Monday, November 22, 2010

Colugo aka flying lemur from Langkawi

I was in Langkawi as one of the four guest speakers for the Langkawi Birding & Fotofest (Nov 19 - 21). As soon as I arrived at the hotel at Datai Bay in the evening on the 18th, one of the friendly staff there showed me a colugo perching on a tree near the hotel porch. I had only the Tamron 17-50 with me though at that time. This was shot with the pop-up flash at high ISO. Not a good one but okay as a record shot of an active colugo.

This was how a "normal" nature photographer (like me) would shoot a cute and rather rare creature like Colugo aka flying lemur.

colugo flying lemur IMG_5203 copy

Luckily, a friend of mine in Langkawi - Madi, was kind enough to loan me his Tamron SP90.

I started looking for these cologos again when I had time on day 3. I finally found one perching on a tree at a height of about 10 feet. Lowest I could find of all three I saw that day.
colugo flying lemur IMG_5604 copy

I climbed up this wall, which was about chest high.
IMG_5595 copy

All I could get was back view though. Good to have a shot of this nevertheless.
colugo flying lemur IMG_5578 copy

Then I saw a pail. Stood on it for a few shots. Not good enough. Then I found some bricks. Still not good enough. More bricks. Still not very good.
IMG_5930 copyIMG_5652 copyIMG_5722 copy

Even more bricks. Five layers, then six, finally seven!
IMG_5724 copyIMG_5894 copyIMG_5896 copy

After the labor of brick laying, this was that shot I managed to get.
colugo flying lemur IMG_5862 copy

I even borrowed a ladder at one point but the work in progress ladder could only be used when leaned against the wall. That end result wasn't that different from climbing up the wall.
IMG_5679 copy

This was the shot I got from up on the ladder:
colugo flying lemur IMG_5583 copy

I would have attempted more layers of bricks. But I wasn't very confident of my bricklaying skill and balancing skill.

Edit: a few more shots from my 2011 Langkawi trip:

colugo staring at me IMG_8151 copy

mother colugo with baby IMG_8420 copy

colugo mom with baby IMG_8413 (2) copy

Galeopterus variegatus IMG_8406 copy

Galeopterus variegatus IMG_8408 copy

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Photomerge 6 MPE65 shots into one

I have tried photomerging 3 or 4 images into one in CS3 before but I have never tried 6. Besides, all my previous photomergings were done in a single axis i.e. either X axis or Y axis. However, just yesterday I took a 6 images of a mating pair of assassin bugs in both X and Y directions with the intention of photomerging them.

Why photomerge? At its minimum magnification of 1:1, the MPE65 can only a rectangle of 22.2mm x 14.8mm. The female assassin bug in this shot was about 15mm long. With a male on top of her and a red ant prey, there was no way I could put them all in a 22.2mm x 14.8mm rectangle field of view. I had no other 1:1 macro lens like the Canon 100mm F2.8 L with me so shooting multiple shots for photomerging was my only option at that time.

Here is the photomerging outcome:
IMG_4897 merged copy

As explained in my previous photomerging tutorial, go to File - Automate - Photomerge, then browse and select the images you want merged. The rest is automatic!

Here are the 6 separate images i used for the photomerging. I put them all into one for the ease of display and explanation. The sequence in which I took the photos is: 1, 4, 5, 2, 3. But i am sure you can go 1, 2, 3, 6, 5, 4.

6 images

The automated part by CS3 is really easy. CS3 does all the work. It may not work sometimes. In that case, you will have to merge the images manually in CS3 if you still want to merge them.

The outcome won't always be perfect so you have to inspect the merged image. Here are a few tips:

1. check/unchecked the "eyes" to see where the mergings occur and see if the merging is seamlessly done.
The white area in each black box indicates the portion of the image where all the details are used as opposed to discarded in black area. Each individual white piece is like a piece of the complete jigsaw puzzle. Together, they will form the merged image below.

2. This is the outcome before some cloning/repair works were done.
photomerged 21

The two red circles on the red ant's legs: as you could see in image 4 and 5, the female assassin bug's left front leg has moved, and so was the red ant's legs. Yes, it's all the pervert, voyeur,  little ant's fault :D.  A bit of repair work was needed. I opened up Image #4 and paste it onto the Merged Image, then reduce the opacity to 50% and align the two images as accurately as I could by zooming in to at least 100%, then adjust the opacity back to 100%, then layer mask, and brush tool - exactly similar to how you would do manual focus stacking as elaborated in Manual focus stack for more DOF in CS3.

3. Sweet, we are almost done. Only one more red circle to take care of. That's the one on the male assassin bug's left hind leg. You probably can't see it clearly but I could in the full size image. It was too sharp, too "in-focus" when that area should be slightly out of focus! I used the "Blur" tool to blur out that area.

4. Crop the image and clone in the missing part of the leaf in bottom right corner and clone in the background around all the four edges.

5. Done.


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