Giant lappet caterpillar Lebeda sp.

Stitching Giant Lappet Caterpillar

Giant lappet caterpillar Lebeda sp.
Giant lappet caterpillar Lebeda sp.

Giant lappet caterpillar (Lebeda species) is a huge caterpillar belonging to Lasiocampidae family of moths, was resting on trunk of Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) Tree. At 128 mm in length, it was massive compared to other species. It is pale greyish brown in color to make itself looks like a heap of dried vegetation waste. The hairs at its sides also helped it to blend in its environment by breaking its shape outline. When resting the 2 black head tufts are not visible. The 2 black Pom-poms or black “hairs” on top of its head act as a defense mechanism, when threatened, those hairs will spread out. They are suddenly shown when disturbed, thus startling the predator.

Giant lappet caterpillar Lebeda sp.
Giant lappet caterpillar Lebeda sp.

It has one generation a year, and goes through winter as young larva in the eggs. The larvae emerge from the eggs when the air temperature is lowest in the following year. Larvae grow through 7 instars in a life cycle taking 120 days to 150 days. There is an increasing food eating in the 5th instars, and a remarkable increase in the 6th to the 7th. Consumption in the 7th instar accounts for 70% of the total. Pupation starts in mid-August, and adults emerge and lay eggs from the last ten days of September to the first ten days of October.

Being a huge caterpillar I could not capture it at 1:1 resolution in a single frame when I tried to take a capture using the Canon EOS 5D Mark III + Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. I used Canon MT-24EX macro twin light flash to light it. It was spilling out of the frame at that close up distance. So I tied to divide the whole image to 4 part panoramic capture. Each of these 4 parts had part of the caterpillar with around 25% overlap.

In my earlier Macro Stitching a Moth tutorial, I had shown how to stitch close-up images as a panorama using . The latest iteration of Lightroom (Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC or 6.0) allows you to do the same type of stitching within Lightroom itself. Panorama stitching can now be done inside Lightroom itself, without exporting photos to Photoshop. I am not a frequent panorama shooter, but I feel the new feature comes in handy to create quick panoramas. I am using that capability to stitch my caterpillar parts to its full size.

These are the steps I followed to create the above panorama in Lightroom CC. First, I selected the four individual photos of caterpillar to merge. Photos are arranged in order from left to right as it needs to be in the final picture. All pictures were shot handheld using Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS Lens at ISO 100, 1/80th sec at f/13 at close focus.

The photos used for this panorama
The photos used for this panorama

Now go to Photomerge > Panorama under Photos menu (or use the shortcut Ctrl M). It is the new option, which was not there in earlier versions.

Right click to choose Panorama
Right click to choose Panorama

Now a new window opens showing a preview of the panorama. This allows you to quickly check the final result without going through the tedious process of actually stitching and to determine type of the final result as well as projection you want.

Preview showing pano without auto crop
Preview showing pano without auto crop

In the Panorama Merge Preview dialog box, choose Auto Select Projection if you want Lightroom to automatically select a layout projection. Lightroom analyzes the source images and applies either a Perspective, Cylindrical, or Spherical layout, depending on which projection produces a better panorama.

Alternatively, you can choose a layout projection manually:

Spherical: Aligns and transforms the images as if they were mapped to the inside of a sphere. This projection mode is great for really wide or multirow panoramas.

Perspective: Projects the panorama as if it were mapped to a flat surface. Since this mode keeps straight lines straight, it is great for architectural photography. Really wide panoramas may not work well with this mode due to excessive distortion near the edges of the resulting panorama.

Cylindrical: Projects the panorama as if it were mapped to the inside of a cylinder. This projection mode works really well for wide panoramas, but it also keeps vertical lines straight.

All of these projection modes work equally well for both horizontal and vertical panoramas.

Preview showing pano with auto crop
Preview showing pano with auto crop

You can also choose to check the ‘Auto Crop’ option, else you could crop it later manually. If you are happy with the results, click ‘Merge’ button.

Completed caterpillar Panorama as DNG file.
Completed caterpillar Panorama as DNG file.

Progress bar showed ‘Creating Panorama’. It took a few second to complete. The panorama got stitched, and appeared back in the catalog. Lightroom saved it as a DNG file. That is good since it saves a lot of space compared to TIFF.

Completed caterpillar Panorama
Completed caterpillar Panorama

Finally a few slider adjustments to get shadows and highlights will give the panorama, its final look. As you can see making panorama is pretty simple using Lightroom. I hope this little tutorial has, not only shows the power of latest version of Lightroom, but also given you several options to explore in the field to get much more detailed picture and then use the Lightroom to easily stitch it and get much larger and detailed result. Saved file being a DNG, saves lots of space and is infinitely editable just like a raw file.

EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/9 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 19 October, 2014 | Flash fired : yes | Focal length : 100mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4′ 1.866″ N 74° 59′ 43.674″ E | Shutter speed : 1/200s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/9 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 19 October, 2014 | Flash fired : yes | Focal length : 100mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4′ 1.866″ N 74° 59′ 43.674″ E | Shutter speed : 1/200s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/13 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 19 October, 2014 | Flash fired : yes | Focal length : 100mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4′ 1.866″ N 74° 59′ 43.674″ E | Shutter speed : 1/80s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.

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