Queensland Museum is now home to a state-of-the-art, custom-made digital imaging system developed by world pioneer in cyber-taxonomy, Roy Larimer.
This tool provides the best and fastest technology for producing deep-focus images of insects and other small specimens. It is complemented by a Hasselblad medium-format camera which can take detailed images of whole drawers of material and larger specimens.
Queensland Museum Collection Manager, scientific illustrator and photographer, Geoff Thompson, will use this new digital imaging system to provide much higher-quality images, faster than ever before.
Visionary Digital systems are also used by the FBI and use computer technology developed for computer gamers. Queensland Museum’s system produces magnified images of tiny insects with incredible depth of focus. The photographs will show more details all at once than a scientist can see by looking down a microscope. e.g. tiny hairs on delicate insect wings.
The project was made possible by a contract with the Atlas of Living Australia. This is a Federal Government project in partnership with museums and herbaria throughout Australia to improve access to biological data.
Special Visionary Digital features developed specifically for the Queensland Museum include a 30 cm square light pad to give perfect backlighting of large specimens and new colour-balanced LED modelling lights, which allow video as well as still photography.
The system uniquely combines fibre optic flash illumination with a computer-controlled lift carrying a camera, and a hand built super-fast computer enabling a series of photos to be taken from top to bottom of focus. These are then combined into one sharp photograph. Of course the images you see on this blog post have been compressed for upload.
Queensland Museum Collection Manager and scientific illustrator and photographer, Geoff Thompson, used and studied Roy’s earlier systems during his 2005 Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship in Washington DC. Geoff says that the new digital imaging system is an impressive tool that will provide higher-quality images.
See the detailed images taken of the anterior end of the beetle below.
This technology enables Queensland Museum to share images of specimens with other scientists throughout the world. This assists the research community to better identify new species.
To learn more about the work that Geoff does, visit his Biography Page.
Visit our QM website to see more amazing wildlife photography by searching in the Animals of Queensland section.