Category Archives: X-Ray

Radiating Beauty: Creating a new photographic form with fusion x-rays

The shapes and forms are recognizable, yet the level of detail is deeper than the human eye can normally perceive: Leaves appear minutely laced and surfaces are impossibly intricate, somewhere between translucent and opaque. Welcome to the captivating work of photographer Harold Davis and radiologist Dr. Julian Köpke, who combine their skill, passion, and vision to create stunning X-ray photography and pioneering fusion images. Read more on the Pixsy blog (article by Natalie Holmes).

Sunflower X-Ray Fusion © Harold Davis

Also posted in Writing

My Left Foot

My Left Foot © Harold Davis

Hologic 2019 Calendar of X-Ray and Fusion X-Ray Images

This blog story shows the cover (above) and a single month (January, below) from the 2019 promotional calendar that Hologic is publishing using the x-rays and fusion x-rays that Dr. Julian Köpke and I have created. Hologic is the maker of the x-ray equipment that Julian and I used to make the images.

Click here for an FAQ related to these images, and here for an online gallery of x-ray and fusion x-ray images.

Bird of Paradise X-Ray

This is an x-ray photograph of a Strelitzia reginae, commonly known as the Bird of Paradise flower.

Bird of Paradise X-Ray © Harold Davis

More: X-Ray and Fusion X-Ray Gallery; FAQ: X-Ray Photos of Flowers; X-Ray Photography and the Inner Form of Beauty; Revealing the Unseen with X-Ray Photography of Flowers; X-Ray and “Fusion” X-Ray Images of Flowers.

Also posted in Flowers

X-Ray Photography and the Inner Form of Beauty

The process of making these x-ray images of flowers and shells is more like making a photogram—what Man Ray called a rayograph—than it is like using a conventional camera. The flowers are arranged on top of the capture medium, in this case a digital sensor and then exposed. But the exposure is to x-rays rather then to light in the visible spectrum, as in a photogram, where objects are placed on top of a photosensitive medium (historically, more oftern emulsion-coated paper rather than a digital sensor).

X-Ray, Sunflower © Harold Davis

The x-rays reveal the inner form and shapes rather than the surface manifestation of the object. It is possible to look at the petals of a flower as though they are gauze or veils, and to see the capillaries within a leaf.

Spray Roses X-Ray © Harold Davis

Rather than the surface of a shell, when the x-ray “camera” is pointed at a shell, the inner spirals, shapes, and forms of the structure is revealed. 

Shell Collection X-Ray © Harold Davis

More: Revealing the Unseen with X-Ray Photography of Flowers. Sometimes the seen and the unseen, the surface and the shapes within, come together by combining high-key visible light photography with x-ray captures: X-Ray and “Fusion” X-Ray Images of Flowers.

Also posted in Flowers, Monochrome

X-Ray and “Fusion” X-Ray Images of Flowers

Here are some (more) x-rays and fusion x-rays of flowers. Fusion x-rays use post-production to combine “straight” x-rays with light box images of the same composition. For background information on how these images were made, see Revealing the Unseen with X-Ray Photography of Flowers.

Gloriosa Lily X-Ray © Harold Davis

By way of comparison, here’s a link to one of my digital photos of a Gloriosa lily, photographed on a mirror, with a little background about the flower.

Lisianthus Fusion X-Ray © Harold Davis

These two versions of a bouquet of Lisianthus (above and below) are both fusion imagery, with x-rays and conventional light box photography.

Lisianthus on White © Harold Davis

I am pleased that the Dahlia composition (below) does a good job of showing the secrets within the flower, while also capturing the exterior of the flower!

Dahlias Fusion X-Ray © Harold Davis

The sunflower was the first fusion x-ray I processed. I like it also as a straight x-ray (below).

Sunflower X-Ray © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers, Photography

Revealing the Unseen with X-Ray Photography of Flowers

I had to quickly change my plans due to a family emergency and fly home from Berlin. Now that I’m at home, it’s good that things have settled down again, and that I have a chance to review some of the x-ray work I did in Heidelberg in collaboration with Dr. Julian Köpke (you can see some of his x-ray images here). 

The examples so far on my blog are Campanulas X-Rays, Dahlia Fusion X-Rays and Light Box Photos, More Fusion X-Rays, and Sunflower X-Ray Fusion. Some comments on the process of making these images, what is involved technically, and where we go from here follow the image below (the on-black version of the Campanulas shown here is a good example of a fairly straight x-ray file without additional coloration or fusion with a light box image).

Campanulas X-Rays on Black © Harold Davis

As you likely know, what we see are wavelengths emitted or reflected along the electromagnetic spectrum. Visible light ranges from 400nm to 750nm in terms of wavelength. In comparison, Julian tells me that the x-rays we used had a wave length of roughly 0.04nm (or shorter in wavelength by a factor of about 10,000 than visible light).

