Some of the best things in life are free, and the abundant energy
of the sun is one of them. This is very good news for those of us who work with garden and
agricultural soils, which are home to hundreds of thousands of crop
pests: insects, nematodes, termites, arthropods, rodents and weeds, as
well as fungal, bacterial and viral pathogens. The power of the sun can
be used in a passive way to defeat a number of these barriers to
productivity, using a process called soil solarization.
Although a solar alternative to using dangerous chemical fumigants
has been documented as being used in ancient times by farmers on the
Indian subcontinent, it didn’t really catch on here until the mid-1970s.
Soil solarization—also called solar soil heating—is accomplished by
mulching and covering agricultural soils during the hot season, usually
using a transparent or translucent polyethylene tarp. This is different
in which a polyethylene mulch is used during the growing season to
suppress weeds and increase the efficiency of drip irrigation.
Subject; a detail of a handmade toy carousel my father crafted in his woodshop before he passed away.
This is another example of the solarising effect I’ve been working on. I added a final texture from my files to simulate the ripples that I might get with a solar flash from an angle while agitating the developer bath in a darkroom. The solarising was done over a color image here, rather than a desaturation, and with a differential overlay of ‘white noise’. I took a blank white exposure and added full color chromatic noise with a program filter, and applied it as an overlay in 'difference’. I desaturated the image slightly to tone down the overly intense colors that resulted. the first image is the image direct from camera.
There’s a lot of playful illustrative possibilities with this method.