Archive for the Experimente Category

HIGH resolution Macro shot – Araschnia levana – March 24-25, 2018

Posted in Experimente, Supermacrofotografie on March 25, 2018 by maxpho

This is a test shot. A test for a new high resolution macro imaging method that I hope to use more frequently as Spring unfolds…

For now, the subject in the image was motionless (read “dead”) so no big problems with focusing and moving from area to area. But I think that at some level it can be used in the wild on specimens that stay “dormant” for minutes at a time.

The technique itself requires many, many shots: each small area is imaged at a high magnification and, using focus-stack software, it is process to get sharp despite the small depth of field of the objective. Afterwards, all of the imaged areas are assembled in a large mosaic to get a full-body mage of the subject. This requires time and computing power, since the final image is rather large.

The following VERY LARGE image was actually resized to about 55% from original due to the immense size: 300Megapixels! For easy viewing, I had to shrink the file size to about 12 Mb, which compromised a lot of the details and quality of the shot.

Be patient and zoom in. Details in the order of microns to tens of microns are detectable.

The wingspan of this individual from the species Araschnia levana is around 33 millimeters.



Eudia Pavoniella – SuperMacrophotography – March 25, 2018

Posted in Canaraua Fetii, Experimente, Supermacrofotografie on March 25, 2018 by maxpho

Another male Eudia pavoniella emerged today. This time I had enough calm moments to shoot this individual in Hi-Res. At least in some areas…

The most striking details were found to be the little hairs between the elements of the feather-like structure of the moth’s antennae. This tiny hairs are the ones that collect and disperse the pheromones emitted by the females. It is the only way the males of most night-flying moths are able to find their partner.

Equipment: Canon 550D, 10mm macro ring, SMC Pentax M 1:2.8 28mm lens, used as an inverted lens, and a Nissin MF18 Macro ring flash. The image is a stack of 10 individually focused shots. Stacking software: Zerene Stacker. The scale is also shown on the image.


And a shot of the entire moth, two hours after it exited the cocoon.


Another closeup view:



Eudia pavoniella – March 2, 2018

Posted in Canaraua Fetii, Evenimente, Experimente, Specii rare, Uncategorized on March 2, 2018 by maxpho

Spring is coming, and the first sign was observed in my balcony where I keep a few cocoons of a lovely medium-sized moth. A single female emerged today from one such cocoon. The species name is Saturnia pavoniella (Scopoli, 1763), a moth occurring in Europe. In Romania, I’ve found it in three locations already, in almost all the evolution stages: eggs. caterpillars and more recently as adults. It frequently comes to light during the colder nights of March-April, and sometimes in May, depending on altitude.

This species is not yet threatened, but it seems that its range is changing in recent years.

Eudia pavonia March22018.jpg

Also, the male. The following shots are of a freshly emerged male from March 10.




Magnetic art – February 23, 2018

Posted in ASTRO, Experimente on February 23, 2018 by maxpho

Just playing a bit with some magnets, iron filings, and a piece of paper. I’ve wanted to take a few shots of this practical experiment for some years now. Finally I had the inspiration to do it..

All shots are negatives of the originals, since to my eyes, the magnetic field lines show better this way.

MAG 1.jpg

MAG 2.jpg

MAG 3.jpg

MAG 6.jpg

MAG 5.jpg

MAG 4.jpg

And a comparison of some homemade magnetic field lines and the aspect of some sunspot groups in H-alpha light. Note the similarities. They might not be the best examples, but they are my only ones showing similar structures on the Sun.



The Moon after Space-X

Posted in Experimente, Uncategorized on February 11, 2018 by maxpho

Just a Sunday joke…for lunar and SpaceX enthusiasts.

Not something I wouldn’t like to see or do one day…


Some Schlieren shots – March 5, 2016

Posted in Experimente on March 9, 2016 by maxpho

Since around November 2015, I’ve been very busy at work with some experiments involving the interaction of atmospheric plasma jets with the air or liquids. In order to study such interactions, I needed an imaging technique to visualize the gas flow of the plasma jet and its influence inside liquids (like water or alcohol). The best method for imaging such interactions is the Schlieren imaging technique. Being my first such optical setup (I did use some shadowgraphy setups in previous experiments, but not Schlieren setups), I did not want to increase the budget of the experiment too much, without first knowing the best method for creating such a setup.

What I did choose at the end of a two-week study, was the one-mirror Schlieren setup, which has a lot of advantages, both “economically” and due to its portability (in the laboratory we need most of the investigation setups to be mobile in order to use them on different experiments).

The main optical component of this one-mirror setup is of course…the mirror. Which interestingly enough, it can (and should) be a telescope mirror.

The final setup that I now use at work is indeed very good for our purposes, so good actually that I’ve decided to play a bit with a similar setup constructed at my home.

At work I use a 150mm F/4 (lambda/10) parabolic mirror, while at home I’ve selected the 200mm F/5 (lambda/8) mirror due to its versatile mirror cell.

For now, I have only three interesting results, showed as animations, of three different gas flows.

All of the imaging was done with the ASI 174MM camera and a 58mm F/2 old Helios objective. The exposure was kept at minimum (0.06 milliseconds, that is around 1/15000 of a second), and the frames per second rate was around 250 to 300. The animations are played at 20 fps, that is the slow-down factor is around 25 times. Sorry for the blinking background, but the light-bulb I’ve used is not good for such experiments (the flickering is due to the 50Hz frequency).

First animation shows the gas exiting a lighter:

anim gaz bricheta.gif

The second animation, and the most impressive, shows the moment the flame from the lighter is formed and, afterwards, the changing shape of the hot gases:

anim gaz si flacara bricheta.gif

And the final animation, showing the gas exiting a deodorant spray (won’t name the brand here):

spray deodorant.gif

Basically, any amateur astronomer interested in imaging the planets/Moon/Sun can create such an easy setup with the equipment at hand, that is the imaging camera, an old photography lens, a light bulb and of course the telescope mirror. Go ahead and try it, it will give you something to do when the skies are cloudy 😉

Zerynthia polyxena – February 21, 2016

Posted in Evenimente, Experimente, Specii rare on February 21, 2016 by maxpho

One of my “back to Nature” activities (involving breeding some insect species for re-population of areas that had these species which are now critically endangered) is up and running well I might say:

ZERY 1.jpg

This year’s species is Zerynthia polyxena, one of the most beautiful butterflies in Europe, and one of the earliest ones to emerge in March.  Last year I’ve reared almost a hundred caterpillars of this species, collected either as larvae or egg from two locations with very large populations (one of the locations had around 1000 larvae !!). The reason for this was to repopulate one area that had the species until a few years ago (but was eradicated due to very stupid and fast urbanization) and to increase the very fast declining numbers of individuals at another location (the very stupid way that agriculture is done is the main reason for this population’s decline).

Of course I had to make a few investigations regarding the future habitats where the butterflies will be released, and as for any other projects of this kind, I can only hope that the locations I have in mind will remain the same for some time (that is, not to be destroyed by humans in the next 5-10 years at least).

At the moment, due both to very warm temperatures for this period of the year (+15 to +20 degrees Celsius!!) and a warm winter from my part (the location for the butterfly pupae had temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius in December and January), some of the individuals have started to emerge. This is good but not very good, since their host plant is still mostly underground at the predicted locations. I have to ensure some good conditions for this adults until I’ll release them back to Nature.

For now, a few shots with some of the freshly emerged butterflies:

ZERY 2.jpg

ZERY 3.jpg

ZERY 4.jpg