Researchers of Wageningen University are going to involve the general public in scientific research into the way in which birds, insects and even seeds fly. The enthusiastic team led by researcher, David Lentink, will invest more than one hundred thousand euros in purchasing extreme high-speed video cameras, so that anyone who is interested can record in detail the flight movements that occur in the natural environment.
The Flight Artists team will be asking nature lovers, artists, hobby photographers and other interested members of the public to use the newest, high-speed video techniques to shoot images of flying birds, insects and bats, and also of maple and linden seeds as they spiral to the ground.
The team recently won the final of the Annual Dutch Academic Award. In the run-up to the final of the Annual Academic Prize, more than 700 people registered their interest. High-speed recordings made with infrared light, countless special lenses, lamps and field facilities can show details that are invisible to the naked eye; invisible, either because they are too far away or, more likely, because they are too rapid for the observer.
The fastest speed with high definition quality is 7500 images per second, which is 300 times faster than with an ordinary camera. The resulting detail reveals nature's mastery of aerobatics in such a way that the seemingly simple flight movements of a house sparrow are converted into a spectacular show.
Life in the Dutch natural environment suddenly becomes something out of the ordinary. Thus, scientists working in a newly created discipline become involved with non-professionals while the latter earn, with their unique images, their place in science. Ordinary people can make spectacular movies that are up to now exclusively available to professional documentary makers.
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