Dicyrtomina ornata - full subject
These images are taken on my second day of trying to capture this tiny springtail on camera. On day 1, I used a single shot approach using 5:1 macro:
On this second day, I collected all my patience and courage to try and stack this subject, whilst alive.
Given the odd angle into the water, I couldn't use my horizontal setup, instead had to put the entire macro rail and camera on a tripod, like so:
The most difficult part is the positioning itself. The focus distance is so short that the lens almost touches the water or the edge of the petri dish, and I have to take into account the movement of the stacking process itself.
Next, the stacking could begin. The first 3 attempts failed as the creature kept moving its antennae. A single movement ruins the stack. Furthermore, an annoying water flea kept bugging it.
This is the only successful stack. Above all, it's a technical accomplishment, and not really an artistic one. The stacked image isn't really better, yet it does have the entire subject in focus. Unfortunately, just like the single shot results, fine details and sharpness are lacking due to optical limitations.
And with that, I released them back into the pond.
Dicyrtomina ornata is one of the small "globular" Springtails (Collembola) from the family Dicyrtomidae. Within its distribution range it is easily found in leaf litter from late fall to early spring. It can be confused with other species of Dicyrtomina, most notably with D. saundersi.