Three’s Company

While this image looks nothing like an 80’s sitcom, green sweat bees tend to live rather solitary lives with their social interactions only vaguely platonic in nature. It was odd to see three of them in the same flower, and it makes for a fantastic stereo image. Cross your eyes!

As this is a cross-view stereo image, you need to cross your eyes to get the full 3D effect, which is quite pronounced in this image. I find it works best when your screen (phone / computer / etc.) takes up less than 50% of your vision, as a larger image forces you to cross your eyes too much. Your goal is to focus on the “middle” image that appears when you cross your eyes, and to lock that into focus.

These bees are found all over our gardens, but their favourite spot is these bright pink/magenta flowers are the hot spot. I’m not even sure what the flowers are called, but they work wonders in stereo due to their varying depth and complexity.

This image was made with a deWijs 3D macro lens, which sadly is not being manufactured anymore. Keep your eyes open for eBay listings if you want to experiment with this kind of macro photography with top-notch equipment – they are worth every penny! Lighting the images tends to be a bit tricky however, due to a lack of any ring flash mounting capabilities on the lens. This is lit with a ring flash, but I’m holding the ring off camera – which ends up offering a more dynamic light anyhow.

Because the fixed aperture of these lenses is so small (this lens is around F/45), the flash has a hard time keeping up with multiple images, so short bursts or single shots are required to guarantee that you’ll have light where it’s needed. Because the aperture is fixed at this size, it also makes focusing the camera (by moving the entire camera forward and back) less precise because of overall greater depth when seeing the image through the viewfinder, as well as added frustrations from diffraction and a dimmer than usual view (optically). This is to say that, yes, making images like this can be tricky.

Properly setting the image to be adequately positioned for each eye can also add a bit of frustration to the mix, but thankfully the free program Stereo Photo Maker does a great job in helping you set the “stereo window”. This is an area I’ve struggled with, but now all the puzzle pieces are starting to fall together!

click image for larger version (cross-eye view)
Side-by-side View:

On a mobile device? Click on the image to see a larger "side-by-side" view for viewing with a VR headset, stereoscope, OWL viewer or similar! Depending on the size of your screen, the small view may be more appropriate.
Anaglyph View:

For red/blue anaglyph glasses. While not ideal, they'll show the 3D depth of this image. Click for larger view!