Oak leaves with acorns
A walk with friends in a shady valley on a particularly hot day led us to a large oak tree. At the end of a strong branch I discovered some acorns under young leaves. While trying to find an adequate translation for my text, I came across a special text:
„The faded oak leaf in that silent book is the memento of a friend, the school friend who was to remain a friend for life.“
No author to find.
I ripped off a nice branch from the tree and took it home to X-ray it the next day.
In the digital world there is no longer an original.
The representation on the left hand side appears to look close to a clinical diagnostic X-ray. Somehow familiar to our eyes when dealing with fractures oder bowel problems.
The right hand side image shows a certain airiness or lightness that draws you into the picture. And there is some appeal of a shine through effect, especially at the leaves.
A quite inconspicuous photo of this composition nevertheless contributes to an increase of the appeal when it is merged with the X-ray image to a fusion image.
The oak leaves are the memento of a friend, like the old school friend who was to remain a friend for life.
New X-ray fusion photo compositions
New year, new ideas. A superbe bowl of fruits inspired me to do more X-ray fusion photography today. I got a bundle of bananas, lots of lychees, two pears, figs, an apple and a pomegranate.
I changed my technique a bit. There is no chance to get a transparent banana image using a photo. But mixing the colors of the photo with the X-ray is also a fusion image. To my opinion, the bananas came out lovely, especially the color of the trunk.
I like stills. They often come with a fruit bowl. My first attempt was a fruit bowl without lychees. The structure of an orange or a pomegranate is known to me from earlier X-ray studies. And I liked the grain of the wooden bowl.
The following fusion image is resulting:
This is the first time I tried to x-ray lychees. I piled them up in my wooden bowl. That way it was a bit less complicated to transport them for photography. They shouldn’t move at all between X-ray and photography session. I was lucky.
Combining lychees, bananas, a pear and two figs in a fusion image yields a color explosion in the fusion image.
Last but not least an X-ray fusion photo of all fruit. Color explosion by means of Lab color. The dark blue at the image edges is a good counterweight to the intense yellow of the pears and bananas.
Snail shells X-ray fusion photos
A friend handed me out some snail shells that he had in mind for a long time to lend me. Eventually, he found 5 beautiful shells when cleaning up the basement.
The effect of the images depends strongly on the post-processing. Some of the results may not be combined in one presentation.
Here I show three images of them as dark jewels with an intrinsic undefinable light. Maybe, we are thousand miles below sea level.
Fusion imaging works with a light box. Without, too. It depends on your subject. The light images were taken with a Leica Q, pointing just in the same direction as the X-rays from below of the X-ray tube. The resolution and technology is completely sufficient for the color use.
I designed a new composition, which should allow me to have different positions of the shells in space. The surrounding snail shells serve as supports.
I wanted to take the yellow, quit radiopaque snail shell from above. So I had to rearrange the snail shells once more.
When looking at my flickr stream you may find other representations in the preceding neighborhood of this image.
X-ray fusion photo of a sphere of snail shells
This X-ray fusion image is untrue. No time during working hours to take the photograph. So I made a photo this morning at home. There are so many snail shells glued on the sphere that it is basically not noticeable if the rotation does not match exactly.
Here is my result:
The underlying structure in an image of visible light looks like this:
Spider conch X-ray fusion photo
A friend gave me a shell of a spider conch to make more fusion images. The scientific name of the spider conch is lambis lambis and it is a sea snail. There is a nice Wikipedia article on it.
The hard shell with a lot of radiopaque lime made me doubt the success of my X-rays. On top, my first attempt at a HighKey image wasn’t really convincing. Only the combination of a normal photography for the color, a HighKey image for a transparency effect together with the X-ray image resulted in nice image.
The X-ray image appear less lively, but full of formal power. The orientation of the animal is conveyed by the photographically reproduced color. There are only minimal hints wich orientation the X-ray has.
These are the corresponding X-ray images:
Orchid X-ray fusion photo
It feels like very long ago. Harold and I were taking the shots and X-rays of new compositions last week of April this year. Our first try was an orchid with two stems. The transparency effect is very much augmented using an X-ray. A stem behind petals doesn’t show easily in HDR light box photography.
With a Phase One camera at my disposal a strong crop of the composition shows the tenderness of our orchid much better. With a resolution still sufficient.
Clematis is a reliably blossoming flower in our garden. Every year we look forward to her blooms for many weeks. Photographing flowers means sacrificing beautiful little things. It took me some time to go there.
With growing experience I feel less pain to sacrifice a bloom for artistic purposes. It relieves me a little, that I have the blooms swum after my photo and X-ray sessions in a soup-plate filled with water which is in the kitchen. Many people like the floating blooms in a soup-plate, if they are in a break.
The HDR series of my composition with three clematis gave me a hard time. Although a tripod is indispensable and always used, a small pixel shift between exposures was perceivable. After fixing this, light, color and structure was processed for an HDR image.
The X-ray of the three clematis was performed as mammography due to the size of my composition. The fusion image can be understood as a texturized HDR by means of a radiograph. But there is no unique solution to all compositions. The best solution has to be found out individually.
After all, the clematis look as light as a feather in this image. It was worth it.
Spring and X-ray fusion photos
First flowers in spring show up. With much support from my colleagues I’m able to do some fusion images. We all would like to have another calendar.
Preparing the lightbox, the X-ray machines, my camera and picking out the data is a bunch of hassle.
My personal favorite is the blue cornflower. It looks like a print of an old botanic book:
The next day I turned my attention to our white and blue Aquilegias. No chance to process the raw data yesterday. Eventually, there was a chance today, after quite a bit of tedious work at my desk:
Gradients and X-ray tubes
Fusion imaging is a method full of surprise. My red calla lilies revealed an effect I had forgotten completely. There must be a gradient in every X-ray exposure.
Preparing a fusion image composition with my 6 red calla lilies I found a troublesome gradient in the X-ray.
The cause for the gradient is a weakening of X-ray radiation at its origin in the X-ray tube. A closer look at the phenomenon can be found in my FAQ. This effect of variable recording of photons phycisists call „anode heel effect“.
As part of my creative process I rotated the composition shown above by 180 degrees and exposed it a second time with the same parameters. Note that post-production as well was done equally for both X-ray exposures !
Red calla lilies
Sometimes reality falls behind our expectations. With 6 red calla lilies I felt well prepared to do some new X-rays and HDR images for image fusion. But my X-ray system surprisingly raised a barrier. The main computer stopped doing his job.
Many thoughts ran through my brain. Will we be able to examine patients the next day ? How fast the supplier will be able to react ? Will the company find a cause of this disturbance ? How many days will my calla lilies be alive ?
I found a work-around by thinking over the interacting hardware. Doing some steps and with a newly restarted system I was able to create 7 different compositions without further disruption of which I show here No. 4.
With X-rays emerges a more impressive illusion of transparency than a plain HDR would have been able to produce. Even when using a lightbox.
Similar to a lightbox it produces better results when laying a petal or a complete blossom over the top of the stalk of another one.
On top of the longest stalk is a twin blossom !
You never know if the inversion in Lab colors leads to an attractive result. It’s always worth looking at Lab color transformations. In this case the black background yields vivid colors.