Using Canon's ISO 4.5 Million Camera to Capture Biofluorescent Turtles

The Canon ME20F-SH is a unique camera, using a full-frame, 2.2-megapixel sensor to shoot at up to ISO 4,560,000. Marine biologists recently used the camera to film biofluorescent turtles deep beneath the surface.

Biofluorescent organisms typically absorb blue light, then re-emit it at a lower energy wavelength — normally red, orange, or green. Researchers only recently discovered biofluorescence in a reptile in the wild, seeing it in the Hawksbill, an endangered sea turtle, off the coast of the Solomon Islands. The problem is that these sea turtles absorb blue light from moonlight (already a relatively weak source), which then filters through meters of sea water, diffusing and reflecting it, before finally being partially absorbed and then re-emitted at lower energy wavelengths (green and red) by the turtle. This results in very weak light, making filming the phenomenon exceedingly difficult. As such, Researcher David Gruber teamed up with Canon, using the ME20F-SH to film the creatures in an environment "beyond human perception." Cinematographer Andy Casagrande said it was so dark that he had to look into the camera to see in front of him, also noting: 

It's the perfect marriage of cinema and science, and when you pair those two together, the opportunities are endless. You can inspire the world to care about the planet.

It's very cool to see how camera technology is illuminating new pathways in science. 

[via Shutterbug]

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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