I’m Daniel Stoupin, I am a PhD student in the University of Queensland and my research is in the field of marine biology. Coincidentally, I am also a nature photographer and videographer.
My interest in photography, especially in photomicrography, came from the scientific background. Working with microscopic protists during my first research years and later swimming countless nights with glowing plankton in the ocean opened my eyes on the diversity and complexity of life that we can’t see without tools.
Although I am obsessed with marine life, particularly microscopic one and whatever glows in the dark, my photography interests are growing and eventually microworldsphotography.com will change its name and become a lot more diverse in content.
To make this little clip I took 150000 shots. Why so many? Because macro photography involves shallow depth of field. To extend it, I used focus stacking. Each frame of the video is actually a stack that consists of 3-12 shots where in-focus areas are merged. Just the intro and last scene are regular real-time footage. One frame required about 10 minutes of processing time (raw conversion + stacking). Unfortunately, the success rate was very low due to copious technical challenges and I spent almost 9 long months just to learn how to make these kinds of videos and understand how to work with these delicate creatures.
Watch this in 4k resolution. Make sure you watch it on a large screen! You won’t be able to appreciate this clip or see individual cells moving in a sponge on a smartphone. If you have a full-HD screen, when you enter full-screen mode, please press on “view actual size” next to the HD icon to improve sharpness.
Killer Kit Awards
In My Bag
- Canon 7D (died at the beginning of the project as I had overused it in my research)
- Canon 5d Mkiii (90% of footage is done with it)
- Canon MP-E 65 mm lens
- adjustable custom-spectrum lamps (3 different models) – they were needed to recreate natural underwater illumination.
- several motorized stages including StackShot for focus stacking
- multiple computers to process thousands of 22+ Mpx raw images and perform focus stacking (an old laptop died on that mission after 3 weeks of continuous processing).
- Edited in Sony Vegas & Adobe Photoshop CS6.
- Website: http://www.microworldsphotography.com/
- Art Prints: http://www.microworldsphotography.com/Prints/
Professional Photographer: Yes
Whatever you do has to show you passion and deliver your personal vision. Otherwise its a waste of efforts or you didn’t find you place yet.
In addition, as a researcher (I am a marine biologist) I don’t like when people divide things into art and science. We have enough imaginary barriers and rules. I also find that modern photography tends to have way too many standards and gets too technical (chase for megapixels, correct exposure, follwoing composition rules and etc). Similar trend to what happened in science when it became “mainstream” over the last century or so – focus on technical aspects and number of publications rather then considering the bigger picture.