Monday, August 4, 2008

[Exceptionally] Pretty pictures: transmitted light

(SLOW BROWSER WARNING: Image-heavy post.)

Ordinarily, to shoot a picture of a leaf, you put the camera between the light source and the leaf. The light reflects off the leaf, enters the camera, and you have a picture. This is what happens if you instead make the light go through the leaf before entering the camera:

Anthurium andraeanum 'Pacora,' mature leaf. The random, no-particular-reason picture that started this whole thing.

Homalomena 'Emerald Gem.' More graceful than expected.

Anthurium andraeanum 'Pacora,' newish leaf. Reminds me of lightning, oddly.

Ficus lyrata. The broad, thin, flat leaves of the Araceae family seem to work best for this; this is one of only three pictures (out of fifteen) that isn't an aroid.

Dieffenbachia 'Triumph.' Natural light, instead of fluorescent, for this one, not that you can really tell.

Cordyline fruticosa 'Kiwi.' The second non-aroid.

Dieffenbachia 'Sterling.' I find this picture especially stunning, which is probably related to it being one of my two favorite Dieffenbachia cultivars.

Philodendron hederaceum micans. Kinda looks like a heavily stylized tropical fish, to me.

Aglaonema 'Stars.' Being so close-up makes it easy to see the two different layers of variegation: there's the green layer with white dots, and the other green layer with darker green splotches.

Philodendron 'Imperial Red.' Had to play around a little with the color on this one, as there were some unavoidable bluish reflections on the underside of the leaf. The white dots here are probably due to mechanical trauma of some kind while the leaf was developing. Ficus lyrata, above, does this too, though there the damage gets darker, not lighter.

Philodendron gloriosum. Ooo! Contrasty!

Dieffenbachia 'Camouflage.' So weird close-up; I'd never noticed that the veins are such a dark green compared to the leaf.

Maranta leuconeura 'Marisela.' The last non-aroid.

Dieffenbachia 'Tiki.' Same types of variegation as Aglaonema 'Stars,' if you'll notice: the main difference is that the dark blotches are connected by dark veins in spots as well.

Aglaonema 'Red Gold.' The leaf is in and out of focus because it's not very flat, but this is still my favorite of the pictures. Actually, going in and out of focus kind of makes it better. More abstract.


Hermes said...

Wonderful. Really makes you look at leaves in a new light!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I love the variations of all that foliage. What a great tip on taking pictures of leaves!

Anonymous said...

Lovely photographs. If I had a better camera, I'd love to try it. A question though: I'm pretty sure that aroids are monocotyledons. Am I mistaken?

mr_subjunctive said...

Whoops. You're right. For some reason I was under the impression that all monocots had non-branching parallel veins.

Anonymous said...

Aroid vein branching looks different from how dicot's veins branch but I can't really explain how. Dicots branch of from the central vein, and then keep branching after that, I guess? Plants in the ginger family apparently do the same thing as aroids, with their veins.

This has always bugged me and I'd love an actual scientific/botanical/geometric explanation for what the difference is.

Anonymous said...

VERY cool!

Anonymous said...

mr s, you've really let your inner artist out on the last two posts.

The photos are awesome. If I ever can afford to have a showroom, I would like to buy some to decorate it!

perL said...

Woweee. Gorgeous shots!

mr_subjunctive said...


If you think this is artistic, wait 'til Wednesday.

Wicked Gardener said...

I really like these. How willing would you be to forward some high rez pics to a very, very poor girl in need of some art on her wall? :D