USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab Gives Us Incredible Closeups of All Manner of Things

Using focus stacking and a custom rig, a team at the United States Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory are able to capture incredible macros of bees and more

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United States Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory

Want to see some absolutely incredible (and some downright creepy) photos of bees, flies, wasps, spiders, and even some plants and birds? Head over the the Flickr stream of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory (BIML). Here a team has assembled an astonishing array of images of all manner of creature, shot in incredible detail and size.

The BIML is run by Sam Droege, and part of their mission is "creating accurate and detailed pictures of native bees and the plants and insects they interact with," and these images have been released free to use. If you want the original TIFFs, you can even just email them and get them sent over.

As for how they're shot, the photos are taken using a system developed by Dr. Anthony G Gutierrez, which is explained in full in a PDF. They use a Canon 5D Mark III, a 60mm lens, flash, a stackshot rail, and then stacking software to combine the images. It's similar to what we saw in 2011 with the AntWeb project, but it involves more critters. The incredible images from the USGSBIML have quickly found a home as invaluable references for many purpose.