UV Blacklight Photography Tutorial (Ultraviolet-Induced Visible Fluorescence)



hey what's up at seven from photo extremis calm today we're going to be talking about ultraviolet induced visible fluorescence if we take a look at the electromagnetic spectrum we can see that visible light is on that electromagnetic spectrum even though it's a very small portion of it and visible light contains wavelengths of light between four hundred nanometers and 700 nanometers visible light is what we can see and detect with our eyes the subcategories of visible light are red blue green yellow stuff like that violet the more we go towards the violet range the wavelengths of light get shorter and shorter and higher frequency higher energy so then we get into the ultra violet category which consists of UVA UVB and UVC those range between 100 nanometers and 400 nanometers and then remember visible light is 400 nanometers to 700 nanometers so the main type of ultraviolet light that I'm going to be talking about in this video is UV a because it's the most popular and it's the most safe fluorescence refers to the process where when a light wave of a particular wavelength hits a material object the material object will absorb some of that energy and some of the energy is lost during a process you could have a light wave of 400 nanometers hit the object but then because it loses energy it could come back out at say 450 500 whatever and then it hits your eye so there is some material that does exist where if you shine a blue light on it it'll remit green light it's what a lot of divers experience when they go underwater to photographs those fish and stuff that's actually most likely that's probably more blue induced green fluorescence so it's pretty cool fluorescence is a broad thing you can have visible induced infrared florescence if you wanted to you could only record that with an infrared camera though since our eyes cannot see infrared guess what all material absorbs and re-emits ultraviolet light at different rates you could have a white bottle a white mug a white wall and a white table and all of these objects will be different colors when shining UV light on it this object might be a little bit more purple this object might be a little bit more green the wall might be black so how would that happen that happens because whatever gets readmitted back out must be longer than or equal to what was shined on it so if you shine a 400 nanometer light wave onto an object 400 nanometers can be readmitted back out or it could be 420 450 whatever that's why when you shine an ultraviolet light onto maybe say white paint on a wall you will see absolutely nothing that's because what's being readmitted back out would only be ultraviolet light which is invisible to our eyes we can't see it there might be experiments and certain people that can but I don't believe I can see it from what I know and from what I can experience thus far I can't see ultraviolet light you can't see ultraviolet light you can only see the byproduct of ultraviolet light which is fluorescence this is a tungsten light bulb by General Electric don't get it it doesn't emit any ultraviolet light at all it's just a purple light ball basically this is a fluorescent tube it does emit a little bit of ultraviolet light but it also emits quite a bit of violet light visible violet light so yes certain things will fluoresce and glow a little bit with this not that much but if this is all you have access to or if this is all you can afford then you can get this and use it however I would only use this if you're photographing things that are that fluoresce very very bright to begin with like certain neon material that's very that glows very brightly if you're photographing other material that doesn't glow as bright such as leaves plants dirt things like that you're going to want a bright true ultraviolet light source there's a better version of this for about 20 bucks by American DJ they've created a light it's like a long tube for $20 it emits a little bit more ultraviolet light than this does and a little bit less violet light than this does so the ratio is a little bit better UV LEDs again it emits a lot of purple visible light and it does emit some ultraviolet light but not that much any glowy effect that you want to get it's kind of be washed out quite a bit by the violet light now if you want to get a very high quality ultraviolet light source there's a flash you can get for about 20 bucks off of ebay called the canon $1.99 a flash I'll link leave a link in the description so you can check it out you're going to want to unscrew those two screws and then they'll be this fresh nail lens in there this blocks UV light so we need to take this out so do whatever you need to do to take it out use a tool or just pry it out with your fingers somehow but be kind of careful so you don't ruin the reflector that is attached to then this reflector will be kind of popping out of the flash so it's kind of stuck it back down underneath the black plastic rectangular rim tape it down there so it doesn't pop out so it's nice and sturdy there next usually the can of $1.99 a flash will come with a black rectangular plastic frame with a diffusion panel in that frame top the diffusion panel out toss it aside and replace it with a filter set and the link to this filter set will be down below in the description this contains a filter that blocks infrared lights and a filter that blocks visible light so only ultraviolet light is going to go through this filter and this is pica I believe around 365 nanometers which is very good so just pop that in there tape them together and then pop it in there it'll stay there's your filter and then you pop that on BAM UV only flash just like that your own backlight it's very high quality this does not emit any visible violet light it's very very good and if you don't use the filter this flash emits infrared light visible light and ultraviolet light it's a full spectrum flash now the filter set costs about $200 however you could maybe get that cheaper by trying to get just the you 340 filter only without the IR blocking filter but I wouldn't really do that I would get both you can pop this on your camera and you now have your own UV camera now when you take pictures with this start at a high ISO number so you set your camera to a high ISO because this flash does not even it's not that powerful but it's the best one available I could find for the price in for the size and everything the other one