Tuesday 14 February 2012

The other end of the spectrum

Ultraviolet isn't really my speciality. It's more difficult to shoot (best with quartz lenses) and doesn't really show anything that interesting ... with one notable exception.

Around 100 years ago, Tristán and Michaud investigated flowers in both infrared and ultraviolet. They were working in Costa Rica and published their findings in Scientific American amongst others. They found that while flowers tended to look bland in infrared, at the other end of the spectrum things got more interesting.

On the BBC web site there's a brief clip showing (from a programme called Growing a Planet) Professor Iain Stewart using a modified Nikon with special flash to produce false colour UV shots of flowers. If you've never seen this view of flowers then you should find this insects-eye view fascinating. It's called an insect's-eye simply because research has shown that some insects can detect UV and flowers have evolved to capitalise on that.

More on Tristán and Michaud sometime soon. Stay tuned.