We have been experimenting with macro photography of readily-available fruit. One technique we wanted to try was using cross-polarized light. Generally, light scatters in all directions. A polarizer filters light so that only streams of light in parallel planes pass. Theses filters are used in photography to eliminate reflective glare and improve contrast.
Two polarizing filters can be arranged in sequence with light passing through the first filter and the camera lens behind the second. These filters can be rotated to block all (really almost all) light. If a translucent object is placed between the filters, it can scatter some of the incoming light. Different regions in the object can scatter the light to different degrees. Some of the scattered light is aligned with the second filter and is visible to the camera. Whew!
We placed a thin lime slice (a.k.a a translucent object) between the first filter illuminated by a light table and the second filter attached to the lens of a tripod-mounted camera. The first filter was mounted in a hole cut in black poster board to prevent other, non-polarized light from leaking through and reaching the camera. The filter on the lens was then rotated to maximize the contrast in the image. The following image shows the result.
A lime in cross-polarized light
The dark regions show where the light passed through the lime without having its polarization changed by scattering. The bright regions show where the polarized light was scattered as it passed through the lime and much of this scattered light aligned with the second filter mounted on the lens. This was a fun way to pass a chilly grey day at home.
This photo was taken on November 19, 2017. Specs are:
The hotel where Pati and BeeBee are staying has a peculiar sign posted at the entrance to the restaurant and beside the elevator doors on the ground floor. They have seen similar signs in India. These signs say “No Durians” in bold red letters.
The musang king durian is known as the king of fruit in Malasia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. According to Pati and BeeBee’s guide, it has a green spiky outer skin, a large inner pit, and flesh similar to, but creamier than, that of the avocado. The taste has been described as similar to an overripe banana. It is popular in other countries also, and is especially prized by the Chinese.
The problem with the durian, according to Smithsonian Magazine, is that the durian smells like “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock.” Others say it smells like dead rat. It is banned on some trains and in some airports, as well as in hotels in south-east Asia.
The guide described an instance in her experience where a guest at a hotel brought in a durian. The staff said they would keep it for her, wrapped up tightly. If she wanted to eat it, she would have to go out in the nearby field to do so.
As with kimchi, the durian is beginning to have followers, even in the UK. Pati and BeeBee will probably forego this fad.