Monday, March 24, 2014

Bad habits and serendipity

click photo to enlarge
One of my bad habits when I was working was occasionally eating my lunch at my desk. As bad habits go it's not particularly awful but it did have an unfortunate consequence. My computer keyboard, over time, became sticky and a little grubby from the unintentional spray of juice from my oranges. Now that I am retired I never eat at my desk, I'm almost always at a dining table, and my keyboard remains free of food liquids and solids. However, since my retirement tablet computers have made an appearance and unfortunately I've developed a different bad habit - often reading my tablet as I eat my lunch.

Recently, as I was indulging my predilection, an arc of juice from my orange traced a path through the air and landed on the screen. And, before I wiped it off, I noticed how each drop of juice acted as a convex lens on the pixels and picture displayed beneath it. I made a mental note to reproduce that effect with water and a dropper to see if I could make an interesting photograph of this serendipitous phenomenon. The other day I had a go and, interestingly serendipity extended the range of images that I took from the experiment.

The effect I was initially looking for is exemplified best in the photograph labelled number 2. The grid of pixels is warped by the droplets of water in the way that I saw with the juice from my orange. An interesting additional feature is a bubble in the centre droplet. But, as is often the way, as I moved the camera and re-focused the macro lens, I got a quite different and unexpected view of the droplets. The photograph labelled number 1 was taken from a lower angle with the circle of my light above. I was puzzled by the tripling in the image of each droplet but then realised it must be due to the layers in the screen each reflecting the water slightly differently. A similar effect can be seen in the main photograph (labelled number 3) and here serendipity has intervened once more because this shot is taken with no screen illumination, the power-saving feature having turned it off.

As I looked at my collection of photographs I reflected that they weren't earth shattering but they did have a certain fascination, and that it once again it derived from the macro lens showing what the unaided eye doesn't normally notice or see.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Canon 5DMk2
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 100mm Macro
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 3200
Exposure Compensation:  0
Image Stabilisation: On