Monday, March 30, 2015

(Dichotomous key interlude) Time lapse of cherry blossom

About 3 weeks ago I pruned some of the fruit trees in my backyard. I took branches from peach, cherry, and plum inside to force. The first cherry blossoms opened as soon as I got to DC! I set out a camera to try and catch a time lapse of the second set of flower buds opening. The branch had three sets of flower buds on it and they opened in sequence from outer most (distal) to the buds closest to the trunk (proximal).

Here's what I learned from my first attempt at capturing a time lapse of a flower opening:

  • Get your framing right! I should have left space on either side of the flower and then used a batch edit to crop all the photos. Instead the bottom flower opened and exited the frame!
  • Use an artificial light source and block outside light as much as possible. The street lights kept going on and off and altering the lighting on the flower. Also, as the sun came up it threw off the lighting even more. 
  • Use the manual aperture and shutter speed settings on the camera to get the exposure constant. The flickering in the video was from minor adjustments because the light meter kept vacillating at f11 between 1/20 and1/25.
  • Time intervals. I set the camera to take images at 5 minute intervals and that seemed to work just fine. I used Microsoft Movie Maker to piece them together and set the image timing at 1/10 second. 
  • Use a tripod. I didn't bring mine with me so I wound up having to jerryrig one out of an old olive oil container. It shifted slightly and had I needed to replace the batteries it would have thrown the framing off. 

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