Monday, August 22, 2016

More Buds N' Bugs!

Even as our monsoon season winds down, we've still got some flowering cacti. I've still got a couple buds from the Cereus repandus on the east side of the house that will go off in a couple days, and the Fall barrel cacti are blooming. We've got a pair of fishhook barrel cacti in front of the house - while they look very similar, even down to the orange flowers, one of them blooms in April, the other in August.

I've had a small potted barrel in the back yard, and just this year started blooming with the most beautiful deep red flowers. I believe the generic name is Ferocactus wislizeni. At left are the buds about a week short of blooming - well protected by the dangerous-looking spines of the cacti. At right are the open blooms this weekend - here a close-up taken with the macro lens - a 7 frame focus stack. Each of the 7 frames were focused at a slightly different position to extend the depth of sharpness through the area of interest. Here you can see most everything is sharp - even the pollen scattered about the flower petals... This is nearly at the full camera resolution - about the best I can do without adding extension tubes for additional magnification...

3D - Parallel View
3D - "Cross-eyed" View
Of course a pair of lovely blooms is worthy of a 3D stereo pair. Unfortunately, the use of anaglyph glasses transforms the flower into a gaudy bluish-purple flower and I'm not even going to show it here. So I'll have to resort to the old-school method of viewing the stereo images like I used to present! Here you don't need any equipment at all, but it helps to be able to have nimble eyes! At left is the "parallel view" pair. Look across the room, then down to the image to look at the left image with your left eye, and right image with your right. Your brain will put them together to make a 3D image!

Similarly, the right image is a "cross-eyed" view. Clicking the image you will notice that this is a larger size. In the parallel view, you typically can't "uncross" your eyes to view images larger than your eye separation, but if you cross your eyes, to look at the right image with left eye, and left image with your right, you can get more resolution as you don't have the same limitations! You can practice with the thumbnails here before clicking to load the full-size images - good luck! At least they are in natural color!

And now for the fun stuff! On Saturday, I set up the camera after taking the above shots for a time-lapse. Since I was lazy and didn't set up till after lunch, it shows the flowers closing, though you see the evidence of bees swimming through the forest of anthers in the flower! At an image every 2 minutes, you don't see a lot of pollinator action, more the evidence of them being there as the flower parts move around. Five and a half hours of flower action played back here at 10 frames per second... Check it out!

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