My name is Chris, and I am a timelapse photographer. Rather than going for the iconic tortured tree in front of a starfield my interests have turned towards plants and studio work.
I wanted to start this thread to document my progress, and hopefully get some tips on how to get the most from these plants. I already have a thread in "Introduce yourself" but i wanted to move this discussion to a better place.
I call this sort of work Biolapse, it really is remarkable how plants behave on different timescales than what we observe. They grow, react to threats, attack, and almost seem to breath. I imagine the world would be far different if we worked on the same timescale as plants do, and one of my goals is to bring those timescales together. My next goal is to present the plants in a natural looking surrounding.
I have been a fan of carniverous plants a long time, but living in colorado they can be tough to grow. My first and second attempts resulted in killing the plants. Im trying to break that habit with the third.
Attempt 1, used tap water in my humidifer which uses a 5 head pond mister to create the fog. I learned on these forums that even the fog needs to be made from distilled water.
here is the resulting video.
Attempt 2, I moved the flytrap to a nicer looking pot with a 50/50 sphagnum/pete mix. I think that the pete may have had some fertilizer, it killed the plant within a few days. Also, the humidity was low when i started. I think hat may have hurt too.
I did not even bother to stitch that video together, it was a flop in many ways, including the motion i introduced.
I am now on my third attempt. I have it in the same pot, with the same sphagnum that it has been living in for the last 3 weeks. I simply setup the set, and surrounded the pot with some more sphagnum. Also, i got the humidity to 70% and the room is 72 degrees. The main grow light will run on cycles, but the studio lighting remains on the entire time.
I am currently running 12 minute intervals between images, and using one of my Chronos Lite rails to introduce linear movement. it will move approx 3 inches in about 400 frames. This should be about 80 hours worth of shooting. If the plant makes it through i will put it back in its terrarium in my office.
I am also trying to hoard some old aquariums from co workers so i can pick up a variety of plants, bring them to colorado, get them growing and healthy, then transplant them to the set.
I built the backdrop using cardboard, aquarium foam, and a couple pieces of wood.
Once the foam was done, i covered it in black caulk, then dumped about 3 gallons of Coconut fibers with some dry sphagnum moss mixed in to give it a nice earthy appearance.
Final touches include some cheap fake moss i got at walmart. I dont think any of this should be toxic, it will not touch the plant at all so i assume it should be safe.
Here are a couple images of the set. You can see the Chonos Lite rail in front with the camera. The plant is sitting in a small tupperware bowl, and i covered the foreground with sphagnum.
Another image of the set. You can see my home made humidifier blowing mist into the shooting area. That fogger shuts off 3 minutes before it takes an image to prevent fog from being in the scene.
I am shooting with a Fuji XE-1 with a modified battery that i gutted and fit with a voltage regulator so i could plug it into the wall.
This is just a test setup. the background is pretty basic, i wanted a practice piece that i could play with first. Honestly, it surpassed my expectations. The next set i plan to build will have three sides to it. The shooting area will probably be sphagnum base with multiple cups hooked up to an irrigation system, this way i can introduce a variety of plants.
That is pretty awesome. I have to say--you're onto a very neat idea.
One thing I think your concept may apply to really well is plant stress. And not just on CPs. For example... what are the observable physiological effects from things like:
specific nutrient deficiencies/toxicities
heavy metal toxicity
plant hormone application (jasmonic acid, gibberelic acid, abscissic acid, auxins, cytokinins, etc.)
comparison of different environmental variables (temperature, light intensity, etc.)--for example, have 2 identical plants filmed in two growing conditions and see if/how they develop differently
If you fine-tune your method and get really good at growing the plants I can see serious implications of your concept to biological/horticultural/scientific research.
Nice setup! The Dionaea looks really natural in the setting that you built around it, and the blue background is beautiful. The high humidity will help if you decide to get other genera, such as Drosera.
I'm hoping to do this someday. I would say a nepenthes pitcher forming from a bud is the perfect timelapse project, if carnivorous plants are what you're into. A nepenthes would fare better with indoor lighting and less-than-ideal water or media.
Im still working out some kinks, for some reason my camera grabbed an extra 5 frames here and there, but here are the results of this capture. My focus eems to be off, or it i right through the middle of the plant. i shot at f/2.8, i may have to go to f/4 for a little more DOF
SO far so good, the plant did not do a lot, i am going to bring the lights closer and go for a tighter shot, this time i plan to shoot for a full week with 15min intervals instead of 12min intervals for 4 days.
The motion looks good, but i think i had my white balance on auto, it seems to bounce a little bit.
ill look into those pitcher plants, i have a sundew on its way and im gathering some tanks to start some terrariums so i can get the plants nice and healthy before the stress of shooting.