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.
Is there poetry in a landscape ? Does an image give the impression of poetry ? These questions came up when looking down from the Zugspitze at the Alpine folding.
It was a cold day with with warm rays from the sun. No winds, except at the border to Austria. We were lucky to spend a few hours up there at about 2960m.
This folding was soft and wild at the same time. Is it a solidified sea ? A petrified curtain ? Only the light creates the feelings.
You always need some time to find out the best exposure values for a photo. Same idea holds in X-Ray imaging.
Today I did an x-ray series with my biggest Nautilus shell on a conventional radiography sensor, not a film. Starting from the lowest possible value 40kV an increment of 10 kV up to 70 kV can be seen in the images:
Black regions in the image a transparent, white are opaque. The center of the Nautilus has a loss of structure.
With 50 kV the structure in the center of the Nautilus is better depicted wheras the edge gets more transparent:
Same effect for the center and the edge can be seen with 60 kV:
With 70 kV it’s an exaggeration for the edge and best depiction for the center:
Higher kV means more transparency for denser structures but a loss of structure in transparent areas.
At fixed energy, X-Ray imaging behaves like a shadow related to visible light. When photographing, there is not chance to look through an opaque object. With higher energies, x-rays go through opaque objects and can be collected on a sensor.
Composing the images obtained at different energies is an X-Ray HDR image:
The representation of an X-Ray with white on black is a reminiscence of the film era. Radiologists just looked at the negatives ! Inverting black and white shows the positive image, like a print. Here I show the same image as positive, but rotated and flipped horizontally. Look how ethereal it appears now:
Today I put some tests on my cretean purchases from last September to evaluate their potential of being subject to fusion imaging. I bought three Nautilus shells and two sea snails, holding them in the store against the sun to check their transparency. My untidy studio accommodated these precious stones under quite a bunch of something.
The best representation is with a black background, i.e. with inverted L-channel in Lab colors. With a black background a soft shining light appears in the objects.
This snail has a shape a triangle and resembles a bear claw or an Apollo capsule in the late Sixties. The translucency is very little.
The following snail has a classic shape. With the black background it resembles a galaxy in outer space.
My first attempt with the Nautilus shells led me to a copper-like color representation with a single shot image. Lab colors is the key to this color and light distribution. Very attractive is the fact of two shells turning right and one left. Why did I wait so long to make this image ? Why do we miss important opportunities ?
After a rainy New Years eve and a cloudy 1st January there was a chance to escape to an island in the sun: Sylt.
A walk south along the beach at noon had a phantastic front light. We strolled without sorrows. The horizon wasn’t clear at all.
It’s good to have these days without sorrows.
Short after 4 pm the sunset happened much earlier than in southern parts of Germany. The winds became more weak. A composit image of horizontal motion blur and a normal shot after the camera movement rendered a little bit of structure.
Increasingly great reflections occurred the next minutes. Hot waters ?
The darker it becomes the more fatigant is our way home. Less people are now on the beach. All tend to go home.
Cape Blanco State Park was a windy corner. Fortunately we had much sun and only few clouds. When looking at the Fresnel optics of a lighthouse, one may get the impression of a shiny jewel. The shape is like a virus.
When walking south we found no shiny look at Pyramid Rock with a shape not much different from the optics of the lighthouse.
From California to Oregon, from high-tech state to nature. Now I’m at home in Germany and it’s already winter. What remains of a journey of two photo addicted ?
Arch Rock is a quite common term in National Park environments. Driving further the 101 Highway after Fort Bragg we stopped at Arch Rock Picnic Area and walked to the arch that gave the name to this area.
Beside this rock with water going forth and back there was a formation of rocks like dice in the sea.
On our hike to the distant viewpoint of the Cape Sebastian State Park, I was wondering how to photograph a coastline. Especially the cool waters contrasted with lasting warm colors of the coast.
With a „natural“ landscape orientation given by the cam the idea of a line got lost. Harold suggested portrait orientation, which is obviously better.
At the far end of the viewpoint it was a quarter to noon. Some recommendations for photographers state not to take any image at noon. Well, why not ?
Geometric shapes like a Paul Klee image contrasted with the haze of the Pacific. The horizon could not be seen by the naked eye. Only postprocessing showed it.
To get to Cape Blanco lighthouse we did a little hike in strong winds. A tripod was no longer a safe equipment. We got rewarded with a splendid feeling of openness, a lot of sun and fresh air and the acquaintance of a porcupine on the meadow behind the building.
Further along the Highway 101 we fell into the Heceta Head View Point at early sunset. Although tired and ready for a shower in our B&B we pulled out and had a fantastic photographic session. Impressive is the flashing light signal of Heceta Head Lighthouse.
We went up to Cape Perpetua before our breakfast. I’d been there before after the eclipse in 2017 with Christa and friends. That year the sky was full of smoke.
Today the sun was shielded by some haze coming from the Pacific Ocean. I wasn’t clear in mind about going there a second time. The impressive view of Heceta Head lighthouse the day before hadn’t left me.
Black and white gives more meaning and feeling than faded colors. But it’s already long time ago and far, far away.