Things are going great!

I dont know how well I can grow carniverous plans, but i am the king of growing sphagnum moss. this stuff i out of control, i started with a very tiny living piece and it is growing like crazy. I have to be careful it does not overgrow the plants as several times it started covering the middle of the plant. Cant let that happen! 🙂

So i am chalk full of some great material, and today is the last day of august. I am hoping i can push the dormancy out a little bit more, with any luck ill be shooting through October, then i put the little guys to sleep. That gives me about 2 months, The plants all seem to be doing very well, some of the low lying FVT’s have taken a slight yellow cast, i am thinking they are stressed from about 3 weeks of shooting with only a single hour of Night cycle each night.

I have probably 3 minutes worth of footage, most of it i find myself speeding up a bit, i think i will start knocking the interval from 15 to 20 minutes.

Time really is of the essence at this point, as these plants do require dormancy, I am hoping the extended Day cycles will keep them in a nice summer mood for just a while longer. SO why the extended day cycles? well they are grown in LED light, and i think they need a little bit more than a 14-18 hour daylight period would give them. Also. by taking the nigh cycle down to an hour it keeps more of a universal feel to the growth of the moss, it seems to be pretty constant rather than pulsing as it does with a longer night cycle.

I know none of this is optimal for the plants, but so far they seem to be plugging away quite nicely, well except a couple of the FTV’s are stressed. So for the next day or two they will be sitting outside, i may push shooting out 2 days to give them a chance to relax, but I cant wait much longer than that.

As for the set, it has taken a few different incarnations. First off was that large set I built. It had a built in watering system, it is a prettyrobust setup and works great.

Below: Carniverous plant set in use with LED lighting

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Below: Shooting Red Dragon on the Carnivorous Plant Set.

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Below: Red Dragon Venus Fly Trap on the Set. FUJI6046
Below: “Debugging the set” with CO2.DSCF7590

 

I am pretty pleased with how that set is working out. However i did find it difficult to get the correct composition and found myself grabbing and moving the plants around in order to put them how i want them and i did not like doing that. Then i started getting those stupid little white bugs again, so gave it a C02 bath to drown all the bugs. I learned this trick on a terrarrium forum where some people get bugs in thier terrarium but the plants may be too delicate to handle any insecticides. So they can put a small cup of water with a chunk of dry ice in it. The dry ice boils into C02, which is heavier than oxygen and it pushes it out of the enclosure which basically causes the bugs to drown on C02.

I ended up using this technique and while it can be a little bit tricky, it works like a charm!

Below: Fly traps enjoying a C02 bath

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The set is pretty nice. I have to admit. especially considering it is only the second time i have built one, and the first one adding irrigation that could allow for watering without disrupting the plants., Total cost was probably somewhere along the lines of $40-$50.

I shot on the set a little bit longer, then decided to find a way that was a little bit more flexible for placement and just as easy with the watering.

I ended up picking buying HD 1080p projector, a screen, and grabbed a freeware screen saver that allows me to set the slide interval in 15 minutes. Using my old laptop, and the  Projector i can project images on the background.  There was no need to synchronize,  unless the laptop and BCM were so off on time that they showed a 4-5 minute drift every few days they held sync just fine.

I keep the plants in shallow slotted trays and put them in even shallower and larger trays of water. This method REALLY makes a difference when it comes to keeping growth steady. By using a large watering tray it is very easy to keep constant water levels. I just draw a mark on the side and each day put in a small amount of water to get it back to that point, usually it drops no more than 3-4 mm a day .  If watering in cycles the soil tends to puff up after it has been watered then slowly drops until the next watering cycle and cause it to look like it is breathing which i prefer to avoid, so this new method prevents those problems and also makes it easy to water the plants without disrupting them.

Below: The water tray method in use with Projector. 20140809_155612

Below: Some of the slides from the water tray method, Straight out of camera, No processing, no cropping.FUJI0002DSCF8791FUJI9408 FUJI7110

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As you can see the results look pretty good.

Here is a teaser Video for this series, The final will involve lots of motion controlled shots as well as focus pulls and a larger variety of plants.

I have a total of 20 clips at this point. All stationary. I am hoping for another 30 clips at least, with macro motion control in 10-15 of those.  I hope by sacrificing just a couple days of shooting and letting the plants live outside with some proper night cycles i think they should be good for this next month of shooting.

I plan to combine the water tray method with the carnivorous set next, and add some focus pulls and linear motion. I am even considering to see if i can get that eMotimo TB3 black to actually trigger when i sent it the signal. So far it had not worked too well.

So today i pulled everything out, put the rest of the plants into some new trays so i can get ready for the next shoot.

But first, they need another C02 bath. Towards the end i was starting to see those darn white bugs again

Below, Putting the plants and a log I want to use in the next set in a bin for a nice fun C02 bath.

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After that, it was time to get everything put together and outside so the plants can get a well deserved break 🙂

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Looking forward to the next shoot@