Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Sunday, June 9, 2013
As the weather warms up, some bizarre dusty white stuff started appearing on the planks of our deck. So I took a look with my macro/micro setup.
As it turns out, it's not dust at all! It's little bubbly things. I my theory is that this is sap that has warmed up enough to ooze up from the board. See how some of it is crystalline and some is more dried looking?
At any rate, they totally look like alien eggs. They ranged from about 2 or 3mm across to 1mm or less. Look at a ruler to better visualize just how small these aliens babies are.
This is my first post in a long time. Starting a business really soaks up the leisure time!
We planted some flowers and veggies on the deck, and recently found aphids in one of the plants. Before spraying them out (or sicking a rabid ladybug on them) i took a few micropics. The big aphid was about 3mm long, the baby ones about 1 to 1.5 mm.
Aphids were harmed in the making of these photos. Well... they were harmed afterward.
Monday, January 23, 2012
This is a sugar crystal. A big one. This sucker was about 4 or 5cm across. I like the misty blue effect along the top of the crystal in the photo above. This is actually a simple light smear due to camera shake.
The colors in these photos are from Legos that surrounded the sugar crystals when I was shooting. Crystals pickup the reflected tones, shadows and light that surround them. I was intrigued by the textures on/in the crystals that looked like rain on a window.
I love the geometric-ness of many of the crystals we grew. I made them with the kids by making a super-saturated solution of sugar and water, then we placed sticks in it and waited, and waited... and waited.
It took about three weeks for us to get pretty good sticks encrusted with big, blocky crystals. I was surprised it took so long, all the online tutorials for growing great sugar crystals made it sound like it was a much faster process. We also saw a lot of extra crystal growth on the bottom of the cups. I think this happened because we must have had a little un-dissolved sugar in the solution.
Below are the crystal-encrusted sticks we grew, and from which these photos have come.
Friday, December 9, 2011
The kids and I cracked open one of their Christmas gifts early, a crystal-growing kit. The first thing we noticed was the strong odor that came from the bag of materials, the easily-recognized smell of sulphur. Upon opening it up and reading the instructions, we learned that the smell came from our crystal-growing seed material, potassium aluminum sulfate. And it was supplied in a variety of colors for our crystal-farming enjoyment. Naturally, we had to make the blue crystals first.
Potassium aluminum sulfate, or potassium alum, or potash alum, is the stuff used in deodorant, water treatment, aftershave and other fun industrial applications. What's funny is that it stinks so badly, but ultimately is about the cleaning and de-stinking of the world.
These photos are all observing an area about 3mm across
After our crystals were grown, about a week-and-a-half, I tweezed a few samples of the small crystals out of our experiment cup and shot them using the crossed-polar light technique. This is where I use a polarized filter on my lens that is at a 90° angle to the polarized filter on my flash. You may recall, this technique filters light to reveal some pretty psychedelic rainbow effects.
These photos were shot from above the crystals as they sat on a stretched piece of plastic wrap, suspended above the inside of a box backed with black construction paper; the flash was under the subject on one side, providing light from beneath the crystals. The use of transmissive light is one of the methods used by Ken Libbrecht to shoot snowflakes. As for why the black paper looks red in the photos, I can't account for that. Without more experimenting, I can't be sure if it looks like that because of the use of polarized filters, the plastic wrap, the dye used in the black paper (a reddish black dye vs a greenish black?), or a combination of these factors.
And yes, you can see the obvious dust on my sensor in these pics. Sorry about my dirty camera.
The girls and I are currently growing sugar crystals, so we can eat our experiment afterward. I'll be sure to shoot them, but if you're impatient and want to see sugar up close now, take a look at some of my past posts.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Just posted a short, edited set of images from my work over the past several years here:
Check it out! The page also includes links to my art resume and other info at the top of the page in the nav links.
Images in the set include ice, grass seeds, various flowers and leaves, spices, paper, bugs... All these images are available in my VERY limited edition coffee-table book, Ordinary Things, available for sale here.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I have several photos of the edges of things from some recent shoots. Above is the edge of a piece of a mirror; the glass is about 2 or 3mm thick. And though the sharp edges of glass may look straight, they are often full of nicks and dings and chipped surfaces.
The next photo is the edge of an aerogel. This very fragile material is one of the worlds best insulators (it's about 97% air) and is also the least dense substance on earth. It's created in laboratories and used by NASA for insulating spacecraft, among other more earth-based uses.
This sample of aerogel was contributed kindly by a fan of Morning Macro. Thank you, Matt!
See if you can guess from the next two photos what they are before reading further.
The two photos above are different edges on a typical disposable plastic tape dispenser. The first is the cutting edge for the tape, and the second is an edge of the curved body of the dispenser, with a printed insert inside.
The last two photos that follow are more from the crossed polars shoots. These are the cut edges of bubble wrap, and you can see the wall thickness of the "bubbles" clearly in these shots. Remember, the colors in these photos were present in the actual subjects, and were the fascinating result of using two polarized films in opposing alignment, not because it was lit with colored lights. Only white light was used in the capture of these photos.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The photo above is another view of the frozen thin film of soapy water. I think it would be stunning output huge and mounted to a large wall.
In my last post, I explained how placing a polarizing filter on each side of a photo subject can produce fun and interesting light and color effects. I'll keep playing with it in future photos. In the meantime, here are a few more images from my experimentation.
You'll note that some of these don't contain the bright rainbows characteristic of crossed polar photography. I think this can be attributed to one of two reasons. Either the subject of the photo was not able to produce the colorful effects we saw in the previous photos, or my camera's polarizing filter was at something other than a 90° angle to the light source's polarizing filter.
I'm also posting more abstract and patterny images this round, as opposed to the more object-oriented images before.
Either way, I liked the photos in this batch too and believe they have their own artistic merit. The image below is a close up of an imperfection in a rocks glass on which I had attempted to dissolve a salt crystal in alcohol. I love the tensions and stresses captured inside the glass which are highlighted in this photo.
To me, the image below looks like a deep field space photo from the Hubble Telescope. In fact, it's an area of frozen soapy film covering only about 15mm. Amazing how we see the structures of nature repeated from the largest scale down to the smallest. I don't know what the glowy white orbs are in this photo. I think they mush have been bubbles which were outside my camera's depth of field starting to melt, or areas of larger ice crystal growth.
I like the serenity of the image below. It is another imperfection in the glass of the cup I was shooting. A much calmer imperfection than the other one, indeed.