Although photographing fungi has never been much of a problem for me (some may dispute this) as I've always had an interest in macro-photography, these myxomycetes have turned out to be somewhat of a challenge as many are only 2 - 5 mm in height, thus requiring up to 10 times magnification.
Preparation of myxomycetes for photographing starts out in the field. Once a group of myxomycetes have been found I look for fruiting bodies that are clustered into a tight group or line up in a row. (See photos on right)
I then remove the group with some extra Substrate using a knife and cut to a size to fit inside of a 35 mm film canister, been sure that it fits into the recess in the lid. This preventing it from moving around and crushing the slime moulds under there own weight. The canister also seals the moisture in and prevents them from drying out to quickly.
Once home with it I prepare the sample by slicing it finely from the larger substrate so that there is only one row or group of fruiting bodies, and place them on my copy stand. The reason for this is the very short depth of field that the lens has.
To obtain the magnification required I use a set of bellows on my camera and the set of extension tubes that I normally use for photographing fungi. These combined just, give me the necessary magnification needed to fill a 35 mm frame. I use my standard lens reverse mounted on the bellows. I now have a macro lens but unfortunately there is no way to lock the aperture when revered mounted.
Two other devices I also use. One is a slide rail when I occasionally take the bellows out doors and use the bellows on my tripod. This allows me to focus the camera by moving the camera and bellows in and out as one unit.
The second device is a copy stand, which I use with the bellows at home. I have found that this gives better results enabling me to lock the camera, bellows and sample together and helps to eliminate some camera shake.
I use the indirect natural light coming in through a window, this reduces the amount of contrast and gives nice even light.
I am still having a lot of problems with exposure and for this reason I bracket my exposures as an insurance that something will come out. The exposure problem I think is the fault of the camera, it's now over 22 years old and needs replacing.
A small row of
A small group of
My camera set up with bellows and a number of extension tubes
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