Wednesday Wonderment – pt 11

Fibonacci is everywhere!

There are certain aspects of Nature that inspire amazement when we look at them and even greater amazement when we analyze them even deeper.

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Fibonacci’s Flower

The mighty sunflower is an amazing little piece of mathematical design, when we analyze the spiral shapes in which the seeds are laid out.  I think most of us have heard of Fibonacci numbers: the sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and so on, so that each number is the sum of the last two.  When looking at the spiraling shapes in cauliflower, artichoke and the sunflower floret, as seen above, we see this sequence appear in front of our eyes.

Upon analysis, we see that those spirals pack florets as tight as can be, maximizing their ability to gather sunlight for the plant. But how do plants like sunflowers create such perfect floret arrangements, and what does it have to do with Fibonacci numbers? A plant hormone called auxin, which spurs the growth of leaves, flowers, and other plant organs, is the key: Florets grow where auxin flows.  This has been modelled mathematically by researchers to demonstrate the Fibonacci spiral count is the optimal dense-packing strategy.

How to Count the Spirals


The sunflower seed pattern used by the Museum of Mathematics contains many spirals. If you count the spirals in a consistent manner, you will always find a Fibonacci number (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, …). Below are the three most natural ways to find spirals in this pattern. Note that the black pattern is identical in all the images on this page. Only the colored lines indicating the selected spirals are different.
The red lines show 34 spirals of seeds.
The red lines show 34 spirals of seeds.
Choosing another slope, the green lines show 55 spirals of seeds.
Choosing another slope, the green lines show 55 spirals of seeds.
And choosing a very shallow slope, the blue lines show 21 spirals of seeds.
And choosing a very shallow slope, the blue lines show 21 spirals of seeds.

– See more about this at: http://momath.org/home/fibonacci-numbers-of-sunflower-seed-spirals/#sthash.XF0YpZoT.dpuf

Hope you enjoyed this bit of in-depth view of the sunflower!

 

TTT – Anatomy of a Product Shot

Curvature of the spine

In this week’s Tuesday Technique Topic, I’d like to take you through the thinking that went into a product shot that I did a couple of years ago and present you, the reader, with a little challenge.

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Graffiti Anatomy

First of all, let me talk a little bit about the product here.  As you might guess, the product is the wonderful spine with a spray paint can actuator for a head, which was created by the wonderfully talented Scottish artist Chris Alexander who also founded Creology, which is focused on the study of creativity.  This piece is called Graffiti Anatomy, of which Chris created a total of 10; the choice of the color schemes were up to the purchaser, which made this truly a one-of-a-kind item.

The challenge in photographing the amazing Graffiti Anatomy was in picking up the high gloss finish, so that the shiny nature of the finish showed up really well.  As I truly enjoy the challenge of photographing shiny objects, this was a fun shoot and I thought that the product table would provide a nice surface, as I could pick up a cool bit of reflection as well.

When I first looked at setting up this shot, I felt that the Graffiti Anatomy looked a bit ‘naked’ and alone without something to offset it in the image.  As luck would have it, I have this small blue vase in my studio, which was both complementary in color and provide a nice bit of counterpoint to the curvature of the spine (yes, bad pun…).

The rest was all up to figuring out how many lights to use and placing them, which leads to my reader challenge:

  • How many lights did I use and what was their placement (hint: this may be a little tricky).

I look forward to your answers and hope you enjoyed this post!

WPC – Landscape (5)

Cloud cover

As landscape photography is one of my main areas of interest, I am am truly excited about this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape.  Each day this week, I will share some of my favorite landscape shots.

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Iceland Vista

After leaving Ólafsfjörður, I followed the road along the northern coast of Iceland, which is an amazingly scenic ride with many places to stop and soak in the beauty of the landscape, such as at this location.

As you can imagine, what caught my eye was the line of the road leading toward the cloud cover hanging over the fjord in the distance.  The light was not ideal, but at some point, I will improve the quality of this image.

In the mean time, I hope you like it.

Technical Details

This image was shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III with an EF 24-105 f/4L lens (circular polarizer attached).  This image was shot at 1/100 second at f/16 at 400 ISO.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Landscape

WPC – Landscape (4)

Pining for the fjord

As landscape photography is one of my main areas of interest, I am am truly excited about this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape.  Each day this week, I will share some of my favorite landscape shots.

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View across Eyjafjörður

This shot was taken in the town of Ólafsfjörður looking out over the dock that reaches out into the Eyjafjörður.  This little town sits nestled into the hills that rise from the fjord.

The town grew up around the herring industry that was in much bloom in the 1940s and 1950s, but the herring are gone now.

