TachGallery Banner
■ TachImage Gallery – Photographic Methods

by James E. O'Hara and Shannon Henderson

The equipment and methods used to produce and prepare the images shown in the TachImage Gallery are explained below.

Camera and Lens

We use a Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR camera body mounted on a Kaiser RS1 copy stand. Helicon Remote software is used to tether the camera to a computer in order to capture images remotely and control lens functions (shutter, shutter speed, aperture and focus).


For medium-sized and larger tachinids, our lens of choice is the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. For small tachinids, we use the Canon MP-E 65mm 1–5x macro lens.


A simple yet effective lighting system is used that envelopes the subject in bright light. A ring light comprising 80 LEDs (outside diameter of 99mm; available from various sources on the Internet) is used as the light source. A specimen is placed in the centre of the ring light with an 18% gray card as background. A white dome with a hole in the middle is placed over the ring light and images are taken through the hole with our Canon 40D mounted on a copy stand.

We are grateful to Dr. Eric Fisher, California (formerly of the Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch, CDFA, Sacramento, CA), for developing this lighting system and providing us with all the components except for the ring light and controller.



Older images shown in the gallery were taken as single images. Current practice involves a stack of images being taken in order to achieve a greater depth of field (focus bracketing). A series of images is captured using the Helicon Remote software paired with a Stackshot Macro Rail hardware package by Cognisys. The series of images is montaged using Zerene Stacker. Images are further manipulated in Adobe Photoshop CS6, prepared for the gallery in Zoomify, and entered into web pages in Adobe Dreamweaver CS6.

Gallery Images of Polideini (Tachininae)

Images of the Polideini in the gallery were taken prior to 2002 for a revision of the tribe by O'Hara (2002). Images were taken with a Leaf Microlumina digital camera mounted on a Wild M8 stereoscopic microscope. Several digital images of each specimen were taken at different focal levels and blended into montage images using Adobe Photoshop 6.0.


O'Hara, J.E. 2002. Revision of the Polideini (Tachinidae) of America north of Mexico. Studia dipterologica. Supplement 10. 170 pp.