The Macro Files – You (Two) Shell Not Pass!

Seashells, Macros,

These shots are a little closer than my previous post (HERE) about shells. They are also made with extension tubes, and I am still learning how to use them effectively. The above shot is a closeup of this shell.

Shells, Macros,

Here’s another closeup of it . . . 

Seashells, Macros,

“Wait a second, Bob!”

“Yeah, what is it, Bob?”

“Well, Bob, I don’t think you should post photos of the previous shots!”

“Oh! . . . and why not?”

“Well, they should have already seen them, and if they haven’t, they should go back HERE to see the larger versions!”

“By Jove, I think you are right!”

I have to go with Bob on this one. I can’t be forever linking to older posts. But, I’ll give you a hint . . . search for “shell” in the search dialog box on the right, and you will see all that has come before.

Like, for instance, this one:

Seashells, Macros,

. . . and this one . . .

Seashells, Macros,

This last one looks ripe for some fancy postprocessing (yeah, not all like that, but some do, and I want to be inclusive).

Seashells, Macros,

Seashells, Macros,

I call this next one ‘chocolate ripples”! By the way, you can click on the photos to get a larger version open up in a new windows or tab.

Seashells, Macros,

Of course, I agree the natural colors should be the first choice, especially when as striking as these.

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

The shadow is from an interesting thing I noticed with the remote triggers I am using (I was using two off-camera flashes; my SB-900 and my old SB-24). If I cycled the camera too fast, it seemed the shutter was closing before the flash went off.

It kind-of works in the above shot, but many I had to reshoot. Anyway, natural colors . . .

Seashells, Macros,

As mentioned before, this is likely the remnant of an ancient dragon hired to protect this shell from attack. That it did, but there’s no escaping old age, but I am happy this guardian went down with the shell.

However, I thought this is one place where post-processing might make it easier to see details.

Seashells, Macros,

I thought this next shell would benefit from a B&W treatment (it’s white), especially to show off the grain of sand stuck on the ridges.

Seashells, Macros,

Here’s another white shell, but it has sharper (more squared off) ridges, making them easier to see.

Seashells, Macros,

Although, I think it too benefits from a post-processing pass (or not; it depends on the individual).

Seashells, Macros,

Here’s a few more shells I found interesting to shoot up-close and personal.

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

And here’s another pair of shells I thought benefitted from post-processing.

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

Here’s a new shell . . .

Seashells, Macros,

Seashells, Macros,

Those are grains of sand stuck in the hole. Actually, I think I had this shell in the first series of shell posts, about a month ago.

Here’s a shell from the previous post alongside two new shells, included to give an idea of the sizes.

Seashells, Macros,

I find that shell remnant interesting . . .

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

I think it too benefits from post-processing (yes, some will disagree).

Seashells, Macros,

I failed to get the relative sizes of these shells, but the larger one is about an inch and a half in width.

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

Yes, I be postprocessing this one just to see what it do . . .

Seashells, Macros,

Huh! . . . it don’t be do much!

Here’s a shell that looks similar, but not quite the same. This pattern is more regular, and more pronounced.

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

And here’s something else entirely.

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

However, post-processing the above gives me something that looks like the foot of an ancient dinosaur (aren’t they all ancient?)

Here’s the zoomed-out view . . .

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

Pareidolia (/pærɨˈdoʊliə/ parr-i-doh-lee-ə) is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant, a form of apophenia.

Apophenia /æpɵˈfiːniə/ is the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.

“What the . . . OK, Bob; what are you playing at?”

“Well, Bob, I will be doing a post on pareidolia soon, and I figure I would give a small heads-up, as it were.”

“That did not help, Bob . . . “

“The tendency of humans to see human faces in things is a byproduct of pareidolia.”

“Oh . . . I knew that . . . “

Seashells, Macros,

I want to say this is a type of Sand Dollar, but Sand Dollars don’t exactly look like this, so the best I can say is that I think this is a sea urchin of some kind.

. . . and it looks like a face with an open mouth and closed eyes. In fact, if I play with it just a bit, it looks (to me) like one of them Inca or Aztec masks that sit as a vague image in the depths of my memory.

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

Now, the human mind retains the ability to see this as a face as long as a few clues are present (eyes, nose, and mouth, or a semblance of it).

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

But, lose those clues, and the mind finds other patters to satisfy its desire to identify something.

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

Typically the mind gravitates toward something it wants to see, so to me that looks like a politician being drawn and quartered . . . aaahh . . . pleasant thoughts always relax me.

This above specimen was purchased whole back in the 80’s or 90’s. But, I did find pieces of sand dollars on the beach during my last visit to Florida.

Seashells, Macros, Seashells, Macros,

Do you see the debris inside the openings? Yup! More grains of sand.

Seashells, Macros,

. . .  interesting structure . . . 

All of the above photos, and more, reside in the SmugMug Category “Macros” under the appropriate gallery, in this case, You Two Shell Not Pass

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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8 Responses to The Macro Files – You (Two) Shell Not Pass!

  1. oneowner says:

    I think you need not apologize for your inexperience with the macro setup. These shots are very nice. Excellent sharpness and detail.
    I once thought I saw Christ in a piece of burnt toast. It was both amazing and delicious.

    • disperser says:

      You only saw Christ because of where you were born. Had you been Jamaican, man, you might have seen Bob Marley . . . probably just as amazing and delicious.

      As for the shots . . . I found a few to be soft, but it could have been the subjects as well. However, playing with them got me the inclination to use them more often.

  2. You are getting on well with your extension tubes and I still haven’t received mine. Patience is a virtue. Amelia

  3. colonialist says:

    Nothing to complain about with these shots.
    I am intrigued by that Clypeasteroida family member – similar to the sand dollar, as you say (we call them pansy shells), but significantly different in structure.

    • disperser says:

      Yes . . . I tried image searches and educational sites, and could not find anything even close. It could be I purchased the last remaining sample of a previously undiscovered variation . . . but I don’t think so.

  4. AnnMarie says:

    All the work you’ve done to present these wonderful shells in all their glorious shapes, patterns and colors must be acknowledged and is most certainly appreciated. There’s lots of creative inspiration to be gotten here!

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