Monday, April 27, 2015

Wood translucence experiments: more photographs, new effects.

The woods were illuminated by one or a combination of the following types of light:
ambient daytme indoor light
outdoor cloudy
outdoor sunlight
ceiling fixture with 2 75 w. incandescent lamps
24-LED flashlight
LED security light
Utility droplight
Bic lighter

Also,use of some flash in various combinations with and without the other lights.

Light was sometimes set to shine from the top or side as well as underneath.   The results were unexpected,  and very colorful and bright, as the photographs show. 

They are so colorful and illuminated you might wonder what tricks were used. 

The answer is none. 
This is digital photography and all sorts of magic can happen simply by photographing carelessly. ( sounds funny but it's true)

And if you go actually looking for special effects, just tilt the camera, or change the lighting just a tiny bit... so many ways to give the camera a chance to surprise you. 

You have to wear this whole business like a loose garment, though; just be grateful for what you get.  As musicians say after making a mistake, "That was not  a mistake. That was an extra refrain" Or something. . (I just made that up.)

 No editing was done to these photos, except cropping. I suppose this makes me a sharecropper. 

 The colors, although widely variable, were not the result of any colored lights or special filters or anything like that. 
Camera: a 2006 Fujifilm FinePix , 6.1-megapixel DSLR,  with a scratched lens. 

Some of the photos had to be taken using a tripod, the "A" or aperture-favoring setting, ( makes time exposures) and the timer and photographs in the dark with no other light than what was making it through the thin pieces of wood and of course through the  holes and lines of light where someday glue lines should be...
These are photos that are meant to create impressions which don't necessarily have anything to do with wood as a subject.  

The light effects and surprise effects of other kinds which are one of the fun things about macro photography can make the photos into pictures, abstract of course yet reminiscent (to me, anyway) of paintings in various media, depending upon the nature of the accidental or surprise effects.  

 There might be a sheen sort of like like oil paint, or maybe  an over-lit, washed-out area, or a certain shading of the colors of light coming through the wood,  could suggest the water colors.

 In other photos the sharper details could have been done in pencils or chalk, or brushed on with acrylic, maybe.

 Since I am not a  painter like an actual artist,  this is a way to create my own pseudo- paintings-  in a process similar to a sculptor or woodcarver "finding" the subject inside a block of stone or wood by carving away everything else. 

 The difference is that the sculptor has a goal or object in mind, but I just take what comes. Ah,  digital photography! 

 But these photo-paintings are all accidental, if anything is seen. I see faces, landscapes, animals- there is a wolf, and more, depending on how you look. They're  Rorschach-ey.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Translucent Woods

Recent photographs of effects of light through thin end-grain wood slices.

It began this way. I had an old piece of yellow pine.  I cut it into little bits, a half an inch thick, and then glued a lot of them together with the end grain to the broad face, and got this:

At some point, after it was to the point shown in the photograph, I happened to hold the piece  up to the sunlight.  It lit up with beautiful pink/purple/lavender/red dots and bars of light, which somehow was coming through half an inch of solid wood. 

Eventually, I made a crude light box and photographed this effect, using artificial light, in a darkened room:

Now, this was getting exciting, this light through wood business. I decided to try some other kinds of woods. 

Here are some photos of a piece made of squares of black walnut and sugar maple about one-sixteenth of an inch thick, glued edge-to-edge and then given several coats of Minwax gloss polyurethane spar varnish.

Illuminated from above:

 Placed on top of a 24-LED flashlight, and illuminated from below:

Then i discovered that Osage orange wood was also translucent if cut quite thin. 

I cut slices of end-grain from a small Osage orange board I had glued up as a stack of three boards each 5/16"" thick, thus making  pieces about 1" in thickness by about 4" long and sawed at about .075 to .085 (i.e. 75 to 85 thousandths of an inch)- about 5/64".  

The faces of these thin slices looked like this in daylight:

 Then I  placed several of these next to each other over a 48-LED solar security light I had sitting around for just that purpose. The result was even more stunning than I had expected. 

 The first two pictures below show the Osage orange lit by electric light. 

 The final two  were illuminated in sunlight.


 A combination of light from above and through-light  from underneath, created this effect:

 This one and the one directly above show the Osage orange pieces lit by sunlight. The shadows are of my fingers.

Somehow I am going to make something out of this stuff.


Added 4/20 2015: P.S.  I taped some pieces together to make a kind of mini-lampshade and put a drop light inside of it and it lit up nicely. The corner bevels are Osage orange, and the large panels are sugar maple and black walnut.  (Yum!)

For some reason the walnut is opaque to bright electric light and sunlight, even though it was sliced just as thin (about .080") as the other woods.

The difference in amount of light transmission in the top and the bottom corner pieces  is the result of cutting the brighter pieces at the top about .015" thinner than the "thick" (about .080") pieces at the top. This is a temporary assembly anyway. 

With the ceiling light on:

...and off:

Closeup views of  the Osage orange corner pieces:

Viewed from a low angle: