A few weeks go by and a new array of flowers are ready to experiment with in our gardens. Queen Anne’s Lace has long been a favourite of mine, and here it is in ultraviolet fluorescence.
The normally-white flower takes on a slight bluish colour towards the center, and interestingly the larger petals on the outside edge fade to purple. All of this is the same shade of white to our own eyes in natural light, but there is extra magic when UVIVF is applied (UltraViolet-Induced Visible Fluorescence). Three powerful UV-only flashes are fired at full power, point-blank range to get enough fluorescing light back into the visible spectrum. Even then, high ISOs like 1600 or 3200 are required to get a bright enough image.
I got lucky with this flower. As detailed as it is, all of the details fall beautifully within the same plane of focus. This allowed me to shoot with a wider aperture of F/5.6 and loosen my ISO setting to 1600, which is probably the lowest I’ve been able to shoot one of these images at. Interestingly, this was another image shot with the Trioplan 100 – a lens I use for its “soap bubble” bokeh wide open, but makes for a versatile and sharp manual lens when stopped down. With a small set of extension tubes to shift it into a macro focusing range, images like this are easily possible. I would otherwise use my 24-105L lens from Canon, but the corner sharpness leaves a lot to be desired (it’s been beaten and abused so I think I’ve knocked something loose).
Most flowers fluoresce to some degree under intense UV light, some more than others. If you look very carefully at the center of the flower cluster, you might see a tiny deep-red flower hiding there. Flourescing far less than its white counterparts, this solitary red flower sits at the center of every Queen Anne’s Lace. For what I understand, its purpose is to attract insects that would have to traverse the other flowers and pollinate them. Another fun fact: This plant is also known as “wild carrot”, and the roots are edible in first-year plants. Their seeds can be used as a spice or a tea as well!
I’ll be sharing more fluorescing flower pictures over the coming week or two, there’s some beauties to reveal beyond this one!