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Arc welding photography

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by crate, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. crate


    Mar 14, 2007
    Can anyone advise if the modern Nikon lenses are affected by the harsh light given out by arc welding, either direct or indirect?
    Or should I just not go there without appropriate filters.There is also the (magnification in the) viewfinder to think about.
    Any advice is welcome.
  2. Doug


    Jan 17, 2006
    East TN
    I don't think I would take a chance on it without HEAVY Neutral Density filterization or maybe best shooting THROUGH Welders glass.

    Vari-ND filter set to max for starters at least!

    But I know nothing for sure about this, my advice is what I would assume true, you are on your own though, as I know nothing for sure...
  3. SteveK


    Mar 16, 2005
    I've photographed arc welding with film, but not with digital. Arc welding can seriously damage unprotected eyes, so what I did was to set my camera on a tripod, focus and compose and then when the arc welding started, I did not look at it, but used a cable release. I bracketed exposures, and used flash to fill. I can't think of any reason the arc would damage glass unless you were close enough to be in the sparks.
  4. crate


    Mar 14, 2007
    Thanks guys, good enough info. I don't have the urge anymore!
  5. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  6. Don Giles

    Don Giles

    Nov 2, 2006

    Hello, I have recently done some of this type of work but with Electric Arc Furnaces that melt scrap steel by the ton. I exposed my D2x to extreme, and I mean extreme conditions and it did just fine. One image I made looking down into a molten ladel of steel and the camera froze up on me due to the extreme heat. I don't blame it, it was hot. A few seconds in the air conditioned control booth and all was well. A few examples of the project can be found here.. http://www.statemuseumpa.org/steel-intro.html
    Hope this helps, don't be afraid to shoot whatever on Earth you want, your Nikon won't let you down.

  7. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Lynton :

    Good advice here from SteveK - you must not be focusing and shooting without adequate eye protection. The damage from viewing arc welding without protection is dire and can be permanent. Steve's advice on pre-focusing and shooting with a remote is exceptionally prudent.

    I'll echo Don's comments about the camera and heat. I've shot into the access port for high temperature calciners and industrial furnaces, and the camera body and lens do not like high heat conditions. However, as he notes, short exposures seem to be reversable.

    Let us see what you get !

    John P.

    John P.
  8. Iliah


    Jan 29, 2005
    Never had any damage to lenses. The most damaging to the eyes is UV from the arc, which is heavily attenuated through the lenses and viewfinder. I focused and composed for the shots during live arc thousands of times, never had an issue. But if you can pre-focus and pre-compose, do it by all means. There is certainly a risk of getting an eye burn, which is an unpleasant thing.

    Most of the time I use medium telephoto lenses, with deep hoods to prevent flare. I prefer not to use flash, shots in daylight or halogen lights are usually render sparks better. Halogen lights filtered through Cinegel CTBs. No filters on the lenses, except for the cases when I need to capture the arc itself, molten metal drops, and welding pool. In this case, IR filters are better then welding shields. For IR shots you can use flashes for some fill-in.

    If you are going to use welding shields, look for shade 8. Newer "gold" welding filters are rendering better then older green ones, and have 2 stops better transparency then equally shaded greens. This, with good ambient light, makes for scene shots.

    UV shots are also very beautiful.
  9. crate


    Mar 14, 2007
    Thank you so much guys, what a cool bunch of people!

    I'm going to be present, next week, during an offshore pipelay. Thanks to such positive and valuable tips from you, I WILL be cautiously capturing some of the action. (And post results!)

    best wishes,
  10. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  11. Lyndon,

    Is this what you are trying to do? I used my digital for this shot. No ND filters, but I did drop the exposure by 1 full stop so the camera was not blinded.

    I had a very cooporative welder that day. He would get into position, I would compose the shot. When I was ready, I would look away, while he welded and just press the shutter release. It would have been easier with a remote release, but the shots that day came out great.

    I was set up only about 5 feet away with a wide angle lens. The shop did not have room for longer lens and or more distance.

    I visit construction sites almost daily, you do need to watch your eyes. You can suffer perminet damage. The camera was fine, no problems with the lens, or the sensor. I was more worried about blinding the sensors, but after a day of shooting welding, grinding, and finally glass blowing, the camera and I are no worse for the wear.

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