Wildwater.tv's Blog

Video and Scientific Photography

Female flower bee in flight

Posted by wildwatertv on April 29, 2010

This is another hairy footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes).  There are lots around at the moment, but they disappear by the end of May.  This high speed photograph shows the opening of the sheath around the long tongue as the bee approaches a pulmonaria flower.   This sheath gets folded back as the bee feeds and then it snaps shut again before moving on to the next flower.  The male is shown in an earlier post, but this is the female, with pollen baskets on her hind legs.  Many of these are living in holes in the wall of our cottage.

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Shield bug

Posted by wildwatertv on April 20, 2010

This fantastic creature is a Green shieldbug (Palomina Prasina), Order Hemiptera sub order Heteroptera Family Acanthosomidae. They have long sucking mouthparts but they also have a gland in their thorax between the first and second pair of legs which secretes a foul smelling liquid.  This gives them their other common name, stink bugs.

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Oxford Folk Festival

Posted by wildwatertv on April 20, 2010

It was the Oxford Folk festival this weekend.  A fantastic opportunity for photographers to shoot some of the colour and strangeness that events like this always produce.  This character is from a rogue morris side.  The weather was fantastic for once…

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Hairy footed flower bee

Posted by wildwatertv on April 14, 2010

I spent ages last week setting up the equipment to do high speed photography on bees in flight.  Finally, I got this one to play and it took its own picture.  It looked a little odd when it came to identifying it.  I first thought it was a bee-fly, but on further investigation it IS a bee called the hairy footed flower bee, or to give it its scientific name, Anthophora plumipes. They have very long tongues, which can get to the nectaries of pulmonaria.  They are hole dwellers and our house has holes made by mason bees in which they probably live.  the females are all black, but this is the male.  They are among the earliest of bees, and only fly until about May.

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Another balloon being shot

Posted by wildwatertv on March 24, 2010

I bought a new Chinese air rifle yesterday for using in just this way, it’s pretty powerful and the pellet is travelling at 500 feet per second as it bursts the smoke filled balloon showing clearly the sound wave that is generated by the ‘pop’.  It’s so fast that the balloon still retains its shape as the pellet leaves the frame.  This is similar to another image on the blog, but with all new digital techniques.  Still looking to speed the flash up a little to freeze the leading edge of the rubber as it moves, but the speeds are unimaginably fast.

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crystalline rocks

Posted by wildwatertv on March 10, 2010

This is a weird sort of image, made possible by the art of a stonecutter.  It’s a rose quartz section, about 2mm thick, photographed by shining light through it.  What is produced is a sort of graphic crystalline magic.  This technique also creates an interesting three dimensional effect, due to the varying translucency of the rock section.  Not through a microscope, but 1;1 magnification with a Nikon Micro lens.

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Nigella seed

Posted by wildwatertv on January 22, 2010

This shows two different magnifications of a single seed, genus Nigella, known as love-in-a-mist.  The seeds are sometimes used in Indian cookery as a spice, and are individually about 1mm long.  they have the most extraordinary texture and a surface almost like crocodile skin. I’m working on a catalogue of microscopic images of seeds and this is so far the most beautiful one I’ve seen.  Zeiss Luminar, light microscope, Nikon 10x/2.5x Objective/photo-eyepiece.

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Vinyl record

Posted by wildwatertv on December 16, 2009

This is a photograph showing how the sound is made on a vinyl record.  The needle is made to vibrate as it runs along the grooves.  The more wobbly the line, the higher the pitch of the sound.  It was a great system, and vinyl is still favoured by many for the distinct tone it gives. This portion of the record is about 1mm long, so a split second of sound is all that is shown here.  Thanks to Thor Haugen for the idea (and the record).  It’s a pointer sisters track, by the way, I wonder which bit?

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The Moon

Posted by wildwatertv on December 4, 2009

This is the moon over Oxfordshire on the 3rd December 2009.  Nearly full, but because it’s not you can see the details of the craters and impact marks all over it.  It’s really taken a beating over the years, but it’s still there, and worth taking a closer look at.  There’s ice on there.  If you look closely you can probably see it…

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Water drops

Posted by wildwatertv on December 3, 2009

This is the result of experimenting with lighting liquids.  The photographs are standard high speed water drops, but lit in particular ways to make the three dimensional quality of the coloured coronets stand out. Essentially the technique involves lighting the liquid through itself to eliminate any reflections or distracting highlights.  I never get tired of seeing the random nature of these moments in time.  Sometimes what you can’t see is much more beautiful than what you can.  The action is frozen using high speed flash triggered by an infra-red beam and shot through a 1930’s Rapax shutter attached to the front of a Micro-nikkor 105mm f/4 lens.  Very often old equipment is better than new equipment.

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