Off-the-shelf digital cameras capture roughly the same electromagnetic spectrum as what we see, although it is possible to modify the spectrum that a camera can capture; for example, for Infrared (IR) photography. In addition, even unmodified digital cameras do “see” more of certain frequencies than the human eye, for example, in night photography.
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation not visible to our eyes with a shorter wave length than the visible spectrum. First named and discovered by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1895 (for which Röntgen won the Nobel prize), X-radiation is primarily used today for medical imaging (also for research and industrial purposes).

Campanulas X-Ray on White © Harold Davis

Looked at from one viewpoint, X-radiation is just another form of photography using a digital sensor to capture the data generated by exposure to the radiation from an electromagnetic wave. As with any kind of photography (or, indeed, any human endeavor), one of the key ways to get better is to practice a great deal (after all, practicing is how musicians get to Carnegie Hall).

Julian and I had three sessions of x-ray photography of flowers, and by the third session we were beginning to get the hang of the thing.

Our initial idea was to blend x-ray captures of flowers with light box flowers for transparency images. This “fusion” would allow us to show the inside and the outside of the flower composition. We used a clear and rigid plexiglass sheet to align the flowers for both processes.

Two Roses (side view) © Harold Davis

The medical x-ray process involves both generating the x-radiation, and capturing it on a digital sensor. In this sense, it is analogous to firing a studio strobe and capturing the light waves emitted on a standard camera sensor. With the stationary medical x-ray device, I was reminded most of an old-fashioned analog darkroom enlarger, where the light beam from the enlarger is captured on media directly below it (photographic paper that is sensitive to light in the analog darkroom process).

We used an x-ray machine designed for mammography for these images.

What turns out is that x-radiation has very different properties as the electromagnetic source than the visible spectrum. X-rays both scatter and decay, in a way that the visible light we are used to does not. So to get good x-ray compositions, it was necessary to work with the characteristics of how the x-radiation emitted from the mammogram system would be captured by the digital sensor, and to arrange the flower compositions accordingly.

To put this comprehensibly, the mammogram system was designed to best capture the shape of the human female breast. We got better results to the extent that our composition could mimic this three-dimensional shape and positioning.

After arranging the flowers on the plexiglass, and aligning the plexiglass with marks we had set up on the machine, Julian and I would huddle behind the operator’s leaded glass shield as Julian operated the machine.

The straight x-ray photos of flowers are really beautiful, and I am grateful to have had the chance to experiment with this. I am also very excited about the fusion imagery, which I have never seen before. I look forward to exploring this area further, and to more collaboration with Julian.

Two Roses (fusion image) © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Campanulas X-Rays

I write this from the train from Frankfurt to Berlin, where Julian K. and I are sitting in a first class car at the all-important table, with the all-important wi-fi connectivity. Since I am connected to the world of the Internet, I can post this!

Campanulas X-Ray © Harold Davis

We are working on processing images from yesterday’s fusion light box and x-ray photography of flowers. These campanulas as arranged took up almost all the space yielded by the size of the sensor of the x-ray machine. I’ve begun to get a bit of a feeling for how the x-ray sensor processes the electromagnetic waves it receives from the emitter, and how to best arrange the subject in the cone shape that is best for this kind of capture. 

Query: Is capture via x-ray photography, or should another term be used? I think “photography” does fit the bill (there is another, more technical vocabulary related to radiology as well). What do you think?

Also posted in Photography

Dahlia Fusion X-Rays and Light Box Photos

Dahlia Fusion X-Ray Inversion © Harold Davis

Dahlia Fusion X-Ray © Harold Davis

This Dahlia was photographed on a light box for transparency, then captured via x-ray photography. The two capture techniques were combined in Photoshop. In the upper version, there is also an L-channel inversion in LAB color.

I worked with my friend Julian Kopke, who is a medical doctor, radiologist, and a physicist to create these images.

This technique is also shown here, and with a Sunflower.

Also posted in Flowers

Top Photography Blog Honor; More Fusion X-Rays

I am honored to be included as one of the top fifteen photography blogs in the English language worldwide. This is good company to be in. Thanks for the award!

Moving on, here are two more fusion light box (Flowers for Transparency) and x-ray images, one of Cala Lilies and the other of Alstroemerias. It has been really fun working with Julian to create these images, and I look forward to using conventional cameras and medical x-ray imaging gear to make and process more imagery.

Cala Lilies Fusion X-Ray © Harold Davis

Alstroemerias X-Ray Fusion © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Sunflower X-Ray Fusion

This is a fusion of an x-ray and a light box high-key HDR sequence, using a medical x-ray machine and photographed on a light box. My friend Dr Julian Koepke and I collaborated on making some of these images, and we will get to play with flowers, X-rays, and light boxes again tomorrow! 

Sunflower X-Ray Fusion © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers