last week, a huge part of my life was made up by …cress. that’s right – lepidium sativum.
when i was talking about recording flowers opening etc., my little brother anton had the idea to record cress growing.
it’s perfect, because it develops from the seed to a 3 cm (~1 inch) high plant within just 4 to 5 days.
on the other hand, that would mean that i had to find a place with a nearby window that is completely unused (by people) over days – and it turned out to be my room.
i’m using my room only in the brief period from 5 to midnight, working 8 to 5 and sleeping 0 to 7…
so i bought a pack of cress seeds on sunday and immediately built up the setting:
- made a dish with soil and the seeds,
- prepared a vaporizer (for the early stage) and a pipette (for posterior stages, when the plants are upstanding; this way i wouldn’t weigh the plants down or move them),
- mounted the camera (on a tripod, of course) with all the cables (for the time-lapse equipment, the usb cable so i wouldn’t have to touch the camera when downloading the images, and of course the power plug),
- covered the windows with soft tissue, so the daylight would be more evenly scattered and less intense,
- and prepared a double-bulb lamp for the night.
[ad#right] i set the photo interval to 2,5 minutes, which at first seemed to be too frequent. But once the seedlings were getting green, it was just about right.
to keep the impression of time and dayspans, i decided to work with daylight when possible, and artificial lighting in the night.
one of the two bulbs (controlled separately) was an energy-saving lamp. the neat thing about it was, that i could switch it on when there was still enough light (around 5pm everyday), and it would slowly get more intense, right until it was needed. this created a nice gradual transition. in case i’ll have artificial lighting in the next project, i’ll use energy-saving lamps for both of the bulbs (we only had one laying around this time).
i completely removed day&night 1 from the video. the only thing you see is seeds slowly (very, very slowly!) getting twice as big, over a period of 13 hours. so it was actually just taking up time and space. the video, therefore, starts about 17 hours after seeding. i also decided to let the camera rest overnight, so unfortunately there’s a gap and suddenly you see tiny rootlets already reaching into the soil… :???:
here’s a little time-table with what could be called “cress events”:
|2005-03-13 16:00||seeds sown and moistened|
|2005-03-14 09:00||seeds swelled to maximum size|
|2005-03-14 15:00||embryonal root-tips become visible|
|2005-03-15 08:00|| roots have reached into soil,
plants slowly erect
|2005-03-15 16:00||green parts become visible|
|2005-03-16 06:00||growth in height, plants standing up|
|2005-03-16 14:00|| direct sunlight, the first time that day,
boost in growth towards sun >> sample #1
|2005-03-16 22:00||cotyledones unfold, plants fully erect|
|2005-03-17 10:00|| plants gyrate, trying to get as much sunlight as they can get
height: about 4 cm (1.6 inch); very “fast” movement! >> sample #2
(numbers were rounded and do not necessarily comply with your observations due to different temperature, humidity, lighting, seed quality, …)
one easily overlooked detail turned out to be really important:
when i downloaded the pictures from the camera (twice a day) i did it via usb, so i wouldn’t have to touch the camera itself. but downloading took up to 5 minutes, so no photo was taken for nearly 7.5 minutes. i didn’t think it was that important, but there are some leaps (at 30 sec. of the complete video, for example), especially in the phase with the fastest growth (or when the source of light was changed >> directional growth).
therefore, you should definitely
- stop the interval picturing and download the photos when there’s not much going on (e.g. before dawn, or in the night), and
- suspend downloading so the constant interval can be sustained.
the complete video “weighs” 22 MB, i will only be able to share it over a short period.
here are two samples, about 3.5 MB each:
sascha, the admin of www.dsc-board.de, has offered hosting the files on his server – thanks a lot!
the video is also available as a flash-movie, that can be watched on-site HERE.
|Sony Cybershot DSC-F717|
|1 min. 39 sec.||16 sec.||10 sec.|
|x 2700 (1 second in the video is 45 minutes in real-time)|
|20,6 MB||3,8 MB||3,5 MB|
here’s a little overview (or photographic protocol):
maybe this information will help you to plan your own little project.
i will definitely rely on it when i start my next one… but for now, i’m just happy i can sleep in my room again (as opposed to the living room sofa) ;-)