Scientific Photography Masterclass technic Maury 2022 Laos

Scientific Photography Masterclass technic MAURY 2022 LAOS is a training course in high resolution photography of animal and plant for professionals and enthusiasts, which was held from September 19 to September 25, 2022 at Namkat Yorla Pa Resort, Odoumxai Province, Laos, funded by Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), Ministère de l'Europe et des organizations, Affaires étrangères (MEAE), One Health in Practice in Southeast Asia (OHSEA project).

The course was trained by Nathanael Maury (Herpetologist, Photographer, Explorer) and his assistant Pou Maury with the goal of the training to create the largest visual Encyclopedia of the World Herpetofauna taken by the technique of “Focus stacking – technic MAURY”.

“Focus stacking – technic MAURY” is a special shooting technique used to document the captured species. It combines several images taken at different focus distances to obtain an image with a greater depth of field than each of the individual source images (also known as focal plane merging, z-stacking or focus merging). The set of images is then merged using a digital image processing technique (Lightroom and/or Photoshop). This technique enables scientists to capture high-quality images of important details that aid in the identification of wild plants and animals (e.g. head, limp, sepal, pistil, etc).

The training course provides professional photography techniques and experiences Laos’ nature. Besides the theory and in-room photography time in the morning, later in the day the instructor and students conducted mini-surveys in the local forest to collect samples of various animals and plants, and directly practiced the technique of “Focus stacking” with these specimens. As the original purpose is to only preserve the image of the specific characteristics of the species, the collected specimens were all released back into the wild.

Nguyen Trong Duc – a member of CBES’s Fauna Research Department had the opportunity to participate in the training course. Not only having memorable experiences with Maury and other students in Laos, Duc also learned useful techniques from the course, as a result is his detailed photograph of Calotes emma, class Reptilia as below.

It is certain that the technique of “Focus stacking” will be widely applied in our future research works at CBES.