Category Archives: News

Structural colour

The irridescent blue seen in this macrophoto of a Morpho Rhetenor butterfly is due to structural colour – not  pigment.  The butterfly’s wing scales have microstructure which act like a specialised diffraction grating, so it is an interference/diffraction grating effect that gives the striking blue colour – visible over a wide range of angles.  It is in fact an example of a natural photonic crystal structure – something that I researched for a few years at the University of Southampton.  Possibly one of the most impressive Icons of Science meeting Art 🙂

See my 20-page Review Article titled “Biomimetically Inspired Photonic Nanomaterials” for more information.

Jupiter and Mercury

I took this image of Jupiter close to Mercury over the Forest tonight, just after sunset.  Jupiter is the brighter planet at the top, Mercury is the red planet at the lower right.

Noel Carboni (Florida, U.S.A.) did some clean up processing on this one before sending back to me – so this image has already been once around the planet 🙂  Canon 5D with 100-400mm zoom and x1.4 converter, ISO 400, 3-seconds, f#18.

I think that Jupiter and Mercury will be at their closest in 3-days time.  If you do want to see them – DO NOT – scan across the West with telescopes or binoculars until the Sun has FULLY set!!!!

Helicon Remote software

I have used Helicon Focus extensively with my photomicroscopy to give me huge depth of focus using focus stacking. I am now getting into using the associated Helicon Remote software which automatically controls a DSLR to again create a focus stacked image – this software is totally remarkable. I just plug my Canon 5D MkII into the USB port with Helicon Remote running – and it does it all for you! The software even works with the RAW files from the 5D MkII which is more than I can say for CS3!! Anyway – you set a low f# (you don’t need depth of field as you’re focus stacking) a low ISO for low noise, and your exposure time to suit. Using the software buttons in HR you set the near and far field focus points and let HR work out the best stack. Hit take the pictures and off it goes taking an image, shifting focus, and taking the next image until it’s completed the stack. Now comes the best bit – it now puts all the images into Helicon Focus where it focus stacks the lot.   Here is my first real go with this software – I’m going to have to go up into the loft to get the butterflies out again.