Can You Believe These Incandescent Flowers Are Real?

BEE BALM - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

BEE BALM - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

WHEN YOU INITIALLY look at the plants that Craig Burrows’ photographs, you might think that they are from an alien planet because of their wild, incandescent quality and the astounding colors they give off. They definitely don't look real. You might be surprised to learn though that both the plants and the colors are real.

When we generally look at flowers and plants, we see them with sunlight or another form of white/yellow light. The colors that we generally perceive are based off of the light that the plants and flowers reflect back - green, yellow, red, purple, etc. What Burrows discovered and takes advantage of with his photography is plants ability to fluoresce, which means that  when plants absorb ultraviolet light, they emit longer wavelengths visible to the human eye. To put it in terms you might understand - this is the same thing that happens with a black-light poster. “The flower literally glows,” Burrows says.

In order to capture the glowing light of the flowers requires Burrows to use ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence photography. Burrows discovered this technique online three years ago. The concept fascinated him, so he read a tutorial and immediately set to work. Burrows has shot more than five dozen plants since then, including: Mexican sunflowers, calla lilies, and silk floss tree flowers.

Burrows finds the process of capturing the fluorescent glow of the flowers and plants so engrossing that he often loses track of time. “I usually tell myself it will only be an hour, but by the time I finally quit it’s usually been three or four,” he says.

After taking the photos - Burrows does put in several hours on Photoshop, adjusting white balance, contrast, noise and sharpness, and removing dust. It’s tedious, but it yields big dividends. The plants truly glow, each leaf, petal and stem blooming in otherworldly colors.

What do you think? 

JUVENILE BLANKET FLOWER - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

JUVENILE BLANKET FLOWER - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

DANDELION - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

DANDELION - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

ICE PLANT FLOWER BUDS - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS 

ICE PLANT FLOWER BUDS - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS 

PLAINS COREOPSIS - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS 

PLAINS COREOPSIS - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS 

WHITE HOLLYHOCK - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

WHITE HOLLYHOCK - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

KANGAROO PAWS FLOWER - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

KANGAROO PAWS FLOWER - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

HAWTHORNE FLOWERS - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

HAWTHORNE FLOWERS - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

MEXICAN SUNFLOWER - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

MEXICAN SUNFLOWER - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

NARCISSUS FLOWER - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

NARCISSUS FLOWER - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

JADE PLANT FLOWER - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS

JADE PLANT FLOWER - PHOTO BY CRAIG BURROWS