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Hello from Melbourne, Australia...

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Wayne Baker

Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:29 am    Post subject: Hello from Melbourne, Australia... Reply with quote

Hey I didn't realise this section was here!

My name is Wayne. I'm just about to graduate from the scientific photography degree at RMIT University in Melbourne.

I've been keen on learning more about photomacrography for a while and have spent most of this year working on a project examining photomacrography and extending depth of field with image stacking...

I've just completed a basic evaluation of the stacking method for my undergraduate research. It's nothing groundbreaking but a useful document for anyone thinking of getting into it... My university is using it to decide whether or not to introduce multi-focused image fusion to the scientific photography teaching program, which is pretty cool...

After uni I have no idea what direction to head in. There's not a lot of photomacrographers around town, so I think in some ways I'll be out on my own for a while.. Will see what happens. I wouldn't mind landing a nicely paid job somewhere but I think I would find institutional work a little tedious... But maybe not, who knows til you've tried it!?

At the moment I have a 5D mark II, 65mm MP-E, 180mm L macro, and the Saphicon motorised focus system. All hooked up to an iMac running Windoze as unfortunately the Saphicon software only runs on that... Bummer. I'm playing around with an Cree XR-E LED lighting setup at the moment, hoping to try a halogen gooseneck thingo shortly... I find the LED's a bit dodgy for colour balance sometimes...

Anyway that's me in a nutshell. I have some stuff posted on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/synergy47 and will post up more as I complete it...

Thanks to Rik for his advice and for the forum as it's given me some great tips and insights into the world of photomacro...


Wayne Very Happy
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Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 724
Location: Europe somewhere

PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Wayne...

Welcome.- even though I've seen the rose!!

Your photos are fab.

Now have I got this correct? Torch swinging forever (8mins) in front of the lens? I'd love you to describe this here for us arty people.


And birefringence - is that using fancy equipment that us mere mortal don't have? It looks a bit like cross polarisation - but since I've never done that I don't really know.

Btw. I'm probably the least technically minded person here... so please use simple words!!! Very Happy - Only kidding, but I am interested in the techniques used.
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Site Admin

Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19966
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aynia, there are a couple of different phenomena called "birefringence".

From the pictures, I'm guessing that Wayne's photos are using "circular birefringence", also called "optical rotation". The images look like they were shot with crossed polarizers because they were. Optical rotation is what causes different materials, or different thicknesses of the same material, or the same material under different stresses, to develop colored bands when placed between two polarizers. You could easily play with this yourself using sheet polarizing material (including ordinary polarized sunglasses) or photographic polarizing filters, with the material to be photographed between the filters. (If the photographic filters are "circular polarizers", then you'll need to flip the outer one so that the filters are oriented face-together.)

The other phenomenon, called "linear birefringence" or often just plain "birefringence", is far different and can be seen even without polarizers as shown in the Wikipedia article. Perhaps its most common use is in ordinary landscape photography, where a thin plate of birefringent material is used as a component in all circular polarizing filters and in some of the anti-aliasing screens stuck on the front of digital sensors.


PS. I tweaked your post to reference Wayne's image as a link (url tag) instead of an inline image (img tag). As a matter of policy, we discourage any reproduction of another photographer's images without prior permission, even in cases like this one where it would be obviously harmless and possibly welcomed.
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Wayne Baker

Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there.

The light tracing images are created using a damped harmonic oscillator (pendulum). Also known as harmonograms. If you google 'harmonogram' you'll find some information. The ones I my Flickr site were created as part of a uni assignment that was aimed more at having us record the path of a small light source. This can be used to record movement in, for example, a human movement study, or the study of movement of machine parts, etc. The pendulum was used for the assignment to get us to think about different ways to obtain different patterns. Some of the patterns are extremely complex and the mathematics behind the pendulum designs just so... They do make for some interesting images. I made mine out in my garage with a mini-mag lite torch suspended from the roof by nylon string, with the camera mounted on a tripod on the floor pointing up (I finally found a use for being able to spread the tripod legs almost flat). I used Lee colour gels over the lens for the colours, changing them half way or so during the exposure. The exposure times were between 5 and 8 minutes, which really saw the limitations of digital sensors come to the fore as the images were VERY noisy and had to be edited signigicantly...

You should give it a try! Wink

Rik nailed it about the birefringence. I used a large polaroid sheet in front of a flash soft box. For the macro stuff I used a small piece of the same polaroid sheet on a light box, with a circular PL filter on the lens... Pretty easy stuff but the results are amazing. Polarised light is fascinating. I'd love to do more birefringence photomacrography, and will do in the near future. I'm hoping to get hold of a polarising microscope next year to give that a go also...

Very Happy Very Happy

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