you can get is a UV LED torch this is called the MTE 303 this does emit visible violet light but a lot of ultraviolet light so you can unscrew this cap and then put one filter in there it's the Hoya u 340 filter it blocks visible light and only lets ultraviolet light in and there you go you have a high quality light source it's bright although they will hopefully start making these brighter I would ideally love to light paint an entire tree and an entire landscape and UV only light I think that would be very cool this isn't really capable of doing that that well but yeah those are the two light sources the MTE 303 UV LED torch and the canon 199 a flash with the filter set you will also want to definitely filter the MTE 303 as well there is another step to this though because most cameras sensors can actually see and record and detect ultraviolet lights visible light and infrared light some of the invisible ultraviolet light that is coming out of your light source can actually be recorded by your camera and we don't want that we only want to record the visible light so we need to eliminate ultraviolet lights and infrared light from entering into the camera lens many cameras have a UV IR blocking filter right in front of the camera sensor and it does a good job on my Nikon d810 I would say it does a good job and I'm pretty satisfied with the results as far as I can tell however depending on your camera the UV IR blocking filter the front of your camera sensor may not really be that strong so you need to put a UV IR blocking filter in front of your camera lens in order to only allow visible light to enter into the camera now there are different UV IR cut filter 's available those will all be down below in the description so those are the three steps to successfully take an ultraviolet induced visible fluorescent photograph per definition step one would be to eliminate all visible lights in the area so if you're photographing something in a room turn all the lights off if you're photographing something outside make sure the moonlight is not overpowering your ultraviolet light that's it step 2 is to use an ultraviolet only light get a flash or torch and then filter it step 3 would be to filter your camera lens to eliminate any ultraviolet light or infrared light from entering into your camera lens ultraviolet light does harm your eyes over time you will need to wear safety glasses whenever using an ultraviolet light source you can get these five to fifty dollars whatever the cost I don't know how much they cost there'll be a link down below these block UVA light and I know they block UV light because when I shine my UV torch through this there are no florescent effects coming out from the other side also if you shine a UV light on these glasses in a darkroom they appear to be black no light is being able to get through there now some prescription glasses might be able to block some UV lights however it's not very reliable plus the light can get through on the sides of your eyes as well so goggles are really the best form of protection available you can also protect your skin if you think that you're going to be using these ultraviolet light sources for a longer period of time you can get something that protects your head and your hands if you want to also you should never ever look directly into an ultraviolet light source that is very very bad this light emits about I believe it emits about twice as much of UV radiation than the Sun does at about two feet away so you need to be very careful when using these lights you can't just shine it in people's eyes do not do that now if you're going to be photographing a model for an extended period of time you'll want to make sure that they are adequately protected from these UV rays so apply zinc oxide sunscreen to any exposed skin and make sure that they have zinc oxide sunscreen on their eyelids as well and only take pictures of them with their eyes closed or with safety glasses on you can also get hair powder for your scalp stuff for your lips as well now as far as the material of what you can photograph all everything and anything under the Sun toilet seats can look pretty funky rocks and minerals there's a UV Holi powder set available which is very very cool it just becomes like a magical fairy dust tonic water glows blue trees and plants glow they may not glow very brightly but they still do glow and they change color because of the florescent effects in certain leaves they make globe depending on the age of the leaf or and how much water and how much Sun the leaf is getting just some leaf on a concrete on the left you can see that that's the ultraviolet induced visible fluorescent photo taken with the canon flash and on the right is just a regular visible light photo here's a comparison between visible UVA UVB and UVC light on this glass cupboard and then all three combined here's the same thing plates so I think that about wraps it up if you'd like to get more of my stuff head on over to my website photo extremist com sign up on the email list and I'll be sending you free ebooks also check out my ebook and video course called trick photography and special effects within that course you will learn lots of different things it contains 9 hours of video and 300 pages of ebook content that will show you exactly step by step how to create images like this this this and this and much much more is in that ebook so pick that up and I will see you in the next video if you're using UVC it's a hassle you need to put gloves on and you need to make sure that all your skin is completely covered and you need to wear a face shield and everything with UVA I personally don't go that far out although you could if you wanted to and it wouldn't hurt if you're wondering about UVC and UVB this is a UV light source it's really heavy I did mod this I put a little bar right here with the hole in it so I could attach it to a light stand and it does stay to the lights and it's a little bit sketchy though it still works it's just a little sketchy yeah yeah with power switch which turns it on and off with the fan and then you have uva UVB and UVC the unique thing about UVC is that mirrors and glass become an opaque gold color you can't see through them that's about the most interesting thing about UVC other than that though UVC kind of just changes the color a little bit different I would stick with UVA UV c is used to kill microorganisms and it damages your DNA and your skin much faster than UVA does just remember that

