January 6th is a holiday in our region, commemorating the three holy kings or three wise men, who had been probably astronomers. The Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas. In the United States of America, a reigning madman with his mob is degrading his country to a banana republic. Looking at this rises questions about our German history 87 years ago.
I spent the whole night absorbing the latest news. Sleeping was almost difficult if not impossible. This morning a bug in the Flickr software ? A picture of mine with so many views and favorites ? Well, that was the good surprise this morning after all: an in explore for a picture I had been thinking about for a long time and that I repeatedly failed: taking tree trunks in landscape format.
This time it worked out better than expected. Christa and I started a late walk up at Posseltslust to see some people riding sledges. We took a forest trail away from the slopes. The twilight was already advanced, the SIO high and the aperture only slightly closed. A pleasant winter light surrounded us. Between the tress it became bright, the tree trunks covered with snow below. This image got an in explore.
Not far from there, I made a second attempt of the scene, which seems a bit more delicate in my eyes. I posted it two days later.
Winter forest looks a it like a fairy tale to me. That is why color is also important, which additionally stimulates the imagination. Even a tree trunk presumably struck by lightning becomes a sight to behold. It works with the color even if there is only little light.
At the end of the forest path, a light shines like in a cathedral, in which the faithful are moving. Is there the light at the end of the tunnel ?
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.
Harold implanted the idea of X-rays with onions in me. Although more than covered with professional requirements, I tried my hand at vegetable x-ray photography.
I can say it’s fun. Although a defective screen had to be replaced at the beginning. And you need some patience. Not every shot shows its beauty from the beginning. Some have to be developed first.
Let’s start with a corncob. It has many outer leaf layers, which lie close to it. X-rays look through and show the layers at the edge of the bulb as fine lines.
Here is a comparison of X-ray on the left side versus Mammography on the right side. A Belgian endive and a lettuce show much more contrast and fine structure in a mammography whereas X-ray gives more the impression of softness. Which goes well for a salad.
Onions have a lot of liquid and are therefore radiopaque. I was curious to see which method would make it better to reveal the layerstructure of the onions. To my surprise mammography did a pretty good job.
Conventional X-ray offers more mystery, especially when you stack onions.
Some kind of layered structure also has fennel. I got two specimen that looked like mittens.
This year we had so many apples in our garden. They are red and look juicy. I had the chance to take two of them to my X-ray machine. With the help of two different orientations an interesting picture succeeds, because on of the apples still has a small branch.
May be there is some truth in the saying: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But as the dentist would say: no teeth, no apple.
Karl Blossfeldt was a German photographer who lived from 1865 to 1932. He didn’t think himself a photographer. With his studies of plant forms he made an enormous contribution to plant photography. Here is a nice wikipedia article about him.
He started to do photograms. Plants or parts of plants were placed directly on film or paper suitable for exposure. Exposure then takes place without any optics. Later he built himself a wooden camera, which reminds me of Andreas Feininger.
Black and white backlit macro images with a background can be similar to Blossfeldt’s images.
Imagine a Nautilus shell tilted to the surface of the X-ray sensor. The parts close to the sensor are sharp, the distant parts unsharp. Because the X-ray beam creates a central projection. The focal plane is the plane of the sensor, in focus are those parts close to the sensor.
The shell looks like entering the image or leaving it.
How to show the sun in the middle of a sunflower ? For astronomers it is quite common to look at the sun in hydrogen alpha light, which is a pure red at 635nm. With artistic eyes, a red center might be overdone.
So I tried two different representations, one in BW that is close to the natural look and feel of a sunflower and one with a light blue in the center as complementary color to the yellow petals.
The surface structure of our sun can be seen like astronomers see it.
There is no photo of the next digital X-ray image of a sunflower with its stalk and a leaf:
Our weather is more and more weird. Today was the second day with a warm sun and a blue sky. Nights are getting pretty cold, days up to 25 degrees Celsius.
Cleaning up our garden led us to some old physalis which were a little more than a skeleton. In autumn these fruits look like lanterns, now they resemble an X-ray.
I did this shot on a lightbox using manual HDR technique.In Lab color mode I obtained this image with a pur black background.
It’s an exoskeleton for the fruit inside which remains that way without bruises.
How to communicate an erratic process in terms of an image ? The Iliadic greek were pirates of the Mediterranean with fast vessels, invading mainland from the seas, enslaving people, robbing stocks and much more.
The writing down of the Ilias was between 678 and 662 B.C., a time of Assyrian dominance and cultural superiority.
With three different Nautilus shells I bought last September on Crete I did this composition on my big X-ray sensor with 35cm x 43 cm and 170µm per pixel resolution. Two energy levels were necessary to get a high resolution image of the core of the Nautilus shells.
To overcome the look-and-feel of a medical X-ray it is a logical idea to invert the light. Black becomes white and vice versa. White means shining through of X-rays, black means opacity. It’s like a dream !
How to prepare a X-ray session ? What flowers suit to a Nautilus shell ? Where does color come in ?
I went to my gorgeous florist to have a look what offer she can make during wintertime. My phantasy were spinning around something ethereal or unrealistic. I bought some flowers with respect to their shape.
The Anthuria caught my eye immediately. The Tulip was still closed and got more and more yellow within hours.
All these compositions shown here were made with dual energy X-ray. The lowest energy of the tube is 40kV, which yields with 4 mAs a quite good insight of flowers. For the center of the Nautilus shell, 70kV and 2.5 mAs is more appropriate.
My first composition was a Nautilus taking off a bouquet of flowers. This reminded me of Renaissance engravings full of symbols. I do not feel depressed. The representation as a X-ray positive jsut shows the bouquet.
A more grounded composition is the second with a Nautilus shell moving towards the roots of my bouquet. Hopefully, the plants will survive. The positive representation always needs some extra editing. By just inverting the Blacks and the Whites the Nautilus would be too dark. Our reception cannot be just inverted and feels alright.
With the look-and-feel of old engravings in mind the third composition ist between surreal and a still. It took me some time to mask out the flaws of an original X-ray to get a true black background. Masking can be done iteratively and easily combined with Photoshop. („That’s what Photoshop is made for !“).
Some colorizing was done to overcome missing photographic shots. There was simply no time in my X-ray unit to do both at a time.
My fourth composition is called „The Argonauts“. The Nautilus shell serves as Argo, the legendary fast ship, with its crew, called Argonauts. The colored version is more convenient for our eyes. As before the X-ray positive looks more ethereal.