Ólafsfjörður was connected with a road for the first time in 1940, when the horse riding trail through Lágheiði was improved enabling cars to get over the heath. Before, ships, seaplanes, and horses provided the transport.

Hope you like it.

Technical Details

This image was shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III with an EF 24-105 f/4L lens (circular polarizer attached).  This image was shot at 1/125 second at f/11 at 320 ISO.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Landscape

Monday Food Moment – Cupcakes

A treat for everyone!

Some of you might say, “Hey, Frank, why no health food?”, to which I will respond to you that Cupcakes are, in fact, a health food.

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Mini-Cupcakes

The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. The earliest documentation of the term cupcake was in “Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats” in 1828 in Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook.

In the early 19th century, there were two different uses for the name cup cake or cupcake. In previous centuries, before muffin tins were widely available, the cakes were often baked in individual pottery cups, ramekins, or molds and took their name from the cups they were baked in. This is the use of the name that has remained, and the name of “cupcake” is now given to any small cake that is about the size of a teacup. While English fairy cakes vary in size more than American cupcakes, they are traditionally smaller and are rarely topped with elaborate icing.

The other kind of “cup cake” referred to a cake whose ingredients were measured by volume, using a standard-sized cup, instead of being weighed. Recipes whose ingredients were measured using a standard-sized cup could also be baked in cups; however, they were more commonly baked in tins as layers or loaves. In later years, when the use of volume measurements was firmly established in home kitchens, these recipes became known as 1234 cakes or quarter cakes, so called because they are made up of four ingredients: one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs. They are plain yellow cakes, somewhat less rich and less expensive than pound cake, due to using about half as much butter and eggs compared to pound cake. The names of these two major classes of cakes were intended to signal the method to the baker; “cup cake” uses a volume measurement, and “pound cake” uses a weight measurement.

Cupcake Recipes

A standard cupcake uses the same basic ingredients as standard-sized cakes: butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Nearly any recipe that is suitable for a layer cake can be used to bake cupcakes. The cake batter used for cupcakes may be flavored or have other ingredients stirred in, such as raisins, berries, nuts, or chocolate chips.

Because their small size is more efficient for heat conduction, cupcakes bake much faster than a normal layered cake.

Cupcakes may be topped with frosting or other cake decorations. They may be filled with frosting, fruit, or pastry cream. For bakers making a small number of filled cupcakes, this is usually accomplished by using a spoon or knife to scoop a small hole in the top of the cupcake. Another method is to just insert the pastry bag in the middle of the cupcake. In commercial bakeries, the filling may be injected using a syringe. Elaborately decorated cupcakes may be made for special occasions.

[Gratitude to Wikipedia – Cupcakes for the wealth of information]

Health Benefits

Cupcakes are believed to be great for your mental health, as a cupcake is a friendly, enjoyable treat!

Technical Details

This image was shot in studio with a Canon EOS 5D Mk ii and EF 70-200 f/2.8L lens.  Lighting was a single softbox providing light from the rear of the shot a little off to the left; a reflector just off to the right was used to soften the shadows.

Shot of the Week – vol 11

Bucolic moment

After a short hiatus, it’s back: the shot of the week!!  Well, almost, as you’ll see.

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Farm equipment

While this is not quite a shot of the week, as I captured this 104 weeks ago, which makes it a shot of this week.

I’m always attracted to farming, probably because, when I was young, we lived near some farms for a number of years, and I wound up spending itme on them helping out.  I always enjoyed the sense of being in touch with the land and nature, something that appears to have gotten lost quite a bit in today’s society.

Little farm scenes, such as this one, always catch my eye, particularly on a morning with light as beautiful as it is in this image.

Hope you enjoy!

Technical Details

This image was captured with my iPhone 5S using the standard camera app and some imnor adjustments in instagram.

WPC – Landscape (3)

Water everywhere

As landscape photography is one of my main areas of interest, I am am truly excited about this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape.  Each day this week, I will share some of my favorite landscape shots.

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Goðafoss Waterfall

One of the beautiful aspects of Iceland are its waterfalls.  As I stayed in the northern part of Iceland, near Akureyri, I found my way to the lovely waterfall of Goðafoss.

This waterfall is accessed rather easily from the main road and main access to the view is set up on the west bank of the falls.  After a bit of exploring, I found a path to a nice low vantage point, which allowed me to set up for this shot.

Hope you like it.

Technical Details

This image was shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III with an EF 24-105 f/4L lens (circular polarizer attached).  This image was shot at 1/15 second at f/16 at 200 ISO.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Landscape