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  Mini#30 Macros 2015
Entry 3 of 36
Sapphire stylus in a blue vinyl record groove.       ©2015 A.N.Other
Fujifilm FinePix S100FS       3rd place, 160 points
2s, f5, ISO 200, 586mm, Aperture Priority, Pattern, no flash
Post-Processing: Cropped
Burn and Dodge
      Extra Info: I read the 'get as close as possible' in the description and challenged myself to do just that!

To give you an idea of the scale of my photo, vinyl record grooves range from 0.001" - 0.0014" (0.025mm - 0.035mm) in width. Contrast that to an average human hair which is about 0.006" - 0.007" (0.17mm - 0.181mm) wide.

The small marks inside each grove are how the sounds of each voice and instrument are recorded. Movement of the groove side to side records volume changes. The marks on the left side of the groove play in the left speaker and the right side ones through the right speaker. I'm impressed how all this information can pass through one tiny needle at the same time and then be separated out correctly almost instantly.

Please have a look at this link for more explanation.


The stacking process has made it look as though the record was photographed from above, where in fact it was photographed at a very shallow angle.
30 comments on this entry
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Dec 3, 2015
    Congratulations on 3rd place.

Dec 1, 2015
    Thank you so much both :-).

That was bad mrsawyer! It's always special to get a No.1 from the guvnor ;-) .

Dec 1, 2015
    Wow - that's what I call challenging yourself. Congratulations on what you achieved, and on your placement.

Dec 1, 2015
    Wow! This one "blue" me away. I would have never figured out what I was looking at. Thanks for the education!

Congrats! This was my #1

Dec 1, 2015
    LOL Mepo. That was almost my title until I realised the photo probably needed visible explanation. Thanks for the congrats :-) .

Anthony Comyn - I still think of and call it macro photography most of the time but apparently 'macro photography' technically refers to the art of making very large photographs' so I'm usually wrong too ;-) . It's a bit of a minefield of names in the very close up world. Thanks for the congrats :-) .
Edited on Dec 1, 2015

Nov 30, 2015
    Congrats - and here I thought it was playing 'in the groove' :-)

Anthony Comyn
Nov 30, 2015
    Congrats of your third place. I guess it was just a choice of bad words, what I meant was Microscope photography.

    Comments After End of Challenge    
    Comments During Voting    

Nov 30, 2015
    Many thanks to all three of you for your generous comments. I'm so pleased you like my photo :-) .

Nov 30, 2015
    Brilliant photo. Well done.

Nov 30, 2015
    Absolutely amazing. Thanks for the description of how this works. It's incredible that we get any recognizable sound at all from record players, yet I know there a audiophiles who prefer them to any other form of recording.

Nov 30, 2015
    Great technical photo & PP, colors are great.
Edited on Nov 30, 2015

Nov 29, 2015
    forkcandles - LOL - you know your record groove markings! It's actually 'Tryouts for the human race' by Sparks. Never heard of them before. I just bought it for the challenge :-).


After seeing that I'm glad I cut it up now ;-) . I will try and post some photos for you. They should be up about 21 hours after the end of the challenge.

aoc46 - It's hard to get a perspective on something we never normally see or know about.
Edited on Nov 30, 2015

Nov 29, 2015
    judging by the marks "beethovens 5th"
awesome looking forward to a detail of the actual set in outtakes

Nov 29, 2015
    I'm sure that it took major technical skill to get this photo, but even thought my brain knows what it ought to be seeing, my eyes are having a hard time seeing it.

Nov 28, 2015
    If the needle was lying on the record the point would be in the air and not in the groove. It was only this fact that stopped me from giving up with the photo altogether ;-).

After researching for this photo it was the electron microscope shots I hoped to emulate. It was a big part of my challenge to get a similar photo with my old faithful camera as I couldn't find anything similar that wasn't taken with an electron microscope :-) .

Thanks for the link. I saw it during my research :-) . That Rocky 'video record' is amazing...the size of those grooves!
Edited on Nov 30, 2015

Nov 28, 2015
    Greta job! You are right about the false perspective, I get the impression that the needle is lying on top of the record. I'm wondering if maybe a shot of one or the other might have worked. I like the contrast of colours and have to say the lower part of the grooves is as good as any electron photo I've seen of them. Kudos!

You might find the following interesting (must be nice to have that kind of equipment to play with). :

Nov 28, 2015
    Thanks very much. I can kind of see why :-).
Edited on Nov 30, 2015

Nov 28, 2015
    Quite an achievement your admirable work and documentation. Aesthetically I am slightly less enthusiastic ...

Nov 28, 2015
    You are too kind :-) . I'm glad you found it interesting.
Edited on Nov 30, 2015

Nov 27, 2015
    Brilliant! Amazing capture and quite and interesting descriptive info.

Nov 27, 2015
    Thanks for the great vote. I'm so glad you like it :-) .
Edited on Nov 30, 2015

Nov 27, 2015
    Wow! That's incredible. I would never have guessed what it was without your title and extra info. Thanks. Top 2.

Nov 27, 2015
    Anthony Comyn - This is Photomacrography. Microphotography is the art of making very small photographs :-) . The noise is caused by the stacking process I'm afraid. I tried to remove the worst of it. The blue 'cast' is just the colour of the blue record. It is quite close to real life. Thanks very much :-)

Awww thanks SteveBee :-) . I'm really pleased you like it so much.

Ysal - Yeah, I'm impressed with this 100 year old technology too!
Edited on Nov 30, 2015

Anthony Comyn
Nov 27, 2015
    Very interesting, and this is microphotography! There is quite a bit of noise and the blue cast is a bit distracting. The noise I suspect is from over sharpening using standard sharpening tools. Photoshop unsharp mask should sharpen up the detail without adding the grainy effect. Overall though you went out of your way to show us something we wouldn't have seen with our eyes. Well done.
Edited on Nov 27, 2015

Nov 27, 2015
    Fascinating explanation. I had no idea exactly how sound was encoded into the grooves of vinyl records. The photo itself is technically superb and well composed. You put of a lot of effort into that image. Great job!

Nov 27, 2015
    Very cool shot, old but amazing technology.

Nov 27, 2015
    Elliot - I was hoping I'd be the closest after all the effort. Hoping for brownie points ;-) .

Thanks johncomyn - I can see what you mean

KJW - It wasn't ;-) . Thanks.
Edited on Nov 30, 2015

Nov 26, 2015
    I can't imagine this was very easy to capture, especially trying to get a good focus at that range, but clarity of your shot is not bad. Well done.

Nov 26, 2015
    I admire the effort and technical skill that went into this, not a aesthetically pleasing image though.

Nov 26, 2015
    well you nailed it for absolute closest macro shot. well done.
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By A.N.Other


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