I recently found a group in the States that greatly overlaps with my work (hurry, I’m not alone). The group is called CENS and has a whole research area dedicated to Terrestrial Ecology Observing Systems. There is a technical report from 2011 that talks about using digital cameras to measure phenology. Among other things, this report suggests the use of HDR (High Dynamic Range) as the main part of a workflow that calculates the total solar radiation reflection. If this metric is consistent between images of the same plot (irrespective of the lighting of a particular day), I think that my segmentation algorithm will increase performance.
After reading the tech report I took a cool camera and gave it a try. Being a Linux enthusiast I was expecting a very difficult process that included compiling various applications from source. To my surprise there were lots of tools out there (Fedora 15) that created pretty cool HDR images. After some initial searching, I ended up using the `qtpfsgui` application. Note that there is a plethora of other apps/commands that can be used to make HDR image in Linux. This is an awesome post that lists relevant Linux HDR related stuff :)
I took a picture of the scene outside our bedroom on a rainy night. After playing with the sliders provided by `qtpfsgui` I ended up with somewhat of a cool effect. I like two things in the image I created: 1. The lights have a kind of sparkle to them and 2. The plants that are bellow the lights have high contrast making them stand out. We will have to see if the Salix Arctica pictures are as cool :)