39 Replies to “UV Blacklight Photography Tutorial (Ultraviolet-Induced Visible Fluorescence)”

  1. UV-C is very dangerous. I operate a water treatment plant, and I perform most maintenance on our Trojan UV-C disinfection system. Each UV reactor has 2 xenon bulbs that output solely 254nm, very precisely, and operate at about SIX THOUSAND watts each. In operation, this delivers enough energy even at 25 gallons/second flow for a photon of light to punch through the cell wall of a protozoa and cause its DNA to vibrate so violently it shatters, rendering the organism incapable of functioning, called 'inactivation'. It's pretty metal when you think about it.

    Anyway, several upkeep operations with this million-dollar apparatus require me to not only crank it to full power 100% output, but also at the same time open it. All exposed skin must be covered, I wear a very expensive specialized full head shield, and a hood to do this. The large open hall it's housed in must be locked and all entrances signed, because if you are exposed to one of the bulbs without protection, it WILL blind you, instantly and permanently. I often get itchy sunburns from just moments of exposure because the light is so intense if it even goes between the weave of your clothing it will effect your skin. I've looked at it indirectly through the proper safety equipment, and I always describe it as probably what heaven (if one believes in that) would maybe look like, the most intense, pure white white white bright hard light, completely unseen in nature. I don't know how else to describe it. It's like Indiana Jones when the Nazis open the Ark of the Covenant and it melts all their faces. Fun stuff. I love my career.

    Edit: I should also mention, for the reason you state with UV-C photography, the opaque effect with mirrors and glass, is why in UV disinfection systems the tubes/sleeves that house the bulbs in the water flow are made of insanely expensive synthetic quartz with is optically 100% transparent to UV-C light.

  2. Great insight. Thanks for making such an effort with this video, including all the thoughtful health & safety, much appreciated.

  3. Could I filter the lens rather than the flash to capture uvivf fluorescence? I have converted a Vivitar 286 to full spectrum.
    I also have a full spectrum converted Canon 60d. If I stack a Schott S8612 filter and a U-340 on the lens while firing the flash uncovered will I achieve the same results?

  4. It is funny your a photographer but you do not know how that beanie makes your hear look! Maybe you were going for the daddy ran over my head when i was younger look? I live next to the best photographer of all times! Jessie Eastland! You can check his pics out on wikipedia. Just messing with ya!

  5. Hey, I'm asking this while I'm watching the video, so I'm sorry if it's already said, but I want to make a photoshoot with UV lights on model, is it dangerous for people or the skin?

  6. hey!

    Maybe ridiculous question – If I put a UV sensor on a drone and flew it over a field of flowers, would I be able to see anything or do I have to have an UV emitter as well?

    Notice, that don't want necessarily to create a photograph only but I want to see how the flower patterns distribute over space

  7. Interesting video, BTW, how to set the right white balance for the UV-induced visible fluorescence photography if we don't have UV grey card?

  8. I am planning on trying this out, but i wanted to make sure all i need to buy is the Canon Speedlite 199A flash and the U 340 + S8612?

  9. Thanks for video, sir. Been watching you for years! Thanks for all your videos! I am a macro photographer an am going to move to Reno, NV. Like to try photographing scorpions, using ultra violet light. Wish me luck, lol

  10. So do you just need a filter to add to a flashlight essentially to make it a UV flashlight? If so, I was thinking of something extreeeeme like say adding that UV filter onto a spotlight (40,000 candlewatts). I know thats extreme overkill but it would completely light up everything sooo vibrantly in UV that it would just look so much more badass than any other 'flashlight', since its a flashlight on steroids.. Please let me know man, I rrrrrreeeeally want to do this just as bad as you do!!

  11. Hello.
    The unfiltered Flashlight should be same or more dangerous than the light, the source contains all waves. I think it cannot be more dangerous for skin. Or i'am wrong thinking? The only real danger i see with this, is that you can look to much or long in it without pain, so yout eyes getting toasted. The filter only cannot producing some extra uv-energy. The strobe without filter should be much more dangerous for eyes and skin, shouldn't it???

  12. Thanks Evan. Great video!

    p.s. I'm glad you made it out of the Snowpiercer.

  13. Not related at all but,
    if you play the video from 3:35, to about 3:47, with your iPhone about 12" away, Siri asks 'What can I help you with'?
    I've done this a dozen times now, it works every time.
    WTF?

  14. Man, please be more regular. I'm watching a lot of photo channels but most of them discuss about photo gear which is quite boring and few of them (You included) discuss photo techniques.

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