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A paler shade of ultraviolet

Discussion in 'Night, InfraRed, and UltraViolet Photography' started by nfoto, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Well, it's about time to show off some "alternative light" pictures again. There have been a lot of emphasis on IR lately, so presenting an image from the opposite end of the spectrum seems in order,

    Shady Character

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    D70, 63 mm f/3.5 EL-Nikkor with Hoya U-330 and B+W BG-38 filters on the lens, 30 sec exposure
  2. Bjorn,
    This is a fascinating image in itself regardless of the light. What is the meaning of the vehicle shillouette superimposed over the person?
  3. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    "meaning", well this is something that just happens when you use a long exposure and time takes on its own "personality".

    In this case a van drove up just as I pressed the shutter release, and this guy got out and found a shady character (me) sprawling in the flower meadow outside his house. He stood there contemplating the inner and deeper meaning of this fact, while the van continued on its journey. My D70 completed its exposure, he completed his scrutiny, decided I probably wasn't an alien or at least a harmless specimen, and continued on his way into the house.
  4. must have been an interesting moment. thanks for sharing. Seeing things thru differnt bands of light, timed exposure, and a great imagination is very "enlightening".
  5. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    That's very cool Bjørn, and the colors are extraordinary! Did you use the enlarging lens because it has better UV transmission? Thanks for sharing.
  6. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Yes, this particular (and old) enlarger lens has very good UV transmission in what I call the "pictorial" range (350-400nm). It offers a significantly wider view than my standard lens for UV photography, the UV-Nikkor 105 mm f/4.5 which of course is the lens to use for ultraviolet. But its narrower angle of view can sometimes be limiting, so I have been on the outlook for shorter UV-capable lenses for years. Not easy to find, this 63 mm is one of the few suitable for general UV photography. I managed to mount it in a focusing barrel while keeping infinity focus, and have added a CPU chip to it as well to enable it to work with the D70. Most other UV-capable lenses are constrained to close-ups, unfortunately.
  7. Bjorn, this is a killer shot. Very inspiring. I do not have other words to describe it, my jaw just drop down when I saw it.

    I apologize for the newbie questions but that's what I am, a newbie in photography. Are the results out of the camera or is there a lot of PP on it ? Also, can we get comparable results with any lenses coupled with the filters you used or we must have a special lens to achieve that ?

    Thanks for sharing, this is awesome.
  8. Bjorn,

    Your photography is truly beyond words. It is always so fresh and inspiring. Please don't think you can post too much for us here. I think I like UV even more than IR. But UV is more complicated isn't it? You have to have more than a filter for that, correct?
  9. Bjørn,
    Another great shot. Thanks for telling us about your equipment choices. Your image is strong, interesting, and very mysterious. A treat just to look at.
  10. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Thanks for the interest in my work, guys.

    Yes and no, UV is more complicated than shooting just IR. Yes, because the technical challenges are greater (with film, you need only a UV bandpass filter; on DSLR, you have to add an IR-blocking filter as well; with either recording medium, you need lenses that do pass sufficient light in UV). No, because the results can be more predictable than with IR, you obtain a smaller and hence better controllable range of responses from the depicted subjects, and finally you know in advance that the pictures will be "veiled" by UV haze and need long exposures so working from a tripod is always necessary. This slows down the working pace and better enables you to commit to the scene as it were.

    With regard to "UV colours" these are obviously just a figment of your imagination since such "colours" cannot exist in the literal sense, so anybody's rendition of them will do, even the bizarre way the DSLR chip picks up "UV colours". People think I do a lot of post-processing and while the assumption seems true given the final images, it really isn't. Straight off the camera the images have a strong colour cast mostly in red or magenta, so what I do is just a "click white" operation in the raw converter to bring the colours into a more pleasing range. Sometimes, in particular with UV, I need to introduce a "zig-zag" tone curve to lift the darker ground and get the sky slightly darker in tonality. A UV sky is always washed out with little detail, that is just a result of the diffuse nature of the UV light field.

    All the rest is really up to the photographer. UV photography is no different from any other photographic field in that respect.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2005
  11. Incredible image...evokes feelings of the supernatural...I think that I might prefer this to IR - and I like IR.
    Any other examples that you might post would be appreciated

    Thanks very much for posting!

  12. Bjørn, I really like the colors in this shot. This is probably the first "UV" style shot I've ever seen. I agree with Bohdan, I'd like to see more samples of this type of photography. Very interesting! Thanks for enlightening us!!
  13. Fascinating image Bjorn, it comes across as other worldly for sure. Love the blurred van, what a fortuitous shot. Then again knowing you it was probably planned and executed just as you intended. Very nice in any event.
  14. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Planning for a random event isn't easy, that much I do know :biggrin:

    In this case, I had already done two shots of the flower meadow and the old house, but wasn't entirely satisfied, so adjusted the camera accordingly and initiated the third shot. The van was already into my field of view before I pressed the shutter release. Fortuitous? Serendipity? I neither know nor really care. Such incidents happen all the time if you stay put and work with a theme until you are completely satisfied.
  15. regit


    Jan 31, 2005
    Thank you for sharing this, Bjørn. You're certainly a walking wealth of photographic creativity. You got me looking at UV, and time and time again, I pick up interesting things to do with my camera from your insights. This shot taken some time ago, is a combination of your two contributions - UV and multi-temporal/exposures.

    BTW, did you manage to give the 45p a go with UV?

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    3 3-seconds shots UV, combining their reds into one RGB. D70, 28mm E series, BG-38, Kopps UV.
  16. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Nice image, Regit. Just serves to show that it's the photographers who take the pictures, not the methods applied. (A bit sorry to admit the latter, though :wink: ).

