Thursday, November 4, 2010

[Exceptionally] Pretty pictures: transmitted light -- Part XXXV

Mostly greens this time around, but they're interesting greens, with fairly distinct textures. But first, an uncompensated product endorsement.

The husband and I finished watching The Wire last night. For those who don't know, The Wire is an HBO series that ran from 2002 to 2008, and it's about, among other things, the drug trade, police department, city government, prisons, and school system of Baltimore, MD. And it's the real Baltimore: filmed on location, with lots of actors who are actually from Baltimore.

It's also the only show I've seen lately that's genuinely suspenseful, the only show that sets up rules about what can and cannot happen in this world and then sticks to them (I'm looking at you, Caprica), the only show with characters who seem like they could be real people and change in ways that real people might change, and some really fascinating things to say about American society, the War on [Some People Who Use] Drugs, politics, being a police officer, redemption (as well as fucking up), and a ton of other stuff.

Except not all boring and shit, like that made it sound.

Also, the realism and occasional bleakness mean that they can make some amazingly funny jokes sometimes. Seriously. You'll die. People have called it "the greatest television series ever made," and meant it. (Dunno about that, but it's surely got to be in the running.)

The Wire is not for you if you blanch at strong language, including but not limited to slurs relating to race and sexual orientation. (Though if that's a problem, you probably stopped reading a couple paragraphs ago.) You're also not going to like it if you have a problem with occasional nudity, simulated sex, drug use, or graphic and frequent violence.

It's also often very sad. Bad people don't always get what's coming to them; good people either. Also it's frequently very hard to tell the difference: this is not a show where everybody's either good or bad and they all have color-coded hats on at all times so you know who is who. You'll be amazed at some of the people you'll eventually feel sorry for.

The Wire is also frequently hard to follow: like most shows, they'll tell you what you need to know, but unlike most shows, they won't keep telling you and telling you to make sure you get it. (Closed captioning helps, as does watching with someone else.) But paying close attention pays off. Also, do yourself a favor and start watching from the beginning of season 1: we were getting DVDs from the library, but we missed some episodes in season 1 because some people hadn't returned the relevant discs yet, which made our experience more confusing than it had to be.

Anyway. If you're looking for more specific things about what the show's about or what it's like, you can check the Wikipedia page for the show; the above is just what I like about it. If you've heard nice things before and thought, oh, I should check that out sometime, this is me letting you know that you really, really should.

Anyway. On to the leaves.

(The previous transmitted light posts can be found here.)

Rubus sp. Good leaf, but bad photo. With a lot of these, I was taping them to the light on Nina's terrarium and then taking pictures that way (It's easier to keep the leaf still when it's unable to move.), and this one apparently caught more of a shadow than I intended.

Plantago major. I'd been curious about what broadleaf plantain would look like by transmitted light for a while before I actually got around to doing it. It's one of my favorite weeds, going back to when I was a kid. The photo, obviously, was disappointing. These things happen.

Vitis sp. Surprisingly similar to the Rubus picture, just in a different color. Which I guess is kind of cool?

Trifolium pratense. My favorite picture from this set, for reasons I don't quite understand. I like the plant quite a bit, too, as far as that goes.

Begonia NOID, possibly 'Texas Coffee Star.' I've done this plant before, but this wound up being a slightly better picture than the previous one.

Aspidistra elatior. So far, this is working out much better for me than A. lurida ever did; it hasn't been that much time, and it's not growing very fast, or at all, but I'll still be ecstatic with the plant if it makes it through the winter. Wish me luck.

Musa x 'Cheeka.' Picture's pretty cool, but this was a really bad purchase. Although the plant is still alive, it's not happy: each new leaf is smaller than the one before, and it's gotten better-than-usual care, by my standards -- more light, more warmth, more fertilizer -- so it shouldn't be complaining the way it is. We won't be trying any Musa or Ensete species again. At least not unless something big changes around here.

Asclepias syriaca. Was not expecting the common milkweed to have so much going on, vein-wise.

Abutilon 'Bella Red,' petals. The color is wrong here; it's a lot less orange than this, really. I blame the camera.

Ficus elastica 'Tineke.' (ID uncertain; there are lots of variegated Ficus elastica varieties out there.) Also too orange. I don't know how many pictures of this species I've tried, but I don't think I've been happy with one yet. I blame myself.


Bom said...

The trifolium and fikus elastica somehow remind me of animal markings. The abutilon reminds me of blood vessels. Nice set!

Anonymous said...

The Rubus and Asclepias are my favorites. So (exceptionally) pretty!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I really like the Begonia NOID. Have you ever printed and framed any of your transmitted light shots? They'd probably make great wall decorations.

mr_subjunctive said...


I can totally see the blood vessels comparison. Not sure if that makes me like the photo more, or less.

Plowing Through Life:

I haven't, but I did have someone ask me once whether I minded if they printed them out to hang on their walls. (I didn't.)

Anonymous said...

I think the shadows in the Rubus sp. actually really help make the picture great.

Rameen said...

I love the photos, and the post idea. I wish some of the photos had more quality/higher resolution. As a photographer, though, I know it can be difficult to set up macros like that. Which brings me to my second comment-- that I'd like to have seen the leaves in their entirety to get an idea of scale and shape.

Anyway, I appreciate all the info and the beautiful images!

Pat said...

The best set of the lot. Have you tried UV light on some of those pigments? Some must fluoresce, surely?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr Subjunctive! I inherited a few houseplants and have been trying to ID one based on crappy internet pictures. I couldn't decide between dracaena and a cast iron plant (this sucker's tough), but then I found your blog- and your beautiful pics sealed the deal. Dracaena, definitely. Really, gorgeous pics.

Also, on The Wire. Agreed.