Squash Stem Prickers

Images taken in a controlled environment or with a posed subject. All subject types.

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BugEZ
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Squash Stem Prickers

Post by BugEZ »

My wife asked me to cut up a butternut squash so she could make some soup. I was reminded that the squash stem has small stickers that are an annoyance. An excellent subject for some macro work...

First the squash stem taken with my point and shoot...

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Then the "prickers" in my finger, also with my point and shoot...

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Then the prickers at ~ 1.8 X Stereo constructed with Zerene Pmax from ~ 200 image stack

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Then prickers at 10 X Stereo constructed with Zerene Pmax with some substacking to help remove transparency of overlaid detail.

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The blunted points probably ended up in fingers or gloves when the squash was harvested.

Keith

Sumguy01
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Post by Sumguy01 »

:D Interesting.
Thanks for sharing.

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

Keith, thank you--I very much enjoyed this post! :D

In my teen years, I kept five acres of pumpkins under cultivation, to sell for Halloween jack-o-lanterns. Those years of pumpkin growing are fond memories; and of course pumpkins and butternut squash are related. Your post made me recall my unconscious habit, during harvest, of rubbing the stem of each pumpkin up and down a few times with leather-gloved hands. This so that my customers would not get prickers in their hands.

Seeing your images, I now have a fascinated sense of exactly what, mechanically, I was doing to these "prickers." And your stereo images are very telling--wow! I'm wondering what the three or four-segment configuration of these prickers, as shown in your images, means. Are we looking at multiple cells?

--Chris S.

BugEZ
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Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:15 pm
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Post by BugEZ »

Chris S. wrote:
In my teen years, I kept five acres of pumpkins under cultivation
5 acres is quite a project. We have grown butternut squash in our garden for nearly 15 years in a row. Our first plant was a volunteer that surprised us in our main vegetable garden in the back yard. A product of composting the seeds from a road-side stand squash. The squash that resulted were excellent so we saved seeds and planted them in a flower bed in the front yard to separate them from our zucchini. We have grown two or three butternut squash vines producing about 12-25 squash every year in that location. We critique each as we eat it and only save seeds from the best tasting individual fruit. We like to think we have improved the result by hygrading the seeds, but in truth, the first squash was excellent also. We definitely have made them bigger. The ones we grow are about 3X the size of ones we commonly see in stores.

Looking at my photos, I think the pricker has several individual cells stacked to form the tower. Tall ones appear to have about 6 cells. They shear off easily. I'll take another shot or two and post. We don't wipe the stems at harvest. We have been using pruning shears to chop them from the vines and handling them by the body of the squash, so the "prickers" have accidentally remained in-tact mostly on many squash. The wiping the stem trick you used is a good idea to make the cooking experience more pleasant.

Keith

BugEZ
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Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:15 pm
Location: Loves Park Illinois

Post by BugEZ »

One more image...

Chris S. wondered how many cells make up a pricker...

I'm wondering what the three or four-segment configuration of these prickers, as shown in your images, means. Are we looking at multiple cells?
I count 6 or 7 cylindrical tower cells. Depends on if you count the darker less transparent base. I am not a plant physiology guy. Just my guess...



Keith
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rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Excellent stereo & discussion. I have encountered these things but never taken a close look at them.

For the first couple of stereos, I found myself wanting a frame. The last one works OK as is.

I think the issue is that in the first two, the left and right sides of the image are too similar in general nature. When I cross to fuse, instead of three clearly separated images -- mono/stereo/mono -- I get unpleasant and unstable transitions on the sides of the stereo image where it butts up against the mono.

--Rik

BugEZ
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Post by BugEZ »

Rik wrote:
For the first couple of stereos, I found myself wanting a frame. The last one works OK as is.
Good point. Since StereoPhoto Maker allows frames, I went ahead and put them in. Apparently frame width is in pixels as photos starting with higher resolution images produced thinner frames. Probably should have downsized the parent images of the 2x stereo to get a thicker frame... but I think it may be enough.

K

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K

BugEZ
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Location: Loves Park Illinois

Post by BugEZ »

Discovered that StereoPhoto Maker allows the border to be set in the
View---Border options menu.

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I set the Print:Save values to 12, 60, 12 rather than the default 4, 20, 4

That produced this result...

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rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Big improvement -- thanks.

--Rik

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