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■ 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 40D Digital SLR camera body mounted on a Kaiser RS1 copy stand. Canon software is used to view images on a computer and to remotely 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.



Most images shown in the gallery were taken as single images. Our camera is a Canon 40D, chosen in part because of its smaller than full-frame sensor (crop factor of 1.6x) that enhances the camera's depth of field. In situations where greater depth of field is desired, a stack of images is taken and montaged using Auto-Montage by Syncroscopy. Images are further manipulated in Adobe Photoshop CS4, prepared for the gallery in Zoomify, and entered into web pages in Adobe Dreamweaver CS4.

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.