Shooting ants – the wonder of time-lapse

If you venture up to Adam’s office then tread lightly! Set up on a table is a delicate long term study of leafcutting ants. Photographer Ayub Khan, who accompanied us to Cranham in induction week and ran the photography session on BioArt day, has set up a time-lapse  shoot with the smallest of our colonies to see how the fungus grows, how the queen moves and…well, to be honest to make a really cool video!

A hectic afternoon on Monday 18th saw most of the biology team and final year student (and keen photographer) Will Hurley crammed into Adam’s office working out frame rates and exposures but the first results are already surprising. For example, the queen is very mobile – much more so that Adam thought – and the fungus garden changes shape constantly. Watch out for future posts linking to video.

Time lapse is a superb technique for imaging long-term relatively slow processes and linked with temperature and humidity recorders, plus some cunning ways to scale the nest, we should be able to convert some interesting observations into some analysable data.

The first image below shows the fungus garden and queen, and the process of setting up the shoot.

The next image shows the general set up. Remember the mantra – keep it simple!

The final image shows Adam, Will and Anne trying to get everything just right. Seems to have worked so far…

[Here’s a time-lapse video of everyone setting up the time-lapse video…! Ed.]

Leafcutter blog 1

leafcutter log 2

leafcutter blog 3

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