I’ve written about Yoho National Park the last two posts. This third one is going to be about the fossils again, and it’s going to be shorter than the last couple. There’s a very important reason for this: I’m getting bored of fossils now and am ready for another topic. Maybe they endured for a half-billion years, but what have they done for us lately?

I usually break my blog posts up between 3D and multispectral; that way, only people interested in 3D will click on the former… having actual 3D glasses helps too, of course. Multispectral photos, which don’t (usually) need special glasses to view, is available to everyone. So with that in mind, I held back these photos from the last post.

I mentioned that the weather during my visit to Walcott Quarry was a bit dreary. I didn’t think the weather was good enough to play around with different spectra at the time. Mount Stephen, on the other hand, was mostly sunny; it was perfect weather for UV photography especially.

…however, it was cloudy at the beginning and a steep trail, so of course I didn’t take my full filter complement. That’s my excuse for why I don’t have as many photos as usual.

The fossil quarry is above the town of Field, and there’s an excellent view of the town from the fossil beds:

… no, it’s there. No, not there, THERE. See it? in the middle? Right there. There.

Anyways, that’s irrelevant. I’m writing about fossils. Specifically, Anomalocaris fossils, those lovecraftian things from last post:

I didn’t find a full fossil of one in Yoho, but a lot of mandibles. They were originally considered a separate species when found, as they look like shrimp! Evil, evil, shrimp.

Here’s one of the mandibles:

It’s another flat fossil, so not worth photographing in 3D. However, the Burgess shale beds are supposedly carbon-heavy, and the fossilization process changes some of the carbon present in the fossil. Specifically, some carbon in the fossil decays into other elements. After dealing with near-infrared photographs for a while, my ears perk up whenever carbon is mentioned. It is obviously the most exciting and trendy element, but also a lot of carbon compounds are distinctive in the near-infrared spectrum.

First, though, lets look at the visible spectrum.

Here’s the photo from above, broken into the red, green, and blue channels.




The fossil is visible in all three channels. In fact, they all look similar, so here’s a gif file comparing them.

The rock is a slightly different shade in the short blue channel, but that’s to be expected. The full-colour photo looks slightly brownish, so I would have assumed that there was more red and green in it. The fossil is clear throughout the visible range.

As I said, I didn’t have my full complement of photo filters with me, so decided to bracket the fossil photo with one filter above and one below the visible wavelengths.

For above, I used my short-pass filter, which allows me to record blue, violet, and ultraviolet light. It isn’t as good as a full UV filter, but will let me know if there is something that might show up more in full ultraviolet. However, it is a lot easier to focus, and the shutter speed is much faster, so it the photos are more likely to turn out. Lets just call it an exploratory filter.

The fossil is still visible, but not as visible. It doesn’t seem to have the same contrast as the visible channels.

For the longer wavelengths, I chose my Zomei 760 nm near-infrared filter. It blocks pretty much all visible light, so is near-IR only.

Much clearer. In fact, I think there might be more detail than the visible photos. You can see the segments and ‘legs’. I think Infrared is the preferable way to-

Y’know what? No. I’m not going to call it. This is science in easy mode, and I’m not really proving anything. Is it better, or is it subjective? This fossil is clearly visible in every photo. Lets make it more challenging.

Here’s another Anomalocaris mandible fossil. It’s…

… no, it’s there. No, not there, THERE. See it? in the middle? Right there. There.

Right THERE.

I guess I’d better break this down into the colour channels… Not that I’m expecting it to change much.

Here’s red:

The mandible is maybe most visible in red. If you know where you’re looking, you can kind of see the outline.

… no, it’s there. No, not there, THERE. See it? in the middle? Right there. There.

Here’s green

The mandible is…… no, it’s there. No, not there, THERE. See it? in the middle? Right there. There.

You know what? I’m just going to include the enhanced contrast versions from here on out.


Even enhanced, the fossil isn’t really visible in any of the photos; at most, it is noticeable due to the slight change in the texture more than any different gradient. Here’s the GIF:

… no, it’s there. No, not there, THERE. See it? in the middle? Right there. There.

Is it there? I really can’t tell. Maybe the enhanced contrast version is better?

Maybe a bit better. It is more noticeable if I speed up the switching, but that might me one of those ‘seizure warning’ type of GIFs.

Okay, why not? I’m honestly not sure if anyone will have a problem with it, though, so I’m putting it at the very end of the post.

Before that, though, here’s the fossil through my short-pass filter.

… no, it’s there. No, not there, THERE. See it? in the middle? Right there. There.

Or… um… maybe it isn’t? I can see it, but only because I know exactly where to look.

Here is the 760 nm, view.

… no, it’s there. No, not there, THERE. See it? in the middle? Right there. There.

Oh. You can actually see it. I guess I didn’t need to copy and paste that again. I also didn’t need to enhance it, but that already took seconds of my life and I’m not going to waste that.

My first conclusion was right: the fossils are more visible in near-infrared; at the least, it’s enough that it’s probably worth trying out some near-infrared filters to get a clearer photo of the fossils. I did try a couple other hard-to-see fossils, and they seemed better too, but I’m not going to post them because I’m bored now.

Lets just look at Field some more.

It’s a good view from the quarry, and… you know what, why not?

Red, green, blue: do your thing.


I’m not going to bother delving into these photos as much, because there’s nothing here I haven’t written about dozens of times.

Here’s the full spectrum version(visible, IR, and a touch of UV) of the photo.

Using my Kolari Chrome (Green, red, & IR):

I mean I like the red trees and turquoise water here… but again, nothing new.

Zomei 760 nm:

Short Pass:

And finally my Kolari UV filter, looking deeper into the UV range.

I had to use a different lens here; the exposure was too long otherwise to not be blurry without a tripod. My 50mm lens has a larger aperture, but is fixed zoom, so I couldn’t take the same photo as the other valley ones. Instead, I decided to focus on the town site.

The above photos were taken with a modified Canon T3i Rebel Camera.

Oh wait. I promised one more photo. Here it is

… no, it’s there. No, not there, THERE. See it? in the middle? Right there. There.

No… I’m wrong… it isn’t there, because I really should make a seizure warning first.


Prepare for Siezure Warning!

… I mean Seizure Warning, not Siezure warning.


That was worth it, wasn’t it? Oh yeah, better post that photo that the seizure warning is referring to.

The fossil is visible, but more because of the rapid change between channels than because of any inherent clarity. And now I’m bored of ’em. New topic next time.