend to have an orange hue). The objective was a standard 10x achromat combined with a 10x wide field eyepiece. An exposure time of 1 second was used (exposures longer than half a second tend to reduce the effect of camera vibration).

[Tip: To produce a sharp image ensure that the condenser is correctly focused (place it as close to the stage as possible if you are unable to set-up "Koehler" illumination) and make certain that the iris of the aperture diaphragm is not closed down too much. To check the latter, remove the eyepiece and look down the barrel at the back lens of the objective. Now close the diaphragm iris until about two thirds of the objective is filled with light. It is common mistake for beginners to use this iris to control light intensity, which can seriously degrade image quality. If intensity needs adjustment use a rheostat or neutral density filters.]

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CLOSE-UP IMAGING - Small object photography
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