    However, we all need both insights and new challenges, so I'm currently trying to discover the possibilities of doing infrared luminescence - that ought to be exotic enough to put me back in the leading edge of the pack :biggrin: Haven't the slightest idea yet about the feasibility of achieving anything here, but I certainly shall try it out. I even completed the modification of my Rayxar 50 mm f/0.75 and Repro-Nikkor 85/1 especially for this project, including getting a customised CPU chip for it. So at least I may be the only person anywhere to have CPU-fortified 50/0.75 and 85/1 lenses with proper data read-outs, and I have tested that my Nikons do display f/1 (current EXIF specification prevents bigger apertures than f/1 so my f/0.75 lenses are set to 7.5 instead, this is to notify me later on which lens has been used).

    As to the 45P: well, I just recently re-discovered my second sample of it (the first seems to be lost permanently, so I had to purchase a new one), but now my two D70 bodies are loaned to another photographer and they enjoy currently the sun of Spain, while I have to make do with bleak Norwegian autumn conditions. Life isn't always fair.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2005
  17. regit


    Jan 31, 2005
    Wow, Something new!!! :)  And customised chip for f1/0.75... you're right about life isn't always fair!!! You really do know how to push everything to their limits. I wish you luck in your investigation into IR luminesence; I for one would be interested to know how it goes :) 

    Please keep us in the loop :) 
  18. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Bjørn :

    I'm tantalised with the opportunities to use some of the approaches you've outlined and demonstrated, but I'm unsure about the process of using some of the lenses you discussed for IR. How difficult would you consider this to be for a person of moderately good skills in disassembly and assembly of mechanical devices to accomplish the "chipping" process ? And you mention a "customised CPU chip" which adds a bit of perplexity for how that could be obtained.

    Short of that, I'll be looking for that 63mm EL-Nikkor and a mount to look at the other end of the spectrum. Looking at the prices commanded by the 105mm UV, I don't think that's in the immediate future for me.

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss these points - your patience is always appreciated.

    John P.
  19. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Matters may not be as complex as they sound like.

    For most applications in UV or IR, metering by the camera is unreliable or will fail, so the old proven method of setting a shutter speed, take the picture, double the duration if the image is too dark, or cut the expure by half if it's too bright has to be used and of course it work even better with DSLRs.

    For me the chips are necessary, partly because I need to keep track of which lenses have been used for an experiment, partly because under some contingencies metering will work, and then the lens has to be co-operative with the camera, always a problem with the lesser bodies such as D70 (my standard UV camera nevertheless, and I also have another D70 modified for IR only).

    Enter the CPU chips, which I obtain from the spare part stock of my local Nikon repair facility. These days they are running low on many of the more interesting chips, however, since Nikon only delivers spares for 10 years after a lens is discontinued. You might scavenge chips from the consumer zooms which tend to self-destruct if they are dropped and being so cheap, these lenses are seldom repaired.

    I was contacted by a person looking into the possibility of commencing customised CPU print production for manual Nikkors, and have got some prototype chips from him to test under field conditions. He has been kind enough to program the CPUs especially for my lenses, so they match perfectly in terms of focal length and aperture range, and since they signal "hey, I'm a G guy" to the camera, they will work on any Nikon body with or without the mechanical slider for conveying aperture settings. Very nice. He hasn't decided yet that the project is economically feasible or that he can secure part supplies.

    The 63 mm EL-Nikkors are hard to come by, I just saw one on eBay which went for $150. Besides, the focal length is barely sufficient to give infinity focus when the lens is mounted on a Nikon body. You have to mount it into some kind of focusing arrangement, a bellows adds too much extension so would lose infinity focus. I mounted my 63 EL in a Canon 16-25 focusing extension ring (after quite a bit of fiddling around and modifying the Canon item first), now my lens does focus from 0.9 m to infinity (0.3m to 1 m with the K1 ring), and has a CPU in it to allow metering with the D70. I know other people have mounted their lens into a 50/1.8 unit after removing the original optics. So there are different ways of getting a focusing 63 mm with practical use. You have probably to add a step-up ring to the front of the lens because it takes small filters (40.5 or 43 mm, can't remember and my 63 EL has a permanently glued-on step-ring on its front threads).

    However, there are lots of other lenses floating around which can give some possibility of working in UV, if they are old, worn, little or no coating, and have simple optical design without elements cemented together (the bonding stuff may absorb UV). Locating such UV candidate lenses is part of the fun, too :biggrin:
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2005
  20. Wilk


    Jul 28, 2005

    This photograph is amazing on so many different levels. You're a true inspiration to me, and UV is something I would love to get into eventually. For now, I'm enamoured with the possibilities that IR has to offer, and it's really the ease of my new IRmod D70 that frees me to explore far mor possibilities than any other method would. UV will always be in the back of my mind though, until I understand it technically at the level where I can make some informed decisions on the right equipment. I'm greatly indebted to you for your extensive writings on the subject on your website.

    There aren't any 35 mm f/2.5 SE lenses on ebay currently but there are a few 28mm f/2.8 E lenses, I'll likely hunt for the 35mm, since you so highly reccomend it. I'm assuming you've worked with UV on the D2x? I'm interested in your thoughts. Just so you know, I'm really looking for the artistic not scientific aspects, so being absolutely true to the UV spectrum isn't so important, I'm fascinated though with what the spectrum can do.

    Thanks very much for your time, and all the wonderful possibilities you give to alternate forms of